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Alright! You've gotten your Ensemble Cast. The Quiet One has retreated to his trailer and Action Girl may or may not be sleeping with The Smart Guy. The Hero's demands for three pounds of blue M&M's have been met. The script is a sure-fire hit.
But something's missing. Something... funky. A character to provide kickass quotes to be tossed around the Internet. Apparently Samuel L. Jackson is interested in the project. Yes.
Enter Soul Brotha. This man is a Badass. He is pure coolness. He speaks in a slang at once incomprehensible and utterly groovy, and he sho can groove. If he dies (and heck, he probably will) it will be in the coolest way imaginable. He may or may not have an afro, but he will certainly be Black. Expect him to ask where all the white women are.
The reason for this is the idea that African-Americans are somehow inherently cooler than their Caucasian neighbors. Part of this is the fact that most American music developed in the 20th Century has roots in the African-American community. Jazz, Blues, Soul, Hip-Hop, Funk, and yes, even Rock n' Roll. And although the aesthetic of cool itself has had a long history worldwide, the term "cool" itself was also first used by African-Americans. Cinema gold. Or not. Sometimes an actor, especially a comedic one, may take the role a bit too far.
Anime and Manga
- Parodied in the extreme by Excel Saga's Nabeshin, who was described to his English dub actor as "like Shaft, but white".
- From Coyote Ragtime Show, we have the silly version (the radio pirate Super-Soul) and the Badass version (space-pirate-turned-James-Brown-dancing-priest Brother Swamp).
- Afro Samurai has Samuel L. Jackson playing one of these as a Black Best Friend to himself.
- TK from Angel Beats fits every single one of these traits apart from well...being black. But still a Funny Foreigner in a Japanese Highschool!
- Naruto brings us Killer Bee, the Rapping Ninja.
- Masa-san from Seto no Hanayome.
- Subverted in Why I Hate Saturn with Black Best Friend Ricky:
Anne: Yeah, Mike, why is Ricky doing the Black column?
- Luke Cage during his Hereos For Hire days, though what started as being characterized as a flamboyant hustler has since changed to a more stern nature in modern comics.
- As noted before, Samuel L. Jackson can pull this role off with his eyes closed. See Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction.
- He was even able to pull it off when he voiced the white Gin Rummy on The Boondocks.
- Undercover Brother in the film of that name, which is basically this trope exploded into two hours of ethnic-related hilarity.
- Will Smith in Men in Black, Wild Wild West (where his modern black slang was the spice in the Anachronism Stew), and Independence Day, although he eased off this in ~I, Robot~ and I Am Legend.
- Chris Tucker in anything he's in.
- The title character of the movie Shaft. Right On.
- Detective Rico Tubbs of the Miami Vice Squad.
- Parodied in Not Another Teen Movie, which has
athe black character pop up with unrelated phrases like "bling bling!" out of nowhere, then disappear again.
- Inverted/parodied in Amazon Women on the Moon, which features a parody commercial for a charity to help black people born without soul. Another commercial parody advertises an album by Don "No Soul" Simmons, a character played by David Alan Grier who's exactly what he sounds like.
- Ghost Dog: The Way of The Samurai could almost count as a subversion really, as Ghost Dog rarely speaks, and has the stoic decorum of an ancient samurai.
- Cooper from Event Horizon. Referred to as the "funky spaceman".
- Black Dynamite, the eponymous hero, both parodies and personifies this trope.
- Spider in Anansi Boys.
Live Action Television
- Gunn in Angel.
- Detective Rico Tubbs of the Miami Vice Squad.
- Lead, of Sapphire and Steel fame, is a very amusing example.
- Linc Hayes in The Mod Squad.
- Lampshaded and subverted with Turk in Scrubs.
- Orginal Cindy in Dark Angel.
- Mr T in The A-Team. Because, well, DUH.
- Back in the '70s, professional wrestler "The Soulman" Rocky Johnson was the very embodiment of this trope. He passed along a generous quantity of his coolness to his son -- a guy you might know as The Rock.
- Indy wrestler Human Tornado is this trope.
- Former West Indies cricketer and commentator Michael Holding, especially as impersonated in the Twelfth Man series. ("The Aussies love listening to me, mahn. I sound so cool.")
- So cool is he, in fact, that he even managed to live down the time a commentator said "The Batsman's Holding, the Bowler's Willey".
- Snoop Dogg .
- Tyler Mills in Indigo Prophecy/Farenheit.
- Seth from The King of Fighters.
- Drebin in Metal Gear Solid 4 Guns of the Patriots fits this trope to a T. Somewhat made weird though in that he still monologues to you just as much as anyone else, often with an insane level of detail.
- Superfly Johnson in Daikatana.
- Marauders in Starcraft II: Black Power Armor-wearing infantry that launch grenades, and talk like a stereotypical player.
- In the musical Passing Strange, there actually is a song named "Soul Brother", in which the young, middle-class Youth starts a punk rock band with his friends. They sing lines such as "My mother stands in doorways beggin' me to conform/Be a good, football playin' snazzy-dressing brother/so the sisters can be able/ to tell you to from the others" and "So Roots blew your MIND?! I learned that shit in third grade...in Ms Madeira's class".
- Most of the dwarves in Our Little Adventure have a touch of this.
- For reasons known probably only to the creators, Master Chief of all people is turned into one in the webseries Life in A Game.
- Eddie Murphy in Disney's Mulan, despite being set in imperial China.
- Jazz and Blaster in the original Transformers cartoon were the two Autobots most into Earth music and culture. Naturally, they both were voiced by black actors (trivia: in Jazz's case, by awesome character actor Scatman Crothers). In the IDW comic series, where the Autobots are shown using holographic avatars, that used by Jazz is, naturally, a black man.
- Jazz fulfills the role in the 2007 movie once again, although the only thing left of the Jive Turkey is a more of a Mythology Gag. He introduces himself with a friendly "what's crackin', little bitches?" and a breakdancing move.
- The version in Animated is also a ninja and uses nunchucks. A pair of nunchucks.
- Frozone in The Incredibles. When he makes his first appearance in his street clothes when he enters the Parr family residence, "cool" is the first thing that comes to your mind, which is appropriate, given his ice powers. Being voiced by Samuel L. Jackson may have something to do with that. And he has 'Fro in his name. All together now: "Where is my super-suit?"
- Spoofed with URL, the robot cop occasionally seen on Futurama along with his Fry-soundalike partner Smitty, who talks like one.
- Frylock, of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, has aspects of this. In other ways, however, he is a huge nerd.
- Boxy Brown is this trope combined with Scary Black Man. Of course, he's just a box.
Boxy Brown: I'm just a what, bitch?!
- Scat Cat in The Aristocats. Voiced by the above-mentioned Scatman Crothers.
- Slick Possum from Blinky Bill.
- A trope, actually. In fact, this trope.