The movie Get Out will make you re-evaluate your life choices: whom you date, what kinds of dinner invitations from white people you’ll accept, and your friendships. Definitely your friendships. Because if there is one shining moment in the disturbing horror that is Get Out, it’s Chris’ ever-present, ever-woke, ever-common-sense-spouting best friend, Rod Williams of “the T.S. Muthafuckin’ A.”
Rod didn’t just counsel Chris through horror; he Googled a missing black man, called the family and called the cops. And when that didn’t work, he came rushing in to save the day faster than you can say, “Rose, get the keys!”
But why should Chris be the only lucky one? There have to be other ride-or-die friends in black pop culture, right? Below is the definitive list of friends from TV you have to have to survive a job, dating, life or getting coagulated by your white girlfriend’s parents.
The shows making the Rod-ship list have three criteria:
- The show has to be about one main black person with a friend. So that cuts out ensemble shows like Empire , Black-ish , Girlfriends and Living Single. It also cuts out Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder because the two women featured on those shows have no friends.
- The characters have to be friends, first and foremost. No brewing romantic or sexual tension. So Noah and Rosalee from Underground don’t count. We all knew that relationship was coming.
- They can’t be immediate family, so all those brothers and sisters on Greenleaf and Queen Sugar are out, too.
Here’s the countdown:
Molly Carter is petty, self-absorbed and selfish. Nobody would’ve known “Broken Pussy” was about her if she hadn’t made a big deal about it. Plus, why would Issa Dee take relationship advice from a woman who managed to run Jidenna out of her bed? However, when the drama is high, Molly comes through. She is willing to leave a vacation to help Issa fix things with Lawrence, and she even runs interference with Daniel at the work party. Even Rod would let a good friend make some bad choices.
Technically, Alfred “Paper Boi” Miles is not a violation of Rule No. 3. He and Earn are cousins who weren’t close; Earn really only started hanging around because he wanted to manage Paper Boi from the drug game to the rap game. If you’re like Earn, and your parents kick you out and you’re bouncing between your ex-girlfriend/mother of your child’s house and a storage shed, Paper Boi’s open couch with the blunt burns is a sign of true friendship. Paper Boi is just as likely to get you arrested as make you some money, but anybody willing to strong-arm a promoter to get you that $700 you desperately need definitely passes the Rod test. Honorable mention to Darius, who’s been missing for some time now.
Greg is the first nonblack person on this list, but he’s earned his spot as Chris’ one (and only) friend at Corleone Junior High. Greg was no good in a fight, but he stuck it out with Chris when he could’ve abandoned him to racist bullies. Racial loyalty, no matter from whom it comes, is a huge component of Rod-level friendship. Greg is also based on Chris Rock’s real-life only white friend at his Bed-Stuy high school during the ’70s, and that adds credibility.
I know Tommy seems ranked pretty high for a guy who almost shot Ghost for the Russians last season, but 1) We’ll all be working for the Russians soon, and 2) Ghost kinda had it coming. Tommy exemplifies some of the most critical “Rod-ness” characteristics out there. He may sound crazy, but Tommy has been right about damn near everything, from not trusting Angela to killing Lobos quickly, as well as pointing out Ghost’s epidemic levels of ain’t-shit-ness to Tasha. Tommy’s loyalty to Ghost runs so deep that during a drug-fueled fight with Holly (RIP), he brought Rule No. 2 into question. Either way, if Rod were white, he might sound a little bit like Tommy.
Dean Ella Grace Caldwell is the only friend President Eva Fletcher has on The Quad. However, she provides insight, gives Dr. Fletcher a sounding board and certainly knows more about HBCUs than Eva, having graduated from Hillman. (See what I did right there?) Plus, unlike any of the previous friend entries, Dean Caldwell’s loyalty to Dr. Fletcher has never been in question. An honorable mention goes to Georgia A&M’s football coach, Hardwick. However, given how Dr. Fletcher has been slaying men left and right since coming to Atlanta, she’ll probably violate Rule No. 2 with him by the season finale.
Every black woman (or man) who’s ever made it anywhere in corporate America has a friend like Kara. Kara can play the not-black Latina card but has tied herself to Mary Jane both professionally and personally since their days in Atlanta. Would Kara steal a car to save Mary Jane from a burning house after she was forced to stab David in the neck? Definitely, because the show starts at 8 and M.J. is due in makeup at 6:30.
I know Claire Temple is skirting on the edges of Rule No. 2, but she and Luke were mostly friends on the show, and even by the season finale, they had never gotten around to having that “coffee.” Claire did everything a Rod-level friend would do: She saved Luke’s life, protected him from the cops, did a background check on him and made peace with his one-night stand. How many friends would drive you from Harlem to rural Georgia just to work out your issues? And pay for gas? She never did that for Daredevil.
True Rod-level friendship requires longevity, sacrifice, humor and an ability to save your boy from his own bad choices. Reggie Vaughn is all of those things to Cam Calloway. Again, this isn’t quite a violation of Rod Rule No. 3. Reggie is Cam’s cousin; they weren’t raised by the same woman. So even under black “play cousin” rules, he still slips in.
Reggie is the REAL MVP of black friends. He loves Cam unconditionally, and even though they’re around the same age, Reggie keeps Cam; his crazy sister, M-Chuck; and Cam’s mama out of trouble. Literally every other episode, Reggie does his best Rod impression, telling Cam over the phone about the best way to handle some situation in life, love or the NBA. Also, like Rod, Reggie is the kind of friend who’ll tell you to settle down with a nice woman, and the only coagulation Cam’s girlfriend, Allison, does is in the nursing ward.