Black Woman Channels Her Inner Badass through This White Villain on ‘The Walking Dead’ Series

I truly believe we all play a villain in someone’s life story. I know damn sure I do.

While most of society roots for the hero, I’ve always been more captivated by the rogue they were fighting. Villains have always enticed me since Scar in “The Lion King,” The Joker in “Batman” and Darth Vader in “Star Wars.”

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But there’s only one bad guy that’s been my go to for that extra push, that motivation, the badass boss b***h attitude I need to embody more often. That’s my man Negan from “The Walking Dead.” Word to my mother, when Negan came out with his fitted leather jacket and barbed wire covered baseball bat, it gave me life!

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Some called him a monster; I call him a badass businessman. Sure, his actions prove his ruthlessness, but, in a zombie apocalypse, he created his own way of life the only way he knew how — by scaring people and threatening them to work for him in order to survive in this world. He believed he was making a better world with his Saviors in his own selfish way. However, like all villains, his downfall was being too ambitious. What saved him was his love and respect for children.

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Negan was a down-on-his-luck gym teacher before the zombie apocalypse. As a teacher, I can relate: the profession has contributed to my anxiety and depression. But what never faded was my compassion for the young. Like Negan, I was always able to develop agreat rapport with kids.

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It took me years to see myself as the “cool teacher” but in my 12 years of working with adolescents, my classroom was consistently swarmed with students who found comfort with me. Wearing my heart on my sleeve, I always tell them like it is, never sugar coating the struggles in life but sharing my dreams and passions as optimism that life is what you make it.

I often think about the impact I leave on all my students every day — that’s the most rewarding despite all the bullshit that comes with teaching.

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Image for article titled Black Woman Channels Her Inner Badass through This White Villain on 'The Walking Dead' Series

Photo: Ashley Williams

The bond I have with my students makes it all worthwhile and reminds me to never lose sight that we’re guiding these adolescents to a better future. No doubt, Negan was a vicious villain, but he was redeemable by never losing his true self: someone who loved kids and had knowledge to share. Negan’s cheeky sense of humor and childish banter was his true nature, which many of the young characters in “TWD” recognized.

Negan’s Intro (Rick Meets Negan) Part 1 ~ The Walking Dead 06×16

Negan’s villainous attitude about fighting for a better future, by any means necessary, gave me the confidence to find my voice in how I see myself and how I want others to see me…thus beginning my villain era. As a Black woman, I am forced to dim my light or am silenced in society: don’t be too loud, don’t complain, and don’t be an Angry Black Woman. It’s easy for us to be labeled as this stereotype, but when it comes to men, it’s known as cool and normal.

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Honestly, watching Negan on screen and the way he commends others like him to embrace their evil — whether they are male or female — made me want to embrace my inner angry Black woman. I wanted to be bold, loud, and find my voice. Even as a Black teacher in New York City, I knew my voice was limited by curriculum, administrators and standardized tests. But with my students, I was honest. I kept it real. Showing them Ms. Williams and Angry Black Woman are one in the same made my students see me just like themselves — more human.

It took a while for me to finally be comfortable being my unique, exquisite and baddie self. Negan showed me being bad can be good as long as I’m not losing my humanity. Now, I’m not saying I’ve been swinging my (toy) bat around my classroom like the big bad wolf, but my inner bad b***h, or my angry Black woman, plays a big role in who I am.

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