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Catch-all term for black gangsters in United Kingdom settings, although it originally applied to groups from the British West Indies (specifically Jamaica). The name comes from the common area courtyards found in Trenchtown, the impovrished housing project in West Kingston, Jamaica. While the term was originally used for all residents of Trenchtown, it later applied only to the large number of criminals and gang members that also lived there. Nowadays Yardies come from all backgrounds as immigration policies have allowed people of all walks of life the opportunity to come to England and live in low income neighbourhoods.

Most of these guys are teenagers whose circumstances have dictated their life choices. They are often depicted in a negative light in media.

See Gang-Bangers for their American counterparts.

Examples of The Yardies include:


Film

  • Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.
  • Specifically referred to in Snatch when one character refers to minor character Lincoln as "A bad boy yardie". Lincoln seems to fall under the heading of the term being a catch-all for any black gangster.
  • Arguably most of the main characters from Kidulthood and the sequel Adulthood, and definitely Trife's uncle, Curtis.
  • One of the gangs in Love Honour And Obey
  • Marked for Death.
  • The heroes in Attack the Block.

Literature

  • Ranulph Fiennes wrote The Sett, which is set amongst the Yardie drug wars of the 1980s.
  • In Anansi Boys, Fat Charlie's neighbors think he is a yardie after he gets taken to jail because Coats frames him for siphoning money from client accounts.

Live Action TV

  • The Bill
  • Jeremy in Peep Show is chided by Mark for thinking that all of his problems could be solved by the Yardies.
    • "Yardies will solve all my problems"
  • Silent Witness.
  • The Fast Show did a series of sketches involving members of the gentry acting out regional identities. One of these involved a yardie man from Kingston (Kingston-upon-Thames, that is).

Video Games

  • Grand Theft Auto 3 and other Liberty City located games have an American version of this, with a Jamaican gang called the Yardies.
  • The Getaway has a gang of Yardies, lead by Jahmal. They have fast cars with gold rims and usually carry automatic weapons.

Western Animation

Tabletop Games

  • The Yardies are one of the nastier criminal groups you can run afoul of in Shadowrun. The Mafia and Yakuza at least have some rules of engagement...
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