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Token Black Friend
aka: Black Best Friend

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"Can I keep him? I'll feed him!"

"Nothing is more racist than having one black friend. Somehow, having zero black friends is less racist than having one black friend!"
Kevin Hart on Saturday Night Live

"Some of my best friends are sassy black people!"

So, you're hip. You're smart. You've got class. And when you say "Some of My Best Friends Are X", you want people to know that there is credibility behind that statement. What's the best way to show it? By having a black Best Friend!

Your black best friend is sassy. She's never too busy to lend an ear, or come along on your wacky schemes. She is flawless to the point of being unreal. (Until it's time to save the day of course. That's what white heroes are for.) Is it because she has no love life, no apartment, and no family? It's hard to say, but there's one thing for sure. She has a cell phone, and never ignores your calls.

Note: This is a black character whose role either A) revolves almost entirely around a white character or B) serves as a conscious effort for a white character/writer to appear inclusive. Simply being black as well as friends with a white character does not automatically make a character this trope. A black character who's shown to be just as relevant as their white counterparts does not count as this trope. Black characters with their own story, their own distinguished identity and goals; characters who undergo personal growth shouldn't be listed. In addition, black people in Real Life should definitely not be listed. Living beings do not exist in accordance to another person based on ethnicity.


See also Magical Negro, Token Minority, Satellite Character, and Gay Best Friend. May also be Black and Nerdy. Some of the clunkier examples of Token White invert the race aspect of this trope,note  being someone there just to add diversity to a cast.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • A rare anime example is Tapp Oceano from Metal Armor Dragonar. In a strange twist, he is a rather grounded individual who came from a childhood of relative poverty living in New York, compared to his friends Kaine Wakaba, the somewhat overzealous hero who grew up in a strangely traditional Japanese village, and Light Newman, The Smart Guy who happens to be a certified British nobleman (he doesn't like to talk about it).
  • In the shows that make up Robotech, there's Misa Hayase/Lisa Hayes's Cool Big Sis Claudia LaSalle/Grant from Super Dimension Fortress Macross, and Jeanne Fránçaix/Dana Sterling's childhood friend Bowie Emerson/Grant from Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross (who's also Claudia's nephew in the Robotech continuity).
    • In the Robotech Expanded Universe, Dana and Bowie were raised practically as siblings by Rolf Emerson, while their respective parents were away in space. This matches their relationship on-screen, inseparable but completely platonic.
  • Kennedy/Kenichi is black in the 2003 Astro Boy adaptation; he seems to serve as The Lancer when the kids as a group are in focus and gets more development than any of Astro's friends save Reno.
  • The President of Central High's Vice President in Daily Lives of High School Boys. Subverted in that the Vice President finds the President just as annoying as everyone else does.
  • Magical Doremi gives us Beth, Momoko's best friend from back in the USA who pops up a few times as if to say, "Momoko lived in America, and there were black people there!"
  • Inverted in Eyeshield 21. We actually know quite a bit about Patrick "Panther" Spencer, but as for his best friend Homer, well... He's white. And nice. That's about it. Of course, it can be argued that Panther is Sena's black friend.
  • A variation can be found in The Dagger of Kamui. In order to travel to California, Jiro has to take a Western boat. Since Westerners weren't that fond of Japanese people at the time, Jiro befriends Sam, a slave of the captain, after rescuing him when he's left behind by his crewmates. He asks for passage on Sam's ship, the California. Sam decides that he owes the ninja his life, and Jiro buys Sam's freedom when the captain forces the ninja to disembark in Alaska.
  • Smokey Brown, Joseph Joestar's buddy from Part 2 ("Battle Tendency") of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. If anything, his fast befrieding with Joseph and Erina shows how open-minded the Joestar family is during World War II era. That, and he acts as a part-time narrator and gives typical reactions to Joseph's very bizarre journey.

  • Chris Rock:
    • He makes fun of this in one of his standups when he says "All my black friends have a bunch of white friends, and all my white friends have one black friend!"
    • Also inverted and parodied in "How to Not Get Your Ass Kicked by the Police" with this advice: "Get a White Friend."
      "A white friend could be the difference between a ticket—" [black driver is handed a ticket as white friend watches sympathetically; arrow caption says "Ticket"] "—and a bullet in the ass." [black driver is forced to the ground and a pistol is pointed at his cranium; arrow caption says "Not A Ticket"]

    Comic Books 
  • Jim Rhodes: friend and employee of Tony Stark aka Iron Man. The personal pilot of the billionaire who became the second Iron Man and then got his own armor as War Machine. Even before he got the suit, he still managed quite well as a Badass Normal in Stark's adventures.
  • Davida Kirby, from Spider-Girl: Sure, she's a great friend who's hip and always willing to lend an ear, but also... almost lost her friends due to anger and jealousy, strings boyfriends along, and is a little insensitive and pushy sometimes. Plus she's getting suspicious of her best friend's lame excuses.
  • Subverted in Captain Atom with Sgt. Jeff "Goz" Goslin. Goz is black, and is Cap's best friend, but he is a fully realized character, and he certainly has a love life. At one point, in fact, he was involved with Cap's daughter, a plot-line the writers used to explore Cap's attitudes about race.
  • Machiste who, despite being king of his own land, spends most of his time as the loyal companion to Travis Morgan in The Warlord.
  • Captain America had the black hero, The Falcon. They were so tight in the 1970s that Cap's series was retitled as Captain America and the Falcon for years.
    • When Cap quit being Cap and a new one was appointed by the US government, the replacement John Walker, in that brief interlude before he started getting evil, also had a black best friend, Lemar Hoskins, who was given the costume of and codename of Bucky, Original Cap's World War II sidekick. The comics people rapidly realized that there were Unfortunate Implications, and in an unusual move addressed these within the comic, as Lemar explained to Walker that 'Bucky' was an unfortunate slang term for black men, and there was something demeaning about a grown man being named after a dead white teenager, so he'd like to pick a new codename. Walker agreed and Lemar became Battlestar.
  • Bill Foster (AKA Black Goliath, AKA Giant-Man II, AKA Goliath), the friend and lab assistant of Hank Pym. Despite not being as popular or well known as War Machine and the Falcon, he actually predates both of those characters as one of the Marvel Universe's earliest examples of this trope.
  • The Badger's best friend, Riley Thorpe, hits on most cylinders of this description, but he is given a good bit more personality and independence than the average black best friend.
  • Subverted in Bob the Dog, where the main character, Bob's best friend, Leonard, happens to be black, but in addition to the fact that Bob actually dates a black woman (Charlene), both Charlene and Leonard are portrayed realistically and with fully developed characterization.
  • Spider-Man: J. Jonah Jameson has Joe "Robbie" Robertson. True to form, Robbie is the more mellow and approachable of the two (not that that's hard), generally acting as Jonah's Lancer / Morality Chain. This leads to a brilliant moment in an issue of She-Hulk in which she helps Spider-Man sue Jameson for harassment. While on the stand, Spidey (who, of course, wears a full-body costume) says that JJJ keeps harassing him because he's black. Jameson's reply is to stammer out that "Some of my best friends are... uh..." It's a statement that's ACTUALLY TRUE because of Joe Robertson and it only adds to the hilarity. The lawsuit only failed because they tried to call Peter Parker as a witness, which would've forced Spider-Man to testify against himself.
  • Quantum and Woody: A variation, since they are forced to stay together by circumstance despite really getting on each other's nerves. Also, Quantum, who is black, is much more straight-laced and uptight than Woody.
  • Power Man and Immortal Iron Fist. Notably, Luke (Power Man) was originally the title character, and Danny (Fist) was introduced as his white best friend. Also notably, while Danny is still reasonably popular, Luke is the much more popular of the two these days.
  • The Incredible Hulk used to hang out with a homeless man named Crackajack Jackson and then teenage runaway Jim Wilson, feeling a kinship with them because they all felt like outcasts. Jackson died in the same issue he was introduced, but made a big enough impression that he kept appearing in flashbacks and such when the Hulk was feeling sad and lonely for years; the Hulk really loved him, and his death hit him hard. Wilson eventually drifted out of the Hulk's life (as the Hulk's friends tend to do), and then returned years later, dying of AIDS.
  • The Beano's Roger the Dodger (a strip that started in 1953) and his best friend Dave (who only started appearing some time during the late 2000s). Also in The Beano is Ball Boy and his friend Benji who began appearing in the comic in the 1970s around the same time as Bally Boy's strip started. Although Benji's name suggests he maybe Asian rather than Black so he may be more of an Ambiguously Brown Best Friend.
  • Jak and Todd from The Dandy. Jak originally appeared in the late nineties but in 2004 was thrust onto The Dandy's cover along with a new black best friend called Todd, complete with Funny Afro, as part of The Dandy's revamp at the time.
  • In Superman/Shazam: First Thunder, Billy Batson has one named Scott Okum. An odd case, since he's never seen in any of the main Shazam stories that are supposed to be set after this one. There's a reason for that.
  • Subverted in Kevin J. Taylor's Girl series as Jessie James has enough of a life as a globe-trotting photographer and fellow sex-positive woman to have the occasional A Day in the Limelight, but 1. Jaliera is revealed to be But Not Too Black and 2. Jessie is especially a Muggle Best Friend and Secret Keeper to Jaliera's Hot Witch that Jaliera talks about her supernatural adventures with, magically becomes an omniglot in thanks for her friendship and provides connections for help when Jaliera needs supernatural assistance.
  • Wonder Woman:

    Comic Strips 
  • Franklin in Peanuts, although he's depicted as Shermy's best friend, rather than the protagonist Charlie Brown's. Originally, Franklin was a kid from the next neighborhood over who apparently knew Charlie Brown from school and was visiting the Peanuts Gang. He proceeded to become the Only Sane Man when he realized that all the kids in the neighborhood were so eccentric that he could never possibly be friends with them. (He obviously changed his mind later, though.) Being in the same class as Peppermint Patty with all her silliness helps.
  • Prince Lothar from Mandrake the Magician is one of the oldest examples of the Trope. (The strip started in 1934.) He became an Ensemble Dark Horse and got more Character Development than usual, though.
  • Lawrence is Michael's Brazilian (and gay) friend in For Better or for Worse. Usually he's pulled out to show how tolerant the Pattersons are. In later years Eva served as this to April, to a) make Becky look bad, and b) use the Appeal to Worse Problems trope.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Molly from Showgirls. The second person main character Nomi meets, she immediately offers her shelter and helps her get a job. She then serves as the voice of reason, though she is constantly ignored. She is the only character with no hidden motive, and the only character of moral integrity. By the end of the film she has been violently gang raped and beaten and is barely alive in a hospital.
  • Sky High (2005): Poor Ethan looks for a while like he might be Will's new best friend if Will and Laila hook up, only for the Jerk with a Heart of Gold to be that.
  • In The Proposition, the only cop other to be trusted by Cpt. Stanley is Jacko, an Australian Aborigine. On the other side of the law, Arthur Burns' right-hand man is another Aborigine named Two-Bob. Two-Bob considers Jacko to be a sellout, and knifes him to death.
  • Gina, Honey's best friend in Honey.
  • In District 9, they are not exactly friends, but Wikus' black bureaucratic co-worker got along well enough with him. Furthermore, that co-worker is so inspired by Wikus' sacrifice that he investigated and exposed MNU's evil scientific experiments on the aliens to the world to strike his own blow and willingly pays the price doing so.
  • The Skeleton Key: Actually serves the plot as she introduces the protagonist to the Hoodoo that was practiced in her family. (And at the end it's how we know she's going to be the next victim of body-snatching Mama Cecile who had said earlier that she wants a black woman to inhabit.)
  • Inverted in The Karate Kid (2010) in that as soon as Dre moves to China a local blonde starts being his friend but barely has a line in the film.
  • Jason is the Black Best Friend of Charlie and Duncan in Mystery Team. Slightly averted in that he's the protagonist, and doesn't have the same characteristics as most examples of these tropes.
  • In the movie of Matilda, her best friend, Lavender, is black. She gets no in-depth characterisation or growth, but then, neither do any of the other characters outside of Matilda's immediate family at least if you count Miss Honey as her family, since she did adopt Matilda at the end of the movie.
  • Inversion in Independence Day. The hero, Steven Hiller, is a black Marine fighter pilot and his white best friend, Jimmy, is the wise-cracking comic relief who's also one of the first to die. It's worth noting that the hero wasn't written as a black character, but the role went to a young Will Smith.
  • In the film Chronicle, Steve Montgomery is the Black Best Friend of the two white protagonists who also develop superpowers. He's done a bit more justice than the typical Black Best Friend, though - he's the most popular, sociable and outgoing member of the trio (and is suggested to be a positive influence on both of them), is a well-rounded character who doesn't exhibit any particularly stereotypical attitudes or behaviors, and the development of the friendship between the members of the trio is treated as a meaningful plot arc.
  • The plot of Strange Magic is largely caused by Sunny refusing to just be this to Princess Dawn.
  • Luther Stickell from the Mission: Impossible series. Since Ethan and Luther first met, they've become close friends and allies. He was also the only recruit in the first movie to not have a Face–Heel Turn.
  • Charles Robinson from the Pierce Brosnan era of the James Bond film series was apparently this to Bond, given how genuinely terrified for James' life he is in one instant and how genuinely happy he is at Bond's release from a North Korean prison.
    • Felix Lighter is the closest thing James has to a real friend in the world. He has been played by a black man on a few occasions.
  • The Office (UK) spinoff David Brent Life On The Road plays this trope for laughs. David befriends a black hip-hop artist named Dom and makes him come into work to show the HR rep that even though he made a racist joke, it's cancelled out by the fact that he knows a black guy. Adding to the hilarity is the fact that this was Dom's first appearance in the film.
  • A Walk to Remember has Eric, the only Black friend Carter has, in spite of being the Big Man on Campus. That said, he was the first of their group of friends to come around and apologize for mistreating Jaime and renew their friendship.
  • Parodied in Not Another Teen Movie with Malik Token, who lampshades as the Token Minority of the film, that he should only smile politely, stay out of the conversation and just say things like "Bling-bling!" and "That is whack!" In the climax of the film, he begins a meaningful conversation with lead protagonist, only for him to cut him off to race for his love and he points out how irritating he is by this.
  • Shanghai Express is named by Pre-Code Hollywood as a very early example of this (it came out in 1932). Hui Fei is Chinese and is Shanghai Lily's ethnic companion, with no real explanation of how they know each other or why they're travelling together. Of course she's something of an Unbuilt Trope as she still is involved in the plot getting raped by the villain and then murdering him for it. It's also one of the few non-stereotypical roles her actress Anna May Wong got to play in Hollywood.
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri - Mildred's only friend (or at leas the only character she treats nicely) is her black co-worker. She's arrested for drug possession early on in the film and doesn't get released until the last act - allowing Mildred to have plenty of angst in between.
  • A Little Princess (the 1995 film version) gives Becky a Race Lift to become black. This fits with the Setting Update from Victorian London to World War I New York (Becky was a cockney girl in the book). Becky serves as Sara's Morality Pet when she loses her fortune, keeping her from becoming too bitter about her situation. In this case she literally has no life of her own because she's an orphan working at the school for her room. The film changes the ending to have Becky adopted as Sara's sister.
  • Get Over It:
    • Alison has a Beta Bitch called Maggie (played by pre-fame Zoe Saldana) whose lines consist of Squeeing over Alison's Boy Band member boyfriend or saying mean things about Berk. Oh and then Stryker cheats on Alison with her.
    • Berk also has a black friend called Dennis, who has less of a role in the plot than their other best friend Felix. His contribution to the plot is being a last minute replacement for a dancer in the school musical.
  • The Cabin in the Woods Holden is the only boy of colour in the Five-Man Band and he's the only character not to be part of the main gang, introduced as Kurt's friend that he's trying to set Dana up with.

  • Harry Potter:
    • Fred and George have Lee Jordan. He gets some focus as the boy who does the Quidditch commentary but is still mostly defined as "the twins' friend".
    • Blaise Zabini is indicated to be the only person that Draco respects/sees as an equal. Subverting the usual implication of the character being broad-minded, both Draco and Blaise are pretty big fantastic racists.
    • Dean Thomas is initially this as part of Those Two Guys with the white Seamus. The latter initially got more characterization, but Dean overcame this by becoming Ginny's Romantic False Lead and getting some focus as a runaway in the last two books.
    • Inverted for Cho Chang who is Asian and has a white best friend Marietta that fits the Satellite Character requirements of the trope almost to the letter; she's introduced as Cho's friend and is only at the DA meetings because of Cho.
  • The Silence of the Lambs features two of these — Clarice's roommate Ardelia and the orderly Barney, who appears to be one of the few people Hannibal Lecter respects.
  • Parodied in the Johnny Maxwell Trilogy with Yo-less, who is "technically black". Yo-less was once asked if it was racist for him to be Baron Samedi for Halloween. He says no, it can't be racist if it's him doing it. The nickname, incidentally, is because he is so chronically unhip that it goes far beyond not conforming to stereotypes; he's actually "whiter" than his aggressively Anglo friends.
  • Older Than Radio: Jim from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn might be the original Black Best Friend, from way before it was cool. On the other hand, Jim and Huck don't always see eye-to-eye on some issues, such as their discussions over the wives of Henry the Eighth, the many different languages in the world, or the Solomon's decision to cut a child in half.
  • Even older than previous example, works by Jules Verne frequently featured African and Aftican-American characters as sidekicks of the protagonists.
  • Jessica, from the Betsy the Vampire Queen series. She is undeniably sassy, and despite having no supernatural powers (unlike many other characters in the series), she is something of a Magical Negro, due to her stupendous (inherited) wealth.
  • In the Dear America book Look to the Hills: The Diary of Lozette Moreau, a French Slave Girl the main character Zettie, though six years younger, is her mistress's loved and trusted companion.
  • In Eleanor And Park, Eleanor's only two friends are Beebi and De Nice who say, "Mmm hmm," too much and make sassy wisecracks and have no life outside of the main character.
  • Defied by Regine, the black secondary character from More Than This. She calls Seth out on thinking that everything revolves around him and that Regine and Tomasz are some sort of props to help him on his journey.
  • Rafael, Greg's study partner in an Israeli yeshiva in the middle third of A Wolf in the Soul, is a black convert to Judaism. His older brother, also a convert, appears later and earlier in the book.
  • Christina from Divergent is a better example than most, since she is a pretty well-rounded character that interacts with and has strong friendships with people other than Tris. However, she isn't a very flawed person.
  • Shaunee is the only black main character of The House of Night, and her main character trait is being best friends with Erin.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Small Wonder: Reggie, Jamie's best friend. In the earlier seasons, he's written as a normal kid. In some later episodes, Reggie picks up some stereotypical Black Best Friend behavior. He's sassier, and one episode has him rapping for a school project.
  • James "Lord Bowler" Lonefeather of The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. while starting out as a rival bounty hunter he eventually became the partner and best friend of Brisco.
  • Francie, Sydney Bristow's best friend, on Alias. She had her own plot about a cheating fiance that only served to show Sydney had a normal non-spy-related friend. In the second season, she had a restaurant startup subplot, and even interacted with people Sydney knew outside of their mutual friend Will. But then, she ends up killed and replaced by someone who's been genetically altered to look like her.
  • Wes and Gunn on Angel for a while. Later on, they actually subverted this pretty well — part of the reason Gunn winds up spiraling toward the dark side in later seasons is because the rest of the team have a tendency to absentmindedly treat him like a secondary character. While the characters do, however, the show itself rarely does.
  • Bates Motel (1987), a failed Pilot Movie that tried to create an anthology series based around the titular motel, had Henry Watson, a hard-up carpenter who befriended lead character Alex West, and was subsequently allowed to move into the motel in exchange for renovating it. While the person who Alex actually had the most screentime with was Lori Petty's character, Willie, she was likely intended as a romantic foil for Alex if it ever went to a series, meaning that Henry more fit the "best friend" part of the trope.
  • Boy Meets World had two at different points in the show's run: Angela Moore for Topanga Lawrence and Eli Williams for Jonathan Turner. However, in Angela's case, her primary role was as Shawn's girlfriend and her friendship with Topanga grew out of her relationship with Shawn.
  • Subverted by Cirilo in Carrusel. He is friends with practically everyone- but not the sidekick of anyone in particular.
  • Parodied in The Colbert Report. When discussing racial matters, Stephen would frequently show a single picture of him with a black staff member named Alan. After Colbert saw Alan participating in an anti-war protest, he was demoted to a "black acquaintance", and Colbert started looking for a new black friend before dropping the bit completely. There was actually a montage in which he showcased all his token minority friends. Stephen also has an Asian best friend, a Mexican best friend, and a Jewish best friend (Jon Stewart). In all cases, the "friends" are wearing the same resigned expressions as in the picture at the top of the page.
  • Community: One thing that gets Pierce out of his suicidal funk is that he has "a young African-American friend". Troy is in no way this trope, but it fits Pierce's racist world view to think he is.
  • The first episode that Hazel is the main character in Degrassi: The Next Generation leaves her usual part of being an extention of the queen bee Paige and goes to her claiming that she's black because she's from Jamaica, not the Muslim African nation that she is from.
  • Inverted on ER. While Pratt was certainly this to Morris, Pratt was the more prominent character.
  • Avoided in Eureka: Henry is Carter's best friend, but he has his own subplots, his own agenda, and his own secrets. A typed BBF would never erase memories from the white protagonist.
    • And considering that the woman that Carter is in love with is black, uh, yeah. Henry's as far from a token as can be.
  • Not a perfect example, but the trope is played for laughs in the Season 3 episode of Father Ted, "Are You Right There, Father Ted" where, in an attempt to appeal to the Chinese people of Craggy Island when they all start to believe he is a racist, Ted organizes an event to celebrate their culture. A slide-show is the main event where, before he gets to a cringe-worthy display of examples of "Chinese culture" (including Ted claiming that you can see the Great Wall of China "from anywhere in the world" and Mr. Miyagi) he shows a picture of himself with his arm around a black man and the pair smiling. To this he says "I forget his name now, but I got on very well with him..." before moving on.
  • In Nashville, Zoey is this to Scarlett. While she may in time come to have her own desires that do not revolve around helping Scarlett or Scarlett's ex-boyfriend, right now Zoey fulfills the trope. It is also notable that she entered the show as Coleman, the only African American cast member at the time, was written off the show. It could be argued that Coleman fulfilled this trope for a few characters on the show.
  • H2O: Just Add Water Season 1's Alpha Bitch Miriam has a black best friend called Tiffany who rarely gets lines or focus outside of one episode where she's crowned the surprise winner of a Beauty Contest, and another where she's Lewis's date for a dance (and she seems to be nicer than Miriam). Both characters vanish in Season 2.
  • Averted in Homicide: Life on the Street; many of the Black characters are given much more characterization and are just as relevant as their White counterparts (which helped in the series' lasting popularity). Frank often shoots down any attempts at friendship Tim shows despite Tim calling Frank his best friend. This is more to do with Pembleton's characterisation as a self-assigned loner.
  • How I Met Your Mother: Michelle, Lily's best friend from high school in the Season 3 episode "Sand Castles in the Sand". She has an extremely thick, stereotypical "black" accent...and when Lily is talking to her, so does she. At one point, Lily leaves her friend alone with the main cast, and it turns out she doesn't normally have that accent either—they just bring out that side of each other.
  • Malcolm's best friend in Malcolm in the Middle is Stevie, who is also Black and Nerdy.
    • All of Hal's friends are black, possibly because their friendship with Hal is a result of his friendship with Stevie's father. As is typical of the series, this is never explained or commented upon. It is, however, subverted at first, where Hal feels he doesn't get along with Stevies father and all of his friends, and that they treat him differently, because he is not like them. When Abe confronts Hal about what he means, Hal says they treat him differently because Hal isn't a professional.
  • For the first eight or so seasons of Married... with Children, Al worked alone in the shoe store. Starting in season 9, his friend and fellow NO-MAAMer Griff became his co-worker. In many respects, Griff was a black version of Al, with a bad car and an even worse job, their major difference being that Griff was divorced. Al would probably consider him better off, but as Griff told Bud in one episode, she got the car, the dog and the money. I got the right to remain silent.
    • He actually worked with a white guy in the first season of the show, then went a couple of of seasons working alone, before hiring a kid that was from Polk High named Aaron. Then he got a intern named Dexter (played by Chi McBride) for one episode. Then Griff came along. Plus, the only cop in Chicago who seems to like Al is Officer Dan.
  • In My Boys, this appears in a downplayed form because the main character is the hip one and her black best friend is overly feminine.
  • The Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode that features the movie Werewolf mocks this when the only black person in the film, seen for a few seconds, is introduced at a party as "my good friend Elgin."
    Mike: Elgin is my black friend.
  • One of Michael Scott's quirks from The Office (US) is his bizarre belief, in the face of all evidence, that sales rep Stanley Hudson is a stereotypical "sassy black mentor" and that Stanley is therefore one of his best friends from work (since Michael is, of course, the protagonist of his little pop-culture fantasy world). Michael has a magical ability to completely ignore all of Stanley's real personality traits while imagining him as a Black Best Friend, imagining him as a wisecracking happy-go-lucky athletic "urban" man with working-class roots , when Stanley is in fact sedentary and out of shape, laconic to the point of catatonia, frequently depressed, raised in a small town and just as if not more solidly upper-middle-class as anyone else in the office.
    • Bizarrely, this is why Michael, despite his blatant racism, seems to genuinely like Stanley to the point of being willing to fight Corporate to keep him as an employee, even though everyone else sees Stanley as one of the less likable (or even memorable) people there, and Stanley himself has nothing but disdain for everyone around him. The thing about Michael is, he's a racist because he's an idiot.
  • On One Tree Hill, this is basically Skills' characterization, even with being in the opening credits in the fourth season and given more dialogue and backstory. One Bottle Episode even has Lucas meeting up with a Black female friend in her new city.
  • Providence. Dr. Sydney Hansen and her fellow physician at the clinic the latter woman runs. We learn they became friends in college and stayed that way through medical school before losing touch when Sydney moved to California for her residency.
  • Gus on Psych, though he exerts a lot of effort into not getting involved in Shawn's latest case. He's also probably a subversion, considering his general dorkiness, especially when compared to Shawn. What's his normal day-job when he's not helping Shawn solve crimes? He's a pharmaceutical sales rep. He's also gotten significant character development and almost always provides a reasonable offering to the plot of each episode.
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch - according to Michelle Beaudoin, she was axed as Sabrina's best friend Jenny because the network wanted her to have an ethnic best friend. This didn't happen until Season 4 with Dreama - who actually did get a plot of being a student Sabrina needed to help earn her witch's license.
  • Spoofed in The Sarah Silverman Program episode "Batteries" when Sarah meets God depicted as an African-American man and she asks him "Are you God's black friend?"
  • Scrubs:
    • Parodied with J.D. and Turk. J.D. is a total dork whose best friend is a black guy, but Turk is only slightly less, if not equally, dorky despite also possessing several jock characteristics. Generally said, Scrubs is one of the rare shows that handles the topic "racism" openly, and isn't afraid to do so. Examples are jokes about the white, geeky stereotype or the black Surfer Dude stereotype. They are very, very aware of this trope. Their nicknames for each other are 'chocolate bear' and 'vanilla bear'.
    • In Season 4's "My Roommates", Dr. Cox has a Vitriolic Best Buds relationship with Ron Laver, his black best friend from high school. The two have a rollicking good time being complete jerkasses to everyone, and Ron messes with J.D. with an Angry Black Man routine.
    • In Season's 5's "His Story III" Dr. Cox accuses Turk of not really being black, one of the reasons being because he has a nerdy, white best friend.
    • In Season 5's "My Chopped Liver" they go to a frat party with J.D. in blackface and Turk in whiteface, J.D. obviously more worried about the implications than Turk is. Turk gets caught up elsewhere and J.D. is left to the mercy of the black fraternity leaders.
    • From Season 9's "My Dumb Luck"
      [after J.D. and Turk share a hug]
      Ted: I need one of those.
      J.D.: A hug?
      Ted: No, a black best friend. It would make me a lot cooler.
      Turk: I should be offended, but he's right.
  • Alex Mack from The Secret World of Alex Mack has Raymond as her black best friend. He's one of only two people along with Alex's sister Annie to know about her powers.
  • Parodied in the 6th season episode of Seinfeld, "The Diplomat's Club" in which George offends his black boss, Morgan, when he says Morgan resembles Sugar Ray Leonard (in George's defense, he actually does). He goes as far as trying to find any black person he's had contact with recently to prove to his boss he's not a racist. He ends up inviting Jerry's black plumber exterminator to a dinner with his boss and pretending they're old high school buddies. Obviously, it blows up in his face.
  • Pete in the early seasons of Smallville. The first character outside the Kent family in whom Clark confided about his powers. Made all the more transparent by the fact that Pete Ross was a blond, blue-eyed white boy in the comics.
    • After he learnt about Clark's powers, he does rescue Clark for a good number of times, but then became an achingly obvious Token Minority and was eventually Put on a Bus. The role of Clark's best friend was quickly assumed by the much more interestingly written and acted Chloe Sullivan. It should be noted that Chloe learned Clark's secret after Pete left, though.
    • Unlike everyone else Pete never had a place (barn, talon, torch office, kitchen) and his only problem was living in Clark's shadow so he left for good reason.
  • La Donna Frediricks of Square Pegs was valley girl Jennifer Di Nuccio's best friend and shared the "most popular girl" mantle with her. In spite of her cliché sassy blackness, she thankfully never fell prey to the more boring Positive Discrimination laws of the day that would've castrated her Mean Girl evil. While proving marginally smarter and more accomplished than the other popular kids, La Donna was a bully at heart, and was just as cruel, selfish, and shallow as the rest of her clique — La Donna's catchphrase was an always uncalled for "I hate that," and she routinely referred to the two protagonists derisively as "that fat girl" and "that fat girl's friend".
  • Lampshaded in 30 Rock. When Liz tries to make friends with Tracey's wife, Angie, she asks "Are you looking for a sassy black friend?" When Liz stumbles for words, Angie continues: "Because you just found one, girlfriend!"
  • True Blood initially had cousins Tara and Lafayette playing this straight as Sookie's black best friends, with Lafayette being gay as well. But they got significant characterization and plenty of plots outside of their minority status and friendship with Sookie. Eventually both characters started getting season-long story arcs completely separate from her.
  • Bonnie to Elena and Caroline on The Vampire Diaries. She's not a perfect example because she's a fleshed-out character with plotlines of her own, is more aware of and capable of handling what's going on in the Town with a Dark Secret than many characters, and is even a Magical Negro, but she's black and a good friend, so it's still worth mentioning. She's sassy as well, but so is everyone on the show.
  • Wallace on Veronica Mars. He gets his own story in season 2...which results in him leaving the show for several episodes...and is promptly written into the background of season 3. Weevil might also count as a sassy latino associate, but he's got enough of his own motivations that he might count as independent of Veronica...except he needs her help frequently to get him out of jail. Wallace got a few storylines in Season 3. The show tried a little harder than most shows to make the minority best friend more three-dimensional.
    • (Also, Neptune, the town where the show takes place, is divided into classes which look at the money you make and frequently also the colour of your skin (some exceptions, but as a rule the white kids are on top) - Wallace wasn't so much the black best friend to give the main character a black best friend, rather he was black because she wouldn't be able to make friends with someone who wasn't also spurned as a social outcast to some degree, and with the town being a little racist as well as money obsessed, it made sense for it to be the black boy she felt sympathy for.)
  • Wonderfalls has an odd case with Mahandra, who, unlike other examples, has a love life and the occasional wacky subplot.
  • In a Saturday Night Live sketch Louis C.K. stars as Abraham Lincoln in a parody of his show Louie. He tries to make new black friends at a bar by mentioning how he emancipated them. It doesn't go well.
  • Derek Morgan and Spencer Reid in Criminal Minds, especially in the first three seasons. More often than not, Morgan's interactions with Reid are about addressing a concern Reid is having or to highlight a trait of Reid- you never see Morgan get help from Reid.
  • This trope is referenced and mocked in Orange Is the New Black. When Taystee is thinking of new hairstyles that would help her appeal, one of the other girls recommends that she go the "Black Best Friend" route with her hair. They list off a few from recent movies such as Regina King in Miss Congeniality and Legally Blonde, as well as Viola Davis in Eat, Pray, Love.
  • While Teal'c gets many "Warrior-centric" episodes he stars in, and plenty of plot development, group episodes of Stargate SG-1 typically relegate him to Jack's one-word Straight Man Black Best Friend. Often for hilarious lampshading effect.
    (during a ship-wide battle drill)
    Ship Captain: Weapons officer, (a quick shot of the weapons officer at his station) Prepare to fire on my command.
    O'Neill: (to Teal'c) As the weapons officer you'd think he'd already be prepared.
    Teal'c: Indeed.
    Ship Captain: (to O'Neill and Teal'c) The bridge isn't exactly where you're supposed to be during a battle drill.
    O'Neill: No, I've been meaning to talk to you about that.
    Ship Captain: Can it wait? 'Till we're not in the middle of a drill.
    O'Neill: When are we not in the middle of a drill?
    (the captain glares at O'Neill and says nothing; O'Neill holds his hands up)
    O'Neill: Okay. We'll talk about it later. Teal'c, prepare to assist in damage control.
    Teal'c: I am prepared, O'Neill.
    O'Neill: See how melodramatic that sounds, it's unnecessary!
  • Before showing a sketch the audience Key & Peele talk about how the only roles in movies they get to read for are for the "black best friend" who's purpose is to make the white main character seem cool and to offer him wise advice.
  • More of a case of What Could Have Been, as in Teen Wolf, Rebecca "Harley" Harlowe is a character who during the pilot, one would think she was built up to be this trope to Scott and Stiles. The two talk to her and later in the pilot, she expresses concern when Scott acts out of it. The original script for the show even states that she seems to be their only friend. But after that, she's rarely seen again.
  • Hill Street Blues averts the trope for the most part, but the spectre of it hangs over Hill and Renko whenever they have a falling-out; Bobby is actually insecure about the idea Renko sees him as this trope at its worst. This was most noticeable when Bobby was elected to a post in the city's Black Police Association, taking him away from street duty for a while. Ironically enough was that Andy was most bothered by the fact he got assigned a (white!) substitute partner whose carelessness nearly got him jumped by a perp.
  • Wonder Woman starts to set one up for Diana in the episode where she transfers to Los Angeles. T. Burton Phipps III is a sassy black kid who somehow has open access to the West Coast headquarters of the IADC to sell apples and other items at outrageously inflated prices.
  • Subtly parodied in the All That sketch "Harry Bladder", a Harry Potter spoof where Harry Bladder's best friend ReRon (a parody of Ron Weasley) is an African-American kid with a huge red afro.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • The team of Glacier and Ernest "The Cat" Miller teamed together in WCW in 1997 in the Blood Runs Cold feud against Mortis, Wrath and manager James Vandenberg. It is a Justified example, as both Glacier and Miller are martial artists and Miller was Glacier's only friend in WCW. Because Miller did not develop his Large Ham/Small Name, Big Ego "I'm the greatest" act until sometime after the team had dissolved, it was not a case of Salt and Pepper. In fact, one of the problems that hurt the feud's chances of getting over was that no one really displayed a personality that could transcend their gimmicks.
  • Kelly Kelly got two in the 2011-2012 period where she was the top face Diva. First was Eve Torres, who randomly decided to save Kelly from an attack by the Bella Twins when they had no history beforehand. Alicia Fox was given a Heel–Face Turn to join them as well, and upon Eve's Face–Heel Turn, Alicia spent a few months tagging with Kelly or standing at ringside for her matches. Despite Eve and Alicia getting wins, Kelly was always promoted as the 'leader' of the trio.
  • Layla:
    • As part of LayCool she played the Beta Bitch to Michelle McCool - there to take beatings or pins in tag matches. Then Layla became Women's Champion and although the two held the title as 'co-champions', Layla was subtly built up to become Michelle's equal. And Michelle ended up turning on her, resulting in a Heel–Face Turn for Layla and a win in a match that meant Michelle had to retire.
    • She found herself getting paired with Kaitlyn a lot during the latter's rise to the top as Divas' Champion. In a shoot interview Kaitlyn poked fun at WWE trying to portray them as best friends just because they were both faces who had teamed together. Layla did pull a Face–Heel Turn on Kaitlyn to become this to AJ Lee - but that became an Aborted Arc quite fast.
    • Averted in her alliance with Summer Rae - where both were presented as equals.
  • Jacqueline spent a lot of the 2002-2003 period tagging with either Lita or Trish Stratus (whichever was the top face at the time) and playing the 'friend of top face' while getting minimal storyline of her own.
  • Naomi would occasionally find herself playing the number two face to either Paige or A.J. Lee in the 2014-2015 period while getting no storyline of her own. She did make a Face–Heel Turn on Paige in mid-2015 but that became an Aborted Arc. As of her 2016 Heel–Face Turn, she initially was in this role to Becky Lynch - but this was subverted when she became Smackdown Women's Champion, and the first African-American to hold the title (granted she was only the third champion but still).

  • Subverted with Robin Quivers. She's been the news anchor and a co-host of The Howard Stern Show since 1981, although originally she was only given the job of newsanchor by executives in the hopes that she would calm Stern down and fulfill the normal role of Black Best Friend. As common with Stern, this only served to increase his wild tendencies, and he interacted and involved Quivers with the show so much through the years that it's obvious she's a fully realized person with flaws, likes, and dislikes... and sometimes she's the only person to take a stand against Stern.

  • In The Gamer's Alliance, Ismail is Belial's best friend. They met each other for the first time when Belial began spending time with Sultana Razia whom Ismail served as the captain of the guard in Vanna. The two men instantly got along and actually began teaching each other about their respective cultures, gaining mutual respect over the years which turned into a lasting friendship. When Razia's twin sister Adela usurped the throne, Ismail was sent into exile. Belial immediately offered him and the other exiled people a sanctuary in his Maar Sulais home, and Ismail returned the favour by becoming Belial's bodyguard as well as the mentor of Belial's son.

    Video Games 
  • Barret from Final Fantasy VII is this to Cloud. You can see them having a man-talk moment if you get him for the tram ride cut-scene. Barrett does have a backstory involving raising the daughter of a former partner he thought dead (who later returns looking for revenge) but after the first disc he mostly falls back into a secondary role (although this could be because the other supporting characters get their day in the limelight next).
  • Final Fantasy VIII has two.
    • Within the Power Trio of Laguna, Kiros and Ward - Laguna is the one with the most development and focus. Ward gets a bit of focus when he is rendered mute after a nasty attack. Kiros is mostly a Satellite Character whose only independent action is to show up in Winhill to see how Laguna is post-retirement.
    • Seifer's Terrible Trio includes Fujin - a woman who initially speaks only one or two words at a time, but eventually gets a "World of Cardboard" Speech to talk Seifer down - and Raijin, who doesn't do much beyond ending his sentences with 'ya know' (in the English translation anyway). Raijin is of course the most prominent dark-skinned character after Kiros.
  • Nakili Abuto in the Purple Moon verse hits every note of this, save for not being your best friend — instead, she's part of a social clique that the player character wants to join. You know, girl?
  • 8-Ball, Lance Vance, and Little Jacob in the Grand Theft Auto series. 8-Ball is probably the least stereotypical of the three, unfortunate since he's the oldest character (they first appear in GTA III, Vice City, and GTAIV respectively). Little Jacob is Jamaican, so whilst he is black he comes from a totally different culture to a black American.
    • Dwayne from GTA IV (provided you let him live), who is one of the nicest characters in the game. He isn't directly a stereotype, but if you take him to Cluckin' Bell (the game's chicken shop) he admits that it may be a stereotype but he still loves the food.
  • It was hinted that Dee Jay may have been this to Fei Long in the Alpha continuity, since there were some mentions to them having worked together and Dee Jay defended Fei Long's image when he was told by Yun that Fei Long may be involved in drug trades. There haven't been any allusions to this in other continuities, though.

    Web Animation 
  • At the start of the Zero Punctuation review of 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand, Yahtzee explains that he's not a racist. This photograph flashes up for just one frame. Then flashes up again. And again. Including after the last line of the video, which cuts off a... not very nice word for black people.

    Web Comics 
  • Bizarrely Exaggerated in Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff with the new friend Geromy, a Living Prop who does literally nothing but exist and be a black friend. As the book commentary says, he "adds much needed racial diversity to these two white assholes who fuck everything up. geromy doesnt fuck anything up ever because hes perfect. i love geromy."

    Web Original 
  • In the Whateley Universe, Jericho is this to Diamondback and Razorback. Given that Diamondback looks like a naga and Razorback looks like he's mostly velociraptor, not a lot of people want to be their friend.
  • A parody website called Black People Love Us! It goes on about how "well-liked [they are] by Black people," and hangin' out with their black friends.
  • Devin Freidman wrote an article called "Will You Be My Black Friend?" on how he realized at a cocktail party that most of his friends were white. He tried to remedy this by putting an ad for himself on Craigslist for a black friend. Oprah's producing a movie with Chris Rock based on it.
  • Deconstructed in the Funny or Die sketch "Black Best Friend", in which Casey Wilson tells her friend Aisha Muharrar (who wrote the sketch) that their friendship isn't working out because Aisha isn't "sassy" enough.
    Casey: See, I kind of wanted this happy ending like in the movies where there's some black lady or some African-American, who sweeps in and helps out her clueless white friend and...I can't have my black best friend be more clueless than me.
    Aisha: I'm not that clueless.
    Casey: Yesterday you called me crying because you were lost downtown.
    Aisha: It was nighttime.
    Casey: You haven't called me "Girrrrrllll" once.
    Aisha: I know your name is Jen.
    • Later in the sketch, when Casey claims that black people are "super-confident because they're black", Aisha complains "Do you know how hard it is to get concealer in my skin tone? And people are always asking me to sing."

    Web Videos 
  • When talking about the "sensitive issue of race" The Nostalgia Chick parodies this by saying that its okay, because her best friend is black. Cut to the definitely white Nella:
    Nella: I'm adopted. Fo' shizzle.

    Western Animation 
  • Terry McGinnis' friend, Maxine "Max" Gibson, in Batman Beyond, one of the few besides him and Old Man Wayne who know his secret identity. Before her introduction, Jared Tate might count, as he was Terry's only male friend.
  • Sloane Plunderman from D.N. Ace is Ace Ripley's closest friend in the series. She usually gets involved with him and his various endeavors.
  • Played for laughs in the Season 7 Family Guy episode, "Three Kings" in its parody of The Shawshank Redemption:
    Andy: Oh, we've only had one conversation, but I can tell we're gonna be life-long friends. And since you're black, and I'm white, that makes it more especial for the audience!
  • AJ on The Fairly Oddparents is the black friend to both Timmy and Chester, though in a bit of a subversion he's probably the smartest and most level-headed of the three. AJ is definitely the smartest both academically (he gets LOTS of A's while Timmy and Chester pretty much fail exclusively) and in terms of common sense, though his attempts to get Timmy to not make ridiculously bad decisions don't really work.
  • Maurice from The Penguins of Madagascar. He only serves as Julien's royal adviser, and doesn't have much characterization compared to Julien and Mort. Zig-zagged later on in All Hail King Julien where we learn about his backstory and even his lost family.
  • In Futurama's Show Within a Show All My Circuits, Calculon's best friend is a human—who doesn't have a name and is only known as "human friend." Similar in spirit.
  • Iron Man: Armored Adventures averted this with Rhodey, who's Tony's best friend, confidant, and moral compass for most of the series. He is by far the most calm and mature out of all the main characters. He's also the only person who calls Tony out when he does morally/intellectually questionable things and is basically the main cast's voice of reason. During the Time Skip between seasons, Tony gave Rhodey his own armor to use to protect New York with because Rhodey is, according to Tony 'the only thing that makes sense'. Although the series' main focus is on Tony (he is Iron Man, after all) Rhodey undergoes a personal morality arc wherein he examines his actions, his struggle to be the moral center, and what ultimately is moral.
  • Monique from Kim Possible. Sassy and Kim's closest female friend outside of her fellow cheerleaders.
  • Quincy from My Dad the Rock Star is this to the male lead Willy. Unique in that he is not portrayed as cooler than the already nerdy-looking Willy. In fact, he's a subverted Jive Turkey who tries to talk in street slang and appear hip hop, but comes off as a clear poser to everyone else
  • Cloe of Sabrina: The Animated Series to Sabrina, though she does have some importance as a Secret Keeper who knows about Sabrina's magic - allowing her to get involved in more adventures than the rest of the cast. Still, her involvement in the plot is usually based around being Sabrina's friend. In the sequel series she is Put on a Bus and replaced with a Latina girl called Maritza - who is more blatantly this trope.
  • In Static Shock there's what you could call an inversion. The protagonist is black, though his race rarely comes up unless the show is actually talking about racism. However, his best friend is Richie, who you could call...'White Best Friend'. Richie is, perhaps deliberately, as white as a character can be. Being a geek, completely uncool and utterly...well, white (And gay. Not that this is ever mentioned on the show, though). Although, to be fair, Static is equally geeky.
  • Wish Kid Nick has a black best friend named Darryl. He acts as the straight man to Nick and is the only other person who knows of the magic baseball glove.
  • Lola, the little cutie from Robotboy, seems to want to make romantic sparks with the show's human protagonist Tommy Turnbull than be friends with him.
  • In Miraculous Ladybug, both Marinette and Adrien have an Ambiguously Brown best friend: Alya, who according to Word of God is Martinicquan, and Nino, who's Moroccan. Both are less socially awkward than their white friend and wind up as a Token Minority Beta Couple. However, while this trope applies fairly well in the first season, the second has made a conscious attempt to develop both of them more as their own characters, in preparation for them becoming superheroes themselves.

Alternative Title(s): Black Best Friend


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