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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!"

"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 listednote . 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 

  • 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 
  • Marvel Universe
    • Spider-Man: J. Jonah Jameson has Joe "Robbie" Robertson, a black employee at the Daily Bugle. 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 despite never getting as much focus as Jameson himself. That being said, writers have made attrmpts to avert this and he does have some stories that focus squarely on him and explore him outside of his role as Jameson's friend-primarily regarding his history with Tombstone or his son Randy.
  • The DCU:
    • Batman has Lucius Fox, Bruce Wayne's business manager to begin with. Now, in addition to being Batman's money man, Fox, now that it is established that he knows all about his boss' Batman activities, now also works as his armorer and helps in Mission Control. However, he is only ever a supporting character to the white Bruce.
    • The Warlord (DC): Machiste who, despite being king of his own land, spends most of his time as the loyal companion to Travis Morgan.
    • Wonder Woman (1987): Cassie's best and only recurring friend is her African American classmate Georgia. On the flipside, Georgia mainly exists to fill said friend role.
  • The Dandy: Jak and Todd. 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.
  • 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 mixed 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.

    Comic Strips 
  • Franklin in Peanuts was the strip's first black character, 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.
  • For Better or for Worse:
    • Lawrence is Michael's Brazilian (and gay) friend. 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 — Animated 
  • Entergalactic: Inverted; the main characters Jabari and Meadow are both Black, and they both have non-Black best friends (Jimmy and Karina) whose purpose is to comment and advise.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Sky High (2005): In a predominantly white cast, the black cheerleader Penny plays second fiddle to popular girl Gwen.
    • Of the Sidekick group, Ethan (AKA Popsicle) is the only black member.
  • Bennet from The Sorcerer's Apprentice is one of the greatest offenders. He is African-American only has a couple of scenes, usually for a bit of Plucky Comic Relief, where he shares the bedroom with the hero and seems to be the ''only'' person who talks to him and when he does is to say that Dave has to get a girlfriend and introduce a Chekhov's Gun that is going to be used by the Big Bad. Then, when he's having a date, Dave calls him for help and he leaves in the same instant, meets the hero, he says he's willing to do anything to help him and then he VANISHES without any explanation whatsoever. The point that NOBODY seems to remember this character makes it even more obvious.
  • Lily, Andy's best friend in the movie The Devil Wears Prada. Her role in the film is notably reduced compared to the book - where she has her own subplot involving her alcohol problems - and she just seems to exist to call Andy out any time she messes up.
  • Bubba is this to Forrest Gump. He's there as Forrest's war buddy and it's suggested they'll become business partners but then he dies in Vietnam, and Forrest names his eventual shrimping company after him - giving a share of the profits to his mother. Slightly averted in that Forrest only had one other friend at that point who wasn't around, while Forrest and Bubba are both on the same mental wavelength and none of the other men were in a hurry to befriend them.
  • Brenda Meeks from the Scary Movie series is a send-up of this trope - forever playing The Lancer to Cindy's Final Girl. She's even killed off twice only to reappear again with no explanation.
  • Solarbabies: Rabbit is the sole African-American character and is one of the least fleshed out characters.
  • 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.
  • In the movie of Matilda, her best friend, Lavender, is black, even though the original book illustrations drew her as white. She gets no in-depth characterisation or growth, and is probably given a Race Lift to make Matilda seem more open-minded and inclusive than her family. She gets one independent moment where she decides to get back at the Trunchbull for locking Matilda in the Chokey by putting a newt into her water (it's also her who tells Miss Honey the former, allowing Matilda to be rescued) but besides that is just there as the best friend.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Get Over It:
    • Alison has a Beta Bitch called Maggie (played by pre-fame Zoe Saldaña) 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.
    • Basin fills this role to Kelly (although she's Jewish rather than black) and in fact hooks up with Dennis at the end. Her only independent moment is to be annoyed that she's cast in a minor role in the school play.
  • High School Musical: Troy has Chad and Gabriella has Taylor. Their main functions are to support their friends, to act as an Scary Black Man and Sassy Black Woman respectively, and to hook up with each other (Chad's chemistry with Ryan notwithstanding).
  • Sex and the City plays this trope painfully straight with Carrie's friend/assistant Louise. Louise is a highly competent character with no real flaws, but her life seems to revolve entirely around helping and supporting Carrie, to the point where she interrupts her own wedding dress fitting to assist Carrie long after putting in her notice and presumably no longer being on Carrie's payroll. Every hobby, interest, or quirk Louise is shown to have (her interest in handbags, her favorite movie, her good luck keychain and what it symbolizes) either aligns with Carrie, ends up revolving around Carrie and Carrie's problems, or both. It is also particularly noteworthy that in a movie focused on female friendships, it never seems to occur to Carrie to introduce Louise to any of her other friends. Although it wouldn't be expected that any other character would become part of the foursome at that stage, peripheral white friends generally seem to know and occasionally interact with the rest of the group. Carrie's relationship with her sole black friend is kept totally separate and never seems to merit even casual inclusion in her broader social circle.
  • Tales from the Hood 2: Practically name-dropped in "Good Golly", where Audrey thinks that having Zoe as her best friend means that she can't be racist.
  • The Craft plays with this when it comes to Rochelle. She was in fact written to be just another white girl, but Rachel True really lobbied for the part, and the filmmakers gave her a Race Lift and incorporated racist bullying into the plot. She's still the least focused on of the leads, we never see her home life and she doesn't have much characterization outside of her racist bullying subplot.
  • Rachel True played a straighter example in the film Embrace of the Vampire (1995). Again, the character was originally written to be white. And again, she's there as a Satellite Character for Charlotte to talk to.
  • I Know What You Did Last Summer:
    • Julie has two scenes at college, both of whom feature a sassy black friend called Deb. In the first scene, Deb is forcing Julie to finally return home for the summer.
    "Get your white as death, chalky corpse in the car now."
    • In the second film, she now has another sassy black friend Karla. This one thankfully gets to be a protagonist, going on the holiday that kicks off the plot, fighting off the killer and actually surviving! Supposedly, the character was written to be race neutral, and Brandy just gave the best audition. Ironically beforehand Karla was going to die, but they decided to spare her.
  • The 2013 adaptation of Carrie gives a Race Lift to Tommy's friend George Dawson, whose only bit of focus is joking around with Tommy at the prom and being nice to Carrie. He's actually seen helping some promgoers escape Carrie's massacre. The same film does give a Race Lift to Tina (her actress Zoe Belkin is mixed race) to make her a villainous example - although she gets to do more than the rest of the Girl Posse by switching the king and queen ballots, sneaking Chris in to help pull the prank and playing a humiliating video of Carrie.
  • Alexandra Shipp complained about Storm being demoted to this in Dark Phoenix after X-Men: Apocalypse had introduced her version as an independent character who started out on the villains' side and chose to make a Heel–Face Turn - and the original trilogy had her as a main protagonist. It's a joke among fans that the moment where she uses her powers to make ice cubes for Scott's drink just shows her lack of importance.
  • 10 Things I Hate About You:
    • Joey has a black friend who exists to agree with him about Bianca's attractiveness, and occasionally be seen standing next to him, getting minimal screen time.
    • Subverted with Bianca's friend Chastity, who's the only notable girl of colour in the story. Initially just seeming like a sounding board for Bianca's woes, she turns out to be a False Friend who hooks up with Joey when he loses interest in Bianca.
  • Trick 'r Treat has a segment with a group of girlfriends. Maria is the only non-white one and she gets very little characterization outside of being boy crazy, only getting individual camera time when revealing the vampire serial killer to just be Principal Higgins.
  • In Scream 2, Sidney has a black best friend in college called Hallie. She's a straight up Nice Girl who's mainly there to lend support to Sidney and die to motivate her to finally face the killer. She is discussed as a potential suspect for the killer, but is dismissed because slasher movie killers are "usually white males". In a fake ending written to confuse potential leakers, she was one of the killers, but this was never intended to be canon.
  • Devil's Prey - Joe is the odd one out in the group and seems only there to make it look more diverse, since David and Eric have girlfriends. About the only thing we know about him is that he did several months in juvey, and he ends up the first kidnapping victim.
  • Dr. Giggles gives the group of teens a pair of black friends (who are of course dating) and are naturally the first to die.
  • Black Christmas (2019):
    • Most prominently there's Kris who, while she has an established personality as a passionate feminist activist, a whole lot of her screen time is suspiciously spent playing the supportive best friend role to Riley. We ultimately know nothing about her beyond that she Does Not Like Men, except for a throwaway line where she implies she comes from a well-off family.
    • The sorority's other two non-white characters are Jessie, who exists to be a Nice Girl and get killed off, and Helena, who disappears early on and is revealed as a traitor who wishes to remain subservient to men.
  • Free Guy:
    • Buddy is the black best friend to the white Guy. His role is to be his coworker, and because he refused to join on Guy's quest, he stays out of the action for much of the film until the climax. However, he gives advice that turns Guy into The Anti-Nihilist. In the end Guy is overjoyed to see Buddy alive and the two go on to Free Life together.
    • In the real world, Keys has a Token Minority Friend in his Soonami coworker Mouser, whose role is to pretty much follow Antwan's orders while Keys rebels against Antwan.
  • Naomi And Ely's No Kiss List: Robin, though she isn't stereotypical, has no role in the film other than being Naomi's friend.
  • A recurring trope in the A Cinderella Story movie franchise; both the female lead and the male lead tend to have a non-white friend or ally in their corner. While the female lead's token friend usually gets a little extra plot relevance by way of being the Fairy Godmother-type character who helps her defy her stepfamily, the male lead's friend is usually relegated to being comic relief.
  • The Made-for-TV Movie adaptation of the Odd Girl Out advice book has Emily as the only prominent Black character. While she and Vanessa aren't friends to start off with and we know that Emily is a Passionate Sports Girl, her first scene is offering Vanessa a chance to join her team, she stands up for Vanessa after her suicide attempt and becomes her best friend by the end. Vanessa is Latina by the way, but still much fairer skinned than Emily, so the trope still fits.
  • The Faculty's most prominent black character is Gabe (played by Usher), Stan's friend on the football team and a Jerk Jock foil to Stan's Nice Guy personality.

  • 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".
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Melanie is this to April in The Egypt Game, providing an early example from The '60s. The Sympathetic P.O.V. is actually assigned to them about equally, although April still registers more strongly as a protagonist. On the other hand, April is definitely the sassier of the two, which would have been an Inverted Trope had the stereotype been codified.
  • In Eleanor & Park, Eleanor's only two friends are Beebi and DeNice 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.
  • 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 
  • 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!"
  • Wes and Gunn on Angel for a while. Later on, they actually deconstructed this — 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.
  • 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: Invoked. 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. (This doubles as something of a Development Gag; there were plans for the two to have an Intergenerational Friendship, but it fell through because their actors didn't have much chemistry on or off the set.)
  • Dash & Lily: Boomer is the only African-American main character and the best friend to the white Dash. His role in the plot is to further Dash and Lily's flirtation (including dropping everything at work and sprinting off to find Dash in the middle of a rush). While there are other details about him (his tight-knit family is doing Christmas based on his chef aunt's food and he has struck up a friendship with Jeff the Elf), these happen largely offscreen. Lampshaded in the last episode when he scolds Dash for assuming Boomer has no life outside of him. He is seen going on a date with Sofia at the end though.
  • Inverted on ER. While Pratt was certainly this to Morris, Pratt was the more prominent character.
  • Invoked for laughs in the Season 3 episode of Father Ted, "Are You Right There, Father Ted." 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.
  • Glee: Karofsky's best friend, Azimio, fits the trope - he is every bit a Jerk Jock like Karofsky, just without the Hidden Depth of being an Armored Closet Gay with suicidal tendencies.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The L Word demoted Kit to this in later seasons, where all her characterization was stripped away and she just seemed to exist to say "Girrrrl" twice an episode.
  • Satirized in The L.A. Complex when Raquel goes out for the role of the protagonist's best friend in a new TV show and is told that they're looking for a Black Best Friend.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 is 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'.
    • From Season 7'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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Token Black Friend behavior. He's sassier, and one episode has him rapping for a school project.
  • True Blood Subverted with Tara and Lafayette. They initially act as Sookie's black best friends, but as the show continues, they get 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.
  • 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 Token Black Friend. Often for hilarious lampshading effect.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The 1998 BBC adaptation of The Worst Witch with two Canon Foreigners not in the original books:
    • Jadu Wali fits the trope the most. She's of South Asian descent, and is mostly The Generic Guy; there to only say a few lines and maybe get the odd independent moment (such as being the second student chosen to speak in a debate). She doesn't get a prominent role in an episode until the two-part finale - where she's spearheading a protest against teacher favouritism and she and Mildred are expelled for it.
    • Ruby Cherrytree, the only Anglo-African character is similarly less connected to the plot and hijinks. But she does have an established personality as a technophile and occasional Bungling Inventor that annoys the traditional Miss Hardbroom. She actually gets two episodes where she plays a prominent role, meaning she somewhat transcends this by the end of the series.
  • On The Queen's Gambit (set in America in The '60s), the only African-American character is Jolene, the white protagonist Beth's only friend at the orphanage. Her race is pointed out (as an older black girl she probably won't get adopted and will have to work). Once Beth is adopted she drops out of the story until the final episode, ready to play a Magical Negro role for Beth.
  • On Fate: The Winx Saga, Aisha is the only black girl in the main group and most of her screentime is dedicated to her relationship with Bloom. Season 2 would fix this by giving her a romance subplot and expanding more of her character to put her on an equal level with the others.

    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, 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. Outside of this however, Eve Torres would be pushed as an independent entity; especially after turning heel.
  • Alicia Fox also became this to Paige in 2014 when the latter recruited her as a Replacement Goldfish for AJ Lee. Their alliance didn't last long and didn't get much of a payoff either when they split.
  • 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 ended up Demoted to Extra and reduced to being the number two face tagging with Kaitlyn for the late 2012-2013 period (and Kaitlyn later joked in a shoot interview how odd it was that WWE attempted to portray them as close friends). This did eventually pay off for Layla making a Face–Heel Turn to join AJ Lee in tormenting her...only for Layla to get Demoted to Extra again.
  • 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. Right before her departure, she did have a surprise win as a Cruiserweight Champion but that was dropped soon too.
  • 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.
  • Aliyah is Arab but still filled this role to the white Liv Morgan when she made a Heel–Face Turn to save her from attacks at the hands of Billie Kay and Peyton Royce. Aliyah usually played Ricky Morton in tag team matches, while Liv would occasionally get a title shot or number one contender's match.
  • Sasha Banks suspiciously spent a good portion of her NXT days in this role. She debuted when Paige was the top face, and thus would occasionally team with her playing the 'number two'. While she did get a small storyline of her own involving Audrey Marie pretending to be a secret admirer - this was quickly dropped. Sasha made a Face–Heel Turn to join Summer Rae and form the stable Beautiful Fierce Females - but ended up spending most of her time as the Beta Bitch. Tellingly, one segment had Summer doing all the talking on the microphone while Sasha just made hand gestures to reference what she was talking. When the stable recruited Charlotte Flair, Sasha again was the Lesser Star. She finally managed to break out on her own as a top heel in 2015, and hasn't looked back since.
  • Gail Kim:
    • She debuted in 2003 initially winning the Women's Championship in her first match. Then only five weeks later, she lost the title to Molly Holly...and turned heel to become The Dragon to Molly. Due to her inexperience at the time, she was the more likely of the two to lose in tag matches and rarely won on her own. In 2004 she did manage to get a minor title push against Victoria, but that was ended quite soon.
    • Her return to WWE in 2009 saw her playing the number two to whoever was the top face at the time - be it Melina, Mickie James or Eve Torres. There were minor hints of her turning on Mickie but they never amounted to anything. She eventually left the company several months before her contract expired out of frustration at this - and years later stated that she felt Vince McMahon didn't think a non-white person could be a top star.

  • 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.

    Video Games 
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • Dave Ray from Loopmancer is the sole named character who's black, and the hero Xiang Zixu's closest friend. The game takes place entirely in Hong Kong and is made by a Beijing-based studio.

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • 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.
  • Parodied in this Tiktok, where a presumably white protagonist is Late for School. At the end their sole black friend sends them a sassy side-eye, and they respond with "Thanks, black one!"

    Western Animation 
  • As Told by Ginger:
    • Miranda began as simply a Beta Bitch to Courtney, but her character was quickly expanded into being far more malicious and disapproving of Courtney's interest in Ginger (later episodes highlighting her insecurities about being popular). The second season began showing Hidden Depths for her.
    • Miranda and Courtney gain one in Mipsy - a Jewish American Princess who's the most prominent in their Girl Posse. She's there to act as a minion to Miranda when she's being mean but otherwise gets zero focus of her own.
  • Dexter's Laboratory gives main character Dee Dee two friends in Mee Mee (black) and Lee Lee (Asian) - who have the same personality as her and just happen to be different ethnicities. Although since Dee Dee is a super girly Genki Girl, they're not lacking in personality in any case.
  • 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. The only thing that keeps him from falling into another problematic trope is the fact that his own ego often puts him at odds with his friends.
  • 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.
  • Parodied 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."
  • Iron Man: Armored Adventures: Rhodey's mother Roberta would be this for Howard, Tony's father, if it's weren't for the fact that the second season gave an Author's Saving Throw to explain a large chunk of their friendship is based on her accepting his change of heart from weapons' dealer to altruistic scientist and that she's his only friend.
  • Quincy from My Dad the Rock Star plays with this trope 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
  • Recess - in the Ashleys clique, Ashley B is the Beta Bitch to Ashley A (who tends to get the most independent plots of the girls). Her only independent moment in the series is to kick Ashley A out of the clique for breaking one of their rules.
  • Chloe 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 The Simpsons, Janey, Lisa's most frequently-seen best friend at school, is a Living Prop who doesn't get the same exploration as Bart's various friends and foes, possibly because Lisa is friendless Depending on the Writer (the official explanation being that she's more of a Fair-Weather Friend than anything else, as she's just as likely to be seen among Lisa's detractors).
  • Inverted in Static Shock. 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.
  • 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.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Black Best Friend


Remy Remington

We meet Remy Remington, an African American in Big City, whom Cricket immediately becomes friends with.

How well does it match the trope?

4.33 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / TokenBlackFriend

Media sources: