Pretty Fly for a White Guy
find parts of other cultures to be interesting or cool. So you might have the urge to at least once in a while try to imitate part of that culture, like the dialect, slang, or accent. Now the problem is that you don't have a deep understanding of the culture's origins and meanings, so you should at least pay close attention to what you are about to imitate, preferably with some practice beforehand. If you don't, you will look silly at the very least. Worse, in fiction, wars have started that way. The most common form of this is likely just trying to imitate an accent. The most notorious form is middle class suburban white kids imitating the urban black culture. Note that it's the middle class culture, not the race, that determines whether someone's a poser. You can be Asian, Native American, Ambiguously Brown, or even African American, and still not be able to imitate the urban culture. The end result of this usually sounds Totally Radical to natives of said culture. These people are sometimes called "wiggers", combining the words "white" (or occasionally "wannabe," which is also useful if the person in question isn't, in fact, white,) and a certain racial slur that white people generally avoid using (except for these guys, often with hilarious consequences). This version of the character, which was especially prevalent (and mocked) in The '90s, is likely to become a Discredited Trope soon, as rap music, like rock 'n' roll decades before, has become mainstream enough so that white people who enjoy it aren't automatically labeled as posers. However, as long as there are subcultures associated with particular ethnic or socioeconomic groups, new versions of this trope will likely exist until the end of time. One common variation is white people, usually otaku, who are obsessed with Japanese culture. These people are often called "Wapanese" or, due to the efforts of 4Chan, "weeaboos." In more academic circles, this trope usually called cultural appropriation. This happens when a member of one culture (usually a more dominant, powerful one) takes on some of the trappings of another culture, such as clothing, music, and religious or political symbols. This is usually done for the sake of glamor and exoticism with a very superficial understanding of that culture, resulting in the culture being commodified, sexualized, oversimplified, or caricatured. It isn't always a bad thing though as it can also garner interest in a deeper understanding of that culture or even become a long-standing tradition (for example Christmas which is the result of cultural appropriation of Roman and German traditions). This trope has some similarities to blackface. The difference is that blackface is done to mock black people, while this trope is done out of admiration or fetishization of black culture. However, if it's not done carefully, this trope can appear just as insulting as blackface. Also see Modern Minstrelsy. Contrast Mighty Whitey for when a white person enters a non-white culture and becomes its greatest member, and The Whitest Black Guy for when one has trouble fully identifying with one's own group. See also White Gang-Bangers.
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Anime & Manga
- Bet you didn't see this coming did you? Actually, the "classic" depiction of Japanese Delinquents (face masks, triangle shades, pompadours, sarashi, etc...) in anime has decreased quite a bit in recent years, having been replaced by pierced youth in baggy "urban" wear (at mildest) to even full-blown "gangsta"-wannabes at worst.
- Durarara!! had a bunch of them in episode 3.
- Most infamously, the memetic "Hiroshi": "Yo, Yo, YO! HEY MAN!"
- As Simon (the only ACTUAL black person in the show) best put it, "Unfortunately there are guys like these in every country."
- Agon of Eyeshield 21 dresses and behaves somewhat like a gangster, though he atleast has the sense not to talk like one. Still, even by Eyeshield standards, he looks rather silly with his long dreads, gold chain, and baggy pants.
- Peepo Choo has Morimoto "Rockstar", an Ax-Crazy yakuza boss who insists on dressing and acting like his own somewhat-distorted idea of an African-American hip-hop gangster.
- Some of Kenji's buddies in My Little Monster.
- Pokémon - XY, of all things, features a pair of kids with backwards hats constantly spouting "YO YO YO!" while striking goofy poses and pointing, at least in the Japanese version.
- In a series of commercials for T-Mobile, a gang of these represent their fictional competitor, Poser Mobile, in an obvious Take That against the hip-hop-themed ads for Sprint's Boost Mobile prepaid service.
- In an issue of Gotham Central, Detectives Romy Chandler and Marcus Driver are chasing a couple of teenage white kids who speak and dress like hip-hoppers. When the kids get caught they profess their innocence and Romy points out that they assaulted an officer, which would mean time in juvie, where "you can see how much real brothers like rich white kids co-opting their culture, 'dog.'"
- Pops up from time to time in the Swedish underground comic Rocky.
- Phat from X-Statix is the scion of a rich family who poses as a hood rat as a ploy to get into what was at the time X-Force. It worked fantastically; evidently none of his teammates ever suspected he wasn't actually born and raised in an impoverished inner city home. Angry Black Man teammate the Spike has a problem with the Anarchist, an adopted black man raised by white parents, but not Phat.
- Boogeyman of Milestone's Blood Syndicate was the Token White of the predominantly black and Latino team of ex-gangbangers. His power is that he was a were-rat, meaning that the rest of the team doesn't even know he's white. He hangs with the Syndicate because it excites him — unlike the rest of the group, he comes from a stable middle-class household. He also talks like he just stepped out of a rap video, though this might be his way of disguising his race.
- Punchy in The Intimates doesn't dress like a wannabe hood rat, but definitely talks like one. He does so to put on a "tough" or "cool" front. Other characters notice, and sometimes even insult him for it.
- Lampshaded in The Ray:
Ray: You know a lot of black guys, don't you?Hank: "MTV".Ray: Got it.
- Almost got a couple of kids beat up in Can't Hardly Wait, when they say to some of their black classmates, "What's up with my niggas!"
- Not Another Teen Movie made fun of that, but with a white kid trying to be Chinese. He calls a group of Asian students "chinks" and is promptly kicked in the face
White Guy: Damn, Shorty, dawg is pretendin' to be all Asian, and shit.Even Whiter Guy: That Cracka is white! Can't he see dat yo?
- In a scene later on in the movie, he gets picked on by some white kids who think they're black.
- In Ralph Macchio's (NOT Britney Spears') movie Crossroads, the lead character idolizes blues music, but he looks at it as purely an art form. It only penetrates that the blues is a state of mind and heart when the love interest abandons him without even saying goodbye.
- Collins in Idiocracy. Interestingly, he seems to hit it off pretty well with Upgrayedd ("With two D's for a 'double dose' of his pimping"), if his slide show is anything to go by. Part of the reason that the plot happens, furthermore, is that Collins ends up getting arrested by military police. It's implied that he took to the pimping lifestyle a little too closely...
- The 2007 Transformers brings us Jazz, an alien robot who deliberately takes on Jive Turkey mannerisms, as Optimus noted that they learned Earth's languages from the web.
- When Sam Witwicky is being questioned by the police, he sees one of the cop's guns, and that cop says, "You eyein' my piece, 50 cent?" Sam lampshades the line, and the short rant that follows, with, "Are you on drugs?"
- In the sequel Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, the Twins are meant to be this according to Word of God. And since, functionally, they're callously imitating black culture as they see it on TV and such, this makes sense. However, as they were neither white nor black but bright orange and bright green, there was little physical anchor for the joke, meaning that most people who saw the movie thought they were meant to be caricatures of actual hood rats.
- Parodied in Gran Torino, where a young white man's pretending to be black first just pisses off three actual black youths, and then earns him a scathing assessment from Walt (Clint Eastwood). Especially funny in that the white youth in question is played by Eastwood's son.
- The Onion Movie has a young white man who goes around pretending he's black... who later gets arrested by two racist cops and jailed for crime he didn't commit based on the 'colour of his skin'.
- The French film Il était une fois dans l'oued is about a Frenchman who adopts an Arab lifestyle and moves to Algeria. He tries to convince everyone he's the real thing even though he doesn't look Arab at all. (For the sake of accuracy, it is worth noting that there are some people in Algeria whose features are European and who may even have blond hair, but the film doesn't dwell on this).
- An interesting variety of this is Willy from Stranger Than Paradise, a Hungarian immigrant to the United States who considers himself assimilated into American culture... which he apparently defines as acting like a 1950s beatnik.
- Spike Lee's scathing Bamboozled has a spectrum of these characters, including a black TV executive acting painfully white, his white boss acting painfully black, a multiethnic gangsta rap band living up to all the wrong stereotypes (one of whom is white, yet protests that he's black while being busted by a cop who actually is black), and a TV show that's based around minstrel-show caricatures yet winds up being a hit with audiences of all ethnicities.
- The very eighties movie Teen Witch involved rapping by very white people. However, hip hop was still a very young genre at the time of filming, with many of its conventions still unformed, so it's more a case of Totally Radical.
- The movie Barbershop features a white guy who actually is from the streets and thus dresses, speaks, and acts accordingly - who is offended when a nerdy middle class black guy implies he's somehow pretending to be something he's not based solely on the color of his skin.
- Bery Gordy's The Last Dragon both plays this straight with a trio of Asian rapper wannabes and reversed with Bruce Leroy, who does the same with Chinese culture.
- Undercover Brother.
You see what's happening, don't you?! How we're being corrupted by their hipper-than-thou fashion and cool slang you can't help but use?!
- White supremacist Mr. Feather constantly seems to have to battle to suppress an urge to be one of these. This causes him some stress.
- The Man as well, as revealed at the end.
- The pimp played by Gary Oldman in True Romance believes that he's black, but he's actually a mix of several races. He makes a great show of incorporating stereotypically black speech mannerisms, wears dreadlocks, and makes racist comments against white people he meets.
- The entire movie Malibu's Most Wanted. This also applies to one of the black actors hired to portray thugs from the hood. Being a trained actor, he doesn't know much about life in the hood. He is even shown reading an urban dictionary at one point, trying to learn words like "wack" and "dis".
- 10 Things I Hate About You - When Michael is showing Cameron around the school, one of the cliques he points out is the "White Rastas," who "think they're black" but "mostly smoke a lot of weed."
Mr. Morgan: I know how difficult it must be for you to overcome all those years of upper middle-class suburban oppression. Must be tough. But the next time you storm the PTA crusading for better... lunch meat, or whatever it is you white girls complain about, ask them WHY they can't buy a book written by a black man!White Rastas: That's right mon!Mr. Morgan: Don't even get me started on you two.
- In Quigley Down Under, the Australian Marston is obsessed with The Wild West.
- In Hidalgo, an Arabian sheik is fascinated by American culture and anything related to cowboys.
- In Saving Private Ryan, a German soldier is captured by Americans. Fearing execution, he starts sucking up to them by talking about American pop culture and butchering the Star-Spangled Banner.
- Marci X has to show, on stage at a rap concert, that she is real. She succeeds.
- A good half of Channing Tatum's roles. The other half is "Southern guy who beats up people".
- Bulworth has Warren Beatty, of all people, becoming one of these as a result of a Hollywood Mid Life Crisis. He was a US Senator with falling popularity ratings until he snaps and randomly starts rapping at his campaign appearances (he even manages to seduce Halle Berry's character), and it culminates in a TV talk show appearance where he claims that the solution to racism is genetic mixing until "everyone's the same color." Then he gets mysteriously assassinated.
- Scary Movie 3 has a subplot spoofing 8 Mile. George Bitner is a whitebread farm boy who has two black best friends and participates in rap battles. When his older brother denounces his interests, George declares "You just hate me cuz I'm black."
- Both played straight and averted in Queens Logic. Eliot (John Malkovich) describes his friend Denny (Kevin Bacon) as having "problems"; "He's a white man who thinks he's James Brown."
Grace: Got stress, huh?Al: (as hip-hop plays in the background) Who wouldn't? This music would make Will Rogers punch a nun!
- Al (Joe Mantegna), on the other hand, averts the trope:
- In Dirty Love, Carmen Electra plays the protagonist's Black Best Friend. Yeah.
- In Down To Earth, Chris Rock plays a stand-up comedian who dies and whose soul is put into the body of a wealthy middle-aged white guy. So, now you got a typical white board member acting and talking like, well, Chris Rock. To everyone but him, he looks like a typical example of this trope. He even gets punched out once by a pair of black guys for singing along to "Ruff Ryders' Anthem" in a public place, and the audience's reaction when he goes to a comedy club at a black neighborhood and starts to deliver his usual routine is priceless. Then there is an attempt by the white guy's wife (played by Jennifer Coolidge) to act "street" to get his attention.
- In Scooby-Doo, the teens leaving the mysterious island all appear to fit this trope, despite being predominantly white. They're actually demons disguised as "typical American teenagers", studying "proper slang" to fit in.
- The earlier Adrian Mole books contained the character of Adrian's classmate Danny: a white kid who had dreadlocks, wrote reggae music and spoke in a poor imitation of Jamaican patois.
- He even referred to Adrian as a "honky". Adrian's response: "What a cheek, he's twice as white as I am!"
- Thing is, he's Jamaican. He's just albino.
- He even referred to Adrian as a "honky". Adrian's response: "What a cheek, he's twice as white as I am!"
- In Catch-22 they obviously hate Yossarian because he's Assyrian. Even if he's not. He isn't too serious about it, though.
- A fantastic version appears in For The Emperor. Part of the population of Gravalax, due to being close to the Tau territories, absorbed their ideals and customs and looks up to them. Some go as far as to paint their skin blue. Justified: actually it's the Tyranid infiltration stirring up the Fantastic Racism.
- The narrator/protagonist/author self-insert of Eat, Pray, Love sometimes invokes this trope - especially during her contemplations on Indian spirituality.
- In the Spenser books by Robert B Parker, Tony Marcus, the black crimelord, has a white son-in-law who considers himself "spiritually black" and acts accordingly. Tony would have him killed, except that his only daughter has taken it into her head to love the fool. Tony calls this character a "blackberry", which is a little politer than "wigger", but still prompts Spenser to exclaim "There's a word for people like that!?"
- In The Wheel of Time, after the Aiel conquer Cairhien for the second time in living memory, many young Cairhienen take to imitating Aiel dress and culture, organizing themselves into warrior societies in imitation of them, and attempting to follow (sometimes heavily modified versions of) ji'e'toh, the elaborate Aiel Code Of Honor and etiquette. Reactions from the Aiel range from deep offense to mild exasperation to sometimes-earnest, sometimes-patronizing attempts to teach them how to more authentically follow Aiel customs. This is something of an inversion of the usual pattern of a more-powerful culture appropriating a less-powerful one due to exoticism or fetishization; here, it's more about a conquered culture developing an inferiority complex and figuring the conquerors must be doing something right.
- Jon Stewart mocks this in one of his more recent standup routines. He says that middle-class people (not just white people) shouldn't try to talk like inner-city gangsters, because they have no connection to that culture aside from what they see on TV. It would make as much sense for them to talk like a pirate (Talk Like a Pirate Day notwithstanding).
"How was the party?" " 'Twas a fine shindig indeed, arrrr!"
- Ali G from Da Ali G Show is a Jewish guy acting the part of a stereotypical white middle class wannabe who actually expects people to believe he's a black man from the ghetto. Ta-daa!
- subverted, dragged round the room and thrown out of the window on Richard And Judy - "is it 'cos I is black?" - you'd think an experienced presenter would have more sense...
- Ali G acts just like a stereotypical Indian /Pakistani teenager from the Staines/Slough (a couple a miles west of London) area where he is supposed to be from. Most British viewers, however, simply seem to view him as a stereotypical "chav".
- This happens to Dr. Joel Fleischman in the Northern Exposure episode "The Mystery of the Old Curio Shop", when Fleischman tries to connect with the "Hebrew Heritage" of Cicely, Alaska. This is slightly subverted by the fact that Fleischman is himself Jewish, yet is still berated for trying to "act Jewish".
- J.D.'s attempts in Scrubs at acting black usually fall disastrously short. Turk is generally more successful but is nonetheless called on this behavior when Dr Cox claims Turk isn't really black. Some of Dr. Cox's evidence is that Turk has a geeky white best friend, listens to Neil Diamond, and acts like a black guy, all of which are traits seen in white guys. Dr. Cox also mentions that Turk is merely the tenth best basketball player out of the mostly white hospital staff. This is partly a result of the show's shifting characterization and Flanderization: early seasons played off the Salt and Pepper pairing of JD and Turk much more, with Turk having a much more authentically "urban" persona with a geeky, nerdy streak.
- Jesse on Breaking Bad is an interesting variationnote . He plays it straightest in the early seasons, dressing and acting in a stereotypically "street" way, emulating the drug culture he's been immersed in for seemingly his entire adult life, although his background is affluent. Unlike most examples, he never fully "breaks character" and acts according to his culture of origin, and in fact, in later seasons when he stops acting quite so aggressively "street," he still falls back into street lingo during moments of extreme stress. As far as the viewer can tell, his drug-culture identity is entirely internalized and to that extent is just as genuine as the more moderate (but not fully affluent or "white") cultural identity he sometimes displays. In this way, it's almost more like the phenomenon of "code-switching" that bi- or multi-cultural people sometimes display.
- One episode of Star Trek: Voyager has a sci-fi example, the Doctor creates a holographic family for himself, and his son starts hanging out with a bunch of Klingon kids, dressing like them, doing his hair like them, and even carrying Klingon knives.
- Dog The Bounty Hunter when he tries to speak Pidgin.
- This type is rather common among the miscreants seen on TruTV's Speeders or The Smoking Gun Presents.
- Skins plays with this a little. Jal's two brothers have a white friend who fits this perfectly. Somewhat subverted, in that the brothers' own attempts at being "street" are shown to be just as ludicrous.
- Parodied in Chappelle's Show, when a blind black Klan leader (long story short: he doesn't know he's black) encounters a group of (white) teenagers in a convertible listening to gangsta rap, assumes they're black, and yells racial abuse at them. Far from being offended, the teens are psyched that he thinks that they're street.
- J-Roc from Trailer Park Boys does this and legitimately thinks he is black, which the other park residents have all accepted by now. Hilariously, before he got into rap, Jamie used to dress and act extremely white... and so did his actually black friend Tyrone (who now goes by "T"). J-Roc briefly reverted to being Jamie after suffering a Heroic BSOD when one of his favourite rappers told him he wasn't black. His mother made him feel better by telling him she dated a lot of black guys around the time he was conceived.
- In The Thick of It, Oxbridge-educated posh boy Olly sometimes tries to put on a humourous Jafakean accent. The effect is ludicrous:
"Ah'm from Lincolnshire, wiv all da windmills and da potatoes and da shit..."
- One episode of Everybody Loves Raymond spoofed this trope. Ray's brother Robert, desperate to fit in with his African-American partner on the police force and her friends, spends most of the episode trying to act stereotypically "black." Raymond and the rest of the family are bewildered by this. At the end of the episode, Robbie's partner reveals to Ray that Robbie's new behavior is annoying and offending her friends, unsurprisingly. When Ray tells Robert about this, it results in the classic line:
Ray: Robert, we're Italian. The word "whack" means something else to us!
- Bozz Bishop from Nash Bridges.
- Buckwild from Flavor of Love. Every single black person on the show calls her out on it. She has a hilarious Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping moment when she gets angry enough to forget her ghetto act.
- Sebastian, alias C-Bass, from Halfway Home may be an actual black guy and he may be an actual convict. But he's from a very rich family and he went to prison for identity theft. His protests that living in a very big house can be inconvenient don't help the image he's attempting to cultivate.
- Boardwalk Empire has the bootlegger Michael Kozik who changed his name to Mickey Doyle to better fit in with the Irish gangsters running Atlantic City. He is constantly mocked for it. However, he does not try to act particularly 'Irish' probably because the people he is trying to imitate are well integrated Irish-Americans who do not fit the stereotypes.
- In Artie's case on Glee: White, nerdy, and wheel-chair bound, he frequently slips into stereotypically "black" slang (usually Rule of Funny), and it's fully expected that this trope is in full play.
- In Two and a Half Men, Jake starts talking like this after watching MTV Cribs:
Jake: Yo, this sculpture's off the HOOK, yo!!Charlie: Jake, I'm not gonna say this again; you're a pasty white kid. Start acting like one!!
- David Apolskis on Prison Break. An inmate in the Fox River max-security prison which (like most real world prisons) is divided along racial lines, he quickly becomes rejected by both black inmates for trying to affiliate himself with them, and by white inmates for trying to affiliate himself with black inmates, earning him the nickname "Tweener" (In-Betweener). Lampshaded by T-Bag, the leader of a white racist gang:
T-Bag: "The boy sure seems confused about his pigmentation."
- A common Butt Monkey in The Wire (often White Gang-Bangers), with various such characters getting called out on it by Nick Sobotka, Herc and Carver.
- Shmulie and David (both Orthodox Jews) in the 2 Broke Girls episode "And the Kosher Cupcakes", when their mother's not around.
- Mr. Drummond and Kimberly on Diff'rent Strokes occasionally.
- Olive Doyle on A.N.T. Farm "has spit fire into the mic" on more than one occasion.
- Fraser, the 'headmaster' of Abbey Grove School in Bad Education certainly counts. This is also deconstructed, as he is generally considered by the rest of the cast to be an incompetent Cloud Cuckoolander.
- On a similar note. Sam Puckett shows she has flows, and thus is also pretty fly.
- On The George Lopez Show, one of the factory workers named Marisol (who is Mexican) has an ex-boyfriend who harasses her at the factory. He is a white guy who talks with a Chicano accent and dresses like a wannabe thug. George even refers to him as "Slim Shady".
- In an episode of Reba Reba temporarily takes in a black family who were displaced after Hurricane Katrina (the show took place in Houston.) Barbara Jean then turns into this, braiding her hair in cornrows and acting like one stereotype after another. Reba chastises her for this ("You are the whitest person in Texas! You are the whitest person in Holland! Stop that!") At the end of the episode, they receive a letter from the family when they move back to rebuild, and they ask Barbara Jean to visit, since they keep telling people about her, but everybody assumes they're making her up.
- Chappelle's Show parodied with with the "I Know Black People" sketch, which was a game show asking mostly white contestants about black culture. Many of them fell into this trope and some would get basic questions wrong. However a Running Gag was that they would get the answers right because the answers to the questions would frequently be basic answers like "I don't know".
- Named for the song "Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)" by The Offspring. It looks as though it's about race, but looking closer, it's clear the kid is just middle class, and has no idea of the actual hip-hop and ghetto culture. Thus he looks like an ass, more so in the music video where he flashes gangbanger signs to a black man and shows off his lowrider's hydraulic system to a pair of Mexicans who obviously shake their heads in consternation.
- Beastie Boys are the Ur-Example in the rap genre. The first white-boy rap group to gain fame, not to mention the first rap group to top the Billboard album charts. Originally ridiculed for their frat-boy antics and sophomoric lyrics, they evolved over The '90s to become genuine legends in the rap and alternative-music universes.
- The Pulp song "Common People" is about the "slumming" phenomenon where upper class people try to live a working class lifestyle as a kind of "holiday", based on a real woman that Pulp singer Jarvis Cocker knew when he was studying at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. Some of the lyrics are particularly relevant:
Laugh along with the common people,
Laugh along even though they're laughing at you,
And the stupid things that you do,
Because you think that poor is cool.
- The Sparks song Suburban Homeboy is all about this idea. "I'm a suburban homeboy, and I say Yo Dog to my pool cleaner guy..."
- Like the Trope Namer, "Weird Al" Yankovic's "White and Nerdy" focuses on a white dork who wants to roll with the gangstas, but rather than imitating them, he spends most of the song describing just how nerdy he is.
- Weird Al has actually covered the Trope Namer (as Pretty Fly For A Rabbi, which actually seems to invert the trope by being about an actual Jewish person who so excels at the stereotypes that he's well-liked for it).
- The Afromen had some fun with this in "Because We're Too White" with their repeatedly stated (and demonstrated) incapacity for doing anything considered the least bit black.
- Vanilla Ice, although he did come from a lower-class background and got his nickname by way of being the only white kid in his circle of friends. Most of the actual examples of this trope with him either came later or weren't even of his doing.
- Timothy Westwood is a white British DJ and radio personality and the presenter of the UK version of Pimp My Ride. As you'd expect from that and his inclusion on this list he speaks in faux "Black British" street slang with a fake Carribean accent. He went to an exclusive Public School (for the benefit of American readers, in the UK a Public School is one of the top private schools- don't ask, it's complicated) and his father was a bishop. Really.
- For that matter, the sections of the British blues scene of The Sixties, at least for those less than authentic in their delivery or presentation. This, and the overexposure of blues and R&B influence then popular at the time, helped lead to the very British Progressive Rock scene. Led Zeppelin, anyone? Robert Plant himself addressed this in an interview when he said "I wanted to sing like Ray Charles, but I was a bit of a nancy boy, so that's what you got." (Led Zeppelin were, of course, later sued for their blues ripoffs). Ian Anderson felt he and his band were stealing a part of black culture and emotional experiences insincerely and not always convincingly, and that by strictly resigning himself to performing a "polite shade" of black American music he had little room for the full extent of music he wanted to make. He soon reinvented Jethro Tull as a very eclectic English/Scottish Progressive Rock band in The Seventies.
- Tim "the Big Dawg" Westwood. Bizarrely, some people seem to think he actually pulls it off.
- It helps that he's apparently a thoroughly pleasant bloke, isn't adverse to taking the piss out of his Big Dawg image, and actually knows a hell of a lot about the urban music scene (which he should, because it is his job). Watching him on the UK version of Pimp My Ride or hearing him guest on other shows talking about "watching Desperate Housewives with [his] lady" leads to a bit of Narm Charm rather than actually buying what he's selling.
- Mr. B (the Gentleman Rhymer) mocks him splendidly here.
- It could be argued that Mr. B's entire act is a deliberate defiance of this trope; proof that you don't need to act black to be a white rapper.
- Westwood's fellow BBC radio DJ Nick Grimshaw did a thing in 2013 where he tried to show off his "gangsta side" - turning his breakfast show into "The Breakfast Clique" in reference to the GOOD Music song. While this may have been a joke/spoof/stunt, it doesn't come across well.
- IT IS I, RAS TRENT! (There's even a part where he avoids trying to offend the actual Rastafari in the video.)
- On a meta level, it can be noted that the Lonely Island take great care to always refer to themselves as "fake rappers" to avoid this stereotype.
- Fred Durst was considered this for a while, although he's gotten better.
- Some music journalists use the semi-derogatory term "wigger slam" to refer to slam Death Metal bands, played by white guys who act and dress like black guys. See also the Death Core page.
- The term has also been used positively, along with spawning several slam parody bands with an exaggerated "wigger" aesthetic, including New Yorkment, Frog Kill, Publikk Enema and Engutturalment Cephaloslamectomy. "The Defend Wigger Slam Group," a Facebook group housing over 500 members, frequently lampoons wigger cliches found in slam death metal bands while members of noted slam bands join in on the lighthearted fun. However, Waking The Cadaver vocalist Don Campan, did not take as kindly to his band being described as wigger slam.
- Justin Bieber could be described as this, when you take into account his clothing and manner of speech - in particular his overuse of the word "shawty"
- Pat Monahan of Train tries to do this in "Hey Soul Sister" - it is IMPOSSIBLE to take him seriously when saying "I'm so gangsta, I'm so thug".
- Tom Kaulitz, a German guitar player who has had his hair both in dreadlocks and cornrows and always sports clothes about 100 times too baggy for him. He even has his own shoe.
- Eminem. While he would be looked up to as an idol by pretty much everyone on this list and even wore an Africa pendant during high school, it should be noted that he came from an impoverished background and was engrossed in Detroit's hip-hop scene instead of simply imitating it. It helps that he stopped wearing baggy sweats and the like after he got sober.
- Somewhat less debatable is Kid Rock, whose father was a used car salesman.
- According to Cage, Rick Rubin attended one of Cage's early performances, dismissed Cage as "a wigga", and walked out.
- Frank Zappa's song "You Are What You Is": The first verse is about this, while the second one is about the opposite situation.
- American Black Metal bands are sometimes accused of this, based on the assumption that black metal is an essentially European artform.
- A non-urban version is lampooned in Alan Jackson's 1994 hit song "Gone Country", although the song is often misinterpreted as being in favor of such a masquerade.
- Canadian reggae artist Snow (born Darrin O'Brien) was often accused of this simply because, well, just look at his stage name. However, like Eminem, Snow came by it naturally, having grown up in the housing projects in Toronto that had a lot of Caribbean immigrants and thus was exposed to reggae and dancehall throughout his formative years. Having the best-charting and best selling reggae single in North American history helped too.
- White rapper Kreayshawn (born Natassia Zolot) received a lot of criticism for this, being accused of appropriating black culture. This criticism of her says that even the way she dresses is a Double Standard, stating that,if a black female rapper were to do the same thing, she'd be accused of being ghetto and uneducated.
- The Game made a diss track against Kreayshawn for precisely this reason, accusing her of needless cultural appropriation. It's entitled "Uncle Otis", and (as the title suggests) he's basically accusing her of reverse Uncle Tomfoolery.
- To her credit, she has never actually said "nigga"; instead, it was one of her friends, and Zolot has made her displeasure about both being Mis-blamed and her friend's use of the word known. The complaints about her appropriation of the "sista" archetype, on the other hand, are still very valid.
- Yelawolf is an aversion; like Eminem, he came from an impoverished background and happened upon hip-hop naturally by way of going to school in the Nashville projects and becoming acclimated with the music there. Furthermore, his topics seldom touch upon the inner city and focus more on the unpleasantries of Deep South life, which is what he was used to.
- Jennifer Lopez's single "Jenny from the Block" produced a strange example of this. Lopez grew up in the Bronx, but by the time she released "Jenny from the Block", she was an A-list celebrity dating Ben Affleck. The song was intended to reinforce her street cred as a working-class Puerto Rican girl made good, but it backfired, instead painting an image of Lopez as having lost touch with her roots and, in the process, becoming this trope.
- Miley Cyrus' "We Can't Stop" and her twerk-heavy performance of it at the 2013 Video Music Awards was considered by many to fit this trope.
- In the early days of his career, Justin Timberlake was considered by many to be this trope, especially since he came from suburban Memphis but grew up in suburban Orlando and even joked about it himself. *NSYNC even mocked it in "U Drive Me Crazy" where they disguised themselves as a rap group to get the attention of a music executive, who saw right through them.
Justin: I'm pretty sure I thought I was black then anyway.
- Record producer Diplo has been accused of appropriating Jamaican culture with his reggae/dancehall-inspired Major Lazer project.
- Rita Ora, as seen in the videos for "R.I.P." and "I Will Never Let You Down".
- Largely subverted by the Nerdcore scene. While a bunch of mostly white guys (with a minority of black men, Latinos, women, and people of mixed race) rapping about "geeky" stuff should be the spitting image of this trope, the fact that they're genuine about their interests makes it subtly different. For the most part, they're not pretending to be anything but what they are: mostly middle-class guys who grew up on equal parts 90s Gangsta Rap and video games, comics, and sci-fi.
- David Bowie's short film Jazzin' for Blue Jean has his Straw Loser protagonist Vic trying to ingratiate himself with a black bouncer at a club he's trying to get into, with results that smack of this trope. He thinks Malcolm X is a band and claims he caught their tour, and seems to be confusing Jesse Jackson with Michael Jackson!
- Iggy Azalea (born Amethyst Kelly) is a rare example where she not only tries to imitate another culture, but she also tries to imitate another country. She's a middle-class white girl from Australia who raps like a ghetto black chick from Atlanta. Even worse, she uses that same voice during some of her more recent interviews, and in general she seems to be trying to act like she's from America. Thanks to her ongoing beef with Azealia Banks over a petty dispute while displaying staggering ignorance of her own chosen genre in interviews and responding to criticism in a way that did her no favors whatsoever, it's looking like it's going to bite her in the ass, and hard.
- Machine Gun Kelly gives off this impression. He often dresses an 'urban' clothing much in the way people in the ghetto do, and tends to try to act "gangsta" in his songs (a good example of this being "Warning Shot").
- An Older than You Think example in the italian song from The Fifties Tu vuo fa L´Americano (So you want to be American?) by Renato Carosone note , which describes a guy who wants to be trendy by desperately imitating American lifestyle (wearing American brands of clothes, dancing rock-and-roll, playing baseball, using half-baked English, drinking whiskey and soda, smoking Camel cigarettes...), despite being an Italian dude from Naples who still lives with (and mooch off) his parents.
- Zits does this a number of times as well.
Walt: "What? Don't people say Wazzup Dawg anymore?"
Jeremy: "Dad, do us all a favor and talk like the middle aged white guy you are."
- The Memphis-based tag team PG-13 (Wolfie D and Jaime "JC Ice" Dundee) were likely the first wrestlers to use this as a gimmick. They would go on to have stints in all three of the major promotions in the late 90s. This can also qualify as a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment as Dundee has shown himself to be an unapologetic racist in numerous shoot interviews since then.
- Too Cool. Brian Christopher and Scott Taylor as wannabe rappers dancing to hip hop beats and later adding former Wild Samoan Rikishi to their act ended being one of the more surprising hits of the Attitude era in the then-WWF. What made the gimmick work so well was the delightful randomness and heterogeneity of it: two skinny white men and a fat Samoan guy performing impromptu dance moves to a style of music that neither whites nor Samoans are ordinarily associated with.
- Summer 1999 in WCW saw the formation of the Filthy Animals, originally composed of Mexican-Americans Rey Mysterio Jr and Eddie Guerrero, Cuban-American Konnan, and Caucasians Kidman and Torrie Wilson. Guerrero left for WWE at the start of 2000. Later that year, along with Mexican wrestler Juventud Guerrera and Latina valet Tygress, the bookers decided to put Disco Inferno in it. They made being Pretty Fly For A White Guy his gimmick and have him screw up the Animals catchphrases (e.g. "it's all swell" instead of "it's all good"). He even got renamed to Disqo, a reference to hip-hop artist Sisqo who was experiencing faddish popularity at the time.
- WWE wrestler John Cena was Pretty Fly For A White Guy as a Heel. Then, he had a Heel-Face Turn, and we were suddenly supposed to take his hip-hop posturing seriously. (It didn't help that he stopped actually rapping after his album was released and just made a lot of gay jokes in a "ghetto" accent.) Needless to say, the Narm thus created has led to massive amounts of X-Pac Heat whenever WWE hits any place that has an actual urban hip-hop culture. Thankfully, these days, he's toned down the hip-hop allusions in favor of becoming, essentially, an Ascended Fanboy, but the X-Pac Heat among Smart Marks may never completely subside.
- Side note: Los Angeles has a very large "actual urban hip-hop culture," and Cena gets really loud cheers in L.A.
- What Cena has been doing is fundamentally no different from what Elvis Presley did in The Fifties. He is a white, upper-middle-class American who, in his soul, does not feel like a white, upper-middle-class American, and acts accordingly. Far from mocking black culture, he is actually celebrating it, while putting a less menacing (white) face on it for his white fans. (And interestingly, Cena's longtime nemesis John Bradshaw Layfield was essentially Cena in reverse: a boorish, trailer-park Texan who became obsessed with money and riches, and rebaptized himself as a Wall Street tycoon. This resulted in a bit of Hypocritical Humor when in 2006 JBL was doing a bit of color commentary on SmackDown! where he mocked Anna Nicole Smith; he is, in a way, basically her male equivalent.)
- Chris Hero had this mind set for a time, or in his own words:
"You know what they call me on the streets? They call me the mack daddy of the cravate. And that's for real. That's for real. Word up."
- Ray Gordy, better known as Slam Master J, from the blonde cornrows down to the 50 Cent-like clothes, but mostly, merely a jobber teamed with Jimmy Wang Yang, a subversion in that he's "pretty redneck for an Asian guy." Ray Gordy's developmental gimmick was arguably a better example of this. As "Ray Geezy", he essentially played the same Slam Master J character, but was in a tag team called "Ebony & Ivory" with Damien Steele, a black man working a very prissy, "white acting" Carlton Banks-esque gimmick.
- Delirious' promo at CHIKARA Don't Eat the Black One, March 19, 2005, was him rapping, of a sort, lyrics from Esham's "Silicone."
- One half of team blondage and the All American Girls, "The Hip Hop Princess" Amber O'Neal.
- "White Kryptonite" Eddie Diamond in Ohio Valley Wrestling, who helped bring out the Sassy Black Woman in Epiphany.
- In the latest editions of Shadowrun, of the flaws you can take, a few of them are Ork and Elf poser, which makes you the fantasy equivilent with obvious drawbacks.
- A variation: OG Loc from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas may be black himself, but it quickly becomes apparent that he's pretty bad at trying to be 'gangsta'. He does manage to make a music career out of it for a while, but that's only because he has CJ steal Madd Dogg's rhymebook.
- Grand Theft Auto V has two examples. One is Jimmy, who's your typical example that listens to rap music, speaks in hip-hop slang, and says the word "nigga" a lot. Then there's Trevor, who at one point just thrusts himself into a drug deal with Franklin and Lamar for kicks. He knows he doesn't have N-Word Privileges though, as he refers to Franklin as "[his] N-word."
- Planescape: Torment has a variation: in the upper-middle-class-to-wealthy Clerk's Ward section of Sigil, you meet a group of "Clerk's Ward Thugs" who are poorly attempting to be "street", including hilarious misuse of the in-universe Future Slang common to the Hive (which, as the name implies, is a Wretched Hive). Annah, your party member who actually IS from the Hive, makes fun of them and threatens to fight them. If/when you actually come to blows with them, it turns out that while they may know nothing about the Hive, they are quite competent at fighting.
- Dark Smoke Puncher from The Adventures of Dr. McNinja is an Irish-American ninja who effects stereotypical "Gangsta" mannerisms. Something of a subversion in that he only does this to prevent his parents from noticing just how incredibly nerdy he actually is.
- Homestuck: Dave Strider and his Bro are, as described by Dave himself, "ironic rapping roof ninjas". Not much of Bro's work is seen (but plenty is seen of his love of puppeteering), but Dave was known to burst into improvised rap early on, he has a sizable array of sampling equipment and turntables, he sent Jade a collection of techno remix efforts of questionable quality, and in Sburb he even controls his time powers through augmented turntables. While Jade is impressed by it all, John and Rose don't really buy it all that much, and love to snark about or criticise it at many opportunities.
EB: that's fine, you are entitled to your opinion, i am just saying that being a white guy who is a rapper with a ventriloquist doll is not cool by any stretch of the imagination or by any definition of word cool, ironic or otherwise. that's all i'm saying.
- After having to clarify that the humans in Homestuck are aracial, Andrew changed 'white' in the above quote to 'Íćűë€Ĺ', though it's since been changed back. He did this mainly to try and quell a Flame War on the forums.
- Lil' Cal, one of Bro's puppets, is designed to look like one of these characters. He's even named after an Uncle Tomfoolery type character in the author's earlier works.
- Cyanide and Happiness gives us this gem. Oh, and the butler's name is Cringeworth.
- In The Allen And Craig Show's two part Episode 8, Allen gets his very white, but maybe not so white, friend Lars, who he calls "the coolest guy I know" to keep Craig from becoming totally lame.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, Jaden Yuki is portrayed as this, even rapping over the end credits.
- Tristan acts black when Kaiba lampshades a scene in which Tristan is drawn black. He speaks this way later on until Joey tells him (to his surprise) that he's not black anymore.
- The Nostalgia Chick will always complain when movies do this, but she's had a few cringe-worthy (if hilarious) moments herself when she's tried to act like a Sassy Black Woman.
- This viral Facebook post.
To all of Chris' friends: This is his Father. My son carelessly left his account logged in so I decided to snoop around. Upon reading my son's personal information, I would like to clear a few things up. My son is not a "gangsta," he will not "beat a ho's ass" and he will certainly not "roll a fatty wit his boyz." So for who believe he is some hard ass thug, think again... He is Chris _______, a 15 year old kid that was afraid of the dark until he was 12 and cried at the end of Marley and Me.
- In The Guild, Tink's adoptive white family try to imitate her native Japanese culture with cringe-worthy results.
- In Misadventures Of Awkward Black Girl, J's boss seems to think she is black and even gets cornrows and dates a black guy.
- In The Onion, a man goes to some pretty extreme lengths to avoid looking racist while assassinating Barack Obama.
- In Golden Waters has Kevin MacDonald, a "debt collector" who calls himself Kashiro and idealizes samurai culture, using a katana as his Weapon of Choice.
- The entire "Ghost Ride The Whip" sequence in PeanutButterGamer's Top 10 Worst Licensed Games video.
- In one episode of Family Guy, Chris becomes the towel boy for the high school basketball team and picks up some slang and mannerisms from the black players. His father Peter investigates their heritage, with the intention of familiarizing Chris with their Irish roots, and discovers a black slave among his ancestors. Then Peter starts trying to act like a black man, and goes entirely too far; wearing a dashiki, insisting that he be called Kichwa Tembo, and demanding reparations from his father-in-law. Hilariously, he discards his new identity the moment Carter whips out his checkbook:
Carter: Okay, how do you spell "Kichwa?"
Peter: Y'know what? Screw "Kichwa;" the name's Peter. P-E-T-E...
- In a deleted scene for the episode "Stewie Kills Lois", Stewie sings a musical number threatening any "undesirable elements" in society in case of a rebellion against his world conquest. The very first one is "the white kid with the baggy clothes who's talking like he's black", which shows one of these dancing to hip hop in"gangsta" clothing, while a normally dressed white and black kid watch him in contempt.
- In another episode, it is revealed that Lois has Jewish ancestry. Peter begins to fulfill the Jewish equivalent of this trope until a visit from the ghost of his hardcore Catholic father turns him into an anti-Semite.
- Brian, due to his racist upbringing, barks angrily at a black man. Trying to smooth things over, Brian says how much he liked Benson.
- Stan Smith of American Dad! is known to do this fairly regularly, which stands in contrast to his otherwise very conservative mannerisms.
Stan: The Schwartztein's house is going off! It's like a damn Ludacris video: pimp cups, shorties. It's all crunked out!
- Phineas of Phineas and Ferb tries to sound "street" in one episode by peppering his speech with the word dang. He comes off sounding more like a hillbilly than a gangsta. Ferb on the other hand raps pretty good considering the constraints of a Disney cartoon and the fact Ferb is usually The Silent Bob.
- The Boondocks:
- Cindy McPherson. A blonde haired little white girl that runs her girl scout cookie fundraiser like a drug ring and will quote rap artists as inspiration for her behavior. Notably, in the animated series, Cindy appears to be more authentically engrossed in hip-hop culture, while her incarnation in the original comic strip is 100% this trope.
- Ed Wuncler III and Gin Rummy from the same show. Both are white and come from affluent families (Ed in particular being the grandson of the wealthiest man in Woodcrest.) Both speak in copious amounts of jive, own lots of firearms that they are willing to whip out with the least excuse, rob convenience stores and banks despite having no pressing financial reason to do so, break into people's houses at night for burglary, and generally act in a over-the-top stereotypical "gangsta'" fashion. Ed and Gin even have African-American voice actors (Charlie Murphy and Samuel L. Jackson respectively) to complete the image.
- Bizzarely enough, Ann Coulter is portrayed as being like this in private, speaking in near-Jive Turkey levels of slang and dating black men exclusively.
- Similarly, in The Haunted World of El Superbeasto, Velvet Von Black, who's lily-white and talks like a Jive Turkey, is voiced by Rosario Dawson.
- At the beginning of The Fairly Oddparents episode "Remy Rides Again", Chester tried to sound "slang", much to A.J.'s annoyance. It ended when A.J. electrocuted Chester.
- Eric Cartman of South Park does this very briefly in "Cartman's Mom is a Dirty Slut", when he's trying to find his real father. When he's under the impression that it may be Chef, he dons the outfit in the page image and affects African-American vernacular (or at least, his understanding of it):
Cartman: I was just down at the SPC, kickin' it with some G's on the West Si-eed...
- This was carried over to the Chef Aid album, where Cartman does much the same when he and the other boys guest on the Wyclef Jean track "Bubblegoose".
- Kim Possible; Drakken was known to do this on occasion, much to Shego's chagrin:
Dr. Drakken: Fo-shizel, she-gizle.
Shego: Ugh, wait, are you trying to be hip again?
Dr. Drakken: Word to your mother.
- US Presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
- While reading a poem by a black poet, a black student was told by his white teacher to read it "blacker." The teacher then demonstrated what she meant. The results were not pretty.
- There are some who believe Elvis Presley "stole" the music of African American artists. Rule of Cautious Editing Judgment applies here.
- Quentin Tarantino has tried a little too hard to "talk black" in some of his interviews following Django Unchained.
- Seth Mac Farlane at the Oscars defended Tarantino's use of the N word in Django: "Because he thinks he's black".
- Ralph Bakshi was complimented by some for handling black themes insightfully in Coonskin, others denounce the film as racist.
- In the Polish hip-hop scene, any attempt to imitate American gangsta rap is a sure-fire way to being universally mocked by other rappers and hip-hop fans.
- Jews for Jesus is an organization of Jews who converted to Christianity. They often stress the commonalities between the Jewish and Christian religions or re-interpret Jewish texts and rituals to make them more Christian. To many Jews, they end up as this trope.
- In 2004, a white Deputy Chief Constable perfomed a rap while addressing the first meeting of the North Wales Black Police Association. Reactions were mixed.