Tag Archives: IronE Singleton

Are We Still Doing the Token Black Guy Thing?

Black dudes. What are they good for in film and TV? Well, offering witty remarks, making the shot look pretty (full) and dying first apparently.

But is this just a misconception which has been leant on too heavily? I’ll answer that one for you. Yes. Yes it is. There are not actually that many characters in film or TV programmes who happen to be both black, and token. Well, not anymore at least.

Token Black Guy

In previous decades, leading up to the ’70s, there were very few black characters in mainstream films as they were predominantly written and made for white audiences. So when filmmakers felt they had to take note of equal opportunities in this new era of change, the casting of black actors was made, but often limited to small parts, background characters and at best, supporting roles.

This was the case for all genres, including horror. But why the cliché that black characters are the first to die – especially in horror films? Well because they were I suppose, but only for a short period in cinema’s history – from the time they were actually being cast, until the time they were being given meatier roles. Continue reading