"You know what the most dangerous thing in America is, don't you Lamar? A nigger with a library card."A stock character and stereotype popular in the 1970s–1980s. A male black youth, the Angry Black Man knows that The Man is out to get him, and that the Revolution will soon come and whitey will have his back against the wall. The Angry Black Man sees injustice everywhere and is capable and intelligent but usually financially destitute because the damn Honkies won't hire him to give him an opportunity. Liberal white people will attempt to befriend him, but he will have none of it, seeing even being friends with white people as a betrayal to his race without realizing the hypocrisy of this logic. Mostly a Dead Horse Trope as society has marched on. Compare Malcolm Xerox. See also Scary Black Man. Oh, and despite the name, this trope is not about characters who are black and have a Hair-Trigger Temper.
— Brother Mouzone, The Wire
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Anime & Manga
- This was the personality of Spider-Man character The Prowler, as well as Robbie Robertson's activist son.
- Marvel Universe:
- Luke Cage, a.k.a. Power Man, the superpowered version.
- However the new Power Man, Afro-Dominican teen Victor Alvarez is this example straight. It'd take forever to list the things he is angry about.
- In the 1990s, Marvel introduced Rage, a superhero from the slums whose first appearance in The Avengers included him getting up in Captain America's face about why the Avengers (at the time) had no African-American members.
- Lucius Fox's son, Tim, was portrayed this way in 1980s Batman comics.
- Tyroc in the Legion of Super-Heroes, even though it takes place in the year 3000. Notably, the writers and artists were all painfully aware of how this trope was being played in a setting where racism should've been eliminated, but were forced to portray Tyroc as such due to the Executive Meddling. When Paul Levitz brought Tyroc back in the late 2000s, he received some Character Development beyond his initial portrayal.
- In The DCU, Green Lantern John Stewart was originally this kind of character, which meant he had to prove himself to Green Lantern Hal Jordan that he was a worthy recruit to the Corps. While John eventually mellowed for the most part, Bruce Timm and Paul Dini decided the early take on John would make for the most dramatically interesting Green Lantern for the DC Animated Universe version of Justice League.
- An early Teen Titans issue featured a teenage hero called Jericho (who is ANGRY BLACK! Robin) in a racial-issues themed issue. The Executives didn't want controversy so they prevented the story from being published, but many of Jericho's characteristics were latter reused in Cyborg, and his name was recycled as Deathstroke's son.
- Hardware, very much so. The trope name is actually the title of his first story. Justified by the fact that he is constantly being directly and intentionally oppressed by a physical incarnation of The Man, his arch-nemesis and surrogate father Edwin Alva. The conflict is never explicitly made racial, however. It's worth noting that Hardware's creator, Dwayne McDuffie, is a black liberal who knows what he's talking about, not a white liberal trying and failing to be "socially conscious". If anything, the character is a deliberate exploration of the trope, not a straight example.
- The Falcon was this when he was younger.
- Charcoal of the Thunderbolts did not start out like this, but evolved in this direction. Kurt Busiek gave him a Child Soldier and Super Soldier background, but otherwise Charlie Burlingame was still a kid who attempted to acquire a semblance of a normal life and make some friends at school. Fabian Nicieza first had Charlie witness the assassination of his best friend, then revealed that under the calm facade Charcoal harbored a lot of anger and resentment at the world. Under Nicieza, Charcoal became angrier, progressively anti-social, and started seeing "racists" everywhere around him. Not only did he have trouble associating himself with his non-superpowered friends, but started demonstrating a sadistic streak. Such as enjoying the smell of his opponents' burning flesh.
- Patriot of the Young Avengers is not like this, but is assumed to be by his classmates in his solo one-shot, when he tries to give a report about how the first African-American superhero (his grandfather) was treated. (The point of the story is that you don't have to say My Country, Right or Wrong to be a patriot.)
Kid: You're the racist! You think everything's about race!
Films — Live-Action
- Subverted in White Man's Burden. Set in an alternate America where blacks are on the higher end of the social ladder, John Travolta's character is an angry white man.
- Jenny's Black Panther acquaintances in Forrest Gump, to the latter.
- Sergio in Get Him to the Greek. He's a likeable character. He gives Aaron a break—and Aldous Snow ends up abandoning him when Aaron sets up his own record company.
- Ironhide, the hot-tempered Autobot weapons specialist who shifts into a GMC Topkick and Barricade, the Decepticon who shifts into a police car, from Transformers.
- Probably one of the best examples of Samuel L. Jackson as an Angry Black Man is Zeus Carver from Die Hard with a Vengeance.
- One character in Bobby. He chills out around the end. And then Bobby gets shot, and he gets angry again. It's sad.
- The Harold and Kumar trilogy:
Harold: (walks up to the brothers for his tree) Hey, you guys in charge?Latrell: Yeah, what the fuck is it to you, MOTHERFUCKER?!Harold: Listen, we're just here to pick up a tree that we reserved.Latrell: Oh yeah? We just sold yo little punk ass tree, BITCH!! (spits the grill right out of his mouth)Harold: (shocked) What? You sold it to who???Latrell: Those white boys over there! (points at Kumar and Adrian driving away with Harold's tree)
- Subverted in Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle. Harold's cell mate Jackson is a black guy reading a book on civil disobedience who calmly reveals he was arrested because he was black. He then says that he's overweight, black, and has two gay dads, so he's pretty much immune to whatever crap people throw his way. When the police return and get him up against the wall of the cell, he calmly accepts it.
- Subverted again in Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, as with just about every other race trope. The duo's car breaks down in a black neighborhood when Harold breaks a fire hydrant and the water gushing out kills their music box, then a bunch of big guys grab a some metal equipment and start converging on their car, scaring the duo into running away. It ends up they were just going to help fix the car.
- Parodied in A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas where there are two black brothers Latrell and Lamar who are selling Christmas trees. They take turns playing the "angry black guy" and the other must act very nice and good-mannered.
- Parodied in Chasing Amy. Hooper pretends to be one of these in order to sell a comic book about a black power superhero, but he's actually a Flamboyant Gay. He's a sympathetic character, however, who laments having to sell out.
- Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song: Sweet Sweetback (a '70s name if ever there was one) is a black man raging against the system. The film was required viewing of the Black Panthers and kicked off Blaxploitation as a genre.
- Parodied in Undercover Brother with Conspiracy Brother - a very angry, very ill-informed radical.
- Frank in Ocean's Eleven acts like this as a part of the heist:
Frank: You heard me. Just 'cause a black man tries to earn a decent wage in this state...
Linus: That has nothing to do with...
Frank: ... some cracker cowboy like you's gotta kick him out on the street. Want me to jump down, turn around, pick a bale of cotton, won't let me deal cards, might as well call it whitejack.
- Played straight and subverted with Marcus in Airheads. Throughout the movie, he accuses Rex and Milo of having racist motivations, but has no idea why they start chanting "Rodney King".
- Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood parodies this character complete with African robes and long winded speeches to the others about how their behavior is just playing into "the man's" oppression of them. He excuses his own hypocrisy in exclusively dating white women by saying he's "sticking it to the white man, by sticking it to the white woman."
- Parodied with Conan O'Brien graphic artist Pierre Bernard and his "Recliner of Rage" bits, where he rants in an emotionless sounding monotone about something trivial that's bothering him, such as collecting old Robotech releases on VHS.
- Marcus in The Learning Tree. He has plenty of reasons to be angry. His mother is gone, his father is a shiftless drunk, they live in a broken-down shack, and Marcus is a black man dealing with the endemic racism of 1920s Kansas.
- One could say that there are a few in Do the Right Thing (particularly Buggin Out), but the trope is somewhat inverted when one black man tells another whom is spouting ABM language that he "doesn't want to hear that horseshit." In the commentary track for the DVD release, Spike Lee specifically notes, when Buggin Out begins ranting about the pictures in the Pizzeria, that he disagrees with the character, saying that it's Sal's place, so it's his right to put whatever pictures he likes on the walls.
- Morgan Freeman's Hot-Blooded school principal in Lean on Me.
- Falling Down has an angry black man shouting on a street corner about how he was rejected for a small loan because he was "not economically viable." His anger has a deep impact on the main character.
- Clerks II has a scene with a black couple, played by comedians Wanda Sykes and Earthquake, where the wife goes berserk when Randal says "porch monkey" in front of her. The husband, on the other hand, doesn't really give a crap and just wants the food they were ordering.
- Spoofed in 21 Jump Street: Ice Cube's character rants,
- Higher Learning Malik turns into this type of character towards the middle of the movie, and also the character Fudge in the film fits this trope.
- Watermelon Man has Karmic Transformation victim Godfrey Cambridge wake up black and transition to this sort of character as he realizes just how rigged the system is. At the close of the film, he's actively training in martial arts with other black people so as to be able to defend himself.
- Invoked in The Destroyer novels. Master Chiun, the Wise Old Mentor, is an incredible racist (having been raised in the 19th century) of the Korean stripe, so he sees all races as specific insulting tropes. Blacks, in his viewpoint, are "always angry." (Which is better than his opinions of Japanese, or Russians, or Americans, or Chinese, or... damn well everyone who had the bad taste to not be Korean, really). Book #30, Mugger Blood, was set in the New York ghettos, and has more straightforward portrayals alongside the more villainous gang members.
- Deconstructed in Richard Morgan's Black Man novel (which was, interestingly enough, titled Th1rt33n in the US)
- Bigger Thomas of Native Son is a dumbed-down version. Besides the intelligence part, he fits the trope like a glove. It should also be noted that Richard Wright, the author of Native Son, is a famous black author.
- The Spook Who Sat by the Door (1969) is about a guy who, hired by the CIA as their token black agent, boils over at the discrimination he sees and uses his CIA skills to start an all-out race war.
- Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison has Guitar, a member of the group "Seven Days" dedicated to killing white people in revenge for black deaths. He is not depicted as very intelligent.
- In the Firestar Series, Azim Thomas and gang-banging company. A first-rate education helmed by an African teacher helps his case, though his best friend Zipper does his level best to snap him out of the Race Traitor route he's taking. "Do his level best" here means "make Azim part of a robbery/murder against his will". The kid's a sociopath.
- Abdul, the main character in The Kid.
- The Stormlight Archive: While discrimination in the Alethi culture is generally along the lines of eye color rather than skin shade, Kaladin fits the spirit of this trope in a number of ways. He's a member of a discriminated group, harboring massive justified hatred towards all members of the oppressing group, and makes more trouble for himself by making this hatred clear to anyone and everyone he meets.
Dalinar: You've got a massive chip on your shoulder, son. Not that it's not understandable.
- George Jefferson when he was still on All in the Family. Mellowed a bit on The Jeffersons, though not much. His brother Henry was a bit more verbose and soft-spoken, but arguing with Archie, after a time, will bring out the rage.
- Used beautifully in the UK comedy show Balls of Steel with the character of "Militant black guy" see here: Other Wiki
- Tracy Jordan on 30 Rock is often too stupid and distracted to care about race, but he will occasionally cross into this, and sometimes come out with oddly profound and knowledgable (albeit bombastic) statements about race relations and the history of racism in America. For instance, on a walking tour of Boston he calls out an actor playing John Hancock on the hypocrisy of many Founding Fathers being slaveowners.
"John Hancock:" In 1776, I, John Hancock, with one stroke of my pen, set all Americans free.
Tracy: You LYING WHITE DEVIL! The only people you set free were rich white dudes like yourself!
- Played straight and subverted in Angel with Gunn. While Gunn can have his angry moments there is a fantastic scene when he helps Angel break into Wolfram and Hart:
Gunn: "Whoo-whoo! My god! They told me it was true, but I didn't believe them. Damn, here it is! Evil white folks really do have a Mecca. (Holds up a hand to the security guards stepping out from behind their desk) [...] OW! Did you just step on my foot? (The nearest guard is still at least 8 feet away from him) Is that my foot you just stepped on? Are you assaulting me - up in this haven of justice?" "Somebody get me a lawyer - because my civil rights have seriously been violated. - Oh, I get it, I get it. You all can cater to the demon, cater to the dead man, but what about the black man?"
- Gets turned up to eleven in "Spin the Bottle". Teen!Gunn was REALLY militant.
- Made rather funny though when you consider what ultimately happened to Gunn.
- Saturday Night Live:
- Chris Rock's "Nat X" character from .
Nat X: I think we all know who the Man is. I'm talking about the same Man who calls all his bad children the black sheep. I'm talking about the same Man who made the black jellybean the worst-tasting candy on the face of the Earth!
- Eddie Murphy did it first with Prof. Shabazz Morton's Black History Minute. Better remembered now for one of the few times Eddie screwed up on camera.
Prof. Shabazz Morton: Stop clapping before y'all make me smile!"
- Chris Rock's "Nat X" character from .
- Parodied in the Scrubs episode "My Roommates":
J.D.: Come on, you two are interracial best buddies. I, too, have a black best friend. Go out, enjoy it! Celebrate your uniqueness! I can do it!
Ron: I'm sorry. Did you just call me black? Because the last time I checked, the correct term was "African-American".
J.D.: Well, Turk lets me call him Brown Bear.
Ron: Who the hell is Turk?!
J.D.: I should go. [leaves]
Dr. Cox: Angry black man. It never disappoints.
Ron: I pull it out when I need to.
- Oz. Kareem Said, leader of the Muslim prisoners, is a more updated version of this trope. His is an angry black man, but his anger is more a controlled burn than an explosive rage. Plus, he also accepts Beecher (who is white) as a friend, or at least an ally.
- Sons of Anarchy:
- Lampshaded in an episode: Tig and Clay are planning on framing a black gang, the One-Niners for a murder they plan to commit.
Tig: Blame it on the angry black man.
Clay: It's the American way.
- Generally subverted however; the Niners are generally shown to be much more controlled and low key than the mostly white Sons, since they are in the employ of a wealthy black businessman with ties to organised crime who keeps a firm lid on them.
- Lampshaded in an episode: Tig and Clay are planning on framing a black gang, the One-Niners for a murder they plan to commit.
- Sgt James Doakes from Dexter. "SURPRISE, MOTHERFUCKER!"
- Sgt Greer on Stargate Universe appears to be setup as a military version of this. Then subvert the hell out of that expectation to the point where he's one of the strongest, most capable, fair but strong-willed members of the entire team.
- One Blue Heelers episode focused on a female version, justified as she is introduced being harassed by a sexist racist and Tom took her from her family as part of the Australian government Indiginous relocation program, the Stolen Generation, some twenty five years before.
- The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air had this as Uncle Phil's backstory. In his youth he was a radical civil rights activist before he made good. He can still pull it out when he has to, or is pushed to far by some injustice.
- Wanda Sykes as herself plays a female version in Curb Your Enthusiasm. She constantly interprets everything that Larry does as racist and yells at him about it.
- Dexter in The John Larroquette Show, who combines it with hefty doses of Everything Is Racist.
- On The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, this trope is examined by Roy Wood, Jr. in regards to black journalists. He shows clips of them making a lot of effort to not burst out in anger towards other journalists and pundits, lest the media label them as Angry Black People.
- One episode of Penn & Teller: Bullshit! looked at reparations and how some African Americans and minorities were...um, angry at the real and perceived crimes committed against them and demanded money. But the show also had angry black men who were opposed to compensation because it comes across as, "I'm weak because of my race" up to and including a African proud of Confederate soldiers being men who had answered the call and served even if it was over slavery.
- Parodied in 1974 by Flo & Eddie on "Livin in the Jungle":
Death to Whitey, po' white trash
Kick his ass, smoke his hash
Ball his woman, ball his son
Death to whitey... right on!
- N.W.A.: Niggaz Wit Attitude. The music even reflects this trope.
- MC Ride, the frontman of Death Grips, is known for putting a never-before-seen level of ferocity into his vocal delivery, tending to shout and scream his raps.
- Tupac Shakur: He made several songs that made him fit this trope.
- Kanye West He is no longer like this today, but in the beginning of his career some of his songs fitted this trope like All Falls Down, he even had an Angry Black Man moment in real life who can forget him saying on live T.V. George Bush doesn't care about Black people.
- Public Enemy: With songs like "Fight the Power," "Fear of a Black Planet" and many other similar songs its easy to see why they fit this trope.
- Bob Sapp's larger-than-life character in Japan.
- Baldur's Gate II: Valygar Corthala doesn't take your shit. Even if you're an elf.
- Purna of Dead Island is an Angry Black Woman.
- Yale of Ambition has a brief instance of this when he remarks that the white man built his empire on enslaving the black man. This remark comes out of nowhere and is swiftly forgotten.
- Cobra of Wing Commander is a really angry black woman who hits all the right notes of this trope, directing her anger at friend and foe alike. She was taken by the Kilrathi when ten and kept in a slave labor camp for ten years, instead of lashing out at mainly white man she wants every Kilrathi dead.
- PROTOTYPE 2 has its protagonist James Heller, whose life was made a living hell due to the Blacklight virus. And the fact that he now infected with a special strain thanks to the first game's protagonist, Alex Mercer.
- http://thisiswhiteprivilege.tumblr.com/ is an Internet blog version of this trope.
- Chaka's brother Vince Chandler, in the Whateley Universe. Even though the Chandler are upper-middle class in the nice suburbs of Baltimore.
- Troy McCann from Survival of the Fittest tends to drop into this from time to time. Notably, he intentionally made himself out this way in order to be more like the rap stars he idolizes.
- Bryant Carver of Spin-Off The Program also fits. It's actually pretty justified; the setting he's in is based entirely off of Deliberate Values Dissonance, which is basically a good example of Eagle Land type 2 with fairly extreme nationalist/xenophobic tendencies. So naturally he tends to distrust white people.
- The Axis of Anarchy member Bruiser in The Guild. May be a parody because he seems less to be angry about racial issues than about, well, everything.
- Tumblr's social justice bloggers frequently come across as this...even though many of them are white.
- Thundercloud, a Kid Hero active in the 1970s from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe started out as an Angry Native American. By the time he's grown up and changed his name to Thunderstorm, his anger is less about racial injustice and more about just being really angry about pretty much everything.
- The Hatta from Neurotically Yours, an angry black squirrel, is a parody of this trope. He's commonly held to be the most offensive character on the show.
- Like the Oz example, Tacoma from Demo Reel is a slow-burning version. He eventually accepts being white-face because "you crackers had it coming", and tries his best to subvert the awful of Transformers when Donnie tells him to spoof it. But he's a Nice Guy too, and opens up to both Donnie and Rebecca when they prove they're good people.
- King Caesar in Monster Island Buddies is a mostly likable and affable fellow. Should you get on his bad side, however... Gabara learned it the hard way.
- During the controversy surrounding the town flag in South Park, Chef became a mix of this and Malcolm Xerox.
- All three of the main characters in The Boondocks: Huey, Riley, and Robert Freeman are all angry black males, albeit for differing reasons.
- Parodied in Batman: The Brave and the Bold in "Inside the Outsiders": Black Lightning, the Outsiders' resident ball o' rage, isn't angry at the world—he's merely very easily annoyed. "Sprinkles—on coffee? What are you, six?!"
- On Family Guy, Peter (who has swallowed a cellphone) gets a call from Quagmire, bragging about how he had sex with a black woman. Everyone can hear, so Peter ends the conversation when a black couple walks by (a little surprised, but not upset or anything). Peter explains that he didn't want to offend them, in case the man was one of those angry black men. He wasn't, until Peter started with the whole Pretty Fly (For a White Guy) thing, thus offending him.
- Recurring character newscaster Ollie Williams. Though at times it's hard to tell if he's angry, or just has No Indoor Voice.
- Code Monkeys has Black Steve, a ludicrously over-the-top parody of this trope, who is literally angry all the time - at white people, at his colleagues, and at inanimate objects.
- This trope is also balanced by giving Black Steve the most Hidden Depths out of all the other characters, usually just to play it for comedy against his stereotypical personality.
- Spoofed in the opening for the American Dad! episode "Black Mystery Month", where a white speaker delivers an over-the-top rant, claiming that none of the students has even seen a real black person (followed by the white and black students looking at one another in confusion) and claiming that Beethoven was black.
- Sideshow Raheem, afro'd former assistant of Krusty the Klown in The Simpsons. Described by Krusty as an "angry, angry young man".
- Transcended metaphorically in early episodes of Futurama which let Bender the robot speak up on behalf of the oppressed robot class. His dissatisfaction with life on Earth sometimes mirrored real life criticisms made by black nationalists, notably in the episode "Fear of a Bot Planet," the episode title itself an allusion to a seminal Public Enemy album.
Bender: [at a Blernsball game] You humans are afraid of a little robot competition. You would never let a robot on the field.
Fry: What are you talking about? I see plenty of robots out there.
Bender: Yeah, doing crap work. Bat boys, ball polishers, and sprinkler systems. But how many robot managers are there?
Bender: Zero! [throws a bottle to the ground, and a young robot comes to clean it up] But look who's scraping up the filth. Is it a human child? I wish!