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Scary Black Man

Mr. T: Sucka, you have a choice: You can face prison or you can face me.
Crook: Prison! Prison!

In many series, there will be a character who is much larger and more intimidating than most everyone else, very strong, often quite quiet, and very often this character will be black.

Sometimes they can be the Token Minority, sometimes they're a Proud Warrior Race Guy, and sometimes they're a Gentle Giant. But the fact remains that when you get right down to it, they're a scary black man. Not necessarily evil, just... scary.

Authors will often claim this is not actually done in a racist way (not intentionally, anyway), as most anybody who is so much larger than the other characters will usually be equally scary (unless they're also outgoing or jolly). However, perhaps because of a lack of very large Asians who aren't sumo or very large white people who aren't professional wrestlers in a cameo role, they are often black. (This is the same reason that a Huge Schoolgirl usually isn't mean, either.) However, American media depictions cannot escape the legacy of the Big Black Buck (as featured in such influential films as D. W. Griffith's pro-Klan propaganda film The Birth of a Nation), the savage (noble or not), or modern thug culture. Amongst other reasons, when much of the creating population and the consuming population is not of African descent, then the Black Guy becomes other, and as such, easier to position as an imposing, scary force.

The few black characters in anime are usually some variation on this.

See also Scary Minority Suspect. Often Crosses over with Gentle Giant, Genius Bruiser, Proud Warrior Race Guy, and Token Minority, as noted both above and in the examples below. Compare Angry Black Man.

Note that the character doesn't necessarily have to be of African descent, just large, imposing, brown/dark-skinned, and have a tendency to make people wet themselves with a single glare. Despite some of the Unfortunate Implications associated with this Trope some of these characters become popular because of how Badass they are. The obvious subversion is to make this character not nearly as scary personality-wise as their imposing first appearances might otherwise suggest.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Dutch from Black Lagoon — though despite his somewhat menacing appearance he's not very scary once you get to know him, being one of the most cool-headed and easygoing people in the show.
    • Well, like just about everyone else in this series, he's also an unflinching killer. So his scariness/lack thereof is relative. He's also the only one who can keep Revy's more sociopathic tendencies in check, as seen in the Nazi arc.
  • Swamp Gordon from Coyote Ragtime Show
  • Briareos from Appleseed is a rather hidden example. Although he's almost entirely machine, pictures drawn by creator Shirow Masamune have shown that he was black before becoming a cyborg, and he fits otherwise.
    • It's also worth noting that, based on evidence from the movie Appleseed Ex Machina, the artificial skin under Briareos's armor is literally black — as in, the color of a car tire.
      • In that movie Briareos is more Asiatic than black, though - the artists wanted him to be a traditional pretty-boy, apparently.
  • Slightly different version - Chad from Bleach is a scary Gentle Giant Mexican.
    • Zommari Rureaux is a tall, soft-spoken, and very cruel Arrancar with African features and very dark skin. Unfortunately, he grabs the Idiot Ball to an infamous extent during his fight with Byakuya.
    • Yammy Llargo isn't actually black, but he's dark skinned, as well as bigger than any two major characters put together.
    • The series' second character guide shows that the previous Eleventh Division captain, whose role Kenpachi usurped after killing him, appeared in this light.
    • Also Love Aikawa, in a heroic example.
    • Major villain Kaname Tosen is more of a "creepy" black man than scary That is, until his hollowfication
    • Most recently, Vandenreich member Driscoll Berci, who resembles both Yammy and the previous Kenpachi, and is the killer of Sasakibe.
  • Bob Makihara from Tenjho Tenge. His physique's not the only thing that's scarily large. also doubles as the Black Best Friend to Nagi.
  • Gray from the Gunsmith Cats manga. Though it should be noted that he's not the biggest (that would be Bean Bandit) or even the scariest (Goldie oh God, Goldie) character in the manga.
  • Blaster Knuckle. The Entire premise is about having an intimidating black protagonist kick vampire/demon KKK ass.
  • Killer Bee from Naruto looks this and is definitely a scary foe, but with some subversions thrown in for fun. Killer Bee not only looks the big and scary part right down to sporting shades and rapping, he also beats the living tar out of Sasuke; then he turns around, fools the Akatsuki, and fakes his death, all so he can go on vacation.
    • A the 4th Raikage—Killer Bee's older brother—is more of a straight example: he's huge, intimidating, and seems to be angry most of the time, which is manifested in his tendency to break furniture and walls (granted his anger is shown to be fairly justified, and he did shed some Manly Tears when trying to get a team of his to focus on saving his younger brother).
      • In turn, A's father the 3rd Raikage was even more-so. Cooler tempered than A, in possession of an impressive beard, he was an incredibly imposing ninja who could fight with entire armies.
  • The main (possibly only) black character in Death Note was hulking Mafia leader Rodd Los, Mello's ally.
    • In the anime, he's white. One of the lesser mafia members, though, is black.
  • Subverted in Hajime No Ippo, where rookie boxer Jason Ozma has the perfect Scary Black Man looks... but a cheery and sweet Gentle Giant outside the ring. Hilariously lampshaded when they meet face to face: Ippo, Humble Hero that he is, is terrified at the prospect... and Ozma smiles widely before cheerfully speaking to him, leaving Ippo all dumbfounded.
  • This shows up in Getter Robo, of all places. This trope shows up at /least/ in Neo Getter vs. Shin Getter Robo, Getter Robo Armageddon, and New Getter Robo, though it could've appeared in many different mangas. The funny thing is that the gigantic hulking black man is invariably beaten by the main character in the episode they appear in, then never shows up again. They mostly go without a name, too.
  • Played for Laughs in Kaleido Star, when Jerry the Policeman (actually a Gentle Giant) has to go to Japan with Ken to visit Sora. People actually ran away from him in the streets of Tokyo, which got Jerry completely confused as he didn't even understand why they were so scared.
  • Simon from Durarara!! is a huge, black Russian man living in Japan that tends scare off people simply by existing. Damn shame, too, because he really just wants to sell sushi.
  • Jadakings from TOKYO TRIBE 2.
  • Takenori Akagi isn't ethnically black (though he's based off of Patrick Ewing), but has many traits of this archetype. They're either played seriously or for laughs, depending on the moment.
  • Sailor Pluto has dark skin, which was initially meant to make her look scary in the manga, although she is very kind and friendly.
  • Bob & Michael from Seto no Hanayome, well they try to be.
  • Banba of Eyeshield 21 looks and acts the part, despite being ethnically Japanese. It goes along with his team's "Egyptian" theme.
    • His appearance also makes the occasions when he actually acts like a normal teenager all the more hilarious, such as when he challenges Sena...to a pillow fight.
  • Pippin of Berserk is the biggest member of the Band of the Hawk apart from Guts himself, and is a Gentle Giant. Donovan, Guts's rapist from his days as a child mercenary, qualifies as an evil example.
  • James Ironside from Blood+. Scary enough when human, but gets a whole lot scarier when he transform into his chiropteran form.
  • Averted by Cameroon of Axis Powers Hetalia. He has the (very good) looks and the height, as well as a scar on the back of his head and Stoic Spectacles... but he's actually a very kind and sweet Gentle Giant who likes playing soccer with the children of his land and has a pet lion cub.
  • In the fifth season of Detective Conan, an old man named Yoshifusa Yamauchi comes back from Brazil to claim his share of his deceased brother's huge inheritance and brings a SBM named Carlos as his bodyguard. It's surprisingly averted: Yoshifusa is actually Dickson Tanaka, a Badass Grandpa who is impersonating the deceased Yoshifusa and is Carlos's bodyguard, since the supposed Scary Black Man was a harmless Gentle Giant - and Yoshifusa's son with a black Brazilian woman, whom Dickson swore to protect from his friend's Big Screwed-Up Family.
  • Parodied hard by the Show Within a Show in Gundam 00: A Wakening of the Trailblazer, where the pilot of the BFG-throwing Gundam Seravee, Tieria Erde, is not the same slender white man wearing glasses but instead a muscular Scary Black Man outright, parodying the common racial stereotype of black men as big muscles in the entertainment media.
  • Agil from Sword Art Online looks the part, but subverts this trope by being a friendly man who stood up for beta testers when they were being blamed for hindering other players and helped lower-level players when he wasn't running his shop.
  • Matt from Chihayafuru seems like this (to the point that he terrifies Tsukuba), but turns out to be a Gentle Giant. If anything, the whole thing reflects much worse on Tsukuba.

    Character Actors 

    Comic Books 
  • The second Tattooed Man, a Green Lantern villain, is a huge black ex-Marine (and a member of the Geoff Johns Awesomely Revamped Villains Club). Unlike the previous bearer of the powers, this Tattooed Man knows how to use his powers to maximum effect.
  • Killer Croc's pre-croc form is typically black.
    • In Joker, he still is mostly just a Scary Black Man with a skin condition and sharp teeth.
  • Thunderball of Marvel's Wrecking Crew. He's also the smartest of the group.
  • Tombstone is a bizarre example, as, despite being technically black, he's an albino, meaning his skin is chalk white.
  • Barracuda from Garth Ennis' The Punisher series. Run while your legs are still attached.
    • This trope is played with in the one-shot, "The Cell" (also written by Ennis). Frank has just entered prison when the corrupt guard points "Squeak" out to him (named so because he doesn't use lubricant), a SBM and "the toughest guy in Rykers" and mentions how he'll soon be "paying Frank a visit". Cue Frank just grabbing the guard's baton and breaking it over Squeak's skull, killing him.
      Frank: Tell them to send the second toughest guy.
  • Uriel in Lucifer is the only black angel (the only non-white angel actually) and sufficiently scary that he spends most of the series in charge of Heaven. Whether he's a good guy or not is a matter of interpretation.
  • Marvel's Luke Cage is the heroic iteration of this trope.
    Spider-Man: Damn, Cage! You took that guy out with a look.
    Luke Cage: That's my trademark.
    Spider-Man: I gotta get a look.
  • Apocalypse the world's first mutant, is originally from Africa (Specifically Egypt, thousands of years ago. The Arabs didn't overrun Egypt until the Middle Ages.)
    • His mutation, however, had as its first visible effect abnormally pale skin. So, Scary Albino Black Man?
  • Black Manta. This isn't known until he takes his helmet off, but his cunning, utter ruthlessness, and the sheer intimidation he is capable of more than qualify him for this trope.
    • His son, Kaldur'ahm, can also be quite intimidating- however, unlike his father, he's firmly on the side of good.
  • Black Lightning. He is normally a fairly easygoing guy and the top educator in the US, so you'd think that this would be a subverted trope. Yeah, just wait till you piss him off. He's one of the most powerful metahumans in the entire DCU, being a living dynamo and a very gifted martial artist to boot.
  • Bronze Tiger. One of the top five martial artists in the DCU, outdone maybe only by Lady Shiva and Cassandra Cain. When someone manages to beat the goddamn Batman fair and square in a pure hand-to-hand battle, they ain't nothin' to fuck with.
  • Double Subverted in Quantum and Woody by Eric Henderson (Quantum); while he is a tall, muscular, and physically intimidating black man, his full-body costume and articulate speaking patterns means he's inevitably assumed to be Caucasian. People don't really freak out until they find out he's black underneath.
    "You're black? S-word!"
  • Dr. Sartorus from Steelgrip Starkey And The All-Purpose Power Tool is a broad-shouldered towering black man with dreadlocks. He's actually an eloquent Gentle Giant, but has been shown (off-panel) easily fighting off four attackers.
  • Subverted in The Walking Dead with Dexter; while he certainly looks the part, he's actually pretty friendly until he's falsely accused of murdering two children, locked up without trial and when the killer turns out to be someone else, he's simply let out without any kind of apology. He's not so friendly after that.
  • War Machine becomes this whenever he's angered.
  • Manute from Sin City. He becomes even scarier after he loses an eye and has it replaced it with a gold one. He was portrayed in the first movie by Michael Clarke Duncan and the second by Dennis Haysbert.
  • Darkseid's human form in Seven Soldiers of Victory is a giant black crime boss. Desaad's guise as Shilo Norman's creepy manipulative therapist might also count.

    Films — Animated 
  • Officer Earl Devereaux from the animated Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Extra points for being voiced by Mr T.
  • Lilo & Stitch:
    • Cobra Bubbles (Ving Rhames). Not only is he a social worker who threatens to separate Lilo from Nani, he's also a hardcore government agent who studies alien activity in the United States.
    • Gantu from the same film is a scary black alien.
  • Dr. Joshua Strongbear Sweet from Disney's Atlantis The Lost Empire. He's more of a Gentle Giant and Badass Bookworm, as he is the only one who enthusiastically takes to the exotic Atlantian food and utensils.
  • Commander Vachir from Kung Fu Panda.
  • Roscoe from Oliver & Company even has an African - American accent. His partner [DeSoto] is voiced by a white man.
  • Kron, the tyrannical Iguanodon leader from Dinosaur. What gave this away was the fact that he was voiced by the same actor who played Sebastian from The Little Mermaid.
  • Inverted in The Lion King where the former Lion King Mufasa is a burly, golden-furred lion voiced by African-American actor James Earl Jones, while Big Bad Scar is a scrawny, dark-furred lion voiced by Caucasian (and British) Jeremy Irons.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Captain Barbossa's Bo'sun in Curse Of The Black Pearl- he's even got ritual scars and terrible teeth. Also, one of Blackbeard's zombie officers in On Stranger Tides.
  • The Serpent and the Rainbow
  • Pictured above, Jules Winfield of Pulp Fiction. In fact, if a movie has Samuel L. Jackson in it, chances are he will be playing one of these, or a Jedi.
  • The Blind Side: But despite his intimidating size, Michael is actually a Gentle Giant. He's plenty scary if you're lined up against him on the football field, though.
  • Revenge of the Nerds pulls out a whole squad of 'em, when the Tri-Lamb head gives Gilbert the support to speak out in front of the Alpha Betas.
  • In the film Cube, Quentin — a police officer — starts out as the potential hero and leader of the victimized group. However, by the end of the film, he slowly turns into an evil scary black man. He ends up becoming the film's biggest threat, besides the dangerous Cube itself.
  • The film CB 4, parodies the scary black man stereotype by having suburban young black men - born and raised - to fake like they're gangsters from the hood in order to sell rap records. MC. Gusto even steals his rap name from the Big Bad in the film.
  • In the film, Fly By Night, The rap duo, King and Eye, try to make it on the local rap scene. Problem is, while King is a decent all-around good fellow, Eye is a scary black man who gets off on control and starting trouble. Needless to say, he's the film's Big Bad.
  • Kynette of Cliffhanger is an evil martial-artist who dispassionately guns down a helpless teenage boy for just having seen his face. This lets us cheer when Sylvester Stallone shoves his evil heart into a stalagmite.
  • Moses Hightower in the Police Academy movies seems to belong to this trope, but ONLY in appearance.
    • He does get in a good scary look in at times, such as his first appearance. (lining up for first day at recruit school, the recruits are ordered to stand each with his right hand on the next person's left shoulder. We're looking at a white supremacist who finds himself surrounded by blacks, and who can't help but make a racist remark. A giant black hand falls upon his left shoulder. The racist looks left and up...and up...and up...)
    • Directly referenced in a Discworld context by a scary troll, Detritus, who appears in an exact rip-off parody of the "Your uniform doesn't scare me!" gag.
  • The Duke, portrayed by Isaac Hayes, in Escape from New York, is a villainous Scary Black Man. He's the Duke of New York! He's A-number one!
  • Idi Amin, as portrayed in The Last King of Scotland (by Forest Whitaker) and in Real Life itself - especially when threatening his frightened Scottish Doctor.
    • Masanga, his security chief, is one as well.
    • In Raid on Entebbe Idi Amin comes across more as a pompous jackass who thinks he is more of a Scary Black Man then he is. He was probably scary enough to people who were kind of, well, someone besides Yoni Natanayu though.
  • In Mississippi Burning, the FBI brings in a professional Scary Black Man to intimidate the corrupt mayor into revealing who committed a hate crime.
  • From the movie The Last Dragon, we have a subversion! Sho'Nuff! Shogun of Harlem! He kicks ass because no one fears him.
  • John Coffey from The Green Mile can be considered an example of this due to his massive size, spooky healing powers and the fact that he is a convicted child murderer, though he turns out to be innocent as the film progresses.. He is also a Gentle Giant. Played by Michael Clarke Duncan.
  • Manute the mob enforcer from Sin City. Also played by Michael Clarke Duncan.
  • Kidulthood has Uncle Curtis, a cruel and terrifying Jamaican crime boss.
  • Kingsley Shacklebolt came out kind of like this in the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix movie. Appropriate casting, as Shacklebolt was established in the novels as black and as a certified badass.
  • A minor subversion of this character appeared briefly in The Dark Knight. Towards the end of the film, the Joker sets up a prisoner's-dilemma-type situation: two ferries, stalled in Gotham Harbor, both loaded with explosives. One ferry is carrying prisoners, the other is filled with civilians. The captains of the ferries have the detonators—to each other's boat. If one boat blows up the other, then it will go free. If neither boat destroys the other, they'll both be blown up in a few minutes. The captain of the prisoner's ferry is struggling with the decision, when a very large, very scary black man (played by Tiny Lister) in prisoner's orange and chains comes over to him. He states that the captain knows what he needs to do, but doesn't have the guts for it — but he does. He convinces the captain to hand him the detonator, then immediately throws it out the window and into the water, having said they should've done that ten minutes ago.
    • Played straight by Gambol, the black gangster, at least until Joker crashes his party.
    • Played straight in the '89 film. Joker employs one of these guys. He's the only henchman to give Batman trouble.
  • In the James Bond film Live and Let Die, Baron Samedi (especially scary as it is implied that he cannot be killed, even by Bond - he's the voodoo god of the dead, after all) and Tee Hee (fella with the metal arm), plus Dr. Kananga (main antagonist) all fit this trope.
  • Serrano from the Major League movies starts off as an example, then subverts it all to hell after becoming a Buddhist in the second film.
  • A rare female example would be Mayday in the James Bond flick A View to a Kill. Despite not being male, Grace Jones fit this trope to a T and her character was far more memorable than the Bond Girl in that movie.
    • Same goes for her role in Conan the Destroyer. Grace Jones is a scary lady.
    • She is alternately depicted as both a Amazonian Beauty and a Scary Black Woman in the film Boomerang.
  • The Black Panther cell in Forrest Gump has a handful of Scary Black Men, and one Malcolm Xerox ranting about The Man.
  • Another rare female example is Mabel King's rendition of Evilene, the Wicked Witch of the West, in the 1970s film version of The Wiz.
  • Diary of the Dead. The teenaged protagonists are captured by what appear to be black gang members led by a softly-spoken Bad Ass who is the embodiment of this trope. The group are visibly nervous, with the Ms. Fanservice of the group pulling her coat across her cleavage for the only time in the entire movie. It turns out they're ex-National Guard who end up (after some aggressive negotiating) giving them the supplies they need — which ironically enough are stolen by a group of white National Guardsmen.
    • Romero's previous outing, Land of the Dead, had Eugene Clark as a scary black dead man.
  • In The 5,000 Fingers Of Dr. T has the bare-chested elevator operator in the executioner's hood. Those EYES! And the song was freaky, too, as he talked about the "assorted simple tortures" awaiting the prisoners in the dungeon. Even the normally unflappable Mr. Zabladowski was visibly unnerved by him.
  • In the 2009 version of The Taking of Pelham 123, the trope is subverted when a female hostage consults an black male on if he has a plan to fight their abductors. The annoyed man asks if she is asking because he's black, but she explains that she saw he was wearing a ring that marks him as a veteran of the elite US Airborne paratroopers.
  • District 9 has the Nigerian gangsters, especially the leader Obesandjo who is confined to a wheelchair but is still scary as hell.
  • Who's that guy? The world may never know.
  • Lieutenant Mailer, the Infected soldier in 28 Days Later.
  • Basically the entire oeuvre of Ving Rhames. Oftentimes, this will be subverted, as in the Mission: Impossible movies, where he turns out to be a Genius Bruiser and a very nice guy. But just as often, it's played straight. Fully half of his film roles seem to be as violent criminals with names like "Animal" and "Diamond Dog."
  • Sgt. Foley (Louis Gossett Jr.) from An Officer and a Gentleman. Justified as it's his role as Drill Sergeant Nasty.
  • Mac from Predator.
  • Gary Dourdan in Alien: Resurrection as quietly intense Christie.
  • Forest Whitaker in Battlefield Earth. Actually, just Forest Whitaker (see Idi Amin above).
  • Blade.
  • Terry, the stuntwoman in Angels Revenge is a Scary Black Woman (especially when she's helping con Jim Backus' militia group).
  • Parodied in Pineapple Express by Matheson. He is strangely effeminate and in touch with his feelings. He is still a stonecold killer, however.
  • The Zulus in Zulu.
  • Played with in Raising Arizona:
    Prison Counselor: Why do you say you feel "trapped" in a man's body?
    Scary Black Convict: Well, sometimes I get them menstrual cramps real hard.
  • The stewardess in Anger Management has one to back her up, and he has a taser.
  • Lorenzo, portrayed by Gbenga Akinnagbe, in the movie Lottery Ticket.
  • Quinton (Rampage) Jackson playing B.A. Baracus in The A-Team.
  • Kirk Lazarus in Tropic Thunder acted like this but he's really a white Australian who was playing a black Vietnam Soldier.
  • The original Star Wars trilogy has the black-suited Darth Vader voiced by a black man - James Earl Jones, to be exact.
  • Chocolate Mousse in Top Secret! is a parody of a Scary Black Man, doing such "classically" badass things as eating a cigar, drinking gasoline, and wielding a front-loader cannon as a sidearm. He's also an impossibly good shot with a machine gun.
  • Agent Carver in Push. Don't look him in the eye unless you want to eat your gun.
  • Malibu's Most Wanted contains a faked version: Taye Diggs and Anthony Anderson play a couple of straight-laced Harvard-educated black actors hired to play scary ghetto gangsters to knock some sense into a Pretty Fly for a White Guy senator's son.
  • Subverted in The Sandlot: Mr. Mertle (James Earl Jones) is the owner of a ferocious dog known as "The Beast" and, as one kid tells it, will sic him on any kid who dares to climb into his backyard, which is why they have to go through such wacky hijinx to get their baseball back. When they tell Mr. Mertle about it, he's flabbergasted, since he would have retrieved the baseball himself if they'd just asked him.
  • Kick-Ass has a really built and imposing black guy playing Frank D'Amico's dragon. As if that weren't scary enough, he grabs a bazooka during the final battle.
  • Heimdall, full stop.
  • The bouncer in Mystery Team.
  • 300 has Xerxes reimagined as this, with Brazillian actor Rodrigo Santoro's skin having been darkened for the role. The real Xerxes was much lighter skinned, and whether the Unreliable Narrator justification works for this is open to interpretation.
  • Prince Escalus (now portrayed as a policeman) in William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet.
  • Black Dynamite.
  • If you're a film critic, Eddie Murphy did this twice with Meet Dave and A Thousand Words.
  • Subverted in Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay. The title characters crash their car into a fire hydrant, which floods the street and interrupts a basketball game. When several black men pick up tools and approach the car, Harold and Kumar run off. Turns out the black men just wanted to help them fix the car. They then call the water department to report the damaged hydrant. Oh, and one of them's an optometrist.
  • Diamond Dog in Con Air. He's a Malcolm Xerox without the glasses or the soapbox. Strangely, he's one of the most well-spoken characters in the entire movie, and wrote a best-selling book. And was interviewed by Geraldo. And there was talk in-story about a movie being made about him, with "Denzel" being cast to play him.
  • Discussed in 42, where General Manager Branch Rickey insists that Jackie Robinson must avoid being provoked into this trope no matter how many taunts and jeers he'll get for breaking baseball's color barrier.
    Robinson: "You want a player who doesn't have the guts to fight back?"
    Rickey: "No. I want a player who's got the guts not to fight back."
  • Heavy Duty from G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.
  • Hackman from Gamer (played by Terry Crews) a black inmate and Slayers participant who's easily the largest, most dangerous, and most sadistic character in the movie.
  • In The Color of Money, when Eddie takes Vincent and Carmen to a pool hall filled with black men, Vincent urges Carmen to return to the hotel, worried that she could get raped. Street Smart Carmen's insistence that she can take care of herself gets ignored.

    Literature 
  • Hawk in Robert B. Parker's Spenser series is this, though it is partly an intentionally cultivated image.
  • Pagan from David Gemmell's King beyond the gate. When Pagan is cornered by Joinings (Werebeasts) He single handedly kills nine before being brought down. Added to this the nearest kill count by one person is three
  • Tom Robinson in To Kill a Mockingbird is accused of this. Of course, it's wrong.
  • In the Alamut Hassan, leader of the Ismailis, had a personal regiment of African eunuchs of massive stature bearing maces. They stood within the fortress never saying a word just glaring at people. One thinks Hassan deliberately put them at the top of his extremely tall stairway just to give people a scare.
  • Subverted in Richard Wright's short story Big Black Good Man, which turns out to be Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
    • Played closer to straight in Native Son by the same author.
  • Literally with Nyarlathotep, though for rather unusual reasons.
  • The Wheel of Time plays with this. Most dark-skinned characters (Juilin, Siuan, Leane, and many, many others) aren't villains, with the exception of the sadist Forsaken Semirhage, the resident Scary Black Woman.
  • Antar, The Hero of the Arabian epic The Epic of Antar is a descendant of African slaves who becomes a great desert warrior in Arabia.
  • Sagramore in The Warlord Chronicles is a Scary Black Man... In 5th Century Britain. He's actually a friendly, if taciturn, man and a good friend — but he's also a terrifyingly effective warrior, and because of his dark skin his Saxon enemies believe him to be a demon.
  • Detective Arthur Brown plays on this image in the 87th Precinct novels; using it to his advantage. In one of the movies based on the books, he was played by Ving Rhames.
  • One of them wants to mug Ephraim Kishon when he's in NYC. Kishon manages to confuse him by speaking Hebrew and acting clueless about the mugger's intention. When he tells his relative how he was not-mugged and what he did she is shocked.
  • The Dresden Files: Sanya is a Twofer Token Minority of this and Husky Russkie. He stops being scary when you get to know him, particularly because he's a modern day Paladin. The real deal, with a holy sword and everything.
    • At one point he deliberately takes advantage of both tropes to get a captured mook to talk by threatening (in an exaggerated Russian accent) to break him in half and throw him into an incinerator.
  • Thresh from The Hunger Games. Katniss believes that he would be a nice guy if left to his own devices. Under the circumstances, however, he's not above smashing people's heads in with rocks.
  • Daib in Who Fears Death.
  • Alamut: The bodyguards of ibn Sabbah are huge, strong, black, and frightening.

    Live Action TV 
  • Michonne, from The Walking Dead, would be a female example.
  • Played straight, then subverted in the "Cabin" episode of New Girl, in which Schmidt and Winston go to a bad neighborhood, ostensibly to buy some crack cocaine in order for Winston to embrace his blackness. Winston is seeing just how far Schmidt will go in making a fool of himself, when the Scary Black Man gets into their car, freaking them out. Bath parties think the other is trying to mug them, but Scary Black Man finds out Schmidt and Winston are looking for crack, Schmidt and Winston find out Scary Black Man was just offering them help, and they part amicably.
  • Teal'c, from Stargate SG-1. Lampshaded when SG-1 gets sent to a prison planet, where O'Neill tells him to, "Look scary and take point."
  • Worf, from Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine; beneath the fairly dark makeup is black Michael Dorn.
  • In the live action You're Under Arrest!, American football player turned pro kickboxer Bob Sapp played a villain. At 6'5" and 375 lbs of muscle, the fact that he was black was a relatively minor component of his scariness. The fact that he was in a Japanese show made him look like a bleeding kaiju in comparison.
  • Tyr, from Andromeda.
  • Charles Gunn on Angel. The leader of a Vampire-killing street gang, who turns into someone even his Vampire boss considers "The Big Guy".
    • Principal Wood from Buffy the Vampire Slayer was this as well. (The Buffyverse is enough of a World of Badass that any black character is likely to be open to this interpretation.) He was introduced in such a way as to make him seem to Buffy (and the audience) as if he were a scary enemy in league with the Big Bad who is operating under the Hellmouth this year. Then, his real agenda is revealed and he turns out to be a highly skilled vampire fighter much like Gunn on the spinoff. But even so, the idea that he was an enemy was Double Subverted in that he really does have it in for one member of Buffy's team, namely, he considers Spike his sworn enemy and tries to kill him.
  • Toberman, the villains' servant/henchmen in "Tomb of the Cybermen" and one of the few black characters in the classic Doctor Who series.
  • The Haitian on Heroes.
    • May be a subversion given that he is actually a fairly decent guy... it's just that he has the bad tendency of taking orders from all the wrong people. Though as ALL said people have been white and he's been shown as being a good man when NOT following orders from them... well, it opens up a whole bunch of OTHER Unfortunate Implications.
    • In Volume 3, a black villain named Knox inadvertently takes advantage of this trope seeing as how fear powers his Super Strength. Unfortunate Implications, away!
    • Later, we are introduced to the Haitian's brother, who is quite possibly the scariest black guy yet to be seen on the show. Although his power is invulnerability, it is off for most of his appearance. Just to give you an idea of how scary he is.
    • Before the writers got lazy and started playing the Unfortunate Implications completely straight, they subverted this trope with DL Hawkins. His white, blonde wife Niki first describes him to the police as a terrifying, unstoppable felon who's committed a string of brutal murders. When DL actually shows up, he turns out to be a devoted, cuddly father who was actually framed for the killings - by his frail-looking white wife, no less, whose psychopathic, super-strong alter ego actually committed them.
    • We also have a scary black man in the GN's in the shape of Marcus. He may not LOOK scary but he's a warped as hell serial killer who takes great joy in bending and breaking peoples bodies.
  • Hawk, from Spencer For Hire.
  • Vaughan Rice, from Ultraviolet.
  • The Knights Of Prosperity lampshades this, as Rockefeller is explicitly referred to at one point as "our big scary black dude", a label he has no problem with.
  • Bounty hunter Jubal Early from Firefly.
    • He's actually quite slightly built, but makes up for it with the scary.
    • There's also the Operative, who is a very chilling and calm kind of scary; and Shepherd Book, whom Zoe refers to as "the scary preacher" in Better Days when he beheads a killer attack robot with a single swing of a sword.
    • Zoe herself is a Scary Black Woman.
  • Scrubs, besides being the Trope Namer, has played with this trope several times:
    • Turk and JD frequently play "World's Tallest Doctor" by having JD stand on Turk's shoulders. They once did it the other way round. People ran.
    • Hooch is a bit of a subversion, since he is not physically imposing at all: short and kind of skinny. He only fits the trope because, well, Hooch is crazy.
    • Leonard the security guard is a more typical example, especially since he has a hook for a hand.
    • One episode featured an old friend of Dr. Cox, who used this trope to put a quick end to unwanted conversations.
  • Mr. Eko on LOST , played by the aforementioned Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje. Especially in his first few appearances, where he spends most of his time not talking, looking mean and beating people with what Charlie sarcastically calls his "Jesus stick".
    • Abaddon from the same show. Not much physically imposing yet he remained a tall, scary The Men in Black.
  • Simon Adebisi from Oz, another role played by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje. For most of the show's run, Adebisi is the official "toughest guy in Oz," which is impressive given that most of prisoners on the show are Axe Crazy and have an average life expectancy of about three episodes.
  • Law & Order: Criminal Intent lampshades this in one episode where the Captain comments that they can't arrest a suspect for being a "large, scary black man".
  • Chris's father from Everybody Hates Chris (played by the aforementioned Terry Crews) is a Scary Black Man. Chris's mother is even scarier.
  • Wyatt, the new executive agent in Prison Break.
  • B. A. Baracus from The A-Team. He's played by Mr. T. Most goons seem suitably cowed when he gets in their face.
  • Chuck has several:
    • Big Mike, the Buy More manager, is rarely seen actually being scary (his usual laziness is punctuated with occasional angry yelling) but all the employees are terrified of him.
    • Michael Strahan had a cameo as an employee from a rival store who terrorizes Morgan until Anna beats Michael Strahan's character up. ("Chuck vs. the Break-Up")
    • Michael Clarke Duncan appeared as a villain and even said to Chuck, "I assume you find me imposing. I was going for imposing." ("Chuck vs. the First Date")
    • Subverted when Jerome "The Bus" Bettis guest-starred and played an imposing and muscular ex-con friend and football teammate of Big Mike's who needed a job and briefly worked at the Buy More. The crew assumed he was a former gangster or other violent criminal. Turns out he was actually convicted of bank fraud.
  • Uriel on Supernatural is a scary, black, evil angel. He does not like humanity and he has threatened to go against his orders and destroy the Winchesters as well as an innocent town. He has also decided to side with Lucifer and was subverting his garrison one angel at a time, and killing the ones who said no.
    • Raphael, who knocked out the entire eastern seaboard just by touching down to Earth. Although in a later appearance he was wearing a black woman, instead. Presumably they were relatives.
    • Also before them there was Gordon Walker, the first hunter to turn on the boys. Big, strong, black guy in love with violence. He was creepy in his first appearance, insane in his second, and turned into an especially scary vampire in his third. Until then he was one of the best vampire hunters alive. He is also kind of psycho, and gets fixated on the idea that Sam is the Antichrist.
      • His opposite number was introduced in season three, the FBI agent assigned to the Winchester case, Victor Hendriksen, a youngish black man with a bit of a Cowboy Cop attitude and a slight obsession with bagging Dean. He is the least scary of the four black recurring characters. The others were Black Dude Dies First or other one-offs.
    • There was also Rufus Turner, old semi-Retired Badass and Bobby's former partner. Fairly scary, but on 'is a hunter and 'is a hard-assed old man' lines, more than Scary Black Man ones.
  • Colonel Ike Dubaku of Sangala from 24.
    • Even more so, his boss, General Benjamin Juma, played by the above-mentioned Tony Todd.
  • Onyx Blackman in Strangers with Candy, played by Greg Hollimon. Also a Bald Black Leader Guy. Paul Dinello describes suddenly being nose to nose with Greg after a game where they all had their eyes shut.
  • In an episode of Salute Your Shorts, counselor Ug goes looking for his runaway campers at a movie theater. Since he does not plan to see a movie, he senses his presence to be awkward and tries talking friendly to the large black usher/bouncer. The usher remains silent and stone-faced. To be fair, the white woman at the refreshment stand treats Ug just the same, even helping the usher to throw Ug out the door when he crosses the line. But only when the camera's on the usher do we hear a beast growling in the movie.
  • Charlie Murphy!
  • Some Toku shows in the '70s and '80s such as Warrior of Love Rainbowman and Denshi Sentai Denziman had Scary Black Men as villains. In Rainbowman's case, the first Scary Black Man is drugged and made to fight the title hero. He speaks perfect Japanese before he is drugged, then afterward he does nothing but grunt. The drug wears off and he is vaporized much to the horror of Takeshi Yamato/Rainbowman.
  • Kamen Rider Faiz has the Crocodile Orphnoch, aka Mr. J. Like above, he only grunts and like the former, had Unfortunate Implications.
  • Charlie and Alan in Two and a Half Men encountered one as a bouncer.
  • In the world of Friends, it seems the entire reason for black men to exist is to stare at people threateningly. Most of the women are like that too.
  • Chi McBride as Corrupt Corporate Executive Vogler in the first season of House serves as this. Averted later in his main role on Pushing Daisies as a private detective who's more bluster than business. Also, he quite enjoys knitting.
  • The Wire has a number of scary black men - Wee Bey, Chris and Marlo are the first to spring to mind.
    • One character who witnesses a murder describes the man as big and black with a big gun. The cops then say BNBG which means "Big Negro, Big Gun."
      • He happens to be referring to Omar Little, who is so scary that some drug dealers throw their stash to him as he takes a smoke outside, while unarmed and wearing pajamas.
    • There are a multitude of other examples, but Brother Muzone, an intelligent, soft-spoken contract killer who invents his own bullets and calmly faces down multiple gangsters comes to mind.
  • James Doakes from Dexter. SURPRISE, MOTHERFUCKER.
  • The Ellison Terminator on The Sarah Connor Chronicles was one of these. For somewhere around ten seconds or so. Of course, being confronted by your exact double asking "Are you you?" as it is about to Kill and Replace you is Nightmare Fuel alone.
    • Queeg, the Terminator who commanded a submarine became pretty damn scary once he refused the humans' attempts to override his orders. His name was possibly derived from...
  • Queeg 500 on Red Dwarf, the back-up computer who seizes control of the ship. Just one look at him tells you that he's not going to put up with any of your crap.
  • Although he doesn't usually play the part, Commander Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks) was usually more inclined to talk issues out. He wouldn't hesitate to use intimidation to convince people that they would rather talk.
  • The show Martin had a recurring character called "Angry Man" who would always appear and tell people "Man sit-cho ass down!!"
  • In The Office, Stanley is grumpy and rude, but not very intimidating at all. This doesn't stop Michael and Ryan from being terrified of him.
    • Darryl is at least intimidating enough to shut Dwight up, no easy task.
  • Office rules can be enforced by Terry Tate, Office Linebacker! Sure, he jacks a few fools, but sometimes it's all about the intimidation. The mind games!
  • Maxtor, the Proud Warrior Race Guy against whom contestants have to compete in the Spanish show El gran juego de la oca. Upon making his entrance, he immediately proceeds to beat the crap out of anyone standing within ten feet of him.
  • "Mad Dog" from one ep of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air managed to inspire three Oh Crap reactions from Will & Carlton while he was asleep. The first upon hearing his scary name, the second upon coming out of the closet half-naked and seeing his huge 300-lb frame, the third was when they tried to grab their clothes from under him and stirred him awake.
  • The Castle episode "Law and Murder" had a juror suspected of killing another juror specifically refer to a character as a big Scary Black Man.
    • Vulcan Simmons, a suspect in Beckett's mother's murder, is definitely one of these, being a sociopathically creepy black man.
  • Lamorena in the Queen of Swords episode "The Hanged Man".
  • You can't have a party without ''ICE''!
  • The title character on Luther, a genius police detective, has a habit of smashing doors and windows to pieces when he gets upset and is occasionally shown picking people up bodily by their necks.
  • Helios from Merlin, a warlord that Morgana hires in order to take down Camelot. Subverted much earlier in the show with Aglain, who was a (literal) Magical Negro before falling to the Black Dude Dies First trope.
  • X, Mulder's Mysterious Informant from The X-Files.
  • Played around with, like all race tropes, on Key And Peele. Particularly notable, however, is Luther, the tall, bug-eyed, barely contained "anger translator" for Barack Obama (in an Affectionate Parody of Obama's cool-as-a-cucumber style).
  • 30 Rock plays with the trope with Dot Com and Grizz, Tracy Jordan's two friends/bodyguards/entourage. They are both gigantic, and are more than capable of looking extremely scary...but are really just huge teddy bearssmart ones, too. Dot Com is actually The Smart Guy—he is a graduate of Wesleyan and has a way of being the smartest guy in the room that Jack Donaghy finds "off-putting".
  • Huell, Saul's taciturn bodyguard in Breaking Bad. Played with in that given his rotund figure, bizarrely-shaped head, frequent bathroom trips and general apathy to whatever insanity is going on around him, he's often more comical than intimidating.
  • Dr. Deaton, Scott's boss in Teen Wolf is intimidating enough to get the alpha to back down. Normally, though, he's not remotely scary.
    Dr. Deaton: Let me make myself clear. We. Are. Closed.
    • Boyd, at first. The whole barely-ever-speaks thing he sometimes has going on doesn't help much, either. Of course, then he got completely skewered by Allison...
  • On a famous SNL sketch, Richard Pryor turned into one after a barrage of racist epithets from Chevy Chase.
    Chevy: Mr. Wilson, you'll be the highest paid janitor in America. Just, don't hurt me, please.
  • Some might argue, Court Officer Petri Hawkins-Byrd on Judge Judy. Nobody messes with the Byrd.
  • Jeremiah Bello, the Nigerian gangster from Graceland.

    Music 

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Professional Wrestling's best example: New Jack: he's a former bounty hunter with four confirmed kills, oh and that isn't Kayfabe. In an interview he says he's glad he wasn't victim to a botch, he tried pushing him off the thirty foot ledge. And that his favorite match was the Mass Transit incident where a 17 year old was almost killed. He also had a big scar on the top of his head, which invoked memories of a certain someone.
  • Bad News Brown a.k.a. Bad News Allen. Real name Allen Coage, 1976 Olympic bronze medalist in judo, generally considered one of the most legitimate badasses in pro wreslting history...the best story about him involves the time his friend and fellow badass The Dynamite Kid got jumped by the Rougeau Brothers backstage at a WWF event in the 80's...after jumping Dynamite with brass knuckles, Bad News saw what was happening and came after them...with a 2-on-1 advantage and brass knuckles, they were terrified to mix it up with Bad News and ran away...
  • Former WWECW wrestler Big Daddy V is 500 pounds(!) of half-Scary Black Man, half-The Giant; of course, the one thing (well, two things... possibly three) that's even scarier than his power and his quietness are his gargantuan man-boobs. I tells ya, those things are just creepy... Nelson Frazier, the man behind V, started with WWE in 1993, first as the rapper Mabel, then as the aristocrat King Mabel, then the gothic Viscera, and then as the world's largest love machine. However, he has always been a scary black man, as anybody who saw him break The Undertaker's face in 95 can tell you. Though at least, in those incarnations, he had a shirt.
  • "The" Brian Kendrick had Ezekiel Jackson, a Scary Black Man, as his bodyguard. So far it has been played straight, although he was shown reading The Cat In The Hat for no apparent reason. He has also quoted Sun Tzu, so take that as it stands. Zeke made it to the ECW brand and eventually joined William Regal's "Ruthless Roundtable", where he was pushed to the point of becoming the last ECW Champion, then alternated between inactivity and mostly squashing lower-midcarders as a face, before really resurfacing on Smackdown as a member of the Corre who would routinely bodyslam and even once suplexed THE BIG SHOW.
    • And now Ezekiel Jackson has a newer, younger Expy in Dolph Ziggler and AJ Lee's associate Big E Langston, who boasts a near-800-pound deadlift. And, no, that's not Kayfabe, either. Langston was even more impressive on NXT, when he used to squash people so dominantly he decided to take up the old 5-Count Pin (of King Kong Bundy fame) gimmick for emphasis.
      • And before either of them, there was Ahmed Johnson.
  • Amazing Kong/Awesome Kong/Kharma is a Scary Black Woman.
    • Not to mention her mentor/inspiration Aja Kong, monster of Japanese women's wrestling in the 90s (as well as a brief run in the WWF, most notably Survivor Series 1995). Half-black, half-Japanese, all Badass. As her awesome theme song put it:
    God made the devil just for fun,
    When He wanted the real thing, He made Aja Kong.
    • Another Scary Black Woman of wrestling is Jazz, who wasn't much taller than most of the other wrestlers (as opposed to the last two examples), but was more muscular than the other WWE Divas and often came out of nowhere to attack people in no shape to defend themselves.
  • WWE wrestler Mark Henry is a few inches shorter and a 100 lbs lighter than Frazier, but, at 6'1", 380 lbs, he's still a whole lot of Scary Black Man, and is certainly more effective at the role. Not to mention he's the World's Strongest Man and is well aware of that fact. If he ever comes back from an injury, turns face, or turns heel, you better stay the hell out of his way for awhile. The latest and greatest example of this has been his "Hall of Pain" monster heel push in late 2011, where he has dominated several other big men, (kayfabe) broken their legs, tossed anyone of smaller status and stature around like rag dolls, effortlessly kicked out of Starship Pain, and even beaten Randy Orton clean TWICE for the World Heavyweight title. Some would say he's WWE's best booked heel in years.
    • How about Vengeance 2011, when this almost-40-year-old absolute mountain of a man became the second person ever, first in eight years, to superplex The Big Show and IMPLODE THE RING!?
  • Abdullah the Butcher, a professional wrestling pioneer. He had scars on his forehead from frequently being cut and since he hailed from Sudan, he doubled as a Foreign Wrestling Heel.
  • Courtesy of The Nexus, Michael Tarver looks scary as hell, especially when he wears his facemask. And he knocked out John Cena.
    • Speaking of NXT, Brodus Clay fit this when he was still a heel.
  • Ron Simmons. DAMN!
  • Kamala fit this trope to a tee in the late 1980s, as did Zeus.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Played for Laughs in one early Bloom County comic, where a young black boy named Alphonzo goes looking for a good costume for a black boy only for the storekeeper to tell him there aren't any. Then she suddenly recalls that actually there is one: the "Mr. T Action Kit." Bringing one out, she reads from the blurb on the back of the box: "Now you too can stomp, talk badly, and scare the hell out of white people." The costume, however proves inadequate even to this function with his white friends, much to Alphonzo's disgust.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000 features the Salamanders, a Space Marine chapter from a Death World with high UV levels, whose already dark skin eventually turns pitch black (accompanied by glowing red eyes) due to a quirk of the Marines' genetic enhancement. Their armies are famed and feared for their expertise with flamers, melta weapons, and thunder hammers, as well as the masterwork quality of their wargear in general. And ultimately the Salamanders are a subversion of this trope and a rare example of unquestionable heroism in 40k's setting of Black and Grey Morality - during the Third War for Armageddon a Salamanders commander nearly started a feud with another company of Space Marines after striking their officer for ordering a bombardment on a refugee camp under Ork attack, and while other chapters sought glory on the battlefield, the Salamanders also lent their technical expertise to repairing Armageddon's infrastructure, saving uncountable civilian lives.
  • Warmachine: Major Markus "Siege" Brisbane, Doc Killingsworth.
  • Mutant Chronicles' Big Bob Watts.
  • Panther in Exalted is large, black, angry and is remarkably good at scaring the shit out of people.

    Theatre 
  • Near the end of David Mamet's Edmond, the main character ends up being the victim of Prison Rape by one of these.
  • The titlular character in Othello is seen this way by his enemies, and (apart from the quiet part) can be played this way even.
    • By his friends too one would assume. Othello is a soldier and after all it is a soldier's job to be scary so one would assume his friends would like to think him good at his job even if Othello wasn't scary to them personally.

    Video Games 
  • The Thug enemy in Hotline Miami is a Scary Black Man: they are one of the only enemies that doesn't use a weapon, can sponge up more shots than regular mooks, and is a little bit faster than other enemies. And he happens to be scary, black, and big.
  • Mr. T must have been popular in Japan, because Final Fantasy VII's Barret is pretty much Mr. T with an Arm Cannon... which is very scary when you think about it.
  • On the other hand, Sazh from Final Fantasy XIII averts this by being sensitive and kind most of the time, although still able to kick ass.
  • Back Alley Brawler from City of Heroes... interestingly enough, he USED to be white, but was Retcon'd black when the designers realized that their NPC superhero lineup lacked a Token Minority.
  • Balrog (Mike Bison in Japan) and Birdie from Street Fighter play this straight. Dudley, on the other hand, is a subversion.
    • While ethnically Thai, Sagat looks a LOT like a SBM in some official artworks and animated adaptations. Somewhat lampshaded in the English dub of Street Fighter IV, where Isaac Singleton Jr.'s voice work sounds a LOT like the archetypical Scary Black Man.
  • Atlas from God of War II (That would be Mr. Duncan again). Also Kratos to some degree; while he is white, his voice actor is black.
  • Craig Marduk from Tekken 4/5 is a white example.
  • Kongol from The Legend of Dragoon is an example, though he really doesn't have any specific ethnicity.
  • Dr John of Gabriel Knight seems to be a subversion at first - he has the build to be a Scary Black Man, but not the personality. Until you discover he's in fact a Psycho for Hire
  • Heavy D! and Seth from The King of Fighters.
    • Both are subversions, personality wise. Heavy D! is quite amiable off-battlefield and has a cute pet cat, while Seth is also pretty calm and very firmly on the side of good.
  • Zasalamel from the most recent Soul Calibur games. The eye of solid gold and Sinister Scythe merely add to it.
  • Garcian Smith from Killer7.
  • Joker (no, not that one) in Mega Man Star Force - particularly notable since he seems to be the only character in the series to outright kill someone... albeit temporarily.
  • Dragon Age: Origins mixes it up a little with the Scary Large Ambiguously Brown Qunari Sten, who tends to speak very little and utilize a very big stick (the game lighting renders him a moderately-dark brown, though the texture maps for his skin are nearly black). If you talk to the guy who took Sten's sword with him in your party, you even get to refer to him as "my large, angry friend."
  • Potemkin from Guilty Gear is black (or at least very, very dark-skinned), enormous, and hugely strong — he sketches in his spare time, but needs special supplies, as he breaks ordinary pencils just by trying to use them, applying several tons of pressure. He's also one of nicest guys in the entire series.
    • Venom from the same series is a subversion, however he's cold, calculating and ruthless.
  • Kung Fu's "fat black man".
  • The Demoman from Team Fortress 2. Although when he's not drunk off his head and blowing people up in armed combat, he's a very nice guy who dotes on his old blind mother.
  • Averted with Valve's zombie shooter, Left 4 Dead, in which the only black character is the least assuming of the lot, being a soft-spoken, white collar whose only fame was a fanon-based love for pills... at least prior to the Sacrifice Comic, where he killed an Infected that assaulted him in the loo using a toilet paper holder. The others are, for comparison, a tall and burly Badass Biker thug, an old man who is a Badass Grandpa on account of being a War vet, and a female college student who has the advantage of being Genre Savvy. Left 4 Dead 2 plays it straight with Coach, the fat black guy who's often seen in artwork with a chainsaw, even though his disposition is very level-headed and kind.
  • Emile from Halo: Reach. Although you never see his face and it's not directly stated that he's black, you can tell from his voice and concept art that he is black. He has difficulty properly dealing with people outside of the military, and was planned to be replaced on missions against insurrectionists because the way he treated them would scare civilians. He also has a shotgun.
    • And the big honkin' knife on his pauldron.
    • And the skull he carved into his visor. Something has to be said that such a visor would be designed to withstand bullets and white-hot plasma, but he went ahead and knifed a pretty elaborate carving into it.
  • Kold from Tomb Raider: Anniversary. He's an extremely large, extremely strong black man (the chief henchman of the main villain), he speaks in a gravelly, threatening voice, and he likes to stab people with his extremely large knife.
  • Mr. Sandman from the Punch-Out!!!! series.
    • Especially in his Wii rendition, which has been compared to The Incredible Hulk.
      • He levels up in scariness in Title Defense mode where he gets pissed off at Little Mac for basking in the glory of his fans and the camera zooms in on Sandman's face. Also occurs in the in between round segments where he says something like "Did you brush your teeth, Little Mac? It's bed time!" and having a close up of his scary face.
      • You think that makes him scary? In the cinematic before his Title Defense Fight, he punches down a gym to the ground JUST because there was a poster of Little Mac on the side wall! Let me repeat: He PUNCHED a building ONCE with his BARE FISTS, and it fell TO THE GROUND! Even Hulk would be envious!
    • And of course, Iron Mike Tyson himself.
  • Sgt. Bidwell from Quake IV.
  • Father Rodin from Bayonetta. He beats up demons with his bare fists, steals their souls, and converts them into Bayonetta's weapons. Also, when given the "Platinum Ticket", he goes from scary black man to scary black celestial deity!.
  • Mad Jack from Heavy Rain. He's so scary, he has a skull in his acid bath.
  • Ganondorf, from The Legend of Zelda, is a terrifying black man. Though he's more Ambiguously Brown than anything, he certainly counts, up until he goes One-Winged Angel.note 
  • Gabriel Tosh from Starcraft II. He's a big, scary, wields a mean knife, practices voodoo, and is an experimental improved Ghost who may or may not be a Psycho Prototype. The only reason he joins Raynor is because he really hates Mengsk and the Dominion — his hatred of the Dominion is so strong it disturbs Matt Horner.
  • The James Bond game, Nightfire, has Armitage Rook, one of the Big Bad's Dragons. You can meet him at one point in the first level, to which he replies 'Not. Now.' or 'I'm busy.' Later he flies a helicopter and tries to kill you, and then ends up with a Badass Scar on his face.
  • Averted with Vulcan Raven. Even if he is technically Inuit, he looks like one and does take many of the intimidating stances of one. And yet he probably turns out to be the least crazy of all of the members of FOXHOUND.
  • James Heller of Prototype 2. A growling voice, a perpetually scowling face, a master of converting his own flesh into a potpourri of weapons, he is possibly the most dangerous black man in Manhattan.
  • Torque from The Suffering and its sequel The Suffering: The Ties That Bind is the very epitome of this trope. He is most certainly African-American (with some white mixed in). He practically never talks...except to those that he is particularly close to. Both games show that he can use weapons just fine... not to mention turn into a Homage of the Incredible Hulk and tear apart anything with his bare hands! He also suffers from some form of dementia.
  • Abobo from Double Dragon, particularly the mohawked boss version from the arcade game.
  • Meyer from The Orion Conspiracy is very much this. He is the engineer of the space station, but do not be fooled! He will cuss and insult you most of the time. He has a problem respecting authority. He also tells Devlin that he was a soldier in the Corporation War, and even as an engineer, he can take care of himself and kick a lot of ass.
  • Deus from Asura's Wrath, in a world where most other characters are lighter skinned and or asian descent. He combines with Blond Guys Are Evil.
  • The Tales Series has a few.
    • Barbatos Goetia from Tales Of Destiny 2. Brown skinned, large, and such a nasty guy that historians opted to remove him from recorded history; something he seeks to rectify when he gets revived. It's hard not to like him despite his evilness, though, largely thanks to who he's voiced by.
    • In the same series, Tales of Rebirth gives us two examples.:
    • Jiao from Tales of Xillia. He's massive compared to everyone else in the cast, and wields a similarly gigantic hammer in battle. He's not really a bad guy, though (At least not anymore), and is easily the most calm and level-headed out of the Chimeriad members.
      • In Tales of Xillia 2, an alternate version of him really emphasizes the "scary" part.
  • Ermac in Mortal Kombat 9; while his body is almost completely covered up, what little skin you can see appears to be black.
  • Chains in PAYDAY: The Heist may have his face hidden behind a mask most of the time, but when he says "GET DOWN, MOTHER FUCKER!" you know civilians will listen damn quick.
  • Epsilon, leader of the Rebellion Cadre and Big Bad of Mega Man X: Command Mission. Despite his intimidating appearance, though, he's more a Well-Intentioned Extremist who's being set up by the REAL Big Bad.
  • Inquisitor Mordecai Toth from Warhammer 40000: Dawn of War. A scary black man with a thunder hammer, a bolt pistol, and Psychic Powers. Yet he also does the one thing you would never expect an Inquisitor to do: admit he was wrong about his accusation of heresy and daemonic corruption.
  • The first Saints Row gave us the leading members of the Vice Kings, with the foremost being its leader Benjamin King, who's a Genius Bruiser with a Badass Baritone and is the man who (as he said himself) effectively turned a group of practically ineffectual bangers into one of the most powerful gangs in Stillwater. True, Warren Williams and Anthony Green are intimidating in their own right, but it's Ben King that's got both of them beat.
  • Ulysses from Fallout: New Vegas: Lonesome Road.

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • Michelle Clore's Shadow in KateModern.
  • Survival of the Fittest has a few examples from versions one and three, most notably Marcus Roddy, Darnell Butler, and Bobby Jacks. Marcus Roddy and Darnell Butler are made slightly less scary by the fact they're Gentle Giants, but Bobby Jacks is a professional boxer who has few qualms about playing the game to win, Marcus is one of the biggest students on the island during version one, and Darnell happens to be his school's most skilled fighter on top of being a star athlete, and strong enough that he is said to have once picked up a 6'11", 300 pound player on an opposing football team and slammed him to the ground.
  • There's a web meme that involves photoshopping the face of a black man into a dark area of an image where it's difficult to spot him, and captioning the image with "When you see it you'll shit bricks".
  • Deimos, one of the bouncers at the Mars club, in Broken Saints.
  • Phil from Avatar Adventures. Not actually a scary person (he is an angel after all), but he won't hesitate to kick some ass.
  • Marcus from Darwin's Soldiers fits this trope. Huge, black, muscular and can take ludicrous amounts of punishment.
  • Parodied in the Funny or Die video White Women's Workout.
  • Grue from Worm is six feet tall and obviously fit, and he's also a supervillain with darkness powers.

    Western Animation 
  • Roadblock from G.I. Joe. Also a Jive Turkey.
  • Freight from G.I. Joe Extreme .
  • Heavy Duty from G.I. Joe: Sigma 6 (played by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje in the movie).
  • Lothar from Defenders of the Earth and teenage son Lothar Jr. have the looks, but they're very much in the side of good otherwise.
  • Mister T (again) from his self-titled cartoon.
  • Air Enforcer from Skysurfer Strike Force.
  • John Henry Irons/Steel from Superman: The Animated Series. (Though he was quickly established as a Genius Bruiser, he's no less scary for it.)
  • First mate Kale (voiced by Dennis Haysbert, 24's Pres. Palmer) from DreamWorks Animation's "Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas".
  • Randy Robertson from The Spectacular Spider-Man mostly subverts the trope; he's huge, but kind and level-headed. When he's being serious, though, he's being serious.
    • A straighter example would be Tombstone. Not only is he a scary black man, but he's also an Evil Albino with shark teeth.
  • If Code Monkeys' Black Steve isn't scary, he's sure as hell insane...
  • Devil Ray from Justice League Unlimited could qualify; while he is never shown unmasked, he is voiced by Michael Beach, and he is a replacement for Black Manta, who couldn't be used due to a then-present Aquaman-related character embargo, and who also happens to be this trope in his own right. As for Devil Ray, he's actually WORSE than Black Manta, who is despicable in his own right. Easily one of the most disgusting characters on the show, he's a sadistic, bloodthirsty, remorseless mercenary who rarely kills his targets on the spot, instead preferring to let them suffer.
    • Black Manta on Young Justice also counts; once again, he's masked, but he actually manages to achieve his goal when raiding Atlantis, later filling the spot of a disgraced Ocean Master in The Light. Like his comic counterpart, he's also a ruthlessly pragmatic mercenary who doesn't really have any lines he won't cross to finish the job, in addition to having a suit of powered armor that's positively bristling with extremely powerful and dangerous weaponry.
    • Not to mention Aqulad/Kaldur'ahm, who can be very, very intimidating when he wants to. Especially when he's pretending to be evil. He's also Black Manta's sun, so it seems to run in the family.
  • Mr. Fixx, of Batman Beyond's premiere episode. Voiced, interestingly, by George Takei, who has Japanese ancestry.
  • In The Boondocks episode "A Date With The Health Inspector," Tom [DuBois] has nightmares about being accosted in prison by The Health Inspector, a massively muscled and massively well-endowed inmate voiced by (and visually based on) Terry Crews.
    • Another deliberate example would include the male half of BET's evil Henchman, Big Nigga. Then again, his fellow henchwoman is Crazy Bitch.
  • Panthro, from ThunderCats. "I'm gonna rearrange your bones for you, too!".
  • In ThunderCats (2011) being a burly Old Soldier Covered with Scars and sporting a spike-studded vest gets Panthro this reputation among his fellow ThunderCats. They are, at first, very hesitant to even speak to him.
  • Chef Hatchet from Total Drama Island.
  • The Simpsons has Drederick Tatum, Springfield's answer to Mike Tyson.
  • Parodied with Mandalay in the episode "The Incredible Mr. Brisby" of The Venture Bros.. He is a tall silent scary guy with a turban. But when Brock faced off against him, he walked away because he wasn't getting paid enough to get into a fight to the death.
  • Ebon from Static Shock is a Living Shadow with an uber-deep voice and a short temper, making him almost a literal version.
  • Pricipal Stringet from ChalkZone.


Real Men Wear PinkMasculinity TropesShirtless Captives
SamuraiAlways MaleSenior Sleep Cycle
Scarily Competent TrackerCharacters as DeviceScary Minority Suspect
Scarf of AsskickingBadassSealed Badass in a Can
Scary Amoral ReligionAdministrivia/No Real Life Examples, Please!Science Is Bad
Sassy Black WomanBlack IndexSoul Brotha
Sassy Black WomanRace TropesScary Minority Suspect
Sassy Black WomanNational Stereotyping TropesUncle Tomfoolery
Enemy Eats Your LunchImageSource/Live-Action FilmsThose Two Bad Guys
Scare QuotesWe Are Not Alone IndexScatting
Promoted FanboyVoice ActorsMetal Gear Solid 3

alternative title(s): Scary Black Woman; Scary Black Men
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