That success led to a second film project. In 1971, Parks produced and directed the action thriller Shaft , about a cool, stylish black detective. The film was a hit among both black and white audiences, making Shaft Hollywood's first black action hero. The film's theme song, by Isaac Hayes, won an Oscar. The movie helped inspire the 1970s film genre known as blaxploitation, action films in urban settings with black lead characters, though Parks insisted that Shaft was not an exploitative movie. Parks continued to direct films in the 1970s, including a sequel to Shaft and a documentary about blues singer Leadbelly. Parks also helped launch the black magazine Essence and worked as its editorial director from 1970 to 1973.