Soul Brotha

"Who is the man, that'll risk his neck for his brother man?? Shaft!! Right on."
— Lyrics from the Theme Song from Shaft.

All right! You've gotten your Ensemble Cast but something's missing. Something... funky. A character to provide kickass quotes to be tossed around the Internet. Apparently Samuel L. Jackson is interested in the project. Yes.

Enter Soul Brotha. This man is a badass. He is pure coolness. He speaks in a slang at once incomprehensible and utterly groovy, and he sho can groove. If he dies (and he probably will) it will be in the coolest way imaginable. He may or may not have an afro, but he will certainly be Black. Expect him to ask where all the white women are.

According to this trope, African-Americans are somehow inherently cooler than their Caucasian neighbors. Part of this is the fact that most American music developed in the 20th Century has roots in the African-American community: Jazz, Blues, Soul, Hip Hop, Funk, and yes, even Rock & Roll. Although the aesthetic of cool itself has had a long history worldwide, the term "cool" itself was also first used by African-Americans.

See also Black Best Friend. One of the few roles where there isn't really a such thing as "too black".

Examples

Anime and Manga

Comics

Film

Film - Animated
  • Br'er Rabbit in Coonskin. Being voiced by Philip Michael Thomas, the same actor who would later play Rico in Miami Vice sure helps.
  • Morkupine Porcupine in Chicken Little.

Literature

Live Action Television

  • Gunn in Angel.
  • Detective Rico Tubbs of the Miami Vice Squad.
  • Lead in Sapphire And Steel.
  • Linc Hayes in The Mod Squad.
  • Lampshaded and subverted with Turk in Scrubs.
  • Original Cindy in Dark Angel.
  • Linc in The Mod Squad.
  • Mr T in The A-Team. Because, well, DUH.
  • Power Rangers uses it occasionally, including Zack in the original Mighty Morphin' team and Will in Operation Overdrive.
  • Det. Neal Washington in Hill Street Blues.
  • Garth Marenghis Darkplace pokes fun at the racism inherent in this trope via copious amounts of Stylistic Suck - one main character is (from the dialogue) clearly supposed to be written as one of these and even gets a rap verse in someone's song, but Garth Marenghi cast his own publisher in the role, apparently assuming that because he is black he'd be able to pull it off. The fact that he is extremely uncool in appearance, voice and mannerisms, and is easily the worst actor in the entire cast, significantly diminishes the effect.

Professional Wrestling

  • Back in the '70s,"The Soulman" Rocky Johnson was the very embodiment of this trope. He passed along a generous quantity of his coolness to his son — a guy you might know as The Rock.
  • Indy wrestler Human Tornado is this trope.
  • The Junkyard Dog, who was the first black wrestler to be the top star in a promotion when he worked for "Cowboy" Bill Watts' Mid-South Wrestling in the early 1980s.

Real Life
  • Muhammad Ali: to the point that he is the self-described "greatest". Are you gonna argue with that?
  • James Brown: Cool singer, cool dancer, many catchy one-liners, had his entire band under his tight control, manages to get everybody into the groove and says it loud that he is "black and he's proud!" He even referred to himself as "Soul Brother Number One."
  • From the late 1960s on Johnny Guitar Watson started becoming this trope by wearing Cool Shades, dreads, talking more jive-like while still playing like a "real mother for ya!"
  • Former West Indies cricketer and commentator Michael Holding, especially as impersonated in the Twelfth Man series. ("The Aussies love listening to me, mahn. I sound so cool.")
    • So cool is he, in fact, that he even managed to live down the time a commentator said "The Batsman's Holding, the Bowler's Willey".
  • Snoop Dogg .
  • Nigerian musician and political activist Fela Kuti was also very much cooler than cool. Beaten up by government police, jailed several times, but still standing up against them while making groovy tunes.

Video Game

Theatre

  • In the musical Passing Strange, there actually is a song named "Soul Brother", in which the young, middle-class Youth starts a punk rock band with his friends. They sing lines such as "My mother stands in doorways beggin' me to conform/Be a good, football playin' snazzy-dressing brother/so the sisters can be able/ to tell you to from the others" and "So Roots blew your MIND?! I learned that shit in third grade...in Ms Madeira's class".

Webcomics

Web Series

Western Animation

  • Jazz and Blaster in the original The Transformers cartoon were the two Autobots most into Earth music and culture. Naturally, they both were voiced by black actors (trivia: in Jazz's case, by awesome character actor Scatman Crothers). In the IDW comic series, where the Autobots are shown using holographic avatars, that used by Jazz is, naturally, a black man.
  • Frozone in The Incredibles. When he makes his first appearance in his street clothes when he enters the Parr family residence, "cool" is the first thing that comes to your mind, which is appropriate, given his ice powers. Being voiced by Samuel L. Jackson may have something to do with that. And he has 'Fro in his name. All together now: "Where is my super-suit?"
  • Spoofed with URL, the robot cop occasionally seen on Futurama along with his Fry-soundalike partner Smitty, who talks like one.
  • Frylock, of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, has aspects of this. In other ways, however, he is a huge nerd.
    • Boxy Brown is this trope combined with Scary Black Man. Of course, he's just a box.
    Boxy Brown: I'm just a what, bitch?!
    Boxy Brown: Hahahaha, yeeeaaaah!
  • Scat Cat in The Aristocats. Voiced by the above-mentioned Scatman Crothers.
  • Slick Possum from Blinky Bill.
  • Bobby Proud on The Proud Family is a cross between this and Disco Dan.
  • Barry the Bear from The Angry Beavers. He even tells a story in "Pass it On" that's a Blaxploitation Parody.
  • Jerome the bartender in Family Guy.