The 10 Most Important Black Memes Of All-Time » VSB

Featured, Lists, Theory & Essay

The 10 Most Important Black Memes Of All-Time



The Internet has returned the singular image to the forefront of creative ideation. Interconnectivity has destroyed our patience for content and thusly videos have taken a backseat to memes. Memes, reaction gifs, viral videos all move ideas through the internet at rapid pace. But memes in particular allow an unprecedented consolidation of pop culture and shared emotion within the overarching milieu of greater culture. The cross sections of meaning create a multiplication of thought that embrace pointed nuance. If pictures are worth a thousand words than a picture multiplied by black bordered white impact text has to be worth at least a million.

This effect is even more noticeable within the African American community. Black twitter pushes more trends into the mainstream than any other subculture. While there are many niche communities on the internet creating content, they are regularly sequestered to the nerd zone. “Black cool” still has clout in the online world and the memes have been and will continue to flourish. The immediacy of the internet has made inevitable commodification arrive much faster than in the past, so, I had to unveil these now before they’re individually sponsored by Bevel.

10. Hotline Bling


This is the industry pick. But unlike the Grammy, Oscars, et al, we can acknowledge sales without claiming it’s the outright best. While undeniably popular, Drake’s calculated memefication of himself results in a deduction. Each YouTube view might as well have came with copy of Adobe Creative Suite and subscription to Apple Music.

9. Why You Always Lying?


In the true spirit of the internet, Nicholas Fraser’s Vine video shot him from obscurity to ubiquity. The vine quickly morphed into a still of Frasier’s grin that could be utilized in any situation. The meme gave us 90’s nostalgia via “Too Close” and a new word mmmmmohmygod (m’s may vary). Most importantly, it does what all good memes do: it encapsulated nuance. Because of this meme, maybe a few of us became bold enough to not lie and admit sitting in the house butt naked was more appealing than linking up at a happy hour.

8. Uncle Denzel


This meme presents an interesting existential thought experiment. No matter how cool you may think you are, you could potentially become that uncle. We know that Denzel is the picture of refinery, but somehow he found himself in an Adidas sweatsuit rocking a fu-manchu mustache. It’s almost as if his ear beckons for a bluetooth to clothe it. This also confirms that “ain’t shit” uncle is more a spiritual state of being than individual reality. Perhaps, a spiritual punishment in the Tina Turner sect of Buddhism.

7/6. Nick Young/Confused girl



This is a two for one deal. Confused reaction pics are common but these two dive below the surface both emotionally and culturally. First, Nick Young, in name and behavior, has become a sort of spokesperson for youthful playfulness. His meme has followed suit. Typically, it involves older people who are bit out of touch. If your grandmother insists The Life of Pablo got updated after your free trial ended because you skipped church, queue up Nick.

The Confused Girl hits a feeling beyond base level confusion. Utter incredulousness is more appropriate. Only someone completely baffled could jut their neck out at a 45 degree angle like that. Even if it’s a bit dated a terrible roommate can easily bring it back into rotation.

5. Man on Phone


Supposedly, Martin Baker was photographed as the lone Black supporter at Darren Wilson support rally. Whether or not that is true, at least his image has contributed to the Black community. We’ve all had to make an exasperatingly dreadful phone call and having Baker’s expression at your disposal makes it a little easier when Comcast customer service tells you dialing “0” isn’t an option.

4. Aint Nobody Got Time For That


Way back in the olden days of 2012, an on the street interview from a local Oklahoma City news station gave the world, Sweet Brown, and Sweet Brown gave the us, “Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That.” Although it’s easy to be gripped by recency and Twitter style memes, we’ve got to pay respect to the OG of time management.

3. Skeptical African Boy


At the heart of every Black person is a skeptic. Skepticism sends thousands of young hoteps to battle on street corners and in incense filled bookstores near you. History has taught us rather harshly that people are not to be trusted. This includes well-meaning White people. Positive intentions quickly dissolve into misplaced confirmation bias. Like The Rock, this young man’s eyebrow represents the people. People who are weary of well-wishing volunteerism.

2. Kermit the Frog (None Of My Business)


This meme serves an important practical function. It shrouds one’s messiness in humor.

Of course mature adults shouldn’t call attention to someone’s hypocrisy outright, but, what if a puppet could do it for you instead? While Kermit’s image has spread across a variety of memes, the original stemming from a Lipton tea commercial sparked the wave. First, it involves tea. Tea is slang for a bit of secret information. Second, as a character, Kermit is known for his mild mannered behavior. So passive aggressively sipping a bit of tea may be exactly how he told Gonzo he noticed his fake Cement Jordan’s.

1. Crying Jordan


Speaking of Jordan, was there any other option? There are a number of important crying memes including the famed “Lil’ Mama,” but, his Airness once again takes the title. What makes this meme so special is that it not only signifies sadness but also palpable disappointment. Jordan is competitiveness personified, therefore, any person participating in a public contest from this point onward must beware of his iconic duality like tragic drama masks. Victory will associate you with his 90s era tongue wagging swagger, while defeat gets you the puffy weeping face of a middle aged man. Now, the stakes don’t have to be high for Crying Jordan to apply. An empty fridge or a closed DC metro can make you want to be like Mike. If the greatest basketball player of all time can ugly cry, then you too can fall from your mountaintop or footstool. Slander knows no prejudice.

Brandon Harrison

Brandon lives in LA and has Hollywood stories that rival those of Rick James. He prides himself on staying righteous and knowing more about basketball than you.

  • Dwight Johnson

    “mmmmmohmygod” is the step son to Kem’s “nnnnnnnnnnnnguuuurrrrllll”

    • 2011k


    • Quirlygirly


      You soo wrong for that

    • JennyJazzhands

      Ok this took me a minute to get it now I can’t stop laughing.

  • uNk

    The Nick Young meme is by far the funniest one to me. Definitely a classic that can be used for a long time. I will say though, these “call ending” memes have me cracking the entire f*ck up lol

    • Tyrell Holmes

      yea I was cracking up at these last night

  • PaddyfotePrincess

    The Rachel Dolezal ones were funny.

  • Nice list, however, there is one meme that speaks to my heart and represents how I feel at least once a day week:

  • KingsCounty

    I once spent an hour looking into the history of the confused girl meme. It’s so specifically black. We all do that unconsciousnessly. It’s our language. Her and nick young meme are always on time.

    and y’all left ol boy out? This the face be giving y’all right now

    • RewindingtonMaximus

      This meme deserves so many highlights.

    • Quirlygirly

      The look I give people when I know they lying

    • vvainco1

      yes honorable mention for sure

    • Question

      That’s confusion, annoyance and STFU all rolled into one.

    • Sealord Tiberius O’Shaughnessy

      This should be in the 4 slot, at least.

  • Sigma_Since 93

    These two describe how I feel at various points of the day with my business contacts and my co workers:

    • Quirlygirly

      I gave my nephew the black snake moan look last week. That boy almost made me lose my sanity.

      • Mochasister

        My ninth grade English teacher, Mr. Jordan, used to look at us like that. Black teachers didn’t play!

        • Quirlygirly

          Truth!!! The black teachers knew how to get you back in line when you got out of pocket. Then there was some black teachers you knew not to mess around with. RIP Mrs Washington

  • AquaTeamV3
  • Ess Tee

    I got a lot of play out of the Chrissy Teigen meme in 2015. It just encapsulated that “Oh, $hit, what am I watching right now?” feeling.

    Also, Waka’s “OK” side eye is golden.

    • Brandon Allen

      Love Waka sideeye.

    • Lea Thrace

      The Chrissy Meme so perfectly encapsulates how I feel about 30% of the day in meetings.

      • Ess Tee


        There was a tenant association meeting last night, and the Chrissy Teigen meme was just about how I felt throughout.

      • CheGueverraWitBlingOn

        Only 30%? You are a meeting Godsend then.

    • miss t-lee

      Waka’s is a fave.

    • Sent this to my boss the other day after that chick told me I wasn’t thorough enough on a time sheet. What? *BE GONE, PEASANT*

  • Tyrell Holmes

    they shoulda never gave n-words the internet

    • Lea Thrace

      I say this at least once a week. Usually in response to some foolishness I’ve witnessed on VSB. But that’s neither here nor there…

      • Tyrell Holmes

        I always say it when a new meme is posted literally MOMENTS after an event occurs…I’m like yooooo it JUST happened and yall got 5 memes to it already???

        • KingsCounty

          Our people so creative!

          • Tyrell Holmes


  • Richard Jobity
    • Kemse

      This is the one that sold me. Been building my library ever since.

      • Mochasister

        I need to start one.

        • KatieJSargent

          “my .friend’s mate Is getting 98$. HOURLY. on the internet.”….

          two days ago new Mc.Laren. F1 bought after earning 18,512$,,,this was my previous month’s paycheck ,and-a little over, 17k$ Last month ..3-5 h/r of work a days ..with extra open doors & weekly. paychecks.. it’s realy the easiest work I have ever Do.. I Joined This 7 months ago and now making over 87$, p/h.Learn. More right Here!oi1221????? http://GlobalSuperEmploymentVacanciesReportsCard/GetPaid/98$hourly…. .?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:::::!oi1221…..

        • Joeygdahle4

          “my .friend’s mate Is getting 98$. HOURLY. on the internet.”….

          two days ago new Mc.Laren. F1 bought after earning 18,512$,,,this was my previous month’s paycheck ,and-a little over, 17k$ Last month ..3-5 h/r of work a days ..with extra open doors & weekly. paychecks.. it’s realy the easiest work I have ever Do.. I Joined This 7 months ago and now making over 87$, p/h.Learn. More right Here!oi1465????? http://GlobalSuperEmploymentVacanciesReportsInfo/GetPaid/98$hourly…. .?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:?:::::!oi1465……

More Like This