The Best Black Actresses

not in any order

Let me know if I should add someone. Some of y'all are blind af and only watched 3 movies lol. I'm not putting every Black Actress on the list. I'm NOT putting Halle Berry's no acting ass on the list lol. Oh well lol.
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Cicely Tyson
Actress, The Help
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...
Gloria Foster
Actress, The Matrix
Gloria Foster will always be best known for her performance as The Oracle in The Matrix and The Matrix Reloaded, but the actress's career spanned four decades on the stage and screen. Born on November 15, 1933 in Chicago, Illinois, Foster was put in the custody of her grandparents and raised on a farm...
Esther Rolle
Actress, Good Times
Best known for the role of Florida Evans on the 1970s sitcoms "Maude" and "Good Times," African-American actress Esther Rolle proved to be as spirited and iron-willed off-camera as well. The gap-toothed actress with the gravelly voice was born in Pompano Beach, Florida, the 10th child of 18 born to Caribbean farming immigrants...
Viola Davis
Actress, The Help
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...
Alfre Woodard
Actress, Primal Fear
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...
Diana Ross
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...
Dorothy Dandridge
Actress, Carmen Jones
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...
Debbi Morgan
Debbie Morgan was born September 20, 1956 in Dunn, North Carolina, to Lora and George Morgan, Jr., she moved to New York City when she was three months old. Debbie's earliest film role was in Cry Uncle . She played the role of Olga Winter. Her most memorable role was on the television series All My Children...
Beah Richards
Beah Richards left her native Vicksburg, Mississippi, for New York City in 1950. She would not acquire a significant role on stage until 1955, when she appeared in the off-Broadway show "Take A Giant Step" convincingly portraying an 84-year-old grandmother without using theatrical makeup. In 1962 she...
Lonette McKee
Actress, Malcolm X
Lonette McKee's career began in the music industry in hometown Detroit, Michigan as a child prodigy, where she began playing keyboards composing music and lyrics, singing and performing professionally at a young age. At fourteen she recorded her first record, "Stop Don't Worry 'Bout It" which became an instant regional Pop/R&B hit...
Margaret Avery
Slender, attractive actress Margaret Avery, spellbinding in her role of Shug in Steven Spielberg's The Color Purple, is certainly no "one-hit wonder". Although filmgoers may be able to trace her back only to that once-in-a-lifetime part, Margaret has been a talented player on the large and small screens for well over three decades...
Madge Sinclair
Actress, The Lion King
Madge Sinclair was born Madge Dorita Walters on April 28 1938 in Kingston, Jamaica, married young and had two sons. Madge worked as a teacher in Jamaica until she was 30. She left her two boys with their father and went to New York City to be an actress. She began modeling and later acted with the New York Shakespearean Festival and at Joseph Papp's Public Theatre...
Diahann Carroll
Actress, Julia
One of television's premier African-American series stars, elegant actress, singer and recording artist Diahann Carroll was born Carol Diann (or Diahann) Johnson on July 17, 1935, in the Bronx, New York. The first child of John Johnson, a subway conductor, and Mabel Faulk Johnson, music was an important part of her life as a child...
Angela Bassett
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...
Aïssa Maïga
Aïssa Maïga is a French actress. She was born in Dakar, Senegal, in 1975 to a Senegalese-Gambian mother and Malian father, an acclaimed journalist. She moved with her family to France when she was 4. She discovered her vocation as an actress in middle school, and won various professional roles while studying theater in high school...
Naomie Harris
Actress, Skyfall
British actress Naomie Harris was born in London, the only child of television scriptwriter Lisselle Kayla. Her father is from Jamaica and her mother is from Trinidad. She showed an interest in acting from an early age and attended the prestigious Anna Scher Theatre School. From here, Harris won roles in various projects...
N'Bushe Wright
Actress, Blade
Beautiful N'Bushe Wright started out as a dancer, trained at the prestigious Alvin Ailey Dance Center and the Martha Graham School of Dance, but then switched to acting, enrolling at Stella Adler's studio. Within a year, Wright was starring in Anthony Drazan's Zebrahead (1992). That year, she won the recurring role of Claudia...
Regina King
Actress, Ray
Regina King was born in Los Angeles, California, to Gloria, a special education teacher, and Thomas King, an electrician. She began her career in the television show 227, followed by a role in Boyz n the Hood. She began to be recognized by a mainstream audience after her role as Cuba Gooding Jr.'s character's wife in Jerry Maguire...
Nicole Beharie
Actress, Shame
Nicole Beharie is an American actress. Her critically acclaimed film debut was in the film American Violet (2008) alongside Alfre Woodard, Tim Blake Nelson and Will Patton. Beharie also played Ernie Davis' girlfriend in the movie The Express (2008). Her upcoming projects include My Last Day Without You (2011) and Steve McQueen's Shame (2011) opposite Michael Fassbender...
Gabrielle Union
Actress, Bad Boys II
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. At the age of 8, her family moved to Pleasanton, California, where she grew up and attended high school. In high school...
Octavia Spencer
Actress, The Help
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...
Queen Latifah
Actress, Living Single
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...
S. Epatha Merkerson
Actress, Law & Order
A native of Michigan, S. Epatha Merkerson earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Wayne State University. In 1978, she moved to New York City to apply her craft on stage. Although best known since 1993 as the smart and shrewd Lieutenant Anita Van Buren on the long-running TV crime drama Law & Order...
Anika Noni Rose
Anika Noni Rose followed her work in the feature film "Dreamgirls" with a role in the comedy feature "Just Add Water," in which she co-stars with Danny DeVito, Dylan Walsh, Jonah Hill and Justin Long, under the direction of Hart Bochner. In 2004, Rose was honored with a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical for her role in the widely acclaimed Broadway show "Caroline...
Jill Scott
Born in 1972 in North Philadelphia, Jill Scott grew up in the ghetto with her mother, Joyce, and grandmother. A deeply loved and gifted child, she learned to talk at only eight months and was reading by age four. Always the center of attention, her principal in elementary school described her as a little butterfly...
Danai Gurira
Danai Gurira was born in Grinnell, Iowa to parents from Zimbabwe, when her father was teaching Chemistry at Grinnell College. When she was 5, the family moved back to Zimbabwe. Gurira studied social psychology at Macalaster College, and received an MFA from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. She is the co-author of the play, "In the Continuum", with Nikkole Salter.
Adepero Oduye
Adepero Oduye hails from Brooklyn, New York City by way of Nigeria. She is a graduate of Cornell University; and has studied acting with Wynn Handman, Austin Pendleton, and Susan Batson. Her name is pronounced "Add-eh-pair-o Oh-due-yay." Her theatre credits include Danai Gurira's play Eclipsed, at the Yale Repertory Theatre; The Bluest Eye...
Sonja Sohn
Actress, The Wire
Jenifer Lewis
Jenifer Lewis Jenifer Lewis is one of Hollywood's most familiar faces, with more than 300 appearances in film and television. Dubbed a "national treasure" by TV, Jenifer currently stars on the hit show Black-ish (ABC), where her hilarious portrayal of "Ruby Johnson" earned her a nomination for the 2016 Critics Choice Award...
Phyllis Yvonne Stickney
Phyllis Yvonne Stickney is the second child born to Felix and Belle NOT the oldest. Phyllis Yvonne Stickney was one of the first comedians of color to perform at the Juste Pour Rire Comedy Festival in Montreal. Canada. She performed with the late John Candy as well as being introduced at the festival by Ed Bagley Jr...
Aunjanue Ellis
Actress, Men of Honor
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)...
Lorraine Toussaint
Actress, Any Day Now
SAG Award and Critics Choice Award winner for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, Lorraine Toussaint shocked audiences on the smash hit Netflix original series "Orange is the New Black" as the viciously seductive inmate Vee. Toussaint's epically thrilling performance has won her glowing reviews from the likes of TV Guide and Vanity Fair...
CCH Pounder
Actress, Avatar
CCH Pounder (the CCH standing for Carol Christine Hilaria, her birth name). As can be said of other similarly styled actresses such as Alfre Woodard and Cicely Tyson, most of Pounder's characters are enriched with these same positive attributes and it is a testament to this actress' abilities that she continues on such a high plane in a nearly three-decade career...
Sheryl Lee Ralph
Actress, Moesha
Sheryl Lee Ralph was born December 30, 1956 in Waterbury, Connecticut, USA. She is known for her roles in Moesha (1996), Its A Living (1980), and Instant Mom (2013). Her Career Began in the late 1970's. She has been Married to Vincent Hughes since July 30, 2005 a Pennsylvania state senator. She was previously married to Eric Maurice.
Actress, Precious
Monique received a standing ovation when she stepped on stage for the first time in the hometown of Baltimore, Maryland, giving her confidence to pursue a career as a stand-up comedian. After numerous stand-up performances, she took a leap forward with one of the starring roles in The Parkers. ...
Whoopi Goldberg
Self, The View
Whoopi Goldberg was born Caryn Elaine Johnson in the Chelsea section of Manhattan on November 13, 1955. Her mother, Emma (Harris), was a teacher and a nurse, and her father, Robert James Johnson, Jr., was a clergyman. Whoopi's recent ancestors were from Georgia, Florida, and Virginia. She worked in a funeral parlor and as a bricklayer while taking small parts on Broadway...
Loretta Devine
Actress, Crash
Loretta Devine was born August 21, 1949 in Houston, Texas, to Eunice O'Neal (née Toliver), a beautician, and James Devine, who worked as a laborer. Loretta grew up in the Acres Home area of Houston and later enrolled at the University of Houston, where she earned a a Bachelor of Arts in Speech and Drama...
LaTanya Richardson Jackson
Actress, U.S. Marshals
She graduated from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia in 1971. While a student at Spelman (an all-female institution), she met Samuel L. Jackson, who was a student at Morehouse College (the all-male institution affiliated with Spelman), who would later become her husband. She and Jackson have one daughter named Zoe.
Regina Taylor
Actress, The Unit
While TV audiences best remember Regina Taylor for her empathic portrayal of housekeeper Lilly Harper in the critically lauded series I'll Fly Away, which rewarded her with a Golden Globe for best actress, an NAACP Image Award, and two Emmy nominations, this Dallas-born talent has made even greater strides in recent years as a playwright...
Rosalind Cash
Spunky and intelligent African-American actress who played strong female characters in a career that was arguably under appreciated by Hollywood, possibly for her refusal to play stereotypical Negro characters on screen. Cash's first film appearance was a minor role in the thriller Klute,...