Follow TV Tropes


Scary Black Man
aka: Big Scary Black Man

Go To

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 from a Proud Warrior Race, 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 black characters in anime are usually some variation on this. However, this is not the place to discuss the reason.

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. If a Black male character has other characters fearing him after he performs a certain action he is not a Scary Black Man, a Scary Black Man has people fearing him because of his intimidating appearance. 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. Another subversion can be to have the character only act this way in certain specific situations—a man might be a loving father and an otherwise affable and easygoing person...who immediately turns into an enraged Papa Wolf whenever his loved ones are threatened.


Despite the trope name, female examples do exist. But since female characters are rarely portrayed as fighters or overtly threatening in the same way that male ones are, Scary Black Women remain a distinct rarity, and are more commonly portrayed as sassy black women instead.


    open/close all folders 

  • There was once an early-to-mid 2000s Flash ad/game for TAG body spray that had you clicking ("TAG"-ing) on girls until the "father" suddenly appeared—All of which happened to be black.
  • Ving Rhames as ADT Home Security

    Anime & Manga 
  • 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.
  • Bleach:
    • Kaname Tosen also averts this, but in another way. He is definitely a bad guy, but his slim build and blindness don't make him look that threatening at first glance.
    • Played straight with the likes of Yammy and Zommari from Aizen's Espada. They're very intimidating fellows no thanks to their builds.
    • The Vandenreich has Driscoll Berci, the gigantic and overconfident black man who managed to kill Sasakibe.
  • Bob Makihara from Tenjho Tenge. His physique's not the only thing that's scarily large. Also doubles as the Token Black 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.
  • Naruto:
    • Killer Bee looks this and is definitely a scary foe, but is actually one of the more easygoing people in the cast (granted that this is usually expressed by having him rapping during fights.) Though he beats the living tar out of Sasuke when Sasuke attacks him, he then 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.
    • 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 to scare off people simply by existing. Damn shame, too, because he really just wants to sell sushi.
  • Slam Dunk:
    • Takenori Akagi isn't ethnically black (though he's based on Patrick Ewing), but has many traits of this archetype. They're either played seriously or for laughs, depending on the moment.
    • Similarly, there's also his rival Jun Uozumi, though he's much friendlier than his appearance suggests. Unless he's your rival, that is.
  • 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 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' 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 transforms into his chiropteran form.
  • Averted by Cameroon of Hetalia: Axis Powers. 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 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. He also helped lower-level players when he wasn't running his shop. He's a pretty good example of why this trope is common in anime: Not only are black men extremely rare in Japan (he's the only one in the entire series), but he's roughly two feet taller than everyone else. It's hard not to be intimidated by someone like that, no matter how nice they are.
  • 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.
  • Colonel Franklin from Transformers Cybertron initially appears to be a case of this, taking the kids into custody at one point and trying to track down the Autobots for what appear to be nefarious purposes. However, it turns out that the real reason he wants to find them is to thank them for saving his life as a child, and he later becomes a very useful ally.
  • Panther Lily from Fairy Tail is a Scary Black Cat, towering over most members of the cast in both height and muscle in his Battle Form, wielding a BFS that can shift size to nearly four times bigger than the aforementioned Battle Form, and has one hell of a deep and intimidating voice even in Sleep-Mode Size. He's actually a pretty Nice Guy on his downtime, but when he was first introduced he was a commander in the military who wouldn't hesitate to kill and he's now partnered with Gajeel.
  • Touch has Shohei Harada. He's actually an uncommonly perceptive and wise Gentle Giant, however.

    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. For whatever that's worth.
  • Tombstone is a bizarre example, as, despite being technically black, he's an albino, meaning his skin is chalk white.
  • The Punisher:
    • Barracuda from Garth Ennis' The Punisher MAX series, a giant black war criminal who speaks entirely in gangster slang, and has swear words stenciled on his gold teeth.
    • 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.
  • X-Men:
    • 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. Later on, he also got some cybernetics and got betrayed, imprisoned, and mummified by his own followers.
    • Time-displaced X-Man Bishop counts as a Big Scary Mutant Australian Time-Traveling Aboriginal Man.
  • Aquaman:
    • 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 is an easy going guy who, despite his incredible power, avoids the trope. His archenemy Tobias Whale, on the other hand, is a four hundred pound African-American gang boss who runs most of the drugs in Metropolis, almost burned down Gotham City in a Mob War, and has a history of beating people to death with his hands if sufficiently annoyed—though the trope is downplayed both by Tobias's albinism and the fact that his main enemy is himself black.
  • Suicide Squad: 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. And, for that matter, neither is his boss, hardass bureaucrat Amanda Waller, one of the very few people Batman and Lex Luthor have long since learned not to take lightly.
  • Double Subversion 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 mean 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 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.
  • Aquila: Aquila is a giant from Nubia who is so frightening that even his fellow servants of the Devourer fear him.
  • Blacksad is a black cat save for a white patch of fur around his face which makes both the animal version of The Klan and the Black Panthers look down on him. One of the white supremacists tries to threaten him only for Blacksad to stand up and show himself two heads taller.
    Blacksad: Your skin would make a nice coat too, although a small one.
  • The Ultimates: Tyrone Cash exploits this trope as his way of living.
  • Minor Acolyte of Magneto Joanna Cargill, aka "Frenzy", is a Rare Female Example of this from the X-Men franchise. Perpetually angry at the world, in no small part due to a traumatic childhood in which her father routinely abused her—until she developed her mutant powers and killed him, she freely exploits her Super Strength and Nigh-Invulnerability to lash out at the world around her, and to her Violence Really Is the Answer. Making her scarier, at least prior to Character Development, is that she was originally a Super Supremacist who had no value for "baseline" human life, and so she was perfectly happy to kill even children if they got in her way.

    Comic Strips 
  • 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.
  • Mandrake the Magician: Mandrake's sidekick Lothar is a large and powerful African man. Initially, this trope was pretty much the extent of his characterization, but he developed a more nuanced personality as the series progressed.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 

By Actor

  • Michael Clarke Duncan
    • 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.
    • Manute the mob enforcer from Sin City.
  • Tiny Lister plays this as his standard character type:
    • The hulking prisoner Ginty convinces the prison guard captain to give him the explosives detonator to do "what he should have did 10 minutes ago," presumably blowing up the other boat and saving everyone on his own boat. Instead, he tosses the detonator out the window, choosing to make a principled sacrifice rather than be coerced into murder.
  • 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."

By Film

  • Captain Dickson from 21 and 22 Jump Street, portrayed by Ice Cube. Domingo, the leader of The One-Percenters, also qualifies from the first film.
  • Lieutenant Mailer, the Infected soldier in 28 Days Later.
  • 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."
  • 300 has Persian king Xerxes reimagined as a giant dark-skinned man covered with golden jewelry, with Brazilian 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.
  • In The 5000 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.
  • Absolute Power: Agent Collin (played with chilling serenity by Dennis Haysbert) will serve his President, even if that means committing cold-blooded premeditated murder. His partner Agent Burton at least admits his disgust with what they've been forced to do openly, but Collin seems to have no such compunctions.
  • Terry, the stuntwoman in Angels Revenge is a Scary Black Woman (especially when she's helping con Jim Backus' militia group).
  • The stewardess in Anger Management has one to back her up, and he has a taser.
  • Quinton (Rampage) Jackson playing B.A. Baracus in The A-Team.
  • Black Panther:
    • Played for Laughs, subverted, and invoked with M'Baku, the leader of the Jabari tribe. Although he has the appearance of a barbaric tribesman, he's actually an honorable Chieftain who cares about his men and becomes Fire-Forged Friends with T'Challa. M'Baku himself exploits this trope for his amusement, like when he threatens to feed Everett Ross (a white CIA agent allied with the Wakandan Royal Family) to his family, only to burst into laughter and reveal that they are vegetarians.
    • Played straight with Killmonger. Although he is smaller and more attractive than most examples, including his original comics counterpart, Killmonger is still a ruthless killer who has scars covering his torso with each one representing a person he killed.
    • T’Challa himself also qualifies. He may not come off as imposing at first, but if someone happens to get on his bad side, he becomes downright terrifying.
  • Blade, a ruthless and very intimidating Dhampyr Anti-Hero played by Wesley Snipes.
  • The Blind Side: 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.* Deconstructed in Blindspotting. On the one hand, Miles views it as an enviable mark of authority and authenticity. However, Collin himself is increasingly fearful that being seen as such will land him swiftly back in jail, or even dead.
  • Candyman and its sequels combine this with Vengeful Ghost, crafting one of the most terrifying horror antagonists to exist in the process (and cementing star Tony Todd as one of the greatest examples of this trope in horror).
  • The film CB4 parodies the scary black man stereotype by having suburban young black men - born and raised - 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 Circus, Big Bad Bruno's chief enforcer is the hulking Moose (played by Tiny Lister), who towers over everyone else in the cast. Although normally a Punch-Clock Villain, even the sadistic Bruno steers clear of Moose when his Berserk Button has been pushed.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In 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 Dark Knight:
    • 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.
  • Django Unchained:
    • The titular protagonist, Django (Jamie Foxx), becomes quite a formidable One-Man Army of a gunslinger during the course of the movie, and is very ruthless towards anyone who dares to mess with him or those he cares about.
    • Stephen (again played by Samuel L. Jackson), a sadistic black slave overseer (technically Calvin Candie's "Head House Slave", but still the second-in-command and above the other slaves). How much scary is he as a scary black man? To the point of bringing Django's enslaved wife to tears and say out loud that she's scared of him.
  • District 9 has the Nigerian gangsters, especially the leader Obesandjo who is confined to a wheelchair but is still scary as hell.
  • Dr. Terror's House of Horrors: The male members of the voodoo cult who silently surround Biff without his noticing in "Voodoo". In particular, the hulking priest of Damballah who appears without explanation in Biff's home in London to take revenge and retrieve the stolen music.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • The Black Panther cell in Forrest Gump has a handful of Scary Black Men, and one Malcolm Xerox ranting about The Man.
  • Corky from Fresh. He tells Jake to "shut the fuck up" in one scene, and the way he and his minions exit a van in one scene is very menacing.
  • Game of Death: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's character is 7ft 2in tall, has Super Strength, and is very intimidating.
  • 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.
  • Heavy Duty from G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. The man totes a .50 cal. machine gun as a sidearm.
  • 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 orthodontist.
  • Invoked in A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas by a pair of black Christmas tree sellers. One acts nice while the other acts like a Scary Black Man in order to sell Christmas trees.
  • Jack the Reaper: Mr. Steele (played by Tony Todd) must be the terrifying museum curator in history, and delights in telling the kids stories about all the horrific ways you can be killed by a train.
  • James Bond:
    • In 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), Tee Hee (fella with the metal arm), Mr. Big and Dr. Kananga (main antagonists) and Adam, one of their henchmen, all fit this trope.
    • Steven Obanno in Casino Royale (2006) is the armed leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, who call on Le Chiffre to provide banking services for them. You don't get much scarier than someone like him wielding a machete and threatening to mutilate Le Chiffre's girlfriend after Le Chiffre loses their money to a foiled terrorist attack.
    • Also from Casino Royale: Mollaka, the bomber Bond chases down in the beginning.
    • May Day from A View to a Kill is a female example of this trope. When she's not throwing scary Death Glares, she kills people ruthlessly.
  • 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.
  • Kidulthood has Uncle Curtis, a cruel and terrifying Jamaican crime boss.
  • Tanya "The Terminator" Tessaro in Knockout is a Scary Black Woman. She's the world lightweight boxing champion, is relatively tall and completely jacked, and fights dirty (including headbutting and hitting after the bell). She also leaves one of her opponents comatose and paraplegic.
  • From The Last Dragon, we have a subversion! Sho'Nuff! Shogun of Harlem! He kicks ass because no one fears him.
  • The Last King of Scotland: Idi Amin, as portrayed by Forest Whitaker. Also Masanga, his security chief.
  • Living Dead Series:
    • Land of the Dead had Eugene Clark as a scary black dead man.
    • Diary of the Dead. The teenaged protagonists are captured by what appears to be black gang members led by a softly-spoken badass who is the embodiment of this trope. The group is 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.
  • Rory Breaker from Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels is an unconventional variant. He's a Yardie who dresses stylishly, loves an Umbrella Drink, and enjoys murdering people who interfere with his main pleasures in life. He's also five foot nine, considerably smaller than most of his massive bodyguards, and not a normal height for most candidates on this list, but this doesn't affect his willingness to be the first on the scene for a murderous shoot-out. And just listen to his Tranquil Fury when threatening Nick the Greek for information on who stole his cannabis:
    Rory: If you leave anything out, I'll Kill You!. If you bend the truth, or I think you're bending the truth, I'll kill you. If you forget anything, I'll kill you. In fact, you're going to have to work very hard to stay alive, Nick. Now do you understand everything I've said? Because if you don't, I'll kill you.
  • Lorenzo, portrayed by Gbenga Akinnagbe, in the movie Lottery Ticket.
  • 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.
  • Malibu's Most Wanted contains a faked version: Taye Diggs and Anthony Anderson play a couple of straight-laced drama school-educated black actors hired to play scary ghetto gangsters to knock some sense into a Pretty Fly for a White Guy senator's son.
  • Louis Fedders (played by Keith David) in Men At Work, a Vietnam vet with a penchant for hurting the two main leads over things like French fries. He later plays this image up while looking like he's about to kill the pizza guy despite holding a pellet gun.
  • In Mississippi Burning, the FBI brings in a professional Scary Black Man to intimidate the corrupt mayor into revealing who committed a hate crime.
  • Sgt. Foley (Louis Gossett Jr.) from An Officer and a Gentleman. Justified as it's his role as Drill Sergeant Nasty.
  • Parodied in Pineapple Express by Matheson. He is strangely effeminate and in touch with his feelings. He is still a stonecold killer, however.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Captain Barbossa's Bo'sun in The 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.
  • 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 their 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...)
  • Pulp Fiction:
    • Pictured above, Jules Winnfield (played by none other than Samuel L. Jackson), a hitman who likes to terrorize his victims before killing them, just for kicks.
    • Jules' boss Marcellus Wallace (Ving Rhames) doesn't exactly look like a bitch, and he can be REALLY scary.
  • Agent Carver in Push. Don't look him in the eye unless you want to eat your gun.
  • 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.
  • 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 RoboCop (1987), the black gang member Joe Cox takes a really unsettling sadistic glee in mocking Murphy as he's being tortured to death.
  • 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.
  • Polie in The Scavengers, who used to be a heavyweight boxer, is the largest and strongest of ex-slaves. His hulking form suddenly looming silently in front of her as she escapes the town is—combined with everything else that has happened to her—enough to cause Nancy to faint.
  • The 1963 film Shock Corridor features an insane black KKK member who is both this and a very early example of the "black white supremacist" idea later popularized by The Chappelle Show. In case you missed it, suffice to say that anti-black rhetoric somehow sounds even more terrifying when it's coming from a Scary Black Man.
  • Small Soldiers has Butch Meathook, the Cold Sniper of the Commando Elite. Though he may be just an action figure, he certainly looks and acts intimidating.
  • In the 2009 version of The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, the trope is subverted when a female hostage asks a black man 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.
  • Thor has Heimdall, full stop. In the sequel he shows just how scary.
  • 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.
  • In The Trial of the Chicago 7, Bobby Seale is put on trial alongside the seven protest organizers to play into this trope. He points out during the trial that he doesn't even know any of them and is only being thrown in to make the defendants look like terrifying revolutionaries because he's the co-founder of the Black Panthers—he himself was only in Chicago for a few hours to give a speech.note  This backfires when Judge Hoffman's flagrant abuse of Seale's rights culminates in his ordering Seale to be shackled and gagged in open court. The prosecution asks for Seale's case to be declared a mistrial because the spectacle is so horrifying that Seale can't be viewed as anything but a victim of racism.
  • Kirk Lazarus in Tropic Thunder acted like this but he's really a white Australian who was playing a black Vietnam Soldier.
  • In When We Were Kings, George Foreman is this compared to implied protagonist Muhammad Ali, as he is darker, bigger, and less congenial.
  • Prince Escalus (now portrayed as a policeman) in William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet.
  • 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.
  • Most of Donnie Yen's Hong Kong films from the '90s, including Tiger Cage (both of them), In the Line of Duty 4: Witness, Ballistic Kiss and Cheetah On Fire will have him battling a huge, muscular African-American henchman who often gives Donnie problems, in a David Versus Goliath-style fights with Yen being the David. The black henchman is Michael Woods, a friend of Donnie's from his martial arts academy days whom Donnie convinced the studios to feature him in several of his earlier films.

  • Showing that even the subversion of this trope is as old as feudalism, in Chrétien de Troyes's Yvain, the Knight of the Lion (written around the 1170s), Yvain is traveling in search of adventure and comes across a very large and scary-looking Moor. The man is so large and frightening that Yvain outright asks if he's some kind of ogre. Mildly insulted, the Moor instead says he's a man just like Yvain, and politely explains that he is a humble cow-herd tending his flocks. Yvain asks if there are any good adventures worth having for a knight to have in the region. The Moor doesn't know what he means by "adventure", so Yvain explains that knights ride around looking for great fights to get into with strangers (an inaccurate description, because knights are also supposed to defend the weak). The Moor says that sounds like a pretty silly way to live, but does helpfully suggest that he could probably find some good challenges in the forest of Brocéliande up ahead, and sends Yvain on his way.
  • 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 treated this way by the public after being accused of raping a white woman. Of course, the accusation is false and Tom is not really intimidating in any way..
  • 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.
  • Black Legion has Lheor, The Heavy from a Legion known for brutality, and with Butcher's Nails hammered into his brain. Goes with the territory, even if he's one of the heroes.
  • 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.
  • H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos
    • Literally with Nyarlathotep, the Black Pharaoh, though for rather unusual reasons. He doesn't usually have the phenotype of a black person, it's just that his skin is so dark that it almost seems to repel light.
    • In Herbert West–Reanimator one of the subjects is a resurrected black man who was fatally wounded after fighting to death in an underground fighting pit. The narrator describes his appearance grimly, comparing his features to that of a gorilla.
  • 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's big and powerfully built, both of which help with his job of being a modern-day Paladin. The real deal, with a holy sword and everything. He's not very intimidating once you get to know him as he's generally a kind, positive guy, prone to cracking jokes and loves helping people (it's why he became a Paladin despite being agnostic). Of course he's also aware of how he can come across, and at one point 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.
  • Alamut: The bodyguards of ibn Sabbah are huge, strong, black, and frightening.
  • Bobby Clark in Dana Stabenow's Kate Shugak novels. A Vietnam vet who is no less scary for the fact that is missing both legs from the knee down.
  • Maya's uncles from "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings definitely qualify. When you're the most likely suspect for killing your niece's rapist, you are this trope.
  • Maccomo from Lionboy hails from Africa, and while he isn't the Big Bad, he is still one of the most dangerous, cunning, and cruel characters in the entire series.
  • Malcolm from Jonathan Wood's urban fantasy Hero series. Malcolm is part of a vigilante paranormal investigator group called the Weekenders. They're a trio composed of Aiko, Jazmine, and Malcolm. Aiko is a conspiracy nut first-grade teacher, Jazmine is a teen-aged dropout and then there's Malcolm... Malcolm was in the military and was dishonorably discharged, and then he was with the Blackwater PMC and he got canned from them too!
  • 'Big Billy' Crane from The Mental State is the biggest and strongest inmate currently serving time in the state prison. Practically all the other prisoners are afraid of him. Inf act, they only obey his brother's commands because they do not want him to set Billy on them.
  • Peter and the Starcatchers: African Mook Lieutenant Cheeky O'Neal once ripped a man's hair out by the roots, and threatens to throw his men into a volcano when they take a break from tossing vegetation into it for a smoke signal.
  • Pavalo Payal from The Traitor Son Cycle. He's a giant of a man and an excellent swordsman, who's introduced to the story when he comes out of nowhere and slaughters four men who have cornered Blanche. The people of Alba, most of whom have never seen a black man in their lives, initially think he's a demon she's summoned.
  • Espelho/Fernando in Vampiros do Rio Douro is an African slave that, alongside five Portuguese men and a Spaniard, made a Deal with the Devil to become a vampire. While he can be very fearsome due to his imposing stature, red eyes, and sharp fangs, he does have a softer side being a Reluctant Monster or feeling bad about kidnapping Eliana to be Inverno's bride.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.

  • Colonel Ike Dubaku of Sangala from 24. Even more so, his boss, General Benjamin Juma, played by the above-mentioned Tony Todd.
  • 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".
    • When Hazel gives her deposition alleging a culture of harassment, she mentions Grizz and Dotcom, describing them as two big, black guys who were always pestering her - to join their book club.
  • Shadow in the TV adaptation of American Gods is a play on this trope- he's the protagonist, and is mostly a quiet and introspective person, but he's physically intimidating and recently released from prison, so often comes across as scary in universe. Shadow's physical appearance is less specified in the original book.
  • Granada Television's The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series, starring Jeremy Brett, are known for being very faithful to the original stories, but in "The Adventure of the Three Gables", supporting villain Steve Dixie gets upgraded from a broad comic "negro" stereotype to a quiet, dangerous, and genuinely scary black man.
  • B. A. Baracus from The A-Team. He's played by Mr. T. Most goons seem suitably cowed when he gets in their face.
  • The Babylon 5 episode "GROPOS" has an EarthForce Marine Corps private known only as "Large". His first scene has him billeted with Space Fighter pilot Warren Keffer because B5 wasn't built to hold 25,000 Marines on short notice. Keffer walks in and starts complaining, and Large comes up to him. He's a good foot taller and wider and asks if he's got a problem, "airboy".
    Keffer: Yeah, I got a problem. Just give me a minute to find a ladder, and we'll hash it out face to face.
    Large: (beat, then Large bursts out laughing) He's all right. You're all right, baby.
  • On one episode of The Bob Newhart Show, Bob and Carol get on an elevator. Then a large unfriendly-looking black man gets on with a white dog. The guy shouts "Whitey, sit!". The guy's dog sits, as do Bob and Carol.
  • From Breaking Bad:
    • Gus Fring. It's best seen when his "charitable Los Pollos Hermanos CEO and Albuquerque philanthropist" façade is dropped, like when he cuts Victor's throat in front of Walt, Jesse, and Mike to send a message or when he threatens to have Hank killed.
    • In seasons 4 and 5, Huell Babineaux, Saul's new bodyguard. Played with in that given his rotund figure, bizarrely-shaped head, frequent bathroom trips, and general apathy to the insanity is going on around him, he's often more comical than intimidating.
  • Zigzagged on Brooklyn Nine-Nine with Sgt. Terry Jeffords, a tall, muscular, and imposing African-American officer who, personality-wise, is really just a big softie at heart. However, he does have a bit of a short fuse... but it's mainly bluster, and he's by and large mild-mannered... unless you really piss him off, in which case he can get pretty darned terrifying.
    • The trope is even squared with the introduction of his brother-in-law Zeke, who is even bigger and taller, as well as a major bully to Terry.
  • Buffyverse:
    • Charles Gunn. The leader of a Vampire-killing street gang, who turns into someone even his Vampire boss considers "The Big Guy", though most of the time he's friendly and loveable.
    • Principal Wood 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 a Double Subversion 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.
    • DoppelGunn, who is the Conduit to the Senior Partners in Gunn's form.
  • Castle:
    • The episode "Law and Murder" has 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.
  • 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.
  • Carl Buford of Criminal Minds is a subversion. He's seen as a friendly and approachable pillar of the community who coaches a football team of troubled youths. Unfortunately, this ends up being a good front for his crimes.
  • Doctor Who:
  • Chris's father from Everybody Hates Chris (played by the aforementioned Terry Crews) is a Scary Black Man. Chris's mother is even scarier.
  • Firefly:
    • Bounty Hunter Jubal Early in "Objects in Space". 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 is usually not called upon to be the Heavy (Jayne needs to earn his keep, after all), but she is perfectly capable of cowing even Jayne with a raised eyebrow and a deadpan comment.
  • For Life: Cassius is a frightening prison gang leader who has pull both with other prisoners and the guards, even on the outside. Tall and strong, he never raises his voice but stays menacing nonetheless effortlessly.
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air:
    • "Mad Dog" from one ep manages to inspire three Oh, Crap! reactions from Will and Carlton while he is 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.
    • Uncle Phil, while usually a pretty nice guy, is also perfectly capable of being this. Among his moments, his "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Will's deadbeat dad is a sight to behold.
      "Uncle Phil is a very large man with a very short fuse. Bad combination!"
  • Jeremiah Bello, the Nigerian gangster from Graceland.
  • 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.
  • 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 of them 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 people's bodies.
  • 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.
    • Averted even earlier with his role as Principal Steven Harper on Boston Public, who was a genuinely compassionate educator doing his best to help his students and staff, but who could also be genuinely terrifying if he had to be (usually if he had to go to bat for his teachers).
  • Court Officer Petri Hawkins-Byrd on Judge Judy. Nobody messes with the Byrd.
  • Justified has Siblings in Crime Jay & Roscoe, a pair of killers-for-hire who rent their services out to various drug organizations and freely admit they got into the business to kill as many people as possible.
  • Kamen Rider Faiz has the Crocodile Orphnoch, aka Mr. J. Like above, he only grunts and like the former, had Unfortunate Implications.
  • Played around with, like all race tropes, on Key & 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).
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • Lost:
    • Mr. Eko, 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 is a tall, scary Man in Black. He doesn't fit the description completely because he's not very big and imposing. He's just... really creepy.
  • Luke Cage (2016):
    • Averted with Luke Cage, despite his strength and power. But he invokes this with other criminals.
    • Willis "Diamondback" Stryker. One assumes that part of the reason Erik LaRay Harvey was cast for this role is because he has a deep gravelly voice that just oozes menace, which is appropriate for a character who can wipe out an entire legion of bodyguards then casually crash a mob meeting and kill four gang bosses without breaking a sweat.
  • 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.
  • MacGyver (1985): Axminster, the hit man from "Target MacGyver", can come off as this.
  • Subverted in an episode of Malcolm in the Middle: Hal is trying to get mugged, so he drives to a bad neighbourhood, finds an ATM next to which a big, leather-clad black man is standing, and makes a big show about removing over $1,000 dollars and sticking it in his back pocket while loudly mentioning he has a Rolex and a Porsche. The black man calls out to him... and warns him that he should be more careful.
  • The show Martin had a recurring character called "Angry Man" who would always appear and tell people "Man sit-cho ass down!!"
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Office (US):
    • Stanley is grumpy and rude, but not very intimidating at all. This doesn't stop Michael and Ryan from being terrified of him. Until the "Beach Games" episode, when Stanley puts on his "game face" and terrorizes Jim.
    • Darryl is at least intimidating enough to shut Dwight up, no easy task.
    • Charles Miner had the whole branch (especially Jim) walking on eggshells.
  • 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 the prisoners on the show are Ax-Crazy and have an average life expectancy of about three episodes.
  • 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.
  • Features twice in Roseanne:
  • 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.
  • On a famous Saturday Night Live 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.
  • 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.
  • Stargate:
  • Worf, from Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine; beneath the fairly dark makeup is black Michael Dorn.
  • 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.
  • Supernatural:
    • Uriel 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.
    • 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.
  • Teen Wolf:
    • Dr. Deaton, Scott's boss, 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...
  • The Ellison Terminator on Terminator: 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 (if not a Shout-Out to Queequeg in Moby-Dick) was possibly derived from Red Dwarf.
  • Two and a Half Men
  • The Walking Dead:
    • Michonne would be a female example. The fact that she is walking around with two walkers on a leash, is taciturn, not very social, and deadly with a katana doesn't help (at least, initially, until she begins to trust the group and vice-versa).
    • Tyrese also qualifies, being very tall and muscular, and people are afraid to anger him because of his temper (the fact that he went berserk several times, including against Rick, doesn't really help).
  • The Wire has a number of scary black men - WeeBey, 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.
  • In the Live-Action Adaptation of 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.

  • Chicago Blues singer Howlin' Wolf was 6'3" and 275 pounds and had a voice that made him sound like he was fifteen feet tall. His physical presence and raw, dark, intense vocal style were well known for scaring the living bejesus out of his audience.
  • Maxim Reality of The Prodigy.
  • MC Ride of Death Grips.
  • The Jim Croce song "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown" is about a 6 foot 4 man from the South Side of Chicago, who is considered "The baddest man in the whole damn town."
  • The original Scary Black Man was "Stagger Lee", the murderous protagonist of an African-American Murder Ballad from the late nineteenth century, who made the Devil himself soil his pants and took over from him and remains a major presence in American culture.
  • Deliberately invoked with Da Lench Mob's "Guerillas in tha Mist".
  • Female example in the Spice Girls. Mel B was dubbed 'Scary Spice' due to her larger-than-life personality, and she was the only black member of the group.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • 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.
  • Jack Veneno and Lightning Hernandez, rivals who were pushed as "new stars" during the 1970s on the Dominican Republic television program International Wrestling. "Poison" Jack had fist tape apparently cursed by a Dominican sorcerer while Hernandez liked to whip his opponents with a belt that had spurs fitted on it.
  • 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 wrestling 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 '80s...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...
  • Kamala fit this trope to a tee in the late 1980s, as did Zeus.
  • Ron Simmons. DAMN! He was part of a scary black tag team in DOOM, though fans actually liked their manager, Theodore Long, to an extent.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • WWE wrestler Mark Henry is a few inches shorter and 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.note  If he ever comes back from an injury, turns face, or turns heel, you better stay the hell out of his way for a while. The latest and greatest example of this has been his "Hall of Pain" monster heel push in late 2011, where he 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 beat 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!?
  • Amazing Kong/Awesome Kong/Kharma is a Scary Black Woman. In actuality, Gail Kim had never seen her in gear or character before their first match in TNA - so when Kong made her entrance, Gail could be seen mouthing "oh shit" on camera.
    • 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 "divas" and often came out of nowhere to attack people in no shape to defend themselves. WWE notably was the only promotion she never played a face in - and was presented entirely as an intimidating heel.
  • "The" Brian Kendrick had Ezekiel Jackson, a Scary Black Man called "the Guyanese Goliath", 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.
    • Ezekiel Jackson had an 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.
  • 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.
    • The Boogeyman, a face-painted, gyrating, worm-eating, smashing-clocks-with-his-own-head madman.

  • 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.
  • 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.

    Tabletop Games 
  • A non-human example from Warhammer would be the Black Orcs. Notably they are still green-skinned, although considerably darker than normal Orcs, and they do wear heavy black plate armor. The Chaos Dwarfs were sick of their Orcs slaves fighting and killing each other all the time, so through a combination of breeding, training, and dark magic they created a strain of Orcs that were stronger, smarter, and better disciplined than normal. It worked, and the Black Orcs immediately Turned Against Their Masters. Black Orcs are the Soldiers to the normal greenskin Warriors, being both more disciplined and tougher, as well as actually capable of patience and strategic planning and far less prone to infighting and rowdiness (and even sometimes able to intimidate normal orcs into staying in line). Black Orc warlords are unsurprisingly some of the most fearsome generals in the setting.
  • 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-Gray 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.

  • Near the end of David Mamet's Edmond, the main character ends up being the victim of Prison Rape by one of these.
  • The titular 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.
  • Shakespeare also gives us Aaron the Moor from Titus Andronicus, an over-the-top Card-Carrying Villain who happens to be on what might be the less-evil side.
  • Brutus Jones in Eugene O'Neill's The Emperor Jones is an escaped convict who murdered his friend and escaped from prison after killing a guard before taking over the island where the play is set.

    Video Games 
  • Deus from Asura's Wrath, in a world where most other characters are lighter-skinned and/or of Asian descent.
  • 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!.
  • 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. As was Birdie from Street Fighter; he does a Lampshade Hanging on it in a win quote from Alpha 3 ("Back then? Yeah, I was sick.").
  • Roland Walken from D4 takes the trope in a completely different direction, being an incredibly tall, gangly, slow-talking, and all-around unsettling character who looks like he shuffled right out of the Uncanny Valley.
  • The chaingun-wielding Commando enemy type from Doom II and Final Doom appears to be black, and they're the toughest of the zombie soldiers-they can bring the player from full health to death's door in a second if you're not careful.
  • The boss Head Swap of Abobo from the arcade version of Double Dragon (named Jick according to Famitsu Weekly) resembles Mr. T and can break walls with his bare hands.
  • Dragon Age:

  • In The Elder Scrolls, the Redguards of Hammerfell, as a race, are viewed as this by the other races of Tamriel. Dark-skinned with wiry-hair and athletic builds, they are one of Tamriel's Proud Warrior Races with a particular cultural affinity to swords and swordsmanship. After their ancient homeland of Yokuda sunk beneath the sea, the survivors sailed to Tamriel and chose to settle in the deserts of Hammerfell, one of Tamriel's most inhospitable environments. After only a few brutal months, Hammerfell was cleansed of any Men, Mer (Elves), or beast to make it safe for settlement. This even included Orcs and giant goblins. It took being weakened during a brutal Civil War for Tiber Septim to claim Hammerfell for his Rising Empire, and a Redguard uprising was considered one of the greatest threats to the Septim Empire for centuries after. Later, in the 4th Era, as part of the White-Gold Concordat to end the Great War between the Vestigial Third Empire and the Aldmeri Dominion, the Empire ceded vast tracks of land in Hammerfell to the Dominion. The Redguards refused to abandon the land and declared independence from the Empire. Despite standing completely on their own, the Redguards of Hammerfell successfully repulsed the Dominion. Now, they are considered one of the only groups who could stand up to another full-blown Dominion assault.
    • To a lesser extent, the orcs also embody this trope. Since for obvious reasons they didn't want to make the Redguards seem brutish or unintelligent, they shifted many of the more unfortunate aspects of the scary black man to the Orsimer, also a proud warrior race but unlike the Redguards get penalties to intelligence and charisma and are discriminated against despite significant military contributions to the empire and a long tradition of craftsmanship and artistry. Racially they may be green-skinned, but culturally they are much closer to the popular image of black people than the Redguards, whose culture is much more Middle Eastern than African American.
  • X6-88 of Fallout 4 is an Institute Courser, and what happens when you combine the physical appearance of Blade with the cold ruthless personality of the Terminator, with a dash of Agent Smith's smug sociopathy. Yep, he's an immensely creepy guy.
  • Far Cry:
    • Played with by Dennis Rogers in Far Cry 3. He's a Liberian who joined the Rakyat after experiencing racism in America, and physically is not that imposing, but we're first introduced to him standing over Jason tattooing his arm, and then pulling a machete on him when he reaches for his knife, to warn him "You have a right to take my life, but know I will also take yours." For the most part, he doesn't fight directly, just serving as a Magical Negro advising Jason on how to fit in with the Rakyat. But then we discover that he's actually encouraging Jason's Sanity Slippage, and if Jason ultimately rejects the Rakyat Blood Knight lifestyle by the end of the game, an enraged Dennis tries stabbing him where he stands... only for Citra to shield him at the cost of her life.
    • Also played with by Longinus in Far Cry 4. He is, for the most part, an Arms Dealer and Badass Preacher who is fond of shouting Biblical passages whilst pointing guns at Ajay in a very carefree manner, and he reveals that he used to be a warlord before surviving a bullet to the head that made him undergo a Heel–Faith Turn. But for the most part, he doesn't look that scary, and he's only ever helpful to Ajay to make up for the atrocities he carried out back in Africa.
    • Subverted by Tensay the shaman in Far Cry Primal. He's a dark-skinned man who wears creepy white paint that makes him look skeletal, along with a wolfskin hood adorned with antlers, and he's constantly making Takkar drink creepy blood potions, and he's voiced by Terrence C. Carson, better known for voicing Kratos, but he's ultimately a Creepy Good Cloudcuckoolander ally. Played straight and gender-flipped with Batari, the priestess in charge of the Izila tribe, with a massive god complex and a penchant for Human Sacrifice.
    • Grace Armstrong in Far Cry 5 is a heroic variant. For the most part, she's a friendly Gun for Hire, but when she gets to work shooting cultists, hoo boy...
    • Gender-flipped with Mickey and Lou, the Big Bad Duumvirate of Far Cry: New Dawn. They're twin sisters who run a gang of ruthless bandits. At one point, Lou stabs one of her own men to death with a shard of broken plate. Zig-zagged with Pastor Jerome Jeffries, the Badass Preacher turned Gun for Hire, who was one of the Resistance members in Far Cry 5. In combat, he's The Berserker, shouting explosively and shooting Highwaymen, but he's still The Good Shepherd and an altruistic friend to the people of Prosperity.
  • 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. So much so that Videogame Recaps renamed him that in their Final Fantasy VII recaps.
  • Raubahn of Final Fantasy XIV easily is this. The Bull of Ala Mhigo, the man won 100 battles in the Ul'Dah Colosseum, earning him a place by Sultana Nanamo ul Namo's side and becoming leader of the country's army, the Eternal Flames. Even when he becomes a Handicapped Badass, he's still a frightening threat. Just don't piss him off, like insulting Nanamo while everyone around thinks she's dead. Ask Teledji Adeledji...
  • Played with in regards to Benny in Fire Emblem Fates: he's a Dark-Skinned Blond Mighty Glacier in black armor, has a personal ability that suggests that he strikes fear into the heart of enemies, and is kind of a Memetic Badass in-story thanks to tales about him being a One-Man Army... but in reality, he's a very soft-spoken and timid Gentle Giant off the battlefield, and he's very bothered by how few people can see through his Face of a Thug case.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Butch from Guilty Party is a subversion. He's by far the tallest and most muscular detective, and he's directly inspired by Shaft. However, he's actually a Gentle Giant with a high-pitched voice and gentle mannerisms, not to mention a huge romantic streak. He is reportedly a badass who fell in love with his wife at first punch, but in-game, he's one of the nicest characters.
  • 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.
  • Mad Jack from Heavy Rain. He's so scary, he has a skull in his acid bath..
  • 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, is a little bit faster than other enemies, and will seriously mess you up if you're stupid enough to even pick a melee fight (with or without a melee weapon) with him. And he happens to be scary, black, and big.
  • Killer7 has Garcian Smith, the "cleaner" that acts as the team's medic and liaison.
  • Kung Fu's "fat black man"/Strongman. Spartn X2 also introduces burly sailor-slash-drug dealer Billy Beiry.
  • 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 Retired Badass 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.
  • 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 
  • Leisure Suit Larry 1: In the Land of the Lounge Lizards has a tall black mugger who clobbers players that wander into dark alleys. Possibly due to racial implications, the VGA remake replaced him with a green-mohawked white punk named Nigel.
  • Lincoln Clay, the main character of Mafia III, is an outlaw with a grudge against the New Bordeaux Mafia, who wiped out his surrogate brothers in the Black Mob. He's also a Vietnam vet with the skills to match and is willing to turn an entire city upside down just to spite the people he hates the most.
  • Mega Man:
  • Metal Gear:
    • Metal Gear Solid and Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes have Vulcan Raven, a member of FOXHOUND. Despite being of Inuit descent, he is ambiguously brown/black (especially with the fuzzy graphics of the orignal). He is extremely musclebound and carries a M61A1 20mm multi-barreled "Vulcan" auto-cannon, ripped from a downed F-16 as well as a refrigerator-sized ammo pack on his back.
    • Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops and Portable Ops Plus feature Cunningham, an ex-Quarterback FOX interrogation specialist that wields heavy weapons such as a Davy Crockett and a giant laser.
  • 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 scar on his face.
  • 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.
  • Hailing from Nigeria, Overwatch's Doomfist, despite being a stoic man of a few words, comes equipped with a huge gauntlet capable of punching someone across the room while also being a member of Talon's inner council.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. Finally, 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! He PUNCHED a building ONCE with his BARE FISTS, and it fell TO THE GROUND! Even Hulk would be envious!

    Web Animation 
  • Eddsworld Tom in Hello Hellhole has one of these. His Hell is a black man. "Ahh, a black man!" "Wait a minute, I'm not racist." Then the black guy says he's from "OUTER SPACE!!"
  • Deimos, one of the bouncers at the Mars club, in Broken Saints.

    Web Comics 
  • Scipio from Templar Arizona. He's over six feet tall, built, proficient in several martial arts, and works as a bodyguard. However, by personality, he's about intimidating as a cup of chowder, making him something of a Gentle Giant.
  • Bruce Camaro from The Wotch: Cheer! is also not very intimidating, generally coming off as a Token Black Friend-type and a Boisterous Bruiser, but he's also a bodyguard and has shown off his, um, bodyguarding side.
  • Clancy from +EV knows about this trope, tries to use it, but doesn't really understand it.
  • Jacob from Shortpacked! wishes he was this, because then maybe his white co-workers would leave him alone.
  • Homestuck: Spades Slick, Hearts Boxcars, and Diamonds Droog of the Midnight Crew all qualify. Clubs Deuce... not so much.
    • Only in the extremely literal sense, as they're from a single-race culture where everyone is black, making their color not really relevant. HB is by far the most physically imposing; he's easily half again as tall as SS and DD (who appear to be of "average" height) and closer to 3 times as tall as CD.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Greg is black, 6'6" tall, a master of Supernatural Martial Arts, and can be quite intimidating even if he's not trying to be. However, he's actually more of a geeky otaku type at heart.

    Web Original 
  • 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".
  • Grue from Worm is six feet tall and obviously fit, and he's also a supervillain with darkness powers. Granted this is just how his enemies see him; to his allies and in his civilian life, he’s a Nice Guy.
  • Strongly averted with Avery in GhostsinQuicksilver; not only is Avery not a man, but there's nothing particularly intimidating about them other than being tall and Black. In fact, the most common reader reaction is to find them incredibly hot. (Slightly reconstructed with their alarming tendency to be cryptic and mind-reading powers, but even then, they're more of a dork than anything else.)

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • As Told by Ginger:
    • Miranda Killgallen is more manipulative and cunning than most examples (she's the Beta Bitch to Lovable Alpha Bitch Courtney Grippling) - but she's notably taller than the protagonists and sold as very intimidating in her early appearances. It's later revealed the attitude comes from a Drill Sergeant Nasty of a father. Interestingly enough, the character was originally conceived as white, and only changed to accommodate her voice actress Cree Summer.
    • Another female example in Ms Zorski from the high school episodes. Unlike her cousin, she's an intimidating Sadist Teacher who stresses Ginger out so much she develops a caffeine addiction.
  • Lothar from Defenders of the Earth and teenage son Lothar Jr. have the looks, but they're very much on the side of good otherwise.
  • Mister T (again) from his self-titled cartoon.
  • 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.
  • Young Justice:
    • Black Manta. 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 son, so it seems to run in the family.
    • Black Beetle from the same show is a scary black alien.
  • Mr. Fixx, of Batman Beyond's premiere episode. Interestingly he's voiced by George Takei, who has Japanese ancestry.
  • The Boondocks:
  • Panthro, a burly Old Soldier Covered with Scars and sporting a spike-studded vest, is this in both of the ThunderCats cartoons—he actually once threatened someone with, "I'm gonna rearrange your bones for you, too!" in the original cartoon and in the 2011-remake, his fellow ThunderCats are very hesitant to even speak to him.
  • Chef Hatchet from Total Drama, Chris' aide/enforcer based on Samuel L. Jackson.
  • Parodied with Mandalay in the episode "The Incredible Mr. Brisby" 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.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Big Scary Black Man, Scary Black Woman, Scary Black Men


Pulp Fiction

Jules Winfield is a black hitman with a violent temper, who often resorts to intimidating his targets before killing them off.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (13 votes)

Example of:

Main / ScaryBlackMan

Media sources:

Main / ScaryBlackMan