Black African Actors (or with African heritage)

Mostly African Actors, or actors with African parents grown up elsewhere.
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Djimon Hounsou
Actor, Gladiator
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 and Amistad by Steven Spielberg.
“ Benin- Was brilliant in Gladiator, Amistad and Blood Diamond (oscar nominee for best supporting actor), and apparently also in "In America", for which he also recieved an Oscar Nomination. I think he is one of the most compelling and charismatic actors walking the streets of Hollywood nowadays. ” - melkmans
Chiwetel Ejiofor
Chiwetel Ejiofor is an English actor. He is known for his portrayal of Okwe in Dirty Pretty Things, the Operative in Serenity, Lola in Kinky Boots, Luke in Children of Men, Dr. Adrian Helmsley in 2012 and Dr. Vincent Kapoor in The Martian. He played Solomon Northup in 12 Years a Slave...
“ Nigeria- I'm stoked he's playing Fela Kuti in the upcoming biopic directed by Steve McQueen. This Shakespearian trained actor has build up quite a strong reputation in the last few years, on stage and on screen. He co-starred in blockbusters like 2012, Salt and Love Actually, but Ejiofor is at his best in more artsy films like Children of Men, American Gangster and Dirty Pretty Things. The upcoming "Twelve years as a slave" should bring him his first Oscar nomination. Also looking forward to see him play in the 2013 adaption of "Half of a yellow Sun" ” - melkmans
David Oyelowo
Actor, Selma
David Oyelowo (pronounced - "oh-yellow-oh"), is a classically trained stage actor who has quickly become one of Hollywood's most sought-after talents. He graduated from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA), and received the "Scholarship for Excellence" from Nicholas Hytner in 1998. David starred as Martin Luther King Jr...
“ Nigeria- Up and coming shakespearian actor. Famous for his performances in "The last king of Scotland", "Jacker Reacher" and "Rise of the Planet of the Apes". Has yet to play an African character in a big film/ ” - melkmans
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
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...
“ Nigeria- Big, bold and awesome. Majestic actor who always gets the attention with his charismatic and often very physical roles. Most famous for his portrayal of the peculair Dr. Eko in Lost. Will starr in Thor as a villain ” - melkmans
Idris Elba
Actor, Zootopia
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...
“ Ghana- Elba always plays a badass. Just a summary of his creations: Stringel Bell in "The Wire", the complex Luther in the detectiveseries with the same name, the mighy Heimdall in "Thor" and the Crosby, Stills and Nash fan Janek in "Promotheus", in which he manages to seduce Charlize Theron with a horrible sounding accordeon. Will star as Nelson Mandela in "Mandela: Long walk to freedom". Despite all these awesome roles, he is still waiting for a breakout role. His lead in the upcoming Del Toro vehicle "Pacific Rim" could mean his breaktrough ” - melkmans
Thandie Newton
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...
“ Zimbabwe- Pretty girl from London with Zimbabwean heritage. Has starred in blockbusters like 2012 and The Pursuit of Happiness (and god forgive her, Norbit). But she's not just there to be pretty. She proved this with compelling performances in Crash and W. ” - melkmans
“ Senegal- I know, everyone has just seen one film with him in in (exept when ya French), but damn was he awesome in "Intouchables" as the bold but sympathetic Driss. He was also in "Micmacs a tire largot", besides French funnyman Dany Boon. Needless to say we'll see him a lot on the big screen coming years, starting this year with Gondry's "L'ecume du jours". ” - melkmans
“ Nigeria- This half Nigerian half Jewish star secured her place in the memory of thousands of movie-goers with her role in the drama "Hotel Rwanda". After this breakout she hasn't had a role as big as then, but she was cool in Dr. Who and Skin. ” - melkmans
John Boyega
John Boyega is a British actor best known for playing Finn in Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens. Boyega rose to prominence in his native United Kingdom for his role of Moses in the 2011 sci-fi comedy film Attack the Block, before attaining international recognition for his work as Finn in the seventh film of the Star Wars series...
“ Nigeria- John Boyega is one of tommorows biggest stars. He gained much praise for his lead performance as in the horror/action flick "Attack the Block". Boyega plays Moses, a charismatic and utterly cool kid from the block. It will be interesting to see how Boyega's career will devolop in the next years, but right now, Boyega is hot. He would be the ideal candidate to play the Black Panther, should a moving picture be shot in the next ten years. Let's see if he can keep the buzz going on after his next big film, "Half of a Yellow Sun" ” - melkmans
“ Ghana- Just as big and fearsome as AAA. His voice is awesome. He caught the attention of a lot of people in Ritchie's RocknRolla as the sophisticated and streetwise Tank, despite the fact that this character had little screentime. From there on, he got bigger roles, in The Grey and Game of Thrones. It is just a matter of time before Anozie breaks through. He also has a lot of villain-potential ” - melkmans
Isaach De Bankolé
Isaach De Bankole, C'sar award-winning actor, was born on the Ivory Coast. Isaach was discovered on the streets of Paris while studying to be an airline pilot. He has a degree in Acting from Cours Simon and a Masters in Mathematics from the Universite de Paris.
“ Ivory Coast- Is one of the go-to actors in Hollywood for directors who need an African actor. This is mostly because is a charismatic chameleon, within seconds he can change from cool to downright lethal. Isaach is one of those actors who can say a lot without talking. He proved this in "Limits of Control". Is known for his roles in 24, Casino Royale and Manderlay. Long time collaborator with Jim Jarmusch. ” - melkmans
Peter Mensah
Actor, Avatar
Peter Mensah has been doing martial arts since he was 6 years old, growing up in St. Albans, England, just north of London. A former engineer, Mensah came to Canada 11 years ago. He'd worked for British Gas developing gas fields at Morecomb Bay and had done theatre in school. He comes from an academic family...
“ This is Madness! ” - melkmans
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.
“ Zimbabwe- Proves her awesomeness every week in The Walking Dead as the sword wielding zombie slayer Michonne. Go and see her in upcoming Sundance hit "Mother of George" ” - melkmans
Richard Ayoade
Writer, Submarine
Richard Ellef Ayoade was born in Hammersmith, and grew up in Suffolk, in England, the son of a Norwegian mother, Dagny Amalie (Baassuik), and a Nigerian father, Layide Ade Laditi Ayoade. He studied Law at Cambridge university, and followed in the footsteps of British Comedy legends like Monty Python's Eric Idle...
“ Nigeria- Brit with Nigerian heritage mostly known for his brilliant comedy chop We all known him as the nerdy and nasal Moss from "The IT-Crowd" or as (well I haven't seen it so I don't known his name) one of the idiots from "The Watch". Is also a pretty good director, considering the masterpiece that is "Submarine", starring Craig Roberts. ” - melkmans
Dayo Okeniyi
Raised in Lagos Nigeria, Dayo Okeniyi (Pronounced: Die-o Okay-ni-yii) began acting in theatre at his elementary school. In 2003, Okeniyi, the youngest of five siblings, moved from Nigeria with his family to the United States. His father, now a retired customs officer and mother, a British literature teacher...
Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine
Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine is a dual citizen of Uganda and America working in the mediums of photography, theatre, film and television. Feature film acting credits include the upcoming "Queen of Katwe" where he plays opposite Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o and "Boost" from Oscar winning producers Kieran Crilly and Frederic Bohbot...
“ "T.IA. Danny, T.IA."- Blood Diamond ” - melkmans
Yaya DaCosta
Actress, The Nice Guys
Yaya DaCosta was born and raised in New York City along with her sister and two brothers. She got her first acting gig at the age of eleven when her junior high school drama teacher, Ann Willis Ratray, encouraged her to audition for educational films. She continued to perform in school shows throughout high school and college and in 2005...
“ Is awesome as Fela Kuti in the Fela! musical. I hope he will also do some big-screen roles, because his performance in the ABCseries "The last Resort" as Julian Serrat was very promising as well. ” - melkmans
Charles Mnene
Charles Mnene (born 11 December 1985) is a Kenyan-British film, television and stage actor. Mnene's television appearances include guest roles in The Bill, Holby City, Doctors and the drama Ahead of the Class, with Julie Walters, plus several films and stage productions. His first screen experience was in Thomas Clay's The Great Ecstasy of Robert Carmichael...
Saycon Sengbloh
Actress, Scandal
Saycon Sengbloh was born in Atlanta, GA. to an American mother and Liberian father. She has been a featured actress and vocalist in the newest generation of contemporary shows on Broadway and off-Broadway, embracing a new sound of pop, rock, & soul music and production including Rent, Oprah Winfrey's the Color Purple the musical...
Aml Ameen
Aml Ameen is a British actor in film, theatre and television. Hailing from North London, the son of Caribbean parents, Aml burst onto UK cinema screens with his standout performance as "Trife" in the cult classic, feature indie film, Kidulthood. His performance earned him a nomination for 'Best Newcomer" 2006 Screen Nation Awards...
N!xau, a San from the Kalahari Desert, was discovered by director Jamie Uys and cast in the lead role in the 1980 movie The Gods Must Be Crazy. He received only a few hundred dollars for his work in that film, but was astute enough to negotiate for over half a million for his appearance in the sequel...
Gugu Mbatha-Raw
Actress, Concussion
Gugu Mbatha-Raw was born Gugulethu Sophia Mbatha in the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, England. Her father, Patrick Mbatha, is a Black South African doctor, and her mother, Anne Raw, is a Caucasian English nurse. Her parents separated when she was a year old, and she was brought up by her mother in the town of Witney...
Adina Porter
Adina Porter was born and raised in New York City, more specifically, The South Bronx. She is a first generation American; her father was born and spent his youth in Sierra Leone, Africa, while her mother was born in Bermuda. As a young child, Porter entertained her parents by staging plays in the family living room...
Carmen Ejogo
Actress, Selma
Carmen Ejogo was born in Kensington, London, England, to a Nigerian father and a Scottish mother. Ejogo grew up in London. Ejogo's television career began in the UK in the early 1990s, where she presented the children's series Saturday Disney. Subsequently, she has had an acting career in the US. She has appeared in _Metro_ with Eddie Murphy...
Hakeem Kae-Kazim
Actor Hakeem Kae-Kazim, classically trained in the UK at the highly regarded Bristol Old Vic and soon after graduation was invited to join the Royal Shakespeare Company. Hakeem's list of impressive credits include Pirates of the Caribbean III, Lost, Cane with Jimmy Smits, Law & Order: SVU with Mariska Hargitay...
“ Nigeria- When director write a Nigerian stock-character, they call Hakim Kae-Kazim. He makes quite some small cameo's as a African crimelord/general/piratelord. His thundering deep voice is awesome, as is his Nigerian Accent. Watch that Wolverine movie and you'll know what i'm talking about. He got some more screentime in Hotel Rwanda, The Fourth Kind, Strike back and 24. ” - melkmans
Lupita Nyong'o
Lupita Amondi Nyong'o was born March 1, 1983 in Mexico City, Mexico, to Kenyan parents, Dorothy and Peter Anyang' Nyong'o. Her father, a senator, was then a visiting lecturer in political science. She was raised in Kenya. At age 16, her parents sent her back to Mexico for seven months to learn Spanish...
Souleymane Sy Savane
Souléymane Sy Savané grew up in the Ivory Coast with a father who would tell stories and embody the characters so vividly that you would recognize them on the spot. And if you didn't recognize them, they were so believable that you knew they existed. Naturally, it was the way he started telling stories...
Mahershala Ali
MAHERSHALA ALI is fast becoming one of the freshest and most in-demand faces in Hollywood with his extraordinarily diverse skill set and wide-ranging background in film, television, and theater. This past fall, Ali wrapped A24's Brad Pitt and Adele Romanski produced independent feature film, Moonlight...
Wale Ojo
Actor, The Guard
Wale Ojo began acting with the first television station in Africa as a child prodigy and star. He turned professional in the United Kingdom at the age of 21. He is the pioneer and founder of the New Nigeria Cinema whose aim is to improve the quality of Nigerian films. To date, he runs a yearly festival titled New Nigeria Cinema day at the British Film Institute in London...
Genevieve Nnaji
Genevieve Nnaji grew up in Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria. The fourth of eight children, she was brought up in a middle-class environment. Her father worked as an engineer and her mother worked as a teacher. She attended the Methodist Girls College Yaba before heading to the University of Lagos...
Rakie Ayola
Actress, Dredd
Osas Ighodaro Ajibade
Born and raised in the home of the New York Yankees, Osas Ighodaro Ajibade is a Bronx Native. As a first-generation Nigerian-American, Osas strongly values the importance of family, giving back and staying connected to her roots. Osas is a graduate from Pennsylvania State University and holds a Bachelors of Arts degree in Broadcast Journalism and dual minor degrees in Entrepreneurship and Theatre...
Judith Shekoni
Actress, Heroes Reborn
Judith Shekoni was brought up in Manchester, England. Relocating to London at 18 she modelled around the world before gaining her break into acting via the popular BBC TV show Casualty. Working in the UK including Eastenders (BBC) and gritty Hallmark drama The Hidden City, Judiths' acting career took her to America where during extensive theatre training she worked on every major US network...
Arinzé Kene
Actor, The Pass
Quite possibly the most underrated and underexposed actor of his caliber in both theatre and screen, Arinze Kene'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. Kene was born in Lagos, Nigeria...
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...
Vera Ephraim
Actress, Sink
Vera Ephraim's full name is Vera Nkechi Anenyeonu. She is from Anambra state, Nigeria. "Ephraim" is her dad's first name, she decided to use it for her professional name as a sign of his support in her life. Her parents died when she was very young. Vera Nkechi Anenyeonu, actor, Dancer and Choreographer...
Esosa E.
Esosa E is an award winning Producer, Writer, Actress, Health Expert, and Fashion Designer who was named a "Young African Visionary" by Obaseema Magazine and included in Applause Africa's list of "30 Most Intriguing Africans in NY." She thus far is most known for playing the role of Ngozi on the hit television and web series "An African City," which has been featured on the BBC...
Ebbe Bassey
Actress, Saving Father
Ebbe Bassey was born in the Bronx, New York and raised in Calabar, Nigeria, West Africa. She is an actress, writer, producer who believes that art should educate and entertain. She studied the Meisner technique of Method acting at the William Esper Studio under the tutelage of Ms. Maggie Flanigan. In 2007...
Deborah Ayorinde
Actress, Luke Cage
Deborah Ayorinde was born in London, England. At age seven, she performed in her first play with a drama school in the Forest Gate area of London. It was there that she developed a passion for the arts. When she was eight years old, she and her family relocated to San Jose, California. She continued to develop her talents by participating in talent shows and contests...
Babs Olusanmokun
He grew up in Lagos, Paris, Brazil and New York...Speaks fluent portuguese, french. He played the starring role of Kunta Kinte's father, Omoro Kinte, in A&E and History's new critically acclaimed Roots. He had a great working relationship and became friends with director Phillip Noyce on the set of Roots...
Megalyn Echikunwoke
Actress, House of Lies
Megalyn Ann Echikunwoke was born May 28, 1983 in Spokane, Washington. Her father is Nigerian and her mother is of Caucasian descent. Her last name Echikunwoke means "leader of men" and Megalyn is the granddaughter of a Nigerian tribal leader of the Igbo, which technically makes her African royalty. She is known for playing "Nicole Palmer" in the first season of 24...
Nikki Amuka-Bird
Amuka-Bird was born in Nigeria, but grew up in the UK and in Antigua. She abandoned her dancing aspirations after suffering a back injury. After attending LAMDA, she joined the Royal Shakespeare Company. Whilst on tour with the RSC in Japan, she met her husband, actor Geoffrey Streatfield. In addition to her numerous television roles and the RSC...
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...
David Wurawa
David began his professional acting training/tutelage with tutors from Neighborhood School of Theater(USA),Act UP(UK), The Actors Centre(UK), London Academy of Media, Film & Television(UK). David appeared opposite the Legendary Golden Globe Nominee and Lifetime Achievement Award winner Franco Nero as "Thomas James" in New Order written and directed by Marco Rosson...
Kandyse McClure
Kandyse McClure is a Canadian actress born on March 22, 1980 in Durban in South Africa. She graduated from West Vancouver Secondary School in 1998. She is an actress, known for main roles in TV series Battlestar Galactica (2004), Hemlock Grove (2013), and from the movies Carrie (2002) and Seventh Son (2014).
Zakes Mokae
Actor, Waterworld
Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, actor Zakes Mokae was trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and became one of the most distinguished thespians in South Africa for over two decades. Mokae was one of the few actors capable of crossing the divided racial sections, punctuated by his collaborations with white writer Athol Fugard...
Eke Chukwu
Eke was born and raised in south-east London. His parents are both of Nigerian origin. Eke attended various Youth theatres as a teen, namely the London Bubble Theatre where he learned a few craft basics and developed his passion for performance. In pursuit of an acting career, he was awarded a scholarship to train at London's prestigious Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts where...
Michael Obiora
Actor, Fortitude
Michael Obiora was born in North-West London to Nigerian parents. After starting drama classes aged seven. He was soon encouraged to join an agency by his drama teacher. He then joined another drama group at nine years of age, and within a year, landed a part in the hit children's' school drama, 'Grange Hill'...
Ellie Foumbi
Born in Cameroon, Ellie Foumbi moved to the United States at a young age. Growing up in the suburbs of New York City, she attended the French-American School of New York where she studied classical French theatre and was introduced to the filmmakers of the French New Wave. She had the privilege of...
Tracy Ifeachor
Actress, Doctor Who
Tracy Ifeachor was born and raised in the sea-side city of Plymouth in Devonshire, England. After being crowned Senior Verse Speaking Champion of the South-West at the age of 15, Tracy was keen to go to drama school to study acting but her father, a Professor of Electronic engineering, an accomplished lecturer and published author in his field, was keen for Tracy to finish her education...
Momo Dione
Actor, Notorious
Momo Dione was born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He is of Guinean and Senegalese descent. His father is a Guinean diplomat and his mother is an entrepreneur specializing in promotion and African fashion. Before reaching high school, the actor/model had already seen a great deal of the world. He came to the United States in 1993 when his father was appointed to the Guinea mission in New York City...
Blu Mankuma
A native of Seattle, Washington, Mankuma made Vancouver his home during the turbulent years of the Vietnam war. This unique actor with an easy grace on film despite his commanding six foot, 230 lb. girth, Mankuma quickly established a following among producers and directors, building an impressive resume of film, television and theatre credits, becoming one of Canada's busiest actors...
Ger Duany
Ger Duany was born in Akobo, South Sudan. He is the fifth child of ten born to mother Nyathak Muon Weng, and father Thabac Duany Wunbiel. He was forcefully recruited as a child soldier during the Second Sudanese Civil War. However, Duany successfully fled to Ethiopia for second a time, at age 14, then to Kenya and finally sought refuge in The United States when he was only sixteen...
Anniwaa Buachie
Actress, Holby City
2007 winner of Alan Bates Outstanding Newcomer Award,Anniwaa is a British born actress of Ghanaian decent, the youngest child out of four. From age 6, she was scouted by renowned ballet dancer Rhian Robins, who believed her dance skills were of an exceptionally high standard and encouraged Anniwaa's parents to enroll her in to the Royal Academy of Dance...
Abraham Amkpa
Abraham was born in French West Africa followed by many years in England, Africa, then New York City. His exposure and conditioning to the art of Acting began thanks to his father's vocation; he is an actor, playwright, and filmmaker. From his mother's compassion and service as a private school owner in a socially challenged Niger...