In honor Of Martin Luther King Day, I thought it appropriate to pay tribute to some of the best contributions from black actors and actresses to the zombie film/tv genre.
As I began this zombie obsession, I remember going through as many zombie movies as I could find
(from H.G. Wells’ Things To Come (1936), through the Romero’s, and on) in chronological order. When I got to the Romero’s, which I was already somewhat familiar with, it became very obvious, very fast, that George Romero liked his heroes black.
That trend continued in Romero’s movies and more black heroes came up as a result. This list isn’t just about the black heroes of the zombie genre, however. There were a couple seriously threatening zombies played by black actors that I felt should have a spot on this list as well.
So let’s get started. Please comment below and let me know if you agree with the list or would run it a completely different way.
10. Salazar (Day of the Dead Remake) Played by Nick Cannon
9. Selena (28 Days Later) Played by Naomie Harris
8. T-Dog (The Walking Dead) Played by IronE Singleton
7. Tyrese (The Walking Dead) Played by Chad L. Coleman Even though the character is new in the AMC’s The Walking Dead series, having read the graphic novel, you’ll have to trust me on this one.
6. Kenneth (Dawn of the Dead Remake) & Captain Rhodes (Day of the Dead Remake) Played by Ving Rhames
5. Big Daddy (Land of the Dead) Played by Eugene Clark
4. Peter (Dawn of the Dead) and the Minister (Dawn of the Dead remake) Played by Ken Foree
3. Private Mailer (Chained Up Zombie in 28 Days Later) Played by Marvin Campbell
First of all, let’s get one thing straight. No, it was not a racist statement in any way that he was chained up. It just so happened that this guy rocked a zombie role and he deserved some more time on the big screen. Anyways, to this day, this zombie continues to scare the crap out of me. Projectile blood vomiting, creepy glowing eyes…he’s a scary-as-hell zombie out for vengeance. Not a great combination.
2. Michonne (The Walking Dead) Played by Danai Gurira
What can I say about Michonne? Played by Danai Gurira on AMC’s The Walking Dead, Michonne is just a completely calculating, bad-ass survivor of the zombie apocalypse. She definitely deserves the #2 spot.
1. Ben (Night of the Living Dead) Played by Duane Jones
Whether they knew it or not at the time, George Romero and Duane Jones cut through racial barriers in Night of the Living Dead (1968), with Duane as a strong, decisive, leading man.