9 Sassiest Black Women in Film

Tuesday, September 15, 2009 at 12:43 pm
By Shane Rivers

This week sees the big-screen release of both 9 and Tyler Perry’s I Can Do Bad All By Myself. In honor, of this event, I’ve combined the two (sort of) to present the 9 sassiest black women in film. These finger-snapping, foul-language-using “ladies” pack plenty of attitude, and they’re not afraid to get violent if the situation calls for it. Underneath, of course, they’ve all got hearts made of gold.

While I realize that the “sassy black woman” is a stock character which some may find offensive, others appear to just eat it up. For example, Tyler Perry and his obnoxious Madea seem to have a new film about every six months, and even Big Momma’s House got a pair of ill-advised sequel. In fairness, I’ll be working on the following lists for the near future:

But before we get to those, sit back and enjoy this list of the 9 sassiest black women in film. If you need a little attitude in your life, these hellcats have more than enough to spare.

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Name: Mabel “Madea” Simmons (Tyler Perry) from Madea Goes To Jail, Meet the Browns, I Can Do Bad All By Myself, etc.
Favorite Sassy Quote: “I’m Madea! Ma to the damn D-E-A!”
Why So Sassy: With a large family and a number of dead husbands, Madea is about as sassy as they come. Whether she’s pulling a gun from her purse or threatening to “punch chur in da face,” you can bet that she’s not afraid of a confrontation (especially if it involves standing up to a man). Heck, there’s even a film called Madea Goes to Jail, so that should give you an idea of her hair-trigger temper. The comic relief of the Tyler Perry plays/films, Madea is always there to lend a helping hand to women in need. She may not be gentle about it, but she always manages to get people to see the error of their ways. Plus, one of her catchphrases is “Get that man a hat” I have no idea what that means, but it sounds pretty damn funny.

Name: Coffy (Pam Grier) from Coffy
Favorite Sassy Quote: “So, you wanna play with knives, huh? Well you picked the wrong player!”
Why So Sassy: Also known as the “baddest one-chick hit squad that ever hit town,” Coffy is a busty nurse who gets fed up when her sister gets messed up on drugs. Waging a one-woman war against corrupt cops, pimps, politicians, and organized crime, Coffy takes them all down using both her brains and body (and what a body it is). Coffy made Pam Grier a star, and it’s interesting to see a film where the lead female doesn’t rely on men for help or break down crying in the shower. Just reading the tagline for Coffy will put the sass-o-meter in the red. “No one sleeps when they mess with Coffy!” Indeed.

Name: Charlene Morton (Queen Latifah) from Bringing Down the House
Favorite Sassy Quote: “Bitch! I will kick the bulimia outta yo’ ass!”
Why So Sassy: She may be wrongfully convicted of bank robbery, but that doesn’t mean Charlene Morton still can’t kick a little ass. Case in point: her epic throwdown with uppity white girl Ashley (Missi Pyle), a fight which netted the duo a MTV Movie Award nomination. Escaping from prison to prove her innocence, this girl from the ghetto excels at wreaking havoc on any cracka within 100 yards.

Name: The Lady Chablis (herself) from Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
Favorite Sassy Quote: “If I catch any of you bitches near him, honey, I want you to know, you’re gonna have to deal with the Lady Chablis, the Doll, the Grand Empress, and my motherfucking ice pick. So keep your hands offa that one, okay?”
Why So Sassy: First off, she admits to carrying an ice pick to stab people with. In addition, The Lady Chablis was born Benjamin Edward Knox, marking her as one of the country’s most successful transsexual performers. Playing herself in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, she relentlessly flirts with reporter John Kelso (John Cusack), pausing only occasionally to wax philosophic about the world according to Lady Chablis. A transsexual with an ice pick? Now that’s sassy.

Name: Peaches Jordan (Jada Pinkett-Smith) from A Low Down Dirty Shame
Favorite Sassy Quote: “Shame might be soft on you, but I can see through all that Maybelline. And you ain’t nothin’ but a gold-diggin’ skank, tryin’ to get a man for all he’s worth. You hurt Shame again, you betta watch yo’ back!”
Why So Sassy: Busted by Shame (Keenen Ivory Wayans) at the age of 16 for stuffing CDs into her underwear, Peaches has long held a torch for the wisecracking ex-cop. Now that she’s the secretary for his private investigation agency, this tough-talking lady is ready to do anything to help out her man. And when a femme fatale shows up and starts playing with his emotions? Man, you just know little Peaches is gonna curse like a sailor and open up a whole case of whoop-ass.

Name: Big Momma (Martin Lawrence) from Big Momma’s House
Favorite Sassy Quote: “Somebody better tell me something, cause this show is some freaky shit.”
Why So Sassy: Martin Lawrence plays an FBI agent who dons a fat suit and makeup to impersonate an elderly grandmother. Once he become Big Momma, he proceeds to teach the local karate instructor a few things about self defense, not to mention showing off his/her moves on the basketball court (including dunking the ball in full Big Momma garb). And in addition to all that, he’s also romancing Nia Long in his alter ego and tracking down an escaped killer. Nobody ever said being sassy was easy.

Name: Keisha (Vanessa A. Williams) from New Jack City
Favorite Sassy Quote: “Rock-a-bye, baby.”
Why So Sassy: Practically overdosing on sass and lacking any redeeming qualities, Keisha seems to excel only at shooting people in the head and then uttering in a most annoying fashion, “Rock-a-bye, baby.” While her vicious streak and willingness to use firearms certainly helped her make the list, I must admit to smiling when a mob ambush left her riddled with bullets. Rock-a-bye, baby.

Name: Vera (Della Reese) from Harlem Nights
Favorite Sassy Quote: “Kiss my ENTIRE ass!”
Why So Sassy: A plus-sized madam, Vera resents the accusations by Quick (Eddie Murphy) that she and her girls are stealing money. A sassy woman doesn’t take that kind of mess, so she eventually challenges Quick to a fistfight. The whole thing is treated as a joke until Vera starts kicking his ass, forcing Quick to start fighting dirty. At this point, Vera produces a blade, and Quick counters with a pistol. When she refuses to put down the weapon, Quick makes good on his threat to blow off her pinky toe. For the rest of the film, Vera still manages to be sassy, but she has to do so with a limp. For some reason, I found an angry Della Reese to be very frightening.

Name: Kim Mathis (Tracie Thoms) from Death Proof
Favorite Sassy Quote: “Look, I don’t know what futuristic utopia you live in, but the world I live in, a bitch need a gun.”
Why So Sassy: A smart-mouthed stuntwoman with a gun seems sassy enough, but let Quentin Tarantino write her dialogue and she becomes an ultra-sassy black woman with an extensive knowledge of pop culture. In between curse words and ethnic slurs, Kim Mathis manages to fend off the homicidal Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell) by shooting him in the arm. Like a vengeful shark smelling blood in the water, she and her pals decide to track down their assailant and teach him a lesson by killing him (that should do the trick). Payback is a bitch…and it’s also incredibly sassy.