In today's post-racial society, it's a damn shame that there aren't more great black heroes in the media of movies and TV. But the ones we do have tend to be pretty damn awesome – here are six of the coolest. Some of them are almost TOO cool, if that makes sense.
You'll notice that we don't have a specific character listed here, just an actress – that's because it would be pointless to try and delineate which of Pam Grier's legendary black heroines is the coolest – would it be one of her early roles like Foxy Brown or Coffy, or perhaps her perfect performance in Quentin Tarantino's "Jackie Brown," in which she plays the cops against the criminals and makes away with almost $500,000 in cash. Which is not even to mention the dozens of other classic performances she's given during her long and varied career.
Mantan Moreland never got to go near a bazooka!
One of the things that makes "Enter the Dragon" a great movie is it has a little bit of everything – superspy intrigue on loan from James Bond, martial arts action courtesy of star Bruce Lee, and a handful of supercool black heroes (and the occasional mute tribesman), but he never quite topped his introduction in "Enter the Dragon," in which he beats up a couple of racist cops before driving away in their car.
Rockne Tarkington, in addition to having one of the best names ever, plays the title character in "Black Samson," a blaxploitation classic about an urban bar owner who also makes time as a defender of his community – making the streets clean and safe through the majestic power of violence. And if he needs to use a lion to intimidate some unsavory characters, what of it??
He's not one of the most famous Marvel Comics characters (although there's supposed to be a movie getting made pretty soon), but he's probably the only one to have his own show on BET. He's also got an awesome theme song, which fits his position on the show as the ultimate badass, who can make quick work of everyone from Radioactive Man to Captain America himself.
From a character that originated on the HBO series "The Chris Rock Show," "Pootie Tang" follows a man so cool, his language is mostly nonsense and his behavior even more inexplicable from birth to his heroic triumph over adversity. And even though director Louis CK's vision was pretty well destroyed by the (white, probably) executives at Paramount, "Pootie Tang" remains one of the funniest cult comedies of the past 20 years, and Pootie Tang one of the funniest black heroes – and one of the best.