Blackactors.net profiles black actors of past, present and future.
Denzel Washington is an American actor and filmmaker. He has received three Golden Globe awards, a Tony Award, and two Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actor for the historical war drama film Glory
and Best Actor for his role as a corrupt cop in the crime thriller Training Day
. Denzel Hayes Washington...
Captivating, gifted, and sensational, Angela Bassett's presence has been felt in theaters, stages, and television screens throughout the world. Angela Evelyn Bassett was born on August 16, 1958 in New York City, to Betty Jane (Gilbert), a social worker, and Daniel Benjamin Bassett, a preacher's son...
Bill Cosby is one of the world's most well-known entertainers and comedians. William Henry Cosby, Jr. was born on July 12, 1937, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Anna Pearl (Hite), a maid, and William Henry Cosby, Sr., a U.S. Navy sailor. After tenth grade, Cosby joined the Navy and completed high school through a correspondence course...
A native of Cat Island, The Bahamas (though born in Miami during a mainland visit by his parents), Poitier grew up in poverty as the son of farmers Evelyn (Outten) and Reginald James Poitier, who also drove a cab. He had little formal education and at the age of 15 was sent to Miami to live with his brother...
Spencer is a native of Montgomery, Alabama, which she claims is the proverbial buckle of the Bible belt. She's the sixth of seven siblings and holds a BS in Liberal Arts from Auburn University. A "closet" lover of acting, this practical Alabamian knew that she'd someday work in the film industry, but never dreamed it would be in front of the camera...
Willard Carroll "Will" Smith, Jr. (born September 25, 1968) is an American actor, comedian, producer, rapper, and songwriter. He has enjoyed success in television, film, and music. In April 2007, Newsweek called him "the most powerful actor in Hollywood". Smith has been nominated for five Golden Globe Awards, two Academy Awards, and has won four Grammy Awards...
Harold George Belafonte was born in New York City. He attended George Washington High School, where he was on the track team. In 1944 he left high school and joined the Navy. His wife, Julie Robinson
, was a featured dancer in Katherine Dunham
's dance troupe. Both Harry and Julie were, and still are, extremely active in the civil rights struggle.
Dorothy Jean Dandridge was born on November 9, 1922 in Cleveland, Ohio, to Ruby Dandridge
(née Ruby Jean Butler), an entertainer, and Cyril H. Dandridge, a cabinet maker and minister. Under the prodding of her mother, Dorothy and her sister Vivian Dandridge
began performing publicly, usually in black Baptist churches throughout the country...
Taye Diggs was born in Newark, New Jersey, and was raised in Rochester, New York. He is the son of Marcia (Berry), a teacher and actress, and Andre Young, a visual artist. When he was a child, his mother married Jeffries Diggs, whose surname Taye took. He received a BFA degree in musical theater from Syracuse University...
Born and raised in London, England, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje began his career as a model in Milan. He graduated with a masters degree in Law from London's prestigious Kings College, before moving to Los Angeles to make the transition to acting. Fluent in several languages, including English, Italian...
Djimon Hounsou was born in Cotonou, Benin, West Africa, to Albertine and Pierre Hounsou, a cook. He moved to Lyon, France, when he was 13. Hounsou has graced the catwalks of Paris and London as a popular male model. He has since left his modeling career and has worked on Gladiator
by Ridley Scott
by Steven Spielberg
Dwayne Douglas Johnson, also known as The Rock, was born on May 2, 1972 in Hayward, California, to Ata Johnson
(born Feagaimaleata Fitisemanu Maivia) and Canadian-born professional wrestler Rocky Johnson
(born Wayde Douglas Bowles). His father is black (of Black Nova Scotian descent), and his mother is of Samoan background (her own father was Peter Fanene Maivia
Henry Simmons was born in Stamford, Connecticut, one of three children to Aurelia, a school teacher, and Henry Simmons, Sr., an IRS agent. One of his sisters is his twin. Simmons earned a basketball scholarship at Franklin Pierce College in New Hampshire. He graduated with a business degree and went to work for a Stamford financial firm...
A tall, handsome, and versatile American actor, Morris Chestnut was born in Cerritos, California, to Shirley (Wynn) and Morris Chestnut, Sr. He first came to be recognized by moviegoers starring as Ricky in Boyz n the Hood
, a role where he played a high school running back using his football skills to escape the violent surroundings of his South Central Los Angeles neighborhood...
Omar Epps is an American actor, starring on the ABC drama Resurrection
. Epps was born in Brooklyn, New York, and was raised by his mother, Bonnie Maria Epps, an elementary school principal. No stranger to the big screen, Epps has appeared in lead roles in feature films, including Paramount's Against the Ropes
Edward Regan Murphy was born April 3, 1961 in Brooklyn, New York, to Lillian, a telephone operator, and Charles Edward Murphy, a transit police officer who was also an amateur comedian and actor. After his father died, his mother married Vernon Lynch, a foreman at a Breyer's Ice Cream plant. His siblings are Charlie Murphy
and Vernon Lynch
Born in Kansas City, Missouri on September 19, 1982, Columbus Keith Short, Jr., started entertaining at the age of three, by putting on shows for his folks' enjoyment. Whether impersonating relatives, dancing or just making people laugh, everyone sensed something special about the boy. Fortunately, his family later relocated to Los Angeles where...
Known for his charming looks and deep personality, Michael Ealy blessed the movie screen with his role in Barbershop
. When he left Silver Spring, Maryland, with a degree in English, he headed off to New York. From there he performed in several stage productions, including the Off-Broadway hits "Joe Fearless" and "Whoa-Jack"...
Mekhi Phifer was born in Harlem, Manhattan, and was raised by his mother, Rhoda, a high school teacher. Phifer's acting career began when he auditioned at an open casting call for director Spike Lee
and was selected for the leading role. Working alongside Harvey Keitel
and Delroy Lindo
Anthony Mackie is an American actor. He was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, to Martha (Gordon) and Willie Mackie, Sr., who owned a business, Mackie Roofing. Anthony has been featured in feature films, television series and Broadway and Off-Broadway plays, including Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Drowning Crow...
Ice Cube was born in South Central Los Angeles, to Doris (Benjamin), a custodian and hospital clerk, and Hosea Jackson, a UCLA groundskeeper. He first came to public notice as a singer and songwriter with the controversial and influential band N.W.A. His compositions with that group included many of the classic cuts from their debut LP "Straight Outta Compton" (Ruthless/Priority...
Smart, confident, eloquent, exceptionally handsome African-American actor Blair Underwood was born in Tacoma, Washington in 1964, the son of Marilyn Ann, an interior decorator, and Frank Eugene Underwood, Sr., an army colonel. With his family, he lived all over the world. Trained in musical theater at Carnegie-Mellon...
Michael Jai White
Michael Jai White is an American actor and martial artist who has appeared in numerous films and television series. He is the first African American to portray a major comic book superhero in a major motion picture, having starred as Al Simmons, the protagonist in the 1997 film Spawn. White portrayed Jax Briggs in Mortal Kombat: Legacy...
Perry was born and raised in New Orleans, to Willie Maxine (Campbell) and Emmitt Perry, Sr. His mother was a church-goer and took Perry along with her once a week. His father was a carpenter and they had a very strained and abusive relationship, which led Perry to suffer from depression as a teenager...
Hill Harper, an accomplished film, television and stage actor, stars in the hit CBS drama series, CSI: NY
. He portrays "Dr. Sheldon Hawkes", a reclusive coroner who walked away from a promising surgical career after the traumatic loss of two patients. This February, he will star in the HBO movie...
Actor, producer and humanitarian Danny Glover has been a commanding presence on screen, stage and television for more than 25 years. Glover was born in San Francisco, California, to Carrie (Hunley) and James Glover, postal workers who were also active in civil rights. Glover trained at the Black Actors' Workshop of the American Conservatory Theater...
Wesley Trent Snipes was born in Orlando, Florida, to Maryann (Long), a teacher's assistant, and Wesley Rudolph Snipes, an aircraft engineer. He grew up on the streets of the South Bronx in New York City, where he very early decided that the theater was to be his career. He attended the High School for the Performing Arts (popularized in Fame
Boris Frederic Cecil Tay-Natey Ofuatey-Kodjoe, better known as Boris Kodjoe, is a German actor known for his roles as Jason in the 2000 film Love & Basketball
, and the sports-courier agent Damon Carter on the Showtime drama series Soul Food
. Kodjoe was born in Vienna, Austria, the son of Ursula...
Jesse L. Martin
Jesse L. Martin (born Jesse Lamont Watkins; January 18, 1969) is an American actor and singer. He is best known for originating the role of Tom Collins on Broadway in the musical Rent and his role as NYPD Detective Ed Green on Law & Order and Detective Joe West on The Flash. Martin, the third of five sons...
Zoe Saldana was born on June 19, 1978 in Passaic, New Jersey, to Asalia Nazario and Aridio Saldaña. Her father was Dominican and her mother is Puerto Rican. She was raised in Queens, New York. When she was 10 years old, she and her family moved to the Dominican Republic where they would live for the next seven years...
Donald Frank Cheadle was born in Kansas City, Missouri on November 29, 1964. His childhood found him moving from city to city with his family: mother Bettye (North), a teacher, father Donald Frank Cheadle, Sr., a clinical psychologist, sister Dawn, and brother Colin. After graduating high school in Denver...
Chiwetelu Umeadi Ejiofor was born on July 10, 1977 in Forest Gate, London, England, to Nigerian parents, Obiajulu (Okaford), a pharmacist, and Arinze Ejiofor, a doctor. Chiwetel attended Dulwich College in South-East London. By the age of 13 he was appearing in numerous school and National Youth Theatre productions and subsequently attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts...
Born "Omari Latif Hardwick," he grew up in Decatur, Georgia. Hardwick's parents gave him a name to set a precedent, "Omari" meaning "most high," and "Latif" meaning "gentle." He shares, "I in no way believe that I am the highest or most high, but I feel like my name gives me something to strive for." Growing up...
Shemar Franklin Moore (born April 20, 1970) is an American actor and former fashion model. His notable roles are that of Malcolm Winters on The Young and the Restless from 1994 to 2005, Derek Morgan on CBS's Criminal Minds from 2005 to 2016, and as the third permanent host of Soul Train from 1999 to 2003.
An only child, Idris Elba was born and raised in Hackney, London, England. His father, Winston, is from Sierra Leone and worked at a Ford motor factory. His mother, Eve, is from Ghana and had a clerical duty. Idris attended school in Canning Town, where he first became involved in acting. He gained a place in the National Youth Music Theatre - thanks to a £1,500 Prince's Trust grant...
Keith Hamilton Cobb
Keith Hamilton Cobb Graduated Sleepy Hollow High School and Westchester Community College. As well as New York University Tisch School of the Arts. He attended Circle in the Square Theatre School and Playwrights Horizons Theater School. His hobbies are writing, photography & renovating home. He lives in Los Angeles...
Born and raised in Washington DC, Laz always knew he wanted to be an actor. He remembers at a very early age entertaining his family by imitating relatives and family friends. He graduated from the prestigious Howard University School of Business, earning a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in marketing...
Colin Salmon is one of Britain's most renowned actors. With a bold voice and posture, Colin makes his characters a favorite among audiences for every role he plays. He made his feature debut as Sgt. Robert Oswald in the British mega-hit mini-series Prime Suspect 2
, which gave him much acclaim among British audiences...
Cuba Gooding Jr.
Cuba Gooding Jr. was born on January 2, 1968, in The Bronx, New York. His mother, Shirley (Sullivan), was a backup singer for The Sweethearts. His father, Cuba Gooding
, was the lead vocalist for the R&B group The Main Ingredient
, which had a hit with the song "Everybody Plays The Fool". His paternal grandfather was from Barbados...
Terrence Howard was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Anita Jeanine Williams (née Hawkins) and Tyrone Howard. He was raised in Cleveland, Ohio. His love for acting came naturally, through summers spent with his great-grandmother, New York stage actress Minnie Gentry
. He later began his acting career after being discovered on a New York City street by a casting director...
Tyrese Darnell Gibson was born December 30, 1978 in Watts, Los Angeles, California, where he was raised. He is an R&B singer, songwriter, actor, author, television producer and model. He is well known for his actor role as Roman Pearce in the The Fast and Furious movie franchise. Other popular movies Tyrese has acted in are Death Race...
Pooch Hall was born on February 8th 1976 in Brockton, Massachussetts. There he played football, ran track and boxed. Pooch won the Southern New England golden gloves in 1994. He started acting at the age of 21. He started in commercials and then made his debut in the film Lift
. He played Derrick...
Forest Steven Whitaker has packaged a king-size talent into his hulking 6' 2", 220 lb. frame. He won an Academy Award for his performance as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in the 2006 film The Last King of Scotland, and has also won a Golden Globe and a BAFTA. He is the fourth African-American male to win an Academy Award for Best Actor...
Often considered hip-hop's first lady (though some would attribute that to Roxanne Shanté
), the woman behind the moniker Queen Latifah was born Dana Owens on March 18th, 1970, in East Orange, New Jersey. She is the daughter of Rita (Bray), a teacher, and Lancelot Owens, Sr. She came from a police family--both her father and older brother were cops...
Best known as the the lead singer of the popular 1960s singing group The Supremes
, Diana Ernestine Earle Ross was born on March 26, 1944, in Detroit, Michigan, the second of six children of African-American parents Ernestine Lillian (Moten), a schoolteacher, and Fred Earl Ross, who served in the army...
Jamie Foxx is an American actor, singer, and comedian. He won an Academy Award for Best Actor, BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, and Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy, for his work in the 2004 biographical film Ray
. The same year, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the action film Collateral
Phylicia Rashad was born in Houston, Texas, to African-American parents, Vivian Elizabeth (Ayers), a poet and art director, and Andrew Arthur Allen, an orthodontist. As a child, Phylicia, her older brother Andrew (called Tex), and younger sister, dancer and actress Debbie Allen
, lived in Mexico. She has another brother...
Cicely Tyson was born in Harlem, New York City, where she was raised by her devoutly religious parents, from the Caribbean island of Nevis. Her mother, Theodosia, was a domestic, and her father, William Tyson, was a carpenter and painter. She was discovered by a fashion editor at Ebony magazine and...
Actress Viola Davis was born on her grandmother's farm, at the then-Singleton Plantation in St. Matthews, South Carolina. When she was two months old her family moved to Central Falls, Rhode Island, where her father, Dan Davis, worked as a horse groomer and trainer. Her mother, Mary Alice (Logan), a maid and factory worker...
Vanessa Lynn Williams is one of the most respected and multi-faceted performers in entertainment today. She has conquered the musical charts, Broadway, music videos, television and motion pictures. She has sold millions of albums worldwide and she has achieved critical acclaim as an actress on stage, in film and on television...
Born and raised in the Bedford Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, New York, Vanessa Williams became a member of the New York City Opera's Children's Chorus at age 11. Vanessa then signed with a talent manager and booked her first audition, a commercial for Frito Lay. Her pattern for success clearly set, her winning streak had only just begun...
Quite possibly the most underrated and underexposed actor of his caliber and generation, Jeffrey Wright's undeniable talent and ability to successfully bring to life any role he undertakes is on a par with the most praised and revered A-list actors in the business. Born and raised in Washington DC, Wright graduated from the prestigious Amherst college in 1987...
Gabrielle Union was born on October 29, 1972, in Omaha, Nebraska, to Theresa (Glass), who managed a phone company, and Sylvester E. Union, a military sergeant and business executive. When she was eight, her family moved to Pleasanton, California, where she grew up and attended high school. In high school...
Larenz Tate was born on the west side of Chicago to Larry and Peggy Tate, the youngest of three brothers. His brothers are actors Larron Tate
and Lahmard J. Tate
. In 1984, Larenz and his family moved to California. It was while living in California that Larenz's parents got him and his brothers involved in a drama program at the Inner City Cultural Center...
Mario Van Peebles
Mario Van Peebles is a highly regarded director, actor, producer and writer. His directorial skills can be seen in the retelling of the epic mini-series "Roots" starring Forest Whitaker and Matthew Goode. Van Pebbles has directed award-winning shows such as the recent hit "Empire" and "The Last Ship,"...
Started acting in the Chicago production of the Broadway musical "Hair" as well as the Broadway production of "The Me Nobody Knows". His last Broadway show "Via Galactica" was directed by Sir Peter Hall
Kristoff St. John
Kristoff made his television debut at age 8 in the sit-com series "That's My Mama". Now, 39 years later, he is one of the stars on CBS-TV's "The Young and The Restless", the number one rated drama for the past 25 years on daytime television, playing the popular character of Neil Winters. Is it just a coincidence that Kristoff has been starring on Y and R for 23 plus years...
On January 24, 1979, Tatyana Marisol Ali was born to Sonia, who was a nurse from Panama, and Sheriff Ali, a retired police officer from Trinidad. At the age of four she started singing and got a taste of fame when she begged her mother to take her to an audition for Sesame Street
. She went on to perform in many productions in her native city...
Thandie Newton was born in London. She is the daughter of a Zimbabwean mother, Nyasha, a health-care worker from the Shona tribe, and Nick Newton, a British father who worked as a lab technician. She lived in Zambia until political unrest caused her family to move back to the UK. She then lived in Cornwall in the southwest of Britain until the age of 11...
Lena Calhoun Horne was born June 30, 1917, in Brooklyn, New York. In her biography she stated that on the day she was born, her father was in the midst of a card game trying to get money to pay the hospital costs. Her parents divorced while she was still a toddler. Her mother left later in order to find work as an actress and Lena was left in the care of her grandparents...
Highly influential, and always controversial, African-American actor/comedian who was equally well known for his colorful language during his live comedy shows, as for his fast paced life, multiple marriages and battles with drug addiction. He has been acknowledged by many modern comic artist's as a key influence on their careers...
Aunjanue Ellis was born in San Francisco, California. She graduated from the Brown University, and later attended New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. During her career, Ellis performed on Off-Broadway theater, appeared in many film, and had roles on television. In film, she is best known for her roles in "Men of Honor" (2000)...
Regina Hall was born December 12, 1970 in Washington, D.C., to Ruby, a teacher, and Odie Hall, a contractor. She graduated from Fordham University in 1992, and went on to earn a master's degree in journalism from New York University before shifting to an acting career. In 1997 at age 26, she began appearing in commercials...
Emmy-nominated actor and director Malcolm-Jamal Warner was born in Jersey City, New Jersey. He was named after Malcolm X
and legendary jazz pianist Ahmad Jamal
. Warner first rose to national prominence by starring on the celebrated and long-running classic television series "The Cosby Show."...
Sharon Leal is a military brat. She was born in Tuscon, Arizona. Sharon then moved with her parents to the Philippines, till she was 6 years old. She went to prayer-school there. Then, her parents packed up to move back to the US and settled in Fresno, California. Her mother, Angelita, who is Filipino...
Christopher Julius Rock was born in Andrews, South Carolina and raised in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York. He is the son of Rosalie (Tingman), a teacher and social worker for the mentally handicapped, and Julius Rock, a truck driver and newspaper deliveryman, whose own father was a preacher. Rock has been in stand-up comedy for several decades...
Meagan Monique Good was born on 8 August 1981 in Panorama City, California, USA, to Tyra Wardlow-Doyle, who worked as her manager, and Leondis "Leon" Good, an LAPD officer. She began appearing on commercials at the age of four. Then she started guest-starring on series like The Parent 'Hood
, Touched by an Angel
With roots that lead back to Louisiana southern aristocracy, lovely leading lady Lynn Whitfield was born in 1953, the eldest of four children and a third-generation BFA graduate from Howard University. Her dentist father was instrumental in developing Lynn's initial interest in acting as he was a prime figure in forming community theater in her native Baton Rouge...
Joe Morton was born on October 18, 1947 in New York, New York, USA. He is a television, film, and theater actor, best known for The Brother from Another Planet
, Terminator 2: Judgment Day
, and Scandal
. He also writes and directs, and is a singer/songwriter.
Giancarlo Giuseppe Alessandro Esposito was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, to an Italian carpenter/stagehand father from Naples and an opera-singing African-American mother from Alabama. His parents, working in Europe at the time of his birth, settled in Manhattan by the time he was six, and that's where he grew up...
Alfre Woodard was born on November 8, 1952 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the youngest of three children of Constance, a homemaker, and Marion H. Woodard, an interior designer. She was named by her godmother, who claimed she saw a vision of Alfre's name written out in gold letters. A former high school cheerleader and track star...