Great black movie dads are important. Black fatherhood is one of the most powerful images in The Culture and is underrepresented in mainstream media. It is often up to our creators to shine the proper light on black men being the strong role models they most often are. We’ve created a list of some of the smartest, coolest, and funniest black fathers to ever grace the big screen.
Benson Payne – “Major Payne”
Our first black dad, US Marine Major Benson Winifred Payne (played by Damon Wayans) does not start out the film as a father. Instead he trains a ragtag JROTC squad, whipping them into shape with tough, unorthodox, and funny “love” (including infamously “cutting a rug”). But as much as he changes the kids he works with, the kids change him. He instills values and discipline, they show him life is more than the military. The film ends with Major Payne going from father figure to real father, giving up his military commission to marry a teacher at the school and adopting one of his cadets.
Chris Garner – “The Pursuit of Happyness”
Will Smith’s portrayal of Chris Garner, a real-life single father who lost everything before realizing success, was as touching as they come. The love Garner has for his son, Christopher (played by Will’s real son Jaden) was palpable in virtually every scene. through his actions and remaining hopeful, Garner proves to his son that he can be and achieve anything with hard work and belief.
Furious Styles – “Boyz N Da Hood”
Besides having one of the greatest names in cinematic history, Furious Styles is one of the best street knowledge teachers of all-time. Laurence Fishburne’s character embodied everything about what it means to be a black dad: protective and tough but loving, and never afraid to have extremely honest dialogue with your children (even if they don’t want to hear it). Furious had a commanding presence and was the voice of intelligence and reason his child and his community.
John Quincy Archibald – “John Q”
Denzel Washington brings his usual intensity as he brilliantly plays John Q Archibald, a father who stops at nothing to make sure his son Michael receives his life-saving transplant after his insurance company refuses to cover the surgery. And that anything is taking a hospital hostage. As bad as that may sound Denzel makes you feel for John who just wants to save his son.
Monty – “Daddy’s Little Girls”
In Tyler Perry’s Daddy’s Little Girls, Idris Elba plays Monty, a simple man who fights hard for his three daughters. Battling his evil ex-wife and her criminal boyfriend, Monty does everything in his power to keep his girls and protect them from abuse. Monty is a dad you don’t mess with.
Pop – “House Party”
The late comedian Robin Harris brings Pops to life in the #CultureClassic “House Party“. Pop is a no-nonsense blue-collar single dad that’ll love you one second and roast you the next. In the end, he just wants his son (played by Kid from Kid ‘N Play) to do the right thing, stick to the books, and make something out of his life. He was so dedicated to these ideals that when his son sneaks out to go to a house party, Pops pursues him to the ends of the city. He doesn’t catch him but once his son finally comes home, Pop delivered one of the most iconic whippings in black movie history. A whipping he delvers out of love of course.
Rod Tidwell – “Jerry Maguire”
“Show me the money!” is the most famous line uttered by Ciba Gooding Jr.’s Rod Tidwell in Jerry Maguire, but that is cutting Cuba’s character short. Rod is a family man first, a showboating football plater second. Tidwell was a loyal and loving man with an heart of gold who shouted out his wife in kids constantly. He also stole every scene he was in, even winning Gooding Jr. an Oscar in the process.
Stephen – “Hair Love”
“Hair Love” is the Oscar-winning animated short film that follows the story of a black dad who must do his daughter’s hair for the first time. After his daughter attempts to style her thick, kinky hair by watching an instructional video narrated by her mother (voiced by Issa Rae), Stephen has to step in and help even though he doesn’t know what he’s doing either. But after much effort, he styles her hair and they both visit mom in the hospital. Without saying a single word, Stephen shows love and understanding for his daughter that hits you right in the feels.
Willie Jones – “Friday”
Played by another late-great comedian John Witherspoon, Mr. Jones is the the father of two including his adult stay at home son Craig (played by Ice Cube). Mr. Jones complains about his kids a lot but make no mistake, his love is real. He helps Craig grow up and become a man after he initially wants to resort to gun violence to face Deebo, the neighborhood bully. Instead he teaches talks to Craig and teaches a better way to handle himself. And isn’t that really what being a black father to a young black man is all about?
We hope you enjoyed our list of Black Move Dads. Check out some of our other movie articles.
- 13 Best Black biopics
- Every Black Movie Currently on Streaming Services
- Primms Hood Movie Reviews YouTube Channel
Written by @TalentedMrFord