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Top 5 Token Black Characters

By Charlotte D. Smith, Crimson Staff Writer

Token black guy (n.)–A black character deliberately featured in a show or movie for the sake of racial diversity.

5. Lando Calrissian of “Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back” and “Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi”

Lando first appears in “The Empire Strikes Back” as the administrator of Cloud City, where he promptly turns his friend Han Solo over to a bounty hunter shortly after his arrival. But like any good black friend, he goes back to rescue Solo and ends up leading the Rebel Alliance to victory by destroying the second Death Star. Even though his actions were a bit sketchy at the beginning, we all knew that Calrissian had Han’s back all along.

4. James “Toofer” Spurlock of “30 Rock”

James Spurlock writes for the fictional sketch comedy show “TGS with Tracy Jordan.” According to network executive Jack Donaghy, Spurlock’s nickname is “Toofer” because “with him you get a two-for-one; he’s a black guy and a Harvard guy.” While Tina Fey’s character Liz Lemon did mention that Toofer is afraid of other black people, he still ranks on this list because he reps his alma mater proudly. (I don’t see any school pride coming from the token black Yalies out there…)

3. Benjamin Buford “Bubba” Blue of “Forrest Gump”

Bubba first meets Forrest while they are both serving in the Army and was originally supposed to go into business with him after the war. Not only was he Forrest’s best friend (like a brother from another mother), but he could also cook shrimp in 22 different ways from memory (definite bonus points). Unfortunately, the relationship between the two men is cut short when Bubba is killed in Vietnam—which makes him the first main character to die in the movie.

2. Wayne Brady of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”

Wayne Brady is perhaps best known for his improvisational work on the comedy show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” While various comedians have poked fun at Brady’s popularity amongst suburban soccer moms, it is Brady who gets the last laugh with his successful hosting career and three individual Emmy Awards to fall back on. After his visit to Harvard last spring, it is very clear that he is still “winning.”

1. Token Black of “South Park”

Token Black is the only black kid in South Park and as such is at the center of every black joke made on the show. Unlike most other token black kids, Token also belongs to the wealthiest family in South Park and is one of the most popular kids at school. A group of good friends and lots of money? Maybe tokenism isn’t so bad after all.

—Charlotte D. Smith is an incoming campus arts editor. She hopes that she isn’t killed off first.

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