Until I saw Eddie Murphy's remake of the movie Dolemite I never knew it was actually a movie. The original Dolemite premiered in 1975 and was classified as an American blaxploitation crime comedy. The main character Dolemite was originally played by Rudy Ray Moore, who was a comedian that had achieved commercial success through his comedy records that actually hit the top Billboard 25 charts. Riding the wave of his new found success Rudy Ray Moore decided to create a movie surrounding the polarizing figure that still lives on to this day. The film So popular was this characted that he even appeared on Snoop Dogg's verse on Nuthin' But A G Thang "Pimpin' hoes and clockin' a grip like my name was Dolemite". Snoop Dogg even had a small role in the movie. Some even credit Rudy May Moore with being the first to commercialize rap as the Sugar Hill Gang's Rapper's Delight dropped 2 years after Rudy Ray Moore's comedy album that used hip-hop cadences and inflections that align with early hip-hop. Many rappers have come told their story of how Dolemite has influenced their careers. This is the story of Dolemite!
The Orgin Story:
Every superhero has an origins story and Dolemite is no different. Rudy Ray Moore began as a local comedian and host still trying to find his style. It was not the local drunk came into a record store that he was the manger of that the idea of Dolemite came about. While trying to run the drunk out of his store he realized that the old drunk's wise tales and folklore were a hit with the people. This was just the act that Rudy Ray Moore needed to set his self apart. He then began traveling to local clubs performing. Get to the movie part. We will get there grasshopper.
It's Better to Bet On Yourself
When it comes to betting on yourself no one did it more than Rudy Ray Moore. His initial comedy album (Eat Out More Often) was recorded in his house and with the help of a loan from his aunt and friends who helped record the track. He then shopped it around and was turned down by everybody. But the streets don't lie. Rudy Ray Moore started selling the comedy records out of the trunk and the funny thing is those same people that turned him down were now looking for him. And he won big! A multi-album distribution deal was just one of the advantages that Rudy Ray Moore received from betting on himself. But it wouldn't be the last time he would. It was when he saw a movie and the impact of being on the big screen that he really saw an opportunity. And this one would cost him everything. Mainly fronting the royalties of his albums as well as future albums. This was pressure. But what he did was again bet on himself.
Even after making the movie the story wasn't over. Nobody wanted to buy it. Studio after studio turned down buying the movie. So what did he do? He rented out a movie theater and again bet on himself by promoting the movie showing himself. The movie theater sold out each showing. Of course this also meant that the same studio productions that had turned him down previously were calling. Even after getting the movie made movie critics trashed his movie before it's big premiere, and again it was sold out in movie theaters around the country. Maybe the movie wasn't this over budget action packed drama that movie critics like, but then again what do movie critics know. Dolemite was a hit that made a estimated 12 million.
Just think it all came from betting on yourself.