“African American characters outlive other characters way more often than you’re lead to believe through genre jokes.” -Blair Hoyle, cinemaslasher.com
“I seen this movie, the Black dude dies first.” -Orlando Jones as Harry in Evolution (2001)
I’m a bit sour to the notion that Black characters (always) die first as the issue skitters the line of accuracy. I’ve always watched horror movies a bit removed from this concept, consistently watching films that more or less taint this formula. If Black people don’t die first, they perish later. My biggest gripe is the fact that Black characters are more times than not woefully underdeveloped, simplified tropes that, if and when they do die, are plants often for the white, central character we are to invest emotionally in. With the television series Fear The Walking Dead being the latest demonstration of Black and first fallen, I began thinking more about why this idea continues to prevail. Within film history in particular, does it have an origin?