by Woody Strode and Sam Young
In those years, to compare me with Jesus didn't go over well with distribution, and the movie bombed even though I got some good press. Howard Thompson, film critics with the New York Times, wrote:
"With his keen, lidded eyes and strong, gaunt face, Strode does a perfectly respectable job of portraying an imprisoned, tortured and executed visionary leader in an African country. His gentle spirit of non-violence and agonized endurance under pressure are painfully real."
I don't believe the black press hardly covered it at all. Most of the fans were liberal white people. It was so odd to have a picture like that. The black leaders like Laumuba, that I represented in the picture, were like bandits. The establishment didn't like them. Laumuba was considered a communist, so it was very controversial. Of course, the Italians didn't give a shit; they just didn't like what the white world was doing to the Africans at that time.
Good or bad, I was the star of BLACK JESUS, and the people, the press had to talk about me in those terms. I now had Hollywood thinking about me in those terms.
After the release of BLACK JESUS, Marty Rackin contacted me about being in a picture he was getting ready to make called THE REVENGERS. THE REVENGERS stars William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Susan Hayward, and Woody Strode. Marty was the first one to give me an advertised starring role in an American picture. He paid me $3,500 a week plus free travel and expenses for my wife while we shot in Mexico. That how the Italians and BLACK JESUS had inflated my value in this country.