The Definitive List Of The 10 Most Under-Appreciated Black People

Chris Bosh (Kris Connor/Getty Images)
Chris Bosh (Kris Connor/Getty Images)

10. Condoleezza Rice

Ok. So maybe she was a part of an administration that fabricated reasons to start a war, bankrupt the entire country, and stole the election. But, who didn't have a shitty year or two? Shit, in 2001 many of us purchased entire IceBerg jean suits and wore them outside like four times, so we should forgive someone who might have contributed to the deaths of thousands of people.

9. That second cousin who shares waaaaaaay too much intimate information about family on Facebook

Yes. It annoys the hell out of you that your timeline is dominated everyday by intimate detail after intimate detail of their romantic relationships, their "bitch-ass co-workers," and their kid's STDs. But, although you always say you're "meaning to call" family, you don't. Because you forget. But mostly because you're just not a good person. So while the second cousin annoys, they're also the primary source for family news you'd have to wait until Thanksgiving to hear.


8. Otis. And by "Otis" I mean "Michelle Williams"

Not everyone can be Beyonce. Some people need to be the people no one is coming to see. But while their contributions are overlooked, they remain professional and proficient when others might attend to rock the boat. They are the everyman, and we need to acknowledge that. Cause while it's true no one's coming to see Otis, no one's coming to see you too.

7. Michael Beach

Has made an entire career out of playing aint shit niggas, and is so good at it that it's wrongly assumed he's an aint shit nigga as well.


6. The Black cop

No one is having a worse year than the Black cop is in 2014. No one has a more thankless job, no one wrestles with more ambivalence, and no one will ever bring out the best of Bernie Mac the way they do.


4. Your uncle's girlfriend

Maybe she always smells like grape juice and Vaseline. Maybe her hair is never quite right. And maybe no one in the family will ever forgive her for spilling the entire bucket of Aunt Esther's potato salad during the last family reunion Aunt Esther was alive. But she comes to every single family event, always calls on birthdays, always keeps a pleasant disposition, and has someone managed to tolerate your aint shit uncle for 11 years now.


3. Chris Bosh

Although the NBA veteran is perhaps this generation's best shade muse — he's the Basquiat of inspiring shade — he's still one of the best 25 players in the NBA, he will be in the Basketball Hall of Fame, and no one is better at anything than he is at photobombing.


2. Pam Oliver

Held it down for years in a thankless job many consider to be inessential and stupid — which made us collectively forget that, for years, she was the only Black woman to appear on TV every Sunday in the fall. Perhaps the relentless social media criticism over her hairhats — from primarily Black folks — didn't cause her to lose her job, but it certainly didn't help.


1. Kenan Thompson

Exists in a no-win space where much of his comedy is dismissed as cooning while those who actually do appreciate it are loath to publicly admit it because they don't want to be called coons too. Is easily the most underrated Black comic of all-time.


Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)

Share This Story

Get our `newsletter`


I would say….

Just Blaze- the best producer who never makes a top 5
Me- I been in these comments doing 5 jokes a day for 3 summers
Don Cheadle- better than Will and Denzel but none of the acclaim they get
Donovan McNabb- Idk he just feels under appreciated
The token black kid on all them Disney shows
Monica before she lost the baby fat and started doing #whohurtyou anthems
Venus Williams- Great in her own right
Sean Patrick Thomas- put a generation of white girls on to dark brothers
Michael Smith on ESPN