Friday, February 1, 2013


Usually during Black History Month, TV networks run little inspirational videos during the commercial breaks which showcase some black person, either famous or little-known, who did something commendable in their life. They're meant to instill pride in the black community and perhaps inspire the next generations to achieve their own level of greatness.

But reality must eventually intrude - there are notable blacks with less than stellar histories.

So after doing a Super Six list on Victor Buono villains and since this is Black History Month (AND having seen the 'I Spy' episode with Godfrey Cambridge as the guest villain), I decided to put together a list of six black villains in Toobworld......

1] CATWOMAN - 'Batman'
This feline felon is arguably the most famous of the black villains in the TV Universe. Eartha Kitt wasn't the first to assay the role, that honor goes to Julie Newmar. But in the Toobworld mythos, Ms. Kitt is playing a cat burglar named Tina Marie who once worked for the U.S. government and the Impossible Mission Force. She reverted to her old ways after the original Catwoman died in the caverns under the Batcave.

2] CETSHYAYO - 'I Spy'
Named for his great grand uncle, the last Zulu king, Cetshyayo saw his work in selling stolen industrial diamonds and isotopes as a strike back against the racism that kept his people in subjugation. He failed to see that his treatment of the people in that Japanese fishing village was just as bad, if not worse.

3] JUBAL EARLY - 'Firefly'
Sharing the same name as a Confederate general, Early was a sadistic bounty hunter looking to capture River Tam. After he was tossed off into space out of the Serenity, Early delivered the last line of the series: "Well, here I am."

4] TIP COREY - 'The Rifleman'
Corey was a gunfighter seeking revenge for the death of his father and he wanted the chance to either debase Micah Torrance in North Fork by shaming him into giving up his badge (that "Two Ounces Of Tin") or, failing that, to kill him. When Lucas McCain took Micah's place, the deal still held. But it was Tip Corey who paid the price. (This was one of two roles Sammy Davis, Jr. played on the Western; the other was more of a good guy.)

5] MR. METCALF - 'Deadly Games'
Levar Burton got the chance to break away from his too-good-to-be-true image in 'Trek' lore by playing this video game character brought to life in the real world. Metcalf was based on Gus' "Boss From Hell" and he would always say "You're Fired" before killing somebody.

6] XAVIER ST. CLOUD - 'Highlander'
St. Cloud was not his original name, but that of his mentor in the ways of the Immortals (who was eventually beheaded by his pupil.) Also going by the name Nelson Mfume, Xavier St. Cloud was a Moroccan born in 1160 and suffered his first death in 1192 during the crusades. He was an assassin who was finally beheaded by Duncan MacLeod in 1994. His original name was never revealed.

It was a difficult list to put together. I was looking for unique characters,not the run-of-the-mill murderous rappers, gang members, drug dealers etc that are a dime a dozen in too many of the TV procedurals. But I think a lot of TV shows avoid really notable villains who are black for fear of insulting somebody or alienating part of their audience. (Ever notice that there was never a black murderer on 'Columbo'? The Lieutenant faced off against a Mexican once, and a Suarian Arab, but never a black man. And after the O.J. case, it probably couldn't be done without being called on it.)


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