Antoinette Tuff and Why Hollywood is Never Going to Retire the “Magical Negro” Role Now

  • August 22, 2013

Here is the story about how Antoinette Tuff talked down a gunman with an AK47 and 500 rounds who entered into her elementary school building with the intent to kill a bunch of people, including lots of little children: Antoinette Tuff is a Hero and a Bad@$$ for the Lord

Here is a little background on the role of the “Magical Negro” character in American cinema: “Magical Negro” Wiki entry (because Wiki is a fine starting place for all research) and a “List of Magical Negro Occurrences in Fiction” (because lists help us to make sense of things).

* For some reason, Whoopi Goldberg’s role in Clara’s Heart and Morgan Freeman’s role in Driving Miss Daisy didn’t make the list.

* Morgan Freeman’s roles sure made the list a lot though.

NOW that we have confirmation that black folks are actually performing real life magic, we can expect Hollywood to greenlight every script with a role for a magical black bookkeeper, housekeeper, or innkeeper. (Give ’em hell, Morgan Freeman!)

Since I’m just yapping, what else?

I watched Antoinette’s 16-minute interview where she recounted the event over and over, and I ugly cried. Antoinette is a woman whose prayer life and relationship with God was strong enough for him to use her in that moment.

Meanwhile, I would have been at work on Day 4 of a hangover; looked up from watching Bill Burr’s YouTube channel; saw the gunman; yelled, cried, cursed, and tried to break into a hard sprint (in either some flip flops or stilettos); and gotten the whole building shot up, starting with myself.

I gotta get myself right with God.

Oh, and one of my favorite part’s of the interview. See minute 0:22 in the link above.

— Interviewer: “How long was he in the school building? Do you know?”

— Antoinette Tuff: “…It was for a minute.”

— Interviewer: “More than an hour?”

— Antoinette Tuff: “Yeah, it was a minute.”

Ha! A minute!1 I’m so tickled at how they talked right past each other. Can we get a cultural translator in here?

Oh, I also can’t believe Antoinette is old enough to have been married for 33 years and have a daughter in law school. In fact, I need to be calling her Ms. Tuff. She is at least 20 years older than me, yet she looks younger than I did 5 years ago.

Once again, I gotta get my life right.

Ms. Tuff is awesome and an inspiration. Good things to come for her!

Ok, I think that’s all.


  1. “A minute” is a unit of time often used by black people to mean “generally speaking, a long time.” It can be used to describe any length of time from a couple of minutes to several years. It never means 60 seconds. 

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