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30 Significant Black Characters In Science Fiction Films (Video)

by Tambay A. Obenson
November 1, 2013 4:38 PM
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Morpheus Matrix

This is cool! I'm glad, and appreciate the fact that someone did the work it took to put all this together. 

It was created by Mizan Media Productions - aka M. Asli Dukan, whose name you should recognize, as we've profiled both her and her documentary-in-progress, Invisible Universe, which takes a look at the contributions of black people to the science fiction (and other fantastical) genres.

Courtesy of our friends at the Afrofuturist Affair tumblr page the detes follow:

In this case, significance is defined as “something that is conveyed as a meaning, often obscurely or indirectly”, I have set 5 basic criteria for picking characters (not the films!). 

They are as follows below: 

1. Character (is the character primary, secondary or extra) 

2. Agency (does the character have the ability to make their own choices) 

3. Survival (does the character live until the end of the film) 

4. Boglesque (does the character appear as a stereotype) 

5. Relevance (does character have historical, political or social relevance) 

This is an informal, evolving survey of characters and is meant for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is also very specifically about the characters and not about the films, which may or may not hold high significance. It is also my own personal opinion. - M. Asli Dukan

And with that, watch parts one, two & three of the series below. I'm sure you all will have your own opinions as well, so feel free to share:

30 Significant Black Characters in SF Films (Part One) from Mizan Media on Vimeo.

30 Significant Black Characters in SF Films (Part Two) from Mizan Media on Vimeo.

30 Significant Black Characters in SF Films (Part Three) from Mizan Media on Vimeo.

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  • Subhash Mandal | November 4, 2013 3:16 PMReply

    This was a fun compilation. Chiwetel Ejiofor was amazing in Serenity. He may be up for an Oscar in 12 Years A Slave.

  • Phred G. | November 8, 2013 7:14 PM

    And don't leave out Ron Glass as Shepard in both Serenity, and the Firefly series.

  • Winston | November 2, 2013 10:06 PMReply

    I have to concur with the sentiments expressed before me. I'm sure there are enough characters omitted from this list to have at least three more parts to this great list. Chris Tucker in 'The Fifth Element'? Yaphet Kotto in 'The Running Man'?

  • Monique a Williams | November 2, 2013 6:23 PMReply

    Fun list! Many omissions, but the inclusions are interesting.

  • Jay | November 2, 2013 4:40 AMReply

    I know its the authors own personal taste...but too many important characters are left out of this to really be taken seriously...and half of these movies aren't even really sci-fi...just because it's fiction doesn't mean it's science heck, between startrek starwars and the matrix you could probably get 10-20 characters. Then you got cats Like Will Smith who are the stars of major Sci-Fi franchises like men in black, i robot, wild wild west and after earth (along side his son)...sorry this list is just not up to snuff.

  • Micah | November 1, 2013 9:52 PMReply

    While it's nice someone made the list, the exclusion of characters like Uhura and Geordi La Forge makes the list harder to take seriously. As far as exposure and social significance are concerned characters like these are up there. It seems to lean to much on the side of the authors personal taste to have legitimacy. I realize that, that is not what the author is going for though and appreciate the list anyway.

  • Jug | November 1, 2013 9:02 PMReply

    That was fun! Wonder why he didn't have Uhura, Geordi LaForge , Tuvok or Ben Sisko on there? Danny Glover in PREDATOR 2 & Will Smith in ID4 and MIB or any of the Black characters from British Sci-Fi like Doctor Who? Oh well, definitely a fun little romp down memory lane LOL

  • Jenn | March 12, 2014 4:27 PM

    Interesting that you would assume the one who put this together is a "he." M. Asli Dukan is a beautiful (and very talented) "she." :-)

  • Phred G. | November 8, 2013 7:21 PM

    Maaaaan, seeing a SISTAH (Freema Agyeman) on the dvd cover is what got me INTO Dr. Who. And Mekhi Phifer was a lead in Torchwood:Miracle Day. Actors-of-color seem more prevalent and 'normal' in British productions.

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