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Angry Black Man.png

A stock character popular in the 1970s - 1980s. A male black youth, the Angry Black Man knows that The Man is out to get him, and that the Revolution will soon come and whitey will have his back against the wall. The Angry Black Man sees injustice everywhere and is capable and intelligent but usually financially destitute because the damn Honkies won't hire him to give him an opportunity.

Liberal white people will attempt to befriend him, but he will have none of it, seeing as even being friends with white people as a betrayal to his race.

Thankfully, mostly a Dead Horse Trope. The writers were usually a type of Rule-Abiding Rebel, assuming that they were being progressive by writing intelligent black characters but then saddling them with stereotypical black rage, bigotry and racism. For extra stereotyping points, make sure the character is ebony rather than mocha.

Compare Malcolm Xerox. See also Scary Black Man.

Examples of Angry Black Man include:

Anime & Manga

Comic Books

  • This was the personality of Spider-Man character The Prowler, as well as Robbie Robertson's activist son.
  • The Marvel Universe's Luke Cage, a.k.a. Power Man, the superpowered version.
  • the Marvel Universe also gives us Eli Bradley/Patriot, who personifies this trope to a tee. Eli is always angry and feels free to yell about it a lot, usually about the Man Keeping Him and His Family Down. Or about his girlfriend not being comfortable on their date. Or about that Honkey Captain America. Ei is angry a lot.
  • Lucius Fox's son, Tim, was portrayed this way in 1980s Batman comics.
  • Tyroc in the Legion of Super-Heroes, even though it takes place in the year 3000.
  • Huey from The Boondocks dips into this territory, but is balanced out by also being a Snark Knight.
  • In The DCU, Green Lantern John Stewart was originally this kind of character, which meant he had to prove himself to Green Lantern Hal Jordan that he was a worthy recruit to the Corps.. While John eventually mellowed for the most part, Bruce Timm and Paul Dini decided the early take on John would make for the most dramatically interesting Green Lantern for The DCAU version of Justice League.
  • An early Teen Titans issue featured a teenage hero called Jericho (who is ANGRY BLACK! Robin) in a racial-issues themed issue. The Executives didn't want controversy so they prevented the story from being published, but many of Jericho's characteristics were latter reused in Cyborg, and his name was recycled as Deathstroke's son.
  • Hardware very much so. The trope name is actually the title of his first story. Justified by the fact that he is constantly being directly and intentionally oppressed by a physical incarnation of The Man, his arch-nemesis and surrogate father Edwin Alva. The conflict is never explicitly made racial, however.
    • It's worth noting that Hardware's creator, Dwayne McDuffie, is a black liberal who knows what he's talking about, not a white liberal trying and failing to be ~socially conscious~. If anything, the character is a deliberate exploration of the trope, not a straight example.
  • The Falcon was this when he was younger.


  • Samuel L. Jackson is a borderline example, most of the time: he is usually angry, but race is only occasionally a motivator. Often, he's just really had it with those motherfucking snakes on that motherfucking plane.
  • One character in Bobby. He chills out around the end. And then Bobby gets shot, and he gets angry again. It's sad.
  • Subverted in Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay, as with just about every other race trope.
    • Also subverted in Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle. Harold's cell mate is a black guy reading a book on civil disobedience who calmly reveals he was arrested because he was black. He then says that he's overweight, black, and has two gay dads, so he's pretty much immune to whatever crap people throw his way. When the police return and get him up against the wall of the cell, he calmly accepts it.
  • Parodied in Chasing Amy. Hooper pretends to be one of these in order to sell a comic book about a black power superhero, but he's actually a Flamboyant Gay. He's a sympathetic character, however, who laments at having to sell out.
  • Parodied in The Big Lebowski, with the short-tempered African-American cab driver who is passionate about The Eagles.
  • Shaft.
  • Sweet Sweetback (a '70s name if ever there was one).
  • Parodied in Undercover Brother with Conspiracy Brother - a very angry, very ill-informed radical.
  • Frank in Ocean's Eleven acts like this as a part of the heist:

Frank: You heard me. Just 'cause a black man tries to earn a decent wage in this state...

Linus: That has nothing to do with...

Frank: ... some cracker cowboy like you's gotta kick him out on the street. Want me to jump down, turn around, pick a bale of cotton, won't let me deal cards, might as well call it whitejack.

  • Played straight and subverted with Marcus in Airheads. Throughout the movie, he accuses Rex and Milo of having racist motivations, but has no clue who Rodney King is.
  • Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood parodies this character complete with African robes and long winded speeches to the others about how their behavior is just playing into "the man's" oppression of them. He excuses his own hypocrisy in exclusively dating white women by saying he's "sticking it to the white man, by sticking it to the white woman."
  • Parodied with Conan O'Brien graphic artist Pierre Bernard and his "Recliner of Rage" bits, where he rants in an emotionless sounding monotone about something trivial that's bothering him, such as collecting old Robotech releases on VHS.
  • Jason from Are You Scared?
  • One could say that there are a few in Do the Right Thing (particularly Buggin Out), but the trope is somewhat inverted when one black man tells another whom is spouting ABM language that he "doesn't want to hear that horseshit."
    • In the commentary track for the DVD release, Spike Lee specifically notes, when Buggin Out begins ranting about the pictures in the Pizzeria, that he disagrees with the character, saying that it's Sal's place, so it's his right to put whatever pictures he likes on the walls.
  • A positive example is Morgan Freeman's Hot-Blooded school principal in Lean On Me.


  • Invoked in the Destroyer novels. Master Chiun, the Wise Old Mentor, is an incredible racist (having been raised in the 19th century) of the Korean stripe, so he sees all races as specific insulting tropes. Blacks, in his viewpoint, are "always angry." (Which is better than his opinions of Japanese, or Russians, or Americans, or Chinese, or ... damn well everyone who had the bad taste to not be Korean, really).
  • Deconstructed in Richard Morgan's Black Man novel (which was, interestingly enough, titled Th1rt33n in the US)
  • Bigger Thomas of Native Son is a dumbed down version. Besides the intelligence part, he fits the trope like a glove. It should also be noted that Richard Wright, the author of Native Son, is a famous black author.

Live-Action TV

  • George Jefferson when he was still on All in The Family.
  • Used beautifully in the UK comedy show Balls of Steel with the character of "Militant black guy" see here: Other Wiki
  • Played straight and subverted in Angel with Gunn. While Gunn can have his angry moments there is a fantastic scene when he helps Angel break into Wolfram and Hart:

Gunn: "Whoo-whoo! My god! They told me it was true, but I didn't believe them. Damn, here it is! Evil white folks really do have a Mecca. (Holds up a hand to the security guards stepping out from behind their desk) [...] OW! Did you just step on my foot? (The nearest guard is still at least 8 feet away from him) Is that my foot you just stepped on? Are you assaulting me - up in this haven of justice?" "Somebody get me a lawyer - because my civil rights have seriously been violated. - Oh, I get it, I get it. You all can cater to the demon, cater to the dead man, but what about the black man!"


"I think we all know who the man is. I'm talking about the same man who calls all his bad children the black sheep."


"Stop clapping before y'all make me smile!"

  • Parodied in the Scrubs episode "My Roommates":

J.D.: Come on, you two are interracial best buddies. I, too, have a Black Best Friend. Go out, enjoy it! Celebrate your uniqueness! I can do it!

Ron: I'm sorry. Did you just call me black? Because the last time I checked, the correct term was "African-American."

J.D.: Well, Turk lets me call him Brown Bear.

Ron: Who the hell is Turk?!

J.D.: I should go. (leaves)

Dr. Cox: Angry black man. It never disappoints.

Ron: I pull it out when I need to.

  • Oz. Kareem Said, leader of the Muslim prisoners, is a more updated version of this trope. His is an angry black man, but his anger is more a controlled burn than an explosive rage. Plus, he also accepts Beecher (who is white) as a friend, or at least an ally.
  • Lampshaded in an episode of Sons of Anarchy. Tig and Clay are planning on framing a black gang, the One-Niners for a murder they plan to commit.

 Tig: Blame it on the angry black man.

Clay: It's the American way.

  • Sgt James Doakes from Dexter.
  • Sgt Greer on Stargate Universe appears to be setup as a military version of this. The subvert the hell out of that expectation to the point where he's one of the strongest, most capable, fair but strong willed members of the entire team.
  • Dunn Purnsley from Boardwalk Empire.
  • John Hamilton on 7th Heaven rants angrily about having this reputation in his first appearance, even accusing Matt of being afraid of him because he's black. Matt quickly points out that it's not the color of his skin that scares people, but his attitude. Granted, John does have a legitimate reason to be angry at the time, as racists burned his father's church down and it's implied his family's been the target of racist cruelty even before then, but Matt points out that John always looks seconds away from taking his anger out on the wrong people. This, along with a harmless prank by Ruthie, softens John up.
  • Subverted by Carl Winslow on Family Matters, who can be grumpy and has a short fuse when it comes to the antics of neighbor Steve Urkel, but is overall a kind person. He only becomes truly angry at major injustices, like when Eddie was racially profiled or he was sued by a Jerkass actor for giving him a parking ticket.
  • Phillip Banks on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is this whenever his nephew Will does something stupid or his family is put in real danger.

Video Games

  • Valygar Corthala doesn't take your shit. Even if you're an elf.
  • Barret Wallace, who revives a long-dead terrorist organization purely for purposes of revenge against the evil Mega Corp running the world. He's a more nuanced version in that his anger is directed specifically at Shinra rather than at white people in general, and when he reveals just what Shinra did to him, it turns out he has a damn good reason for being so angry.

Web Originals

  • Chaka's brother Vince Chandler, in the Whateley Universe. Even though the Chandler are upper-middle class in the nice suburbs of Baltimore.
  • Troy McCann from Survival of the Fittest tends to drop into this from time to time. Notably, he intentionally made himself out this way in order to be more like the rap stars he idolizes.
    • Bryant Carver of Spin-Off The Program also fits. It's actually pretty justified; the setting he's in is based entirely off of Deliberate Values Dissonance, which is basically a good example of Eagle Land type 2 with fairly extreme nationalist/xenophobic tendencies. So naturally he tends to distrust white people.
  • The Axis of Anarchy member Bruiser in The Guild. May be a parody because he seems less to be angry about racial issues than about, well, everything.
  • Thundercloud, a Kid Hero active in the 1970s from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe started out as an Angry Native American. By the time he's grown up and changed his name to Thunderstorm, his anger is less about racial injustice and more about just being really angry about pretty much everything.

Western Animation

  • During the controversy surrounding the town flag in South Park, Chef became a mix of this and Malcolm Xerox.
  • All three of the main characters on The Boondocks, Huey, Riley, and Grand-dad are all angry black males, albeit for differing reasons.
  • Parodied in Batman the Brave And The Bold in "Inside the Outsiders": Black Lightning, the Outsiders' resident ball o' rage, isn't angry at the world—he's merely very easily annoyed. "Sprinkles--on coffee? What are you, six?!"
  • On Family Guy, Peter (who has swallowed a cellphone) gets a call from Quagmire, bragging about how he had sex with a black woman. Everyone can hear, so Peter ends the conversation when a black couple walks by (a little surprised, but not upset or anything). Peter explains that he didn't want to offend them, in case the man was one of those angry black men. He wasn't, until Peter started with the whole Pretty Fly for a White Guy thing, thus offending him.
    • Recurring character newscaster Ollie Williams.
  • Code Monkeys has Black Steve, a ludicrously over-the-top parody of this trope, who is literally angry all the time - at white people, at his colleagues, and at inanimate objects.
  • Spoofed in the opening for the American Dad episode "Black Mystery Month", where a white speaker delivers an over-the-top rant, claiming that none of the students has even seen a real black person (followed by the white and black students looking at one another in confusion) and claiming that Beethoven was black.

Real Life

  • Rapper Sister Souljah is a female version of this. Her novel The Coldest Winter Ever is a love letter to this trope.
  • Depending on whose version of events you believe, the arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr. may have been the result of this trope in action. Or possibly other tropes.
  • Baseball player Albert Belle actually called himself this trope. When questioned about his history of angry outbursts, Belle said "I was just an angry black man."
  • Non-Ethiopian black "Hebrews" and black supremacists. Yes, they exist, and they're just as bad as their white counterparts.