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A Pimp Is Only As Good As His Product

February 6th, 2011 · 98 Comments

Promoting I’m Gonna Git You Sucka in 1988, Steve James, who appeared as “Kung Fu Joe” in the blaxploitation spoof, commented: “I always hated that label ‘blaxploitation.’ I wondered, why couldn’t there just be films with black stars? You know, you’d go around the corner from a theater showing one of them, and there’d be Dirty Harry. And nobody was calling it ‘whitesploitation.'” Right on, Steve! So in February, I’ll take a look at ten films featuring black stars from a certain era.

The Mack (1973)
Directed by Michael Campus
Written by Robert J. Poole and Max Julien (uncredited)
Produced by Harvey Bernhard
110 minutes

Helping graft the message and style of hip hop, there’s room to argue that The Mack is flat out the best “blaxploitation” movie ever made. Robert J. Poole was a convict who — according to legend — wrote a 40-page treatment for a movie on prison toilet paper. Titled Black Is Beautiful, Poole ultimately got his material to producer Harvey Bernhard. Fascinated with the concept of a street Svengali, Bernhard hired a young (white) filmmaker named Michael Campus, who’d shot a few documentaries for ABC, to direct. To play the title role, Max Julien was approached. Julien had written the screenplay for Cleopatra Jones and given the go-ahead to fill in Poole’s blueprint, got on board. Traveling to Oakland, Campus and Julien sought the help of the Ward brothers, the four men who ran the bay city’s underworld. Frank Ward agreed to take the filmmakers into his world, provided they took Ward into theirs.

In addition to being granted a cameo, Frank Ward inspired the title character as Campus and Julien fleshed out the script. Murdered during its production, Ward had the film dedicated to him. Financed by the soon to be defunct Cinerama Releasing Corp., The Mack was shot on a substantially low budget, yet endures because nearly every frame seems infused with a pure love for movies. Julien and co-star Richard Pryor bring star level magnetism to this low down dirty B-movie, while the necessities of shooting on the fly gives the film the power of a documentary on 1970s Oakland. The Mack is still a shoot ‘em up at heart and does get repetitive, but it’s also politically hip to the conflict between capitalism and the greater good of the community. If that’s too much to ponder, Willie Hutch wrote and performed nine killer tunes, including “I Choose You,” “Theme of The Mack” and “Brother’s Gonna Work It Out”.

John “Goldie” Mickens (Max Julien) and his partner Slim (Richard Pryor) shoot it out with gunmen who’ve ambushed them in a junkyard. Unable to escape, Goldie is taunted by two cops (Dan Gordon, William Watson) who debate whether to finish the hustler off or not. Enduring almost five years in prison, Goldie returns to the streets of Oakland. He visits his mentor, The Blind Man (Paul Harris) who ruminates about pimping and the opportunity there for the taking if his protégé adopts the right mental angle. Goldie runs into an old girlfriend named Lulu (Carol Speed), an “outlaw” turning tricks; she implores Goldie to manage her. The ex-con next reunites with his brother Olinga (Roger Mosley), a political organizer dedicated to black empowerment and to running the pimps and pushers out of the community.

Announcing to his brother that he’s down with self-empowerment — while keeping the true nature of his business secret from his Mother (Juanita Moore) — Goldie dedicates himself to becoming “the meanest mack who ever lived.” He reteams with Slim and with Lulu’s help, Goldie’s “professional ladies of leisure” are drilled in the finer points of shoplifting and grand larceny. To control their minds, Goldie rents a planetarium and lays down his rules under the cosmos. Rising to such success that he wins Mack of the Year honors at the annual Players Ball, Goldie spurns an offer from his former employer Fatman (George Murdock) to return to work for him. The vile cops who busted Goldie five years ago resurface next, intent on taking him down. To get out of the game with his life intact, Goldie turns to his brother for help.

What do you say?

Tags: Blaxploitation · Brother/brother relationship · Crooked officer · Cult favorite · Famous line · Gangsters and hoodlums · Master and pupil · Prostitute · Shootout

98 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Evan Derrick // Apr 16, 2008 at 7:54 am

    Enjoying the site. I especially l like the ‘history lesson’ that accompanies each entry. I always find background info on a film fascinating.

  • 2 anthony floyd // Apr 22, 2008 at 8:57 am

    loved the movie where can i get it.

  • 3 WcpJams // May 13, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    The Mack is a classic. I grew up in the 70s and i must have seen all the so called (blaxploitation films) and The Mack, Superfly, Trouble Man and The Education of Sonny Carson were by far the best of the bunch. I loved watching The Mack, it was very entertaining, and thanks for telling me about Frank Ward. I remember him from the movie, but i never knew his story and what he had to do with the film. And one more thing, the only thing i didn’t like about The Mack was that he pimped all the Black women, but had a White chick as his main squeeze. Again Hollywood has to put White women on a pedalstal. Give me a break, but other then that, i loved it. WcpJams

  • 4 ThickNigg // Jan 5, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    I met Max Julian back at my days at Walt Disney CO in Burbank. I had a lot of time to ask him about this Epic Movie. One thing I learned was this was a True Playa.

  • 5 CASSIUS // May 3, 2009 at 5:05 pm


  • 6 Coffy // Oct 30, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    Does anyone know what happened to Frank Ward’s brothers, Ted and Andrew and he was killed? Are they still in Oakland? Are they still alive?

  • 7 NOBLE D // Nov 29, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    Ted ward is a slum seller around the country his bro willie does some short con here and thereAND RUNS A BAR IN MEMPHIS the brother s all left okland after franks death in fear of there lives understandbly so but thats your answer oh and they were from new orlean yes creo boy s trying to make it big out west with that new orlean dope open line connection .one day the world will reconize what and who a real pimp is but then that would only be ashame because its truly a life that is chosen for a very few people in this life time so unless u have a trained i u the world and all of your kind will never know who and what a real pimp is.So keep applulding those fakes like don and those crews of clown s b cause thats the way the universe protects the few real pimps that it have created in the history of the world.

  • 8 Coffy // Jan 10, 2010 at 8:17 am

    Thanks for the answer, Noble D. Does anyone know if Frank Ward ever had any children? This man is so interesting to me.

    With a sharp mind like his, he could have been anything…a banker…a real estate mogul, etc.

    Too bad he chose the wrong path and lost his life. Very sad.

  • 9 nicole coleman // Feb 23, 2010 at 4:49 am

    i didn’t grow up i the early part of the 70’s i was born in 1974 so i didnt get a chance to see , a lot of things or get to have fun in that time, but, when i first seen the mack i fell in love with this movie, it’s a classic, and not because, it was about pimps, whores, & ETC. but simply it had somethings that went on i that time frame, and it had some great actors, such as richard pryor

  • 10 Charlie // Mar 8, 2010 at 8:44 am

    Great write up, man. I gotta check out the rest of the site. I like this format! (Will be linking to this from my dad blog on this flick.)

  • 11 Robert Mitchell // Apr 8, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    I feel that it was a great film based on the fact it eas real. Today you see Rappers and Entertainers always wanting to know what really went on back in th day. And back in the day set the pace for today! Great Film!!! I still watch it!! One Love!! Rob

  • 12 Brenda Williams // Apr 13, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    Love this movie, I still watch it this day. I am also following the boxing career of Andre ward whom I just saw win a title tonight.

  • 13 Robert Mitchell // Apr 14, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Alot of times people take all the negative out of a film an say this film is exploiting Blacks. I t gives me a chance to see what really went on in that day and time. Great Film!! Roert Mitchell

  • 14 Michael Mickman Gourdine // May 22, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    Anyone can google my name, my rep speaks for itself. The movie is as true today as it was back then….in fact more so. Mr. Poole manuscript/screenplay would never be given a second look in 2010 because he was Black……Crime is all the Black Man has.

  • 15 Clinton "Chinno" Bell // Jul 15, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Mane alot of people got alot to say, and feel, no doubt. But put yourself in that man shoes if it was real or all the dope dealers, prostitutes, and the small timers, but you can’t, and that is the main reason why misunderstanding shows the ass of every person who thought they could handle the pressure of life back then, simply because they dont understand, just like tony montana said: i tell the truth, even when i lie, but you others lie, and deceive showing the reason why the bad guy is always pointed out, cause they cant keep it real with themselves and with others and feel like it is a good thing to say you’re a good person, but how are you real if your shit don’t stink?????

  • 16 Frank Ward jr // Jul 24, 2010 at 10:45 am

    for all those intersted in my dad and my uncles stay tune, the biograghy of Frank Ward will be out fall 2011. Thanks for your interest and by the way all the Ward bros are alive and doing very well.

  • 17 big international hankinatra // Nov 21, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    …the ward bros had west & north oakland as well as parts of s.f. on lock, but y’all that remember and know will recall many playas in the O, like Cadillac Brown, Roosevelt Taylor, (today a pastor) San Pablo Slim,Terrible Tom,Big White, to name a few, but in East Oakland the man was “Big Hank” the 1st to have ‘el caperlaro ‘ broughams and coupe devilles along w/right hand man ‘Doc Hill,’ (Oakland & Compton),Mello Mike, (Big Hank pullrd a Superfly move after evading the feds and flew to algeria with a briefcase wit a million bux, is today a fiery imam in d.c., you better ask somebody!

  • 18 beezy campbell // Jan 14, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    Thank Frank Ward Jr. for your respond it has been alot years I can’t wait for autobiograghy of your father and the Mack is still one of my favorites was looking at it today and looked at the responds online, and some of the things that people still say today is so wrong i glad that your uncles are doing well. May God Keep And You All

  • 19 john mahone // Jan 28, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    the best movie i ever saw fell in love whith it the first time i saw it.i still remeber my mother telling me and my brothers she would not allow us to see the movie but we slip away an seen it any way. been in love whith it every since.thank you frank jr.

  • 20 Int'l Bleu // Aug 28, 2011 at 2:36 am

    to me, this movie was n inspiration. i was young ut had a deep desire to pimp, and have close to 4 calendars in this game. the ward bro were a role model for me and other young aspiring pimps of that era. oh yea i am featured in the upcoming autobiography depicting the lives of the ward bro. the Mack is still my favorite movie of all times! inish allah, i’ll be back soon…

  • 21 david butler // Sep 26, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Everytime I see “The Mack” I must say I’m inspired to meet Max & ask him about the good ol’ days. The soundtrack to this movie is a classic. Frank Ward is definitley a Man and I would like to direct a movie about his life.

  • 22 Marie Ward // Oct 20, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    yes he did have children and yes my family may have done their wrongs and rights but last time i checked who the fuck are any of you to judge are any of you God

  • 23 CASSIUS // Nov 8, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    Yes marie ward I am GOD a chosen god of the life that the universe has chosen for me your brothers were reckateirs must of those guys have tried to hide behind pimpin even lucky luciano real talk but truth is hey wasnt a pimp but wanted to be looked on as one see marie true PIMPS are chosen by the universe not women or director s

  • 24 Kennedy // Nov 16, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    Marie, who’s judging? Most people on here are talking about how great a movie this was. RIP to Frank, but he was a “public figure”, so people will always have an opinion.

    God rest his soul and I believe Frank did accept Christ before his death.

    Gos bless you all.

  • 25 CASSIUS // Jan 16, 2012 at 9:47 am

    Int blue did the ward bros teach you how to sling flat screen tv s from the trunk im sure they did truth told the best psssss derived from the south east you only be cuz of there surrounding wether and being oppressed by the powers that be we had a saying it still hold face the beast when you

  • 26 Ken Pantherfunk // Mar 20, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    I’m very happy the Ward family is doing okay.
    Mr. Frank jr, I found your father very admirableand I would love to see a documentary on Mr. Wards life. I would’ve love to have met him, (however, I was born 2 years after Mr. Ward’s passing.
    I was thinking about starting a jazz funk band in his honor.
    Peace and love to the whole ward family

  • 27 Coco Puff // Apr 28, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    Frank ward jr, wheres the biography???

    I doubt the person posing as Frank’s son is for real. People are hesitant to tell Frank’s story and more than likely there will never be a dvd on his life like OG Flukey Stokes had.

  • 28 CASSIUS // May 3, 2012 at 7:34 am

    Well coco puff its more then words when comes to making movies the truth is stranger then fiction but fiction sells better because it can be girl when you do your research you ll find out that alot of thing and people are not what they seem to be especially when it comes to real pimps many dope men gangster s entertainers and rapers hidden behind that title but true pimp or very very rare like fllawless diamonds even that writer robert beck iceberg slim has been proven to be a big phony who told the stories of other people and injected himself in as the big pimp the man sweet jones was base on a real person name baby bell who pimped foreal and killed himself in washington park chicogo so coco dont be fooled by fakes don won and his crew of clowns ice t and the rest of those to
    Slick tricks misleading women with liesI and drugs remember true PIMPS are chosen by the universe to be who they are not women or the public if this was not true the they would have never existed its a purpose for them society might not like it but the universe makes no mistake s .

  • 29 Coco Puff // May 3, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    Cassius, tell me..

    What is the purpose of a pimp? What good does he bring to the universe? To be a lazy, no good scum bag who preys on the women in their communities?. Pimps are not real men. They are misguided “males” who don’t realize that nothing good will come to them if they continue use their QUEENS as property to be used and abused.

    I feel bad for Frank Ward because I know someone who knew him for years and he knew this life was wrong. He got out then sadly,,,got back in. He finally decided to leave that life alone but was murdered before he could leave the life for good.

    That’s the usual ending for most street dudes. Death or jail

    So cassius tell me, what is the true purpose of a pimp???

  • 30 Hh // May 6, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    Great movie

  • 31 CASSIUS // May 9, 2012 at 9:02 am

    Coco unless you are real hoe and i m sure that’s not the case you and other untrained eyes will never know the answer but believe me there is a reason for them existing and do not make mistakes when its tired of something it destroys it and recreate another so your hate comes from ignorance or just not understanding but and other s have been coned and conditioned to hate hurt and put away something s you dont understand by the veryones that know the powers of real PIMPS AND HOES you on knowing choose to let them control your every thoughts about the things they fear most real humans who know there weakness see coco many men try to grasp that title but only a few is chosen by the universe to be a real PIMP AND HO But i mind you its not a life to glamourised if something is wanted by so many can imagined what men would do to each other to hold that possession in women lives knowing secrets no other men know about the inner working s of the female scary isn’t it coco you being a threat to every man that brimg his woman near your path..hope that helps you sweetheart dont let those clowns like don won and his band of actors and drug men dykes fool you honey you actually had your brain introduced to the truth my NUBIAN QUEEN i truly know that without your kind there would be no my KIND…remember the key is TRAINED EYES.

  • 32 Coco puff // May 11, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    Lol @ my “hate coming from ignorance”.

    Sorry Cassius but I dont hate these people. My heart goes out to them because they’re on a dreaded path headed to nowhere, which is either death or jail.

    I agree with you that people should not let clowns like Don Juan and these idiots glamourize that lifestyle. Yeh..there are many highs, i.e. the money… But the lows are tremendous. A price WAY too high to pay.

    I’m from Chicago and have known of many big time drug dealers/pimps who had their time in the streets. Millions of dollars passed through their hands and guess what?? They’re all dead or in jail. Every last one.

    That’s why I like how “the Mack” ended. They gave you the truth. The movie showed how he got his mom killed and he wound up with nothing. That’s usually what happens.

    So the universe has no need for pimps aka leeches. Just strong men who will protect their community and their women.

    Have a good one

  • 33 Da Mack // May 12, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Hey Noble d

    Frank ward and his brothers were from alabama. They aint Creole, just light skinned dudes. Where do yall get your lies from?

  • 34 CASSIUS // May 18, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    Coco i see that someone has done something that you thought was wrong and it hurt you.but coco you still dont understand that everyone have a purpose in the universe including PIMPS you mite not like it but the universe makes no mistakes.see coco death comes to everyone no matter wat you do now as for jail its a way of society making money off the people that go aginst the laws.and keeping society safe from undesirable people you say drug guys pimps hoes in up in jail NO heugh haftner free the guy in the bunny ranch is free and they bragg about making money off sex sellers.coco you and others have a hate for black men in the same bizz cos you been tricked and trained without even knowing .stop read research open your mind its only bad in america when we do it haftner and white men are celebs for the samethang think woman and who ever broke your heart show yourself thats its somemore good apples on GODS man until you learn what a real PIMP is stop basing your facts on phonies.take care sweetheart remember trained EYES.

  • 35 noble d // May 19, 2012 at 12:10 am

    this is noble d i know where theyre from buster i rep bay area read my book dopemen and slummers thats all they were thats it and alland coco baby it was a movie MOVIE not real a strip for actor s ACTORS WHY WOULD ANYBODY SELLING DRUGS WANT TO BE IN A MOVIE stupid coco plane stupid even roaches no to run when the lites come on these guys were dopemen trying to look like pimps but game stop him in his tracks it has to be in you not on you give a sucker ten million dallors and one hundred women what do you have a sucker waiting to be broke by some real hoes FACT DUMMIES. NOBLE D.

  • 36 Coco Puff // May 20, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    Cassius, you bring up good points about Hugh Hefner’s old butt and the other white guy that owns the bunny ranch. They are no different from street pimps except that they legally exploit women

    But dearheart…….

    It’s still all wrong. All of them are in the wrong!

    Sorry cassius, I’m not hurt I’m just telling you the truth. I’m pretty good at spotting ” game” a mile away.

    Remember… Trained EYES and Common Sense :)

  • 37 Joe Valdez // May 20, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    I think as far as this boxing match goes, “Coco Puff” is ahead on points. I think we can all agree that The Mack is a classic that still has the power to stir up strong feelings about whether the hustler is a benefit or a blight to his or her community. The truth is more complicated than a sound byte. I thank all of you guys and gals who have taken the time to share your thoughts.

  • 38 Coco Puff // May 21, 2012 at 8:39 am

    Noble D, what’s the name of your book??? does it even exist?? Lol

  • 39 NOBLE D // May 21, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    reflections the second coming by noble D .u welcome.mam.

  • 40 Coco Puff // May 21, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    Lol.. So you just gonna send me off like that??

    No such book exists. Liar liar…pimp perm on fire.

    What a joke

  • 41 Coco Puff // May 21, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    You’re very welcome Joe. You got a great site here.

  • 42 NOBLE D // May 21, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    coco puff look up noble d……or…org

  • 43 NOBLE D // May 21, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    my radio ad blog interview is on a site call the lesser or .blog

  • 44 Noble d // May 22, 2012 at 6:07 am

    Nobledee23 sorry ms. coco puff but this should get you my book or just google NOBLE D thanks JOE.

  • 45 Coco Puff // May 23, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    Noble, I saw an ad for your book and found this excerpt very telling….

    “Wholeheartedly, Noble Dee expresses the possibility of how his own glorification of the Game, indirectly allured his first born daughter into a position to be manipulated and exploited by Pimps, just as he had manipulated and exploited so many daughters throughout 35 years plus career as a Pimp. ”

    Wow. I’m sorry that happened and I wish your daughter the best. This also proves my point. Nothing good comes from that life. It actually destroys lives.

  • 46 Coco Puff // May 23, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    Cassius, i found a picture of you.

    Love the “pimpish” hair

  • 47 Doc // May 26, 2012 at 2:08 am

    Frank Ward has at least one son who is planning on writing a book Ted Ward is alive and well. He’s not hiding for his life He likes his privacy so I’ll leave it at that I was with Him for 5 years after Frank was assassinated He taught me a lot. One day I may write a book about my life with Uncle Ted after the Mack.

  • 48 Algie Ward // May 27, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    My name is Algernon Ward Jr. (Algie) .For the past couple of years I’ve been doing research for the Ward Family tree. My Uncle Fred Ward related to me that his father (James Henry Ward) had a brother whose sons had appeared in the movie “The Mack” and that one had been assassinated. When I looked into it, I found that indeed Frank, Andrew,Ted and Willie had appeared in “The Mack” playing themselves. In order to find out more details, I joined IMDb and left a message on their message board. Thankfully a kind person left a message that they “were of the Ward bloodline” and another referred me to this website where Frank Ward Jr. and Marie Ward had left comments regarding the Ward brothers. I would love to make contact with either one of them so that we can determine if we are indeed related.
    At this point, let me be clear, I don’t want anything but information regarding my family in order complete the Ward Family tree. I’m doing this for the future so that my children and theirs can know something about their ancestors. If we make contact, and we are related, I will gladly invite you to join the family tree, free of charge, and you can add any factual information that you wish to include about our relatives that you want. You can have access to the tree anytime you want to from any computer once you accept my invitation. Of course will ask you to subscribe to their service, and you are free to do so if you’re interested, but you do not have to in order to access the Ward Family tree that I’m building. I’m not selling anything, I just want to document our family’s history for posterity. I recently heard that the Ward family had declined an offer from “American Gangster” to make a documentary about Frank and his brothers in order to preserve their privacy. I completely understand that, but let me assure you that this family tree is nothing of the sort, and it is private to everyone except it’s family members. It’s only value is to family members who want to look-up their relatives on their family tree.
    Unfortunately I don’t know very much about the Wards on the west coast. It is my hope that you can help me fill in the blanks with details that I do not have. I’m most keenly interested in the Ward brothers father because if he is indeed my Grandfather’s brother, I can find out more about my own Grandfather whose information was lost when he passed away in 1962.
    Thank you in advance for any information that you share with me. Please feel free to contact me at anytime.I am,

    Algernon (Algie) Ward Jr.

  • 49 Noble Dee // Jun 6, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    First of all who is pretending to be me well I am going to set the record straight. I never wrote that article about Frank Ward, first of all I was a kid when he was pimping I like any other kid in the confines of the ghetto’s in the bay area look up to him and his brothers as role models. Growing up in the late fifties & sixties the positive conventional role models were far an in between. So cats like the ward brothers ,Fillmore Slim , Honey Bear and my uncle Jimmy Mallet were my role models along with many other pimps I met in the sixties before I found out that the the universe had choose me to pimp. I hope and pray that who ever is imposterin them selves as me will stop shaking & faking that their me. For future refrence I spell Noble Dee with two ee. And to who ever responded to the bullshit remember I got nothing but love and respect for the ward brothers. Me and Ted kicks it from time to time he still live in the eastbay as of the last time I was at his house. I would have never said they were from N.O. when I personally knew that they were from from Alabama. There is no future in faking keep this real!
    Cross Country
    Noble Dee

    PS And for those haters yes I will have book in the stores sometime this month, called “Pimp Reflections Of My Life’ if there is any questions you can contact me at Noble or contact my agent at Jump Entertainment. com

  • 50 Coco Puff // Jun 10, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    I don’t know which “noble d” to believe.

    Anyway, doc I would most def buy your book if you wrote one. I would love to know how Ted carried on after Frank was killed. That had to hurt like hell. Most folks say Huey Newton ordered the murder.

    If that is true, revenge came upon Huey as he was murdered in the street like a crackhead in 1989

  • 51 Poser // Aug 18, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    Where is Frank Ward’s dvd? It was supposed to be out in Fall 2011. What happened?

  • 52 Cassius // Oct 8, 2012 at 8:41 am

    Remember people the key is trained eyes frank ward would make an interesting story because it would include exploiting once agin the black cummunity by another black man flooding it with drugs

  • 53 Carlton A. King // Oct 28, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    I want to thanks all peoples ,who help make the Mack. Frank Ward wanted out, the young people too.He want to help,The movie was he way out,he knew he would never really see the movie.

  • 54 God is first // Oct 30, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    Towards the end of his life, Frank seriously thought about leaving that lifestyle behind. He actively tried to move on but a murderer caught up with him before he could make the transition. They not only killed him but also his main lady named Blanche.

    Say a prayer for their souls and ask for forgiveness of your sins tonight before it is too late

  • 55 Lynel Garder // Dec 9, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    Ted, Frank and my father Bobby Gardner were as tight as a glove. My Aunt Arletha had a child with Ted Ward. Ted used to ride me around in his Excalibur a $150,000 car when I was kid. I don’t remember any other pimps in the Bay area at that time that had one. People looked up to pimps because they were able to beat “The Man” at his own game. They never forced anyone to do anything they did not want to do. They and my father would ask “Are you sure you want to do this? This life is not for everyone” Pimpa brought money back into the neighborhood economy. And that money influenced every aspect of the inner-city businesses, from baby sitting, to supporting church activities, donations to the Black Panther Party, to political campaigns and the support of the Civil Rights Movement.

    Pimps were not desperate from the black community they were part of the fabric of the black community. They were someone’s dad, cousin, brother or sister. Yes and don’t forget that their were madame’s. It was not seen as a lifestyle that was good or bad. It was a political statement and a means to get bye until something better came along. I don’t think that I ever saw anyone in the hood ever turn down the financial support of a pimp or a neighborhood mechanic refuse to take there money after fixing there car. Yes Civil Rights legislation did afford us more opportunities where we no longer had to depend on the neighborhood pimps for our sources of income but was assimilation worth the price of admission to be part of the American Dream at the cost of being ashamed of who we were and where we came from. Is it fair to project our internalized hatred on the black men of that generation on not the black middle class that abandoned those same men and who continue to abandoned there grandchildren who reside in the inner city to this day. Why? because you need the white man to love you for what you are still striving to be and not what you were.

    And stop asking about how Frank died. Use your common sense and stop watching much T.V. In the movie “American Gangster” Do you actually think that he told those writers everything? Some of the people he had come across in the past may be still alive.

  • 56 Really tho? // Dec 11, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Lynel, who are you trying to convince? The readers or yourself? The middle class didn’t abandon anyone so why blame them for a person deciding to use, abuse and ” pimp” women?

    In life we make choices. The members of the so-called middle class chose to either learn a trade, attend college, open a legit business or obtain a real job. We all have the power to make moves and better ourselves in some form or another…so keep it real.

    Pimps chose the game. There were other paths to take. other choices to make. No one abandoned them or forced them to make a living hustlin trim. This was their choice.

    Now, fast forward 40 years. Most of the people who were working regular gigs back then are baby boomers who are retired and living off their pensions. On the other hand, Most of the pimps from that time are either dead, in jail or left the game years ago in an attempt to restore their lives. Theres no future in that lifestyle & no future in your fronting.

    So when you brag about dude riding around in an Excalibur and having children out of wedlock what does it all mean now? For a fleeting moment the pimps lived well, until tragedy and karma came knocking at their door.

    Pimpin is a political statement??? Lol Laughable!

    No need to rationalize or glamorize that trifling lifestyle. The truth is buried in the outcome of these pimps and whores…nothin but tragedy, pain and disappointment. Let the truth set you free.

  • 57 Lynel Gardner // Dec 23, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    For those old enough to remember that the Black Panther Party did not want the Wards to film “The Mack” in Oakland and campaigned against it. Well then how did it get the green light then. The Wards made a financial contribution to The Black Panther Party and by doing that they made a political statement, while at the same time stimulating the inner-city economy, really tho.

  • 58 Lynel Gardner // Jan 2, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    Ted Ward passed away of natural causes and his funeral was on Friday the 28th 2012.

  • 59 JT // Jan 4, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    Awww man. I’m sorry to read this. Ted was in the movie with Frank as 2nd runner up as Pimp of the Year right. He passed in December? How old was he?

    RIP. Another legend gone.

  • 60 Lynel Gardner // Mar 25, 2013 at 2:20 am

    Ted could not have been no more than Sixty six. He and my dad Bobby Gardner were best friends so he had to be about sixty six. My uncle Nate went to the Funeral.

  • 61 Lynel Gardner // Mar 25, 2013 at 2:26 am

    Don’t forget that Frank and Ted were the technical advisors on the movie The Mack. Of course they couldn’t tell everything.

  • 62 Cassius // Mar 31, 2013 at 10:18 am

    Everyone say a prayer for noble dee the brother is. Fighting for his life a true Bay Area legend who laid the bricks cross country for other bay pleyer s to travel take care brother isha ALLAH all will be fine for you stay strong Nikki u got a good one

  • 63 Co co puff // Apr 1, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    fighting for his life?? what happened to Noble Dee??

    I’ll say a prayer for him.

  • 64 Cassius // Apr 3, 2013 at 9:29 am

    Noble liver is totally absent of any function his body is slowly being poisen from his liver not being able to cleanse his blood noble is a proud bro and father let alone writer he hasn’t mention his condition to none of readers but he’s been suffering from this for over five years the creator of the universe has blessed truly by keeping his woman of thirty years by his side that in itself tells me that it’s a reason for PIMPS in this world so big ups to his woman NIKKI your setting an example of how a real woman be her hoe or house wife should stick with the one that sticks with hers and theirs so agin I say pray for the brother and the world for understanding and compassion for all creation and remember the trained eye can see the universal TRUTH and not what hypocritical men and women want it appear to stay strong NOBLE DEE ISHA ALLAH u will be ok translation if it’s the will of the creator you will be ok .

  • 65 Co co puff // Apr 8, 2013 at 7:16 am

    Lol @ you using this to justify pimping.

    Anyway, I will keep Noble and his family in my prayers.

  • 66 Cassius // Apr 10, 2013 at 12:40 am

    Coco puff I thought you’ve passed the hate raid stage but some do and some don’t anyway your prayers are appreciated not just for noble dee but the entire universe for understanding keep searching and you too mite be blessed with the trained EYES.

  • 67 Co co puff // Apr 14, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    Trained eyes???

    Funny how those trained eyes didn’t keep that liver from fully breaking down. That was the grace of God.

    Anyway RIP to Ted Ward and best wishes to Noble

  • 68 Cassius // Apr 28, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    The writer and my friend NOBLE dee has died he will be buried in madesto Cali along side his mother who herself passed two months ago RIP your bro and friend CASSIUS may GOD accept you into paradise .

  • 69 Keisha // May 20, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    I’m sorry to hear about Noble Dee’s passing. I’m also sorry to hear about Ted Ward’s death. May God be with the families of these men.

    Where’s Frank Ward jr.? Hopefully the dvd will be released soon.

  • 70 Co co puff // Jun 19, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    wow..RIP Noble Dee

  • 71 Cassius // Jul 20, 2013 at 12:49 am

    Rip fly baby another VET has passed on cherish your time with them they are truly game givers if they find you deserving of their knowledge .

  • 72 Cassius // Aug 4, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    Rip pretty tony from the creator u came back to the creator u have returned .

  • 73 ElJack // Aug 11, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    Just ran across this site. Much respect to the Ward Brothers for their contributions to The Mack. Good to read that Willie Ward is still alive and that Roosevelt Taylor is preaching. RIP to Frank and Teddy. When is the bio coming out? The truth needs to be told!

  • 74 Cassius // Aug 13, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    The truth is already there my brother instead of using guitar players use the real players who realy played the game 4 real doe

  • 75 amron // Aug 17, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    will the real MACK please stand up do you know? just at the end of the day. stay posted

  • 76 Co co puff // Sep 12, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    the Mack came on bounce tv today. It made me think of this site

  • 77 Mr Whitaker // Sep 18, 2013 at 8:11 am

    “Cassius” stated “writer robert beck iceberg slim has been proven to be a big phony who told the stories of other people and injected himself in as the big pimp” I am the author of Iceberg Slim: the Lost Interviews. Nothing about Iceberg Slim has proven to be phony. In fact the more investigation that had been done the more has been confirmed as fact. I have personally interviewed and know members of his family, associates. The documented evidence is overwhelming too. I presented this in the book, as well as the fact that Sweet’s character was based on Albert “Baby” Bell. There seem to be a few people who like to build Iceberg Slim up to set it up so they can then take a shot, however Iceberg never built himself up to be big: as he says in the Lost Interviews several times “I was never the best among my peers.”

  • 78 S. Ward // Oct 8, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    Lynel Gardner, I see that you know much about Ted. Is there anyway that I can get in touch with you outside of this site? One of Ted’s daughters and looking to connect with some family.

  • 79 Vista // Nov 6, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    In the movie, was his mother killed because of the pimpin or the brother trying to stop the drug dealing?

  • 80 CASSIUS // Mar 18, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    Both b cos the powers that be hated both of them for what they were doin life can be strange in art and life itself ,so peep the message when we as a people join the fight from inside and out we can truly change thing but remember everyone don’t want to see that happen trained EYES are the KEYS .

  • 81 Bernard Johnson // Apr 9, 2014 at 9:32 am

    Does anyone know where Frank Ward is buried?

  • 82 CASSIUS // Apr 18, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    You keep what you never had coming those are actual words from albert baby bell we have done the research – it’s official Robert mauphin beck was a complete phony who wrote about the life of baby bell and injected himself in the story pull a fast one with the help of his white wife and Bentley morris if halloway house publishing so now readers you know the truth these blues singers drum players rappers ball dancers and other fakes are still hiding behind the name of pimping stop promoting these liars thank for reading the Truth seeker .

  • 83 Vista // May 18, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    It is what it is Cassius, a person can make his mouth say anything! Just keep it 100 with yourself. The truth always prevail!!!

  • 84 Stormey // Jun 10, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    Bernard, the late young pimp King Kellyo used to have a website dedicated to pimpin. On that website he had a large picture of Frank Ward’s grave. If im not mistaken he is buried in Oakland…can’t name the cemetery. there are three people buried in that grave. The gravestone has pictures of frank, His stepmom/mother and another Ward brother who was killed in ’71.

    Frank’s funeral was at Beebe memorial church in Oakland. They might still have his burial info on file

  • 85 Lori B // Jul 23, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    The Actress Carol Speed from the movie The Mack wrote a book called Inside Black Hollywood, she talks about she and Frank Ward falling in love and gives an inside view to what was happening on the set and behinds of the film. Being from Oakland many of my family knew the Ward family. Ted is a born again Christian and doing well

  • 86 Stormey // Aug 29, 2014 at 8:08 am

    Hey Lori B,

    Good to hear that Ted gave his life to the Lord. Is Ted still alive? Others have reported attending his funeral back in early 2012.

  • 87 CASSIUS // Oct 3, 2014 at 10:37 pm

    Ali Cohn is dead sleepy pretty tony squeeze cool aid joe Cato fly baby int l curly crooked mouth pier nowell pier rabbit head noble dee tony goshae int mike monkey D flip big easy spook big strong jones baby bell jimmy valentine Goldie McDowell Kenny Mack charming Charles barrell Mack strong johny dollor lance finlo jimmy Mack honey james Mathis duke caddillac jack king David Donny geno honerble Bradley Coffey jt seamo punchanello shanelli straw Danny curt fly mex Freddy lil moose Omaha t reskin bear JR yogi Darrel staple Sherlock Mac dlt young Brian to all the past Pssssss if u were mis u can bet u are not forgotten truth seekers life lovers knowledge knowers the IZM.

  • 88 CASSIUS // Oct 4, 2014 at 11:14 pm

    Lil pimping skip died sep 1 st he’s gone to join his pimping uncle lil AL of atlanta PI until you DI .

  • 89 Ian Whitaker // Nov 16, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    CASSIUS you said “are actual words from albert baby bell” so I want to stand corrected by you in my research. As you know I’m the author of ICEBERG SLIM THE LOST INTERVIEWS. Send me a message I promise to keep an open mind.

  • 90 Baby Bell's Cousin // Dec 29, 2014 at 6:07 am

    My father was a second cousin of Baby Bell but claimed he never met nor knew him, only that he knew about him through conversation with Baby Bell’s mother in Omaha. Does anybody know where Baby Bell is buried, or if he had any children? I couldn’t even find a death certificate under the name “Albert Bell” in Cook County. Asking for help.

  • 91 CASSIUS the truth seeker // Apr 10, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    Well cousin or shall I say Ian . Well there is a death certificate of mr bell and I do have a copy of it plus the man who challenged bell for his crown as top PIMP of chi town the writer beck named pimping poison in his book of stolen stories him and his wife wrote . Yes I have a copy of his death certificate too he was actually killed by a bullet to his brain contact me and I mite share a very very interesting story that will ROCK your very brain to its core . From a 93yr old witness and party to some of the action that took place in those time and unlike like others his body may have witherd somewhat but his memory is as sharp as a new ginzzo knife that’s where I got the truth from not some egotistical maniac lying out of both side of his and her mouths for money and briefer fame . But just for the sake of TRUTH .

  • 92 Cassius // Apr 17, 2015 at 7:53 pm

    Yes I have copies of his death certificate and his 1 competition pimping poison as he was called in icebergs books . Yes I have researched and found the truth not trump up lies and I have a 97yr old eyewitness friend mr Allen who actually did those things wit some of them . The truth seeker has spoken.

  • 93 Ian Whitaker // Apr 26, 2015 at 9:02 pm

    I’m currently working on a new book and it’s got a lot of content regarding Bell. but if anyone may have something to contribute information wise please get in touch emailing me at

  • 94 Cassius // Apr 29, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    Ian contact me thru

  • 95 Cassius // May 14, 2015 at 8:45 am

    Ian send ten questions only.

  • 96 Ian Whitaker // Nov 13, 2015 at 11:23 am

    Cassius I emailed you, no answer. Check junk filter.

  • 97 Ian Whitaker // Nov 13, 2015 at 11:25 am

    Baby Bell’s Cousin – email me at the address I listed above. You will find we both know things the other doesn’t. I have built up a lot of info for my next book.

  • 98 cassius // Nov 29, 2015 at 11:04 pm

    Ian. Ive read your email and the strang thing is thatt we’re in the same town ala review journal .Mr allen,s here too .a little older but still sharp as ever his memory is sharp cus hes blind.

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