Black History Month 3: Big Bald Black Dudes

Every year at Pluck You, Too! during Black History Month, we celebrate the bad-assery of big bald black dudes. Prior award recipients include Ving Rhames and Keith David, Samuel L. Jackson and Bill Duke.
I don’t know how I let the most awesome Lou Gossett, Jr. go this long without being recognized. Best known for his Oscar-winning role as the drill instructor in An Officer and a Gentleman, it was tragically unfortunate that he also starred in the abysmal Jaws 3-D that year. He’s gone on to play bare knuckle fighters in Diggstown and of course, a pilot in Iron Eagle, and even an alien in Enemy Mine. He also played Black Bart in the TV pilot for a Blazing Saddles TV series- which thankfully never got made. He works a lot, and has a now iconic face that we recognize and attribute instant bad-assery toward. I most recently reviewed him in his buddy adventure movie with Chuck Norris, Firewalker (full review).
Woody Strode was a pioneering black actor who made his big splash as the hulking gladiator who fights Kirk Douglas in Spartacus. He was a pro football player and a dedicated martial artist in the art of kenpo as well as being a recognized character actor. He had a few starring roles such as the title character in John Ford’s Sgt. Rutledge, but I’ll always remember him as the silent, evil-looking gunman in the gripping first ten minutes of Once Upon a Time in the West among the three killers awaiting Charles Bronson’s arrival by train; he’s the one drinking rainwater off his hat! Also in The Professionals, he gets to shoot arrows with dynamite tied to them, and that’s the earliest role I remember him in. To this day I want to shoot dynamite arrows at barrels of gunpowder and blow up a bad guy’s compound, thanks to Mr. Strode.
Geoffrey Holder is best known as the 7-Up guy with the basso voice, “crisp and clean and no caffeine! ahahahaaa!!!” but he’s played memorable heroes and villains. Most recently he narrated Burton’s Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, but every girl who grew up in the ’80s remembers him as Punjab, Daddy Warbuck’s towering bodyguard. I think he was supposed to be Indian or Sikh since he wore a turban, but Hollywood wasn’t very sensitive about that sort of thing back then. He’s also a choreographer, which accounts for his physical grace that belies his 6’6″ height. James Bond fans will remember him as the voodoo priest Baron Samedi, one of the many villains in Live and Let Die.

Prior Awards:

Big Bald Black Dudes 2008
Big Bald Black Dudes 2009

© 2010 Thomas Pluck.

Big Bald Black Dudes I admire- 2009 update

As you know (or you should) every Black History Month, I take a moment to reflect on the Big Bald Black Dudes I admire. Perhaps it was growing up in the ’70s with Gordon on Sesame Street, or my favorite movies including The Thing with Keith David, but big bald black dudes are just the baddest asses in cinema, in my not so humble opinion.

Last year I dubbed Keith David, Ving Rhames, Scatman Crothers, Delroy Lindo, Michael Clarke Duncan, and Tommy “Tiny” Lister Jr. in my annual post, where I also made the audacious claim that Stephen King has never met a black person, so this year I came up with a few new nominees for the halls of badassery.

1. Bill Duke
Best known as Mac from Predator, Bill’s been a bad-ass for ages. I first remember him as a bad guy in Commando, where he tells Matrix he’s a Green Beret. Unfortunately, John Matrix eats Green Berets for breakfast and shits toy soldiers, so he gets impaled on a table leg. But not before he trashes the hotel room with Arnie in such a brutal fashion that Rae Dawn Chong is made to exclaim, “you guys eat too much red meat!”

Of course, there’s no such thing as too much red meat, and Bill Duke can probably eat the ass off a brontosaur and ask for seconds. Even though the Predator freaks him out so bad that he sings “Long Tall Sally” in a falsetto, Mac is one of the classic movie bad-asses. My cousin Lou Taylor Pucci got the honor of starring with him in a movie called The Go-Getter, and for that I’m more envious than when he got to touch Kelli Garner’s tit in Thumbsucker. Bill Duke’s given us memorable performances in Menace II Society “you know you done fucked up right?” and The Limey, and I’m hoping someday he’ll get to play a frog.

2. Charles Dutton
Best known as the star of “Roc” in the early ’90s, Charles Dutton has clobbered xenomorphs in Alien3, and gigantic mutant flying cockroaches in Mimic. He’s one of the few redeemable qualities of the “scripted by comittee” shitfest that is the second Alien sequel, that even David Fincher could barely save. Seeing him swing Sigurney Weaver around by the neck, you wonder why they bother trying to trap the alien, when it’s obvious that Dutton could just grab it by it’s li’l mouth and force it to perform oral sex on him, after which it would just kill itself in shame.

3. Samuel L. (the L. stands for le motherfuckin’) Jackson
Last time I disqualified Mr. Jackson because his best bad-ass role- Jules from Pulp Fiction – was performed with the assistance of hair. However, since then Sam has been shorn, and given us the baddest, baldest motherfuckin’ Jedi (despite the festive purple lightsaber), a bald Son of Shaft, a bald Nick Fury, and a mostly bald bad-ass bluesman in Black Snake Moan. So I’m going to induct him into the Big Bald Black Men Hall of Fame. He’s earned his due.

4. Isaac Hayes
(pre-Adventure Club)
Before he got suckered into thinking our souls were H-bombed in volcanoes billions of years ago, Isaac Hayes was a groundbreaking musician and one of the biggest bald black bad-asses around. to mourn the passing of his reason that happened so many years prior to his death, I would like to posthumously induct him in. The evidence: The Duke of New York, A number One, from Escape from New York. He gave super bad-ass Snake Plissken a run for his money, and that’s saying a lot. He was also the star of Truck Turner. This was after writing the amazing score to Shaft and composing great soul albums like Hot Buttered Soul and Black Moses. He also served as Chef for many years before his handlers got to him, obviously in a time of weakness, since he passed on not long after. We forgive you Isaac. Rest in peace.

Note: Tony “Candyman” Todd
Last year I got flack for not including Tony Todd. Well, I finally watched Candyman, and I will concur that Tony Todd is a fucking bad-ass. However, it must be noted that he is not bald. He would be even more bad-ass if he’d been bald, with some crazy facial hair, maybe shaped like a hook. Todd’s also been in the Final Destination movies, Platoon, and The Crow, so he’s a shoo-in for badassery. If only he’d take a Wahl clipper and polish up his noggin, he could join the club.

That’s all until next year, where it will get even harder to find nominees for this post. I might even have to include Elmo: