Syfy Insider Exclusive

Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, sweepstakes, and more!

Sign Up For Free to View
SYFY WIRE Universal Pictures

Who's Who in Comedic Fantasy The American Society of Magical Negroes?

Who is featured in the cast of director Kobi Libii's The American Society of Magical Negroes?

By Tara Bennett
Aren (Justice Smith) and Roger (David Alan Grier) speak in The American Society of Magical Negroes (2024).

As they say, comedy and satire is one of society's truest mirrors. In first-time theatrical film director Kobi Libii's debut, The American Society of Magical Negroesstars Justice SmithAn-Li Bogan, and David Alan Grier, and explores the “magical negro” cinematic trope popularized in American cinema and television throughout the 20th Century. 

By blending the genres of comedy, satire, and even a rom-com, Libii reveals how his protagonist, Aren, has to navigate every day life in the United States to stay safe amongst the threat of entitled and thoughtless white people. As a people pleaser, Aren has spent his life conforming to make everyone else comfortable and he's lost who he is. Getting recruited by a stranger into the secret, Black-only American Society of Magical Negroes exposes Aren to generations of others like him who have sacrificed their own wants and needs for the better good. The film asks: Is that the right thing to do?

Witty, romantic, and heartfelt, The American Society of Magical Negroedebuts exclusively in theaters on March 15. Here's a rundown of the characters at the heart of the story.

Aren (Justice Smith)

Justice Smith smiles in a white suit.

As a young textile artist in Los Angeles, Aren has a confidence problem. Unknowningly adjusting himself to make others — especially white people — feel more comfortable around him, he now finds it difficult to articulate what his art means and who he is as a person. He's recruited by Roger into The American Society of Magical Negroes because of his incredible skills at pleasing white people. Assigned his first client, Aren has to navigate staying true to the mission of the group, which conflicts with his own growing needs to be seen and accepted just as he is.

RELATED: Why Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Is the Ultimate Haunted House/Dino Mash-up

Lizzie (An-Li Bogan)

Lizzie (An-Li Bogan) smiles in The American Society of Magical Negroes (2024).

Lizzie is the lead designer at the social media company, MeetBox. When Aren joins the team, she immediately sees in him a kindred spirit. They connect on multiple levels, especially when it comes to orienting themselves around their entitled and less proficient white co-worker, Jason. She gets closer to Aren, but doesn't know that he's got a secret goal to accomplish regarding Jason.

Roger (David Alan Grier)

David Alan Grier poses in a tuxedo.

Introduced as a bartender working at the gallery opening featuring Aren's textile work, Roger ends up being a lot more. As he observes Aren in the wild, he sees how the young man defers to everyone in the room, especially white people, almost to the point of disappearing. After the event, Roger sees Aren almost get into a dire situation because of the actions of drunk whites, and immediately recruits Aren into The American Society of Magical Negroes.

Aren's super power of being able to make caucasians extremely comfortable is the core skill set of their secret organization that has been advancing their people through the sacrifices of their members for generations. Roger sees talent in Aren, but maybe doesn't see the true potential of Aren's other gifts.

RELATED: Chance the Rapper Has a Brilliant Way of Deciding When to Wear His "3" Hat in Public

DeDe (Nicole Byer)

Nicole Byer smiles in a denim jacket.

The grand priestess of The American Society of Magical Negroes, DeDe literally floats above her recruits filled with the magic that is generated by those who go out into the field to smooth over and deescalate the anger of amped-up white people. She keeps the Society on focus and on message. But new recruit Aren might end up tipping their carefully curated balance at the Society.

RELATED: The Cast of Grand Crew: What You Need to Know

Jason (Drew Tarver)

Drew Tarver smiles in a tuxedo.

Aren's first client in the field, Jason is an entitled white guy working at the social media company, MeetBox. He's not very focused or talented, but he asserts himself at every opportunity because he thinks he's earned it just because of his life-long privilege. When Aren joins his team, Jason reads his new friend's prompts wrong and pursues Lizzie as a romantic partner. Over a series of heart-to-hearts with Aren, Jason ends up inadvertently helping the covert Society member face some harsh truths about his enabling of white people. 

The American Society of Magical Negroes will be released in theaters on March 15, 2024. Buy tickets now at Fandango.

Read more about: