Entertainment & Culture
The Top Ten Black Friends of All Time

This past Sunday marked National Friendship Day. If you’ve ever finished taking a dump at a party only to realize there was no toilet paper in the bathroom, then you know how valuable having a best friend is. A best friend is the most precious thing on earth. In fact, you should send this to your best friend and have a laugh. Whether you call them your BFF, your homey or “my nigga,” nothing can compete with having someone who has your back. Today, we list the top 10 best friends of all time:

10. Semmi – If my best friend was the wealthy Prince of an obscure African country, and wanted to go to New York and live in poverty, I’d let him go. I don’t know if I could leave the luxury of a palace filled with royal penis-washers to accompany my homeboy to live in squalor in Queens, NY, but Hakeem did in “Coming To America.”

I’m sure that paycheck from McDowell’s made him re-evaluate the terms of his friendship, but as they say in Zamunda, “It is easy to be a friend when you are riding the elephant. It is not so easy when you have to walk behind the elephant.”

I guess it translates better in Zamundian.

9. Gayle King – When people criticize Oprah, they are usually bitter motherfuckers who have to check their banking accounts before they go to the club and don’t even have a friend who would pick them up from the airport. Gayle and Oprah have been kicking it for a long time. Since before Oprah was rich. I’m sure Oprah and Gayle sit around and giggle at the misogynistic suppositions that Gayle wouldn’t have a career if not for Oprah, because… sexism. When Gayle looks at her degree in psychology, or her other degree in sociology, or her 40 years working in television, it probably hurts her.

Then Oprah probably helps her forget it by smoking blunts of marijuana rolled in hundred dollar bills.

8. Memphis Bleek I kinda like that one song Memphis Bleek had. Ok, I liked Jay-Z’s part in it, but still… The only reason you know Bleek’s name is because Jay-Z has been riding with Memphis for years. Long after Jigga discarded the misshapen head of Damon Dash and one of the original members of the #BeardGang, Beanie Siegel, he still rolled with Bleek. Even after Hov realized that Bleek might not be a superstar rapper, he kept him on the payroll, as the official chap stick carrier–a very important role in the Roc-a-fella organization. I always wondered how he met Jay-Z until I found out, surprisingly, he is not actually from Memphis…

But his future in hip hop has always been… you know–Bleak.

7. Spinderella – I have no knowledge of the relationship between Salt, Pepa and Spindarella, but I just figure she has to be one of their best friends, or there are men holding one of Pepa’s kids’ hostage forcing her to allow Spinderella into the group. I know, I know, she’s supposedly the group’s DJ, but do you remember that one Salt n Pepa song that had incredible scratching and transforming in the breakbeat part of the record?

Exactly. Spinderella joined the group after they were already famous, and–let’s be honest–she was the prettier of the three. If you invite a better-looking, less talented (don’t act like y’all didn’t hear Spin’s verse on “Whatta Man”) person onstage with you to split the money three ways instead of the usual half-and-half, she’s gotta be a best friend.

6. The Platonic Friend Of The Opposite Sex – Everyone has a friend of the opposite sex who they can keep it real with. There is no sexual relationship even though you two probably kissed one time, but it was during a drunken night and it tasted like Black-n-Milds, Hennessy and Waffle House syrup. You two are each other’s fallback–if neither of you aren’t married by 30, you’ll marry each other. The problem is, you keep pushing it back because you believe there’s still hope. Now its “if we don’t get married by age 53 then…” Your platonic friend of the opposite sex (PFOS) knows all your relationship screw-ups, fears and  trespasses, like that one time you had sex with your friend’s ex out of spite. Or the one time you cried when you caught your girlfriend cheating on you. Even though your PFOS’s love life is as fucked up as yours, you still take advice from them. 

Which is why you two might as well go ahead and get married. There is no hope for you two, except each other.

5. Wilona Woods – Wilona and Florida had the ultimate supportive friendship. Wilona supported Florida when James died. Florida supported Wilona when she adopted Penny.When Florida married Carl and moved to Arizona, I believe the reason she moved back was because she missed her BFF.  It is rare to find two such opposite friends–a married, then widowed mother of three with natural hair, and a permed-out, perpetually single, attractive woman with a prestigious position as a buyer at “the Boutique.”

Now that I think about it, why was Wilona living in the projects? She had a good job didn’t have kids, how did she get on Section 8?

Oh. My. God. Wilona was a welfare cheat!

4. Lebron/Dwyane Wade – Lebron abandoned his hometown and became the NBA’s villain just to go kick it with his homeboy. Dwyane Wade took less money to allow Lebron to come play for his team. Although they didn’t win the number of championships they thought they might, Lebron extended Dwyane Wade’s career and helped him secure another championship, and for his part, Wade helped Lebron significantly turn his tight clothes-wearing game up a couple notches. Their friendship seems like it is based on mutual love and respect, but the only way to know for sure is to ask Dwyane Wade if Lebron ever picked on him for the way his mom spelled his name. Or to ask Lebron if Wade ever picks on him for the way Lebron’s mom slept with his teammate.

You know how friends do.

3. Cleo – You might think you have a good friend, but she isn’t like Queen Latifah in “Set It Off.” First of all, Cleo had a better looking car or girlfriend than any man on this list. And she literally took bullets for her friends while driving towards the police, rolling on dubs while simultaneously hitting switches. Yes, Cleo is the original “Ride or Die” chick. The only bad thing she did is pull a gun on Jada Pinkett Smith.

Had she known how annoying Jayden and WIllow would become, she might have pulled the trigger. OK, that was wrong. That’s the kind of thing only a best friend can say… or someone who’s met Willow and Jayden.

2. Ralph David Abernathy – Martin Luther King’s best friend is said to be as responsible for the Civil Rights movement as anyone. During the early days, before King had a name and the charisma to work with poor and uneducated people, it was Abernathy, who grew up on a farm, who warmed up crowds with his down-home preacher’s instinct to introduce MLK’s intellectualism. Almost every time King was jailed, Abernathy was his cellmate. It was Abernathy whose home and church were bombed for spearheading the effort that created the Montgomery Bus Boycott when he was only 20 years old.  It was Abernathy who MLK asked to leave Montgomery and become pastor at Atlanta’s legendary West Hunter Baptist Church when he was 26. It was Abernathy who was staying in the room with King in Memphis when King was killed by an assassin. It was Abernathy who cradled him in his arms when he died.

A true friend will let you have the spotlight alone but is by your side when it is darkest.

1.  Nettie – The greatest Black friendship of all time is actually a sisterhood. No one loved a human being like Celie Loved Nettie. Whether it is the book version of the “Color Purple” or the movie, when Celie and Nettie split up, I don’t care if you are on steroids, eating a lollipop while having someone stuff one hundred-dollar bills into your pocket, you’re still gonna openly weep. And when Nettie returns (from that far-away country called “Africa”) and sees Celie for the first time, I dare you not to cry.

That’s what friendship is about. Someone who gives you strength in their absence. Neither time, distance or the threat of death can kill true friendship. but Celie and Nettie said it best:

Me and you, us never part.

Me and you, us have one heart.

Ain’t no ocean, ain’t no sea.

Keep my sister away from me.


Honorable Mentions:

Your Line Brother
Grady from Sanford & Son
Your Line Sister
Smokey from “Friday”

About the author

Michael Harriot is a renowned spoken word poet, the host of The Black One podcast and the editor-in-chief of NegusWhoRead. He is perpetually just getting warmed up because he has no chill. He is on Instagram and twitter as @michaelharriot

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