The Revolution is now televised! Legendary Black Characters of Television
It’s February and you know what that means. No, I’m not talking about some silly commercialized Holiday where couples chose that one day to express their love toward one another, I’m talkin bout Black History Month, “sucka”!
Now that Black History Month has officially arrived I thought I'd give a shout out to a few memorable Black characters from television, from protagonists to supporting roles.
I'm won't be referring to milestones as they have often been done to death, just my personal picks, as it should be, since I'm the author writing this, bitch. :p
So without further ado, here goes..
Robbing in the Hood
Played by: Michael K. Williams
Series: The Wire
"...a sawed-off shotgun toting terror, a vulnerable jailbird whose life lies in the balance, and a double crossing mastermind who outsmarts Baltimore's biggest drug dealers time and time again."
Perhaps the most picked favorite character from this urban crime drama. What makes Omar so appealing to the viewers is that he's not only one who robs drug dealers but also has a code of honor. Yet he is highly feared if not respected within the streets of Baltimore. Omar is certainly not your average "Stick up Guy" be any means. He’s kind of like a Black Robin Hood who steals from the criminals but fives to himself.
The game-changer for me is when receiving news of his boyfriend Brandon's murder (that's right I said "boyfriend!"), Omar goes on the offensive after learning that the Barksdale Empire was responsible for his lover's murder. Needless to say, Omar exacts revenge by killing Stinkum and further sabotaging Avon Barksdale's empire.
In one episode, an enforcer from NYC (Brother Mouzone) was commissioned by Avon to perform a hit on Mr. White. However, after an intense showdown, it seems that "Little O" got the upper hand and wounded Mouzone. Just when the assassin expected to give up the ghost at the hands of Little, Omar had spared his life knowing that Mouzone was being used as Stringer Bell's pawn. The two rivals joined forces later on to take down the notorious B.E.L.L.
Omar's signature trait when stalking the streets with his shotgun was the theme "The Farmer in the Dell" and it's funny when seeing how quickly the neighborhood kids and dealers flee while yelling "It's Omar!"
Now that is a sign of an urban legend! He also has an interest in Greek mythology which sets him apart from the underbelly cast of characters from The Wire Omar was such an iconic character that even President Barrack Obama picked him as his favorite from the series and television in general.
Played by: Idris Elba
Luther was your typical tragic hero but it's his wit and cunning that is more of a threat to his opponents than a fist or a gun. I admire the fact that the protagonist profiler is not your average pistol packing cop with an attitude that is a major archetype within American crime dramas. He's basically like a Black Sherlock but with more depth than Benedict Cumberbatch's character (not being biased, but after watching a few episodes of the critically acclaimed BBC series, I was left unimpressed).
To say that Luther is a complex individual would be an understatement. He often had moments of emotional burnout, gets his man via unconventional methods and to top it all, allies himself with a serial killer, Alice (played by the Ravenous Ruth Wilson). The two make for a very interesting pair and it’s unfortunate that there was no romantic angle throughout the three seasons. However, there is talk of a possible fourth season, if not a major motion picture.
Magical Samurai Negro
Played by: Danai Gurira
Series: The Walking Dead
"I understand the way she is drawn in the graphic novels -- she's so amazing. I'm excited to embody that and be a badass. I've always yearned to do that. I'm really thrilled she already has so much support."
-Danai Gurira on portraying Michonne.
Originally, Michonne debuted as some enigmatic nomad who not only wielded a sword, but two Walkers on a shackled leash; her boyfriend and his best friend. Originally an outsider to Rick Grimes' group, 'chone has proven herself to be an invaluable asset.
Throughout a few seasons she sliced and diced a shitload of walkers and better yet, took on the crazed Governor Phil. As the series progressed, Michonne has been a very supportive member of the group which she now sees as her family and would easily risk her life for them.
This is one badass Sista that slices and dices (not sure about the Julian Fries thing) and it's cool to see that a Black female could survive a zombie apocalypse (most Blacks don't even make it past two seasons of The Walking Dead, let alone the first 40 mins within a sci-fi/horror film).
Rebel with a Cause
Voiced by: Regina King
Series: The Boondocks
Huey is idealistic, highly intelligent, militant, philosophical and not to mention a exceptional martial artist! He serves as the Yin to his belligerent brother, Riley’s Yang. And most important the polar oppisite of Uncle Ruckas!
What I also like about him is that he isn’t afraid of speak his mind regardless of consequence and what’s equally important, he strives to bring some resolution to whatever crazy situations the Freemans cone across in this Anime inspired cartoon series. Huey is the quintessential Social Justice Warrior but without the pretentious label often associated with the term.
A Real African American Hero
Voiced by: Kene Holiday
Series: G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero
"We got a bargain. But play it straight or there's no doubt, I'll turn your eyeballs inside out."
Sure, Stalker could fly a jetpack, perform acrobatic moves and even speak different languages, but the Joes' "Heavy Machine Gunner" can more than hold his own. A Chef who can throw a mean left, as in "left hook," took down many of Cobra's forces and waxed poetic while doing so.
One pivotal moment is from G.I. Joe: The Movie where 'block faces off against Cobra-La's Nemesis Enforcer. Had it not been for Nemmy's dirty dust trick, which suddenly blinds him. In my unbiased opinion, it should have been a different outcome with Roadblock being the victor, Instead, we see some overrated wrestling celebrity take down Golobulus' most fierce bodyguard. But allow me to digress.
After Roadblock got his ass handed to him, he is forced to ally himself with the most dangerous man in the world; Cobra Commander in a mutated form via spores. With the uneasy alliance forged between a Joe and the most ruthless terrorist organization leader, Roadblock manages to get CC over to a safe passage and in turn, the Cobra Commander returns the favor by helping the Joes defeat both Golobulus and Cobra-La.
Roadblock is no doubt one of the more iconic African American characters, not only because of the fictional Joe universe of action figures and cartoons but also the G.I. Joe arcade game by Konami and of course the live action film, G.I. Joe Retaliation played by Dwayne Johnson aka "The Rock."
Casey Ryback of Under Siege quoted that "Nobody beats me in the Kitchen!" Well Case, just call a 6'4 50 caliber carrying chef "Nobody!"
So, whose advice would this suburban kid take under consideration; some shady dude claiming that he has a "prize" waiting for him or a Real African-American Hero?
Lil’ Big Man
Played by Sherman Helmsley
Series: The Jeffersons
“Okay, then let's talk about your daddy. Your daddy was so fat... that when he went to school he sat next to everybody! And still...he still not as fat as your fat mama!”
Where the show “Good Times” had its share of buffoonery and silly caricatures (“Kid, Dynomite”!) The Jeffersons was a seen in a more positive light. Well, “positive” as in an established Black man standing up to Racists like Archie Bunker! And like his Caucasian counterpart, George is quick tempered, opinionated and bigoted to the extent of calling his son’s Half White Half Black Girlfriend, a “Zebra”.
He was a scheming son of a bitch as well but whenever he concocted a plan, it would usually fall to pieces and that was one of the comedic elements that made the series so special.
I admire the fact that George started off as a Janitor (Stereotypical profession for Black Americans back in the day.) only to run a successful Dry- Clearing business and move into a more luxurious home.
As for character development, George eventually formed a solid friendship with Tom Willis and needless to say, his bigoted ways finally ceased..well, for the most part anyways.
Lightning in a Bottle!
Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning
Played by Cress Williams
Series: Black Lightning
“I could have saved her. I could have saved so many. I'm living a lie. Living in the hopes that you, and me, and the girls could somehow live behind a white picket fence”.
Jefferson Pierce, a High School Principal has retired from his superhero alter ego Black Lightning until nine years later is forced to become a vigilante again when the rise of a local gang called the 100, kidnaps his two daughters.
Black Lightning is determined to stop the increased crime and corruption within his community of Freeland. Pierce is often seen quoting
Do you have a favorite African-American Character from Television series? Drop them comments below!
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