Harlem girl Laura Lewis (Diana Sands) is nicknamed “Honey Baby” by the brothers and sisters of the ghetto because of her polished diction and middle-class leanings.
She wins a trip around the world when her brother, Skiggy (J. Eric Bell), secretly enters her name in a contest sponsored by a daytime game show, and off she goes to Beirut in Lebanon, accompanied by her brother, TV man Sam (Seth Allen) and photographer Herb (Nabih Aboul Hoson).
In Beirut, she meets a man named Liv (Calvin Lockhart). With his charm and good looks, he wins her heart and almost causes her death.
Liv and his British partner are soldiers of fortune engaged in a smuggling business, in which they ask no questions other than the size, shape and form of the package. But this time, they steal the body of an African premier.
General Christian Awana (Thomas Baptiste), a Westernised traitor, and his friends plan to use the former leader’s body to further their own political careers.
Things get very muddled when an Asian woman named Madame Chan (Gay Suilin) slips a microdot containing a secret formula into Laura’s handbag, which Awana and his group need to help them seize power back home in Africa.
All of these elements congeal into an entertaining and intriguing 90 minutes dotted with humour and action. By trimming away the fat, director Michael Schultz has kept the story moving at an even pace and, at the same time, allowed for three-dimensional character development.
The late Diana Sands handles her role effectively, but it is evident that an actress of her talent deserved a better script and a better story.
On the other hand, Calvin Lockhart, who played the preacher in Cotton Comes To Harlem, is still developing.
While Honey Baby, Honey Baby won’t win any awards, it is so much better than many other Blaxploitation films, and the theme and characters in the film are a refreshing change from the usual 1970s racial stereotypes.
Diana Sands succumbed to Leiomyosarcoma in September 1973, aged just 39.
Laura Lewis (“Honey Baby”)
J. Eric Bell
General Christian Awani
Nabih Aboul Hoson