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Bald, Black Leader Guy

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"Why is it that when a black man shaves his head he looks like a super hero, but when a white man does it he looks like a serial killer?"

In a show that deals with the police, military, or some other armed force of peacekeeping, there's a very good chance that The Leader of the outfit — or at least the one everybody respects — will be a bald black man. Apparently, there is something about being both bald and black which makes a leader popular enough to be appointed, and that something doesn't work when you only have one of the two. It might be that the image invokes strong masculinity, a no-nonsense "get it done" attitude that lends itself well to the setting. This can also apply to leaders of other sorts of groups as well, as long as those groups are "good."

Possibly a form of a Token Minority, if he's the only person of color present. The writers might be hoping to avoid the usual problems of tokenism by making the one black character someone in a position of authority and respect who's essential to the plot every week, but the biggest drawback is that he still isn't the lead; it's not his story being told and there's no guarantee that he will grow and evolve as a character over the course of the series. Of course there are exceptions, with Star Trek: Deep Space Nine standing out by making the Bald Black Leader Guy also the lead role.


See also Bald of Awesome. His (usually) significantly less bald Distaff Counterpart is the Black Boss Lady. May overlap with Scary Black Man if he's also intimidating. There is also the optional BBBBB (Ball-Busting Bald Black Boss.) Many examples of this primarily televisual archetype may or may not qualify for all 5 'B' points - but can still embody many of them. Before adding examples, please make sure the character is actually bald when you post him. The buzz cut is quite popular among black men and is not the same thing as having no hair at all, and thus Barack Obama as U.S. President (for example) would not count. There's a lot of space between "bald" and "afro".



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Joker in AKIRA is bald, black, huge, and the leader of the motorcycle gang known as The Clowns. It's not exactly a democracy, but it still works.
  • Dutch in Black Lagoon. Also a Scary Black Man.
  • Basque Grand of Fullmetal Alchemist. He's not the leader of the country, but he is a high-ranking officer (a Brigadier-General at the time of his death) and during his time as a Colonel Badass was Roy Mustang's immediate superior during the Ishvalan Civil War, although the "black" part is debatable.
  • Lordgenome from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, although he leans a little closer to Ambiguously Brown and started out white and blond.
  • Egil is tall, bald, black and has a goatee. He's one of Kirito's trusted friends while trapped in Sword Art Online, and fights as well as he looks with a large battleaxe. In real-life, he owns a bar. Subverted though, he has the leadership qualities, as seen in Progressive/Episode 2, but not seen nor mentioned to lead a party.

    Card Games 
  • Teferi, from Magic: The Gathering. His baldness only becomes clear during Time Spiral; previously, his hairstyle was unknown due to his Nice Hat.

    Comic Books 

    Films — Animation 
  • The government agent Cobra Bubbles in Lilo & Stitch. Lampshaded near the end of the movie, when the Grand Councilwoman reminisces about a past meeting and comments, "You had hair then."

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Kenneth (played by Ving Rhames) in the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead (2004) is one of the main characters in a large cast and, being a police officer and former Marine, as well as one of the few calm and reasonable people in the mall, assumes something akin to a leadership position with in the group.
  • Seen in The Fifth Element, where the President of the Federated Territories is both bald and black (played by former wrestler Tom 'Tiny' Lister).
  • Shade, the squad leader from Resident Evil.
  • Michael Clarke Duncan does a lot of this.
  • Almost any time Samuel L. Jackson is in anything. (Except Pulp Fiction, in which he has glorious hair, and the trope is instead covered by Ving Rhames as Marsellus Wallace.)
    • Mace Windu in the Star Wars prequels was the leader of the Jedi Council (while Yoda was the Grand Master of the Jedi Order) until he stepped down to concentrate on kicking ass in the Clone Wars.
    • His recurring portrayal of S.H.I.E.L.D. chief Nick Fury in the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, most notably The Avengers.
  • Laurence Fishburne as Morpheus in The Matrix. (most of his other roles have him with a buzz cut)
  • In Land of the Dead, a big, bald, black zombie leads the other zombies to march on Fiddler's Green.
  • The trope is briefly discussed in Facing the Giants when the token minority teacher suggests that the coach may be getting hair plugs since the only white guy who is bald and looks cool is Kojak.
  • Avery Brooks in American History X. Yes, there's a theme going here.
  • USS Kelvin's commander, Captain Robau in Star Trek (2009). His ethnicity isn't given in the movie (the actor is Faran Tahir, a Pakistani-American). Word of God has it that Robau was born in Cuba. Notable in that the character appears for less than 10 minutes and speaks maybe two paragraphs of dialogue, and yet is a full-fledged Memetic Badass.
  • Dillon in Alien³. Granted, he's merely a leader of a small group of all-male convicts turned religious zealots, (and they all shave their heads to avoid problems with parasites), but still.
  • Louis Gosset, Jr. as President Gerald Fitzhugh in Left Behind: World At War, and as his military roles in An Officer and a Gentleman and the entire Iron Eagle franchise.
  • Deadshot, played by Will Smith, in Suicide Squad (2016).
  • In the film series of The Hunger Games, more specifically Mockingjay, Commander Boggs is portrayed this way as the second-in-command with the "District 13" rebels. Katniss comes to genuinely trust him and see him as a friend. There is actually evidence — he's one of the ones to figure out — that like several other characters, District 13's President Alma Coin wanted him and the rest of the "Star Squad" out of the picture, being popular figures she couldn't expect to reliably side with her... which in turn suggests that Coin placing him where she did was out of fear if Boggs lived through the last stages of the war, he'd become a peacetime case of this.
  • Supervising Marshal John Ringer, played by LaMont Garrett, is the black bald leader of an elite U.S. Marshal team, escorting an extremely high-risk prisoner back to the U.S. in Primal. He has a 'take no shit' attitude and immediately clashes with Great White Hunter Frank Walsh; a civilian who refuses to respect his authority.

  • Isaac Asimov and Janet Asimov's The Norby Chronicles: Admiral Boris Yobo is head of Space Command, which puts him in charge of Space Academy, where Space Cadet Jeff Wells is in training. Initially it appeared that Fargo had left the service, but the first book reveals that he'd actually become a secret agent working with Yobo to discover the secret identity of the first book's villain. So aside from being the highest-ranked person that we meet in the Solar Federation, he takes a personal interest in the Wells family and is directly responsible for Jeff having enough credits to purchase Norby in the first place. The novels tend to describe him as the descendant of African kings, emphasizing his skin-tone and leadership skills at the same time. His baldness is emphasized in Norby and the Court Jester because the planet Izz insists on everyone wearing braids, and since his natural baldness prevents him from having any other hair, he has to grow a mustache and braid that instead.
  • Spaceforce series: Spaceforce's Commander Tobias Judd

    Live-Action TV 
  • Principal Robin Wood in the final season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Also, when he leads a Slayer squad in Cleveland.
  • Angel:
    • Gunn, at least in his first few appearances.
    • At Angel Investigations he's more like "Bald Black Big Guy". Subverted when he grows his hair out in the fifth season.
      Gunn: Heh, what'd you think, I was Prematurely Bald? [beat] I wasn't.
    • He becomes one again in the comic-book continuation, After the Fall. Albeit an evil, vampire version.
  • Dr. Alan Deaton, on MTV's Teen Wolf. He helps the main characters out all the time, comes up with answers and/or plans, and always knows what to do. He is just one badass dude.
  • Walter Steele of Arrow is a secondary character, but the CEO of Queen Industries. (Worth noting is that his actor played Shade in Resident Evil, mentioned above.)
  • Aglaine the Druid Leader in Merlin though he was killed off pretty quickly. Helios was a villainous example.
  • Uncle Phil from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. In the second half of the show, he's a district judge. Also, in the final season, the Republican Party recruits him to run for another political position, though he decides to drop out of the election. Besides these, Uncle Phil is definitely a strong leader within his family and becomes Will's father figure.
  • Robert Sullivan from Station 19. Brought in a Captain of the station house at the beginning of Season Two, he was then promoted to Battalion Chief in Season Three.
  • Avery Brooks as Hawk in Spenser For Hire, from 1985 to 1988, and the spin-off A Man Called Hawk, in 1989.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine had Captain Sisko, also played by Avery Brooks, be clean-shaven with a full head of hair to avoid comparisons to Hawk. In the Season 3 premiere "The Search, Part 1" he'd grown back the goatee and had shaved his head in the Season 4 premiere "The Way of the Warrior" once there was a noticeable characterization difference between Sisko and Hawk. (Mainly, Spenser had a series of post-script movies, so Brooks was playing Hawk again; he kept his Hawk look in DS9.)
  • The President of Great Britain in a Doctor Who Parallel Universe.
  • TJ, the Red Ranger during the second half of Power Rangers Turbo. Also, more in the spirit of the trope, Colonel Mason Truman in Power Rangers RPM.
  • In addition to being a surrogate dad, Sesame Street's Gordon will step up during a crisis.
  • President Wayne Palmer in 24.
  • Many Jaffa leaders from Stargate SG-1, exemplified by Teal'c, who was bald until Season 8, when he grew hair.
  • Onyx Blackman in Strangers with Candy is a Bald Black Despotic Tyrant Guy.
  • Ted Shaw, commander of the Antares in Defying Gravity
  • Principal Steven Harper in Boston Public.
  • Admiral Fitzwallace, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on The West Wing.
  • Sergeant Major Jonas Blaine, field commander of The Unit, is forced to go bald in a few episodes.
  • The President in Heroes is black and bald. He is played by Michael Dorn.
  • Special Agent/Colonel Broyles in Fringe
  • In The Adventures of Sinbad's second season, Rongar, who had been bald and black all along, was revealed to be a prince (technically, exiled ex-prince) in his home realm.
  • Cedric Daniels and Major "Bunny" Colvin (and later, Ellis Carver) on The Wire.
  • Captain Roy Montgomery from Castle is this and very much a Benevolent Boss. Also, very awesome.
  • Oenomaus/Doctore in Spartacus: Blood and Sand.
  • In Chuck, "Big Mike" Tucker is the bald, black manager of the Buy More—though he's really more of a figurehead as he's about as interested in doing any work as the rest of the staff (i.e. not very) and so it's Chuck who ends up doing most of the actual leading, in between saving the world, or the series of evil assistant managers.
  • In season 5 of Criminal Minds, when Hotch temporarily steps down, Morgan was briefly the team leader because The Reaper was back to hunt down Hotch.
  • Lt. Malcom Barker in season 4 of New York Undercover.
  • Captain Marcus Chaplin, commanding officer of the United States Ballistic Missile submarine Colorado in Last Resort.
  • A man whose alias is known as Peter Collier on Person of Interest acts as the leader of "Vigilance", a group of organized anti-Government-surveillance Well Intentioned Extremists.
  • Crisis has FBI Director Olsen, played by Michael Beach.
  • Played with on Brooklyn Nine-Nine:
    • Captain Holt is not quite bald, but he has a very short-buzz cut and possesses the standard personality of this character (authoritative, serious, commanding, etc.) By season three, he practically is bald.
    • On the other hand, Sgt. Jeffords (Terry Crews) has been bald from the start, but is less imposing and authoritative personality-wise and is a bit more neurotic than the standard example of the trope.
  • Monday Mornings: Dr. Jorge Villanueva, mostly known by his InSeries Nicknames "El Gato" or "Big Cat", is a version of this trope from a Medical Drama. He's a legendary trauma surgeon and an excellent diagnostician. He's really a leader of his team and other younger doctors who look up to him. He's sometimes downright fatherly and Papa Bear on people who would mess with his "cubs".
  • Captain Trunk, Sledge Hammer!'s long suffering boss, is something of an aversion, ticking all the boxes except for his moderate Afro. Even so, Sledge Hammer is the sort of subordinate who could cause stress-alopecia in anyone...
  • Total Recall 2070: Martin Ehrenthal, both bald and black, is the head of the local division of the CPB. He's an incredibly competent administrator, not afraid to stand up to any Consortium representative or someone from the Assessor's Office trying to browbeat him or his agents to back away from their investigations.
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Alphonso "Mack" Mackenzie (whose comic counterpart is white) briefly takes charge of S.H.I.E.L.D. midway through season three, and manages to take out a major Hydra asset. Mack later takes the role as Director for good at the end of season five, as Coulson is terminally ill and Daisy (his handpicked replacement) doesn't consider herself worthy of the position. Mack is consistently a firm but fair leader, although he struggles under The Chains of Commanding at times.
  • Corporate: Lance Reddick plays Christian Deville, the CEO of the Evil Corp and a thoroughly Bad Boss.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • In the 1970s and 80s, the bald, black "Evil Genius" Lightning Hernandez was the unofficial leader of all the rudos on the Dominican Republic television program "International Wrestling". For the record, the unofficial leader of the tecnicos, Jack Veneno, was also black but not bald, making this overlap with Bald of Evil.
  • Ahmed Johnson
  • Former Interim Raw GM Jonathan Coachman
  • Former Smackdown GM Teddy Long
  • The Rock after his 2011 return. The supposed leader of "Team Bring It".

    Tabletop Games 
  • Tu'Shan, Chapter Master of Warhammer 40,000's Salamanders Space Marine chapter. Very bald and very, very black.
    • Vulkan, the Primarch of the Salamanders is black, bald and very awesome to boot.
    • Ahzek Ahriman, Arch-Sorcerer of the Thousand Sons, is a rarer evil example of this trope, judging by his depiction in the Fury of Magnus book.
  • Pathfinder has the Supreme Elect of Andoran, Codwin I of Augustana, who fits this description.

    Video Games 
  • Jameson Locke is the leader of Team Osiris in Halo 5: Guardians.
  • Casper Orillion from Freelancer. He founded The Order, the so-called "terrorist group" that ultimately saved all humans in the Sirius Sector from a certain Nomad cleansing.
  • In the Xenosaga games, "Representative Helmer", the leader of Second Miltia, is both bald and black.
  • "Sarge" Redford in Battlefield: Bad Company has an unknown level of baldness (He wears a hat, but some hair can be seen otherwise, so he's at least not entirely bald for sure), but leads the rather bumbling squad, sometimes serving as the Only Sane Man alongside Marlowe. Earlier teasers showed him as bald, though.
  • Roland in the Borderlands games. By Borderlands 2, he became a leader to the the Crimson Raiders resistance.
  • The sort-of-leader of the IRIS rebel network in Beyond Good & Evil, Hahn, is an extremely large, sort-of-black and sort-of-Asian man. (The actual leader, Da Chief, is...elsewhere.)
  • Dead Space has Zach Hammond, security officer and leader of your party. Hints are dropped that he might know more than he lets on...until it's shown that it's Kendra who's actually the Mole. Hammond is just as much in the dark as you are.
  • Second Sight gives us one of these as the head of the paramilitary organization you're allied with.
  • Possibly subverted by DHS agent Brad in Dead Rising. He doesn't seem to have any authority over anyone besides his partner Jessie, and while he may be the one allegedly supplying food and essentials to the growing survivor population in the sealed Security Room, he doesn't hold a candle to Frank, who, blessed with incredible charisma, can lead large posses of frightened people through throngs of the undead.
  • Michael Chain of F-Zero-GX, leader of the Bloody Chain gang.
  • Prophet of Crysis is your squad leader, spending the entire game giving out orders using the radio.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic, the player meets the Hidden Bek gang on Taris, led by one of these. The player and the Bald Black Leader Guy (depending on player choices) can end up helping each other out for mutual benefit. It counts because the Beks are more about security and brotherhood, while their rivals are just trying to take over the under-city.
    • Also, Jolee Bindo. Not quite the leader, but as the oldest member of your party, he offers a lot of guidance and still kicks ass.
  • In Overwatch Doomfist is a leader of the terrorist group Talon. He is not only bald and charismatic, but is a dedicated brawler.
  • Chris Jacobs from Mercenaries.
  • In MapleStory, there's Icybyrd Slim, mayor of New Leaf City. While he doesn't seem to be much of an Action Politician, he does seem to be the brains behind every project in the city, which is populated by Bounty Hunters, Adventurer Archaeologists and Ditzy Geniuses.
  • Irving Lambert for most of the Splinter Cell series...Yet he managed to get it back in Double Agent.
  • Commander Gore from Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey.
  • Your commanding officer, General Claibourne, in the JauntTrooper series.
  • Josh, the leader of the BSAA Delta team from Resident Evil 5.
  • Final Fantasy XII gives us Reddas, the Pirate King of Balfonheim, and ex-Judge Magister under the name of Foris Zecht. He's a bit on the Ambiguously Brown side, but completely bald except for a fluffy white beard.
  • Gears of War 3 adds the character of Griffin, an energy-magnate-turned-post-apocalyptic-warlord living in the ruins of a city hit with a Kill Sat some ten years previous. Hypermasculine indeed.
  • General Horace Warfield from Starcraft II may or may not be bald (it's hard to tell under the Power Armor), but he is every inch a Four-Star Badass.
  • Coach from Left 4 Dead 2 usually acts as the leader of the game's four man ensemble.
  • Diablo's Tyrael is one after he voluntarily fell from grace to help humanity.
  • Syndicate (2012) has Kris Delaney of the Subverters.
  • Fire Emblem Awakening: Basilio is initially the ruling khan of the militant country of Ferox. Though after you beat his champion Marth in Chapter 4, Dark-Skinned Blond Flavia takes his throne.
  • Admiral Briggs from Call of Duty: Black Ops II is a four-star admiral in charge of SEAL Team Six, who spends much of the game giving you orders over the radio and chewing you out if you fail the optional strike force missions.
  • Subverted with Frank Tenpenny in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas: he's bald, he's black, and he's a leader...of an evil band of Dirty Cops.
  • The Admiral in Sunless Sea. A particularly important figure in London's admiralty, and the closest thing to a boss you'll have for a good chunk of the game, possibly all of it if you'd rather bring London to greatness than certain other factions.
  • Captain Fowler from Detroit: Become Human is the captain of the DPD, and an old friend of Hank's even though he has very little patience for his uncooperative behavior.
  • USMC Commandant Dolph from Metal Gear Solid 2.
  • Victor "Zane" Metiko, a Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) multiplayer operator, the co-founder and leader of African "terrorist group" called the Jackals.
  • Eternal Darkness has Michael Edwards, one of the 12 playable characters. He used to lead his firefighting squad before all of them were killed.

    Web Comics 
  • Roy in The Order of the Stick is black in a family of bald men and the leader of his team, although he's a bit more hammy and much more snarky than usual examples of this trope. The King of Nowhere also qualifies, from what we see of him in a flashback panel (which is among the reasons Roy was confused with him at one point).

    Web Original 
  • In The Gamer's Alliance, Ismail is a bald, black man who becomes the captain of the Black Guard of Vanna.
  • Tech Infantry has Abdul Johnson, Chairman of the Grand Council, and Rashid King, head of Internal Security and the power behind the throne. Both are Black Muslims, although their hairstyle is never quite made explicit.
  • The fan-made Star Trek video Prelude to Axanar has Admiral Marcus Ramirez, Chief of Starfleet. He's bald, black, and fearless against the Klingon Empire.

    Western Animation 
  • The Venture Bros. episode Tag Sale - You're It! begins with such a guy leading a squad of OSI agents. They're careful not to anger him, perhaps out of fear that he'll make them wear frilly dresses, which he seems quite intent on doing.
  • Justice League - After a galaxy-rocking (literally) breakup with Shayera at the end of season two, Green Lantern John Stewart shaved his head in time for Unlimited. The first episode of the revamp put him in leading a small team of greener heroes, and his status as founding member frequently made him a go-to guy in a crisis.
  • South Park parodies examples of this in "Ass Burgers", which lampshades the frequency of the trope:
    Leader: The world around us has turned completely to shit, but aliens are putting out a brainwave that keeps most people seeing a false reality.
    Stan: Aliens?
    Leader: ...or robots from the future. Whatever.
    Leader: [firing shotgun] You vampire sons-of-bitches!
  • In ThunderCats (2011), Old Soldier and Four-Star Badass Panthro takes on this role in his debut. Having singlehandedly rescued the rest of the ThunderCats from a tight spot, he's incredulous at their lack of "adult supervision" and young king Lion-O's impulsiveness, in particular. Panthro demands they defer to him on a shared mission and refuses to acknowledge Lion-O as his liege until Lion-O proves himself in battle.

    Real Life 
  • Michael Jordan, is black and bald and was the uncontested leader of his team, his league, and, well, his sport's history. And after retiring (the second time), he became a team president with the Washington Wizards, ended up making another comeback with his new team, then later became first a minority owner and then the majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, who coincidentally made the playoffs for the first time in their brief team history the year that he became majority owner. So yeah, he probably qualifies.
  • Other top NBA players who fit the trope include Charles Barkley, Shaquille O'Neal, and Kevin Garnett. Kobe Bryant comes pretty close, but he usually has at least a little fuzz going on. (Basketball would seem to have an edge over other team sports for this trope due to the lack of headgear.)
  • Some leaders of African countries who fit this trope:
  • Howard Jones, best known for his tenure as lead singer of Killswitch Engage.
  • As seen above, Ving Rhames, Tommy Lister Jr, Lance Reddick, and the late Michael Clarke Duncan made their careers playing this archetype.
  • Of all places, ice hockey gives us an example; Calgary Flames right winger Jarome Iginla. One of the NHL's true black superstar players, he's a six-time all-star, and in 2003 was named team captain of the Flames, the first black team captain of a major hockey team. At the time of his appointment, he had an Obama-like close buzz cut; now he has something more akin to a clean scalp.
    • Winnipeg star Evander Kane may also count, though he isn't a captain, he is the team's offensive leader.
  • New York Knicks former head coach Mike Woodson.
  • Former Mayor of Newark, New Jersey and current U.S. Senator from New Jersey (and, after an especially Rousing Speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, one of the national rising stars of the Democratic Party) Cory Booker. He backs it up with some real-life heroics, too; most famously, while Mayor of Newark, he stopped his car on his way to work to save a woman from a house fire, suffering smoke inhalation and second-degree burns on his hands.
  • South Carolina Senator Tim Scott.
  • A number of black film directors are this, among them Keenen Ivory Wayans, John Singleton, and Antoine Fuqua.
  • Darius Rucker, lead singer of Hootie & the Blowfish.
  • Kelvin Swaby, lead singer of British indie rock band The Heavy.
  • Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall.
  • Massachusetts Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley has become the "Bald Black Boss Lady" variant since revealing she has alopecia and going without her wig.


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