Black Actors I (might) want to work with

by nikyatu | last updated - 13 Mar 2013 | Public

Young Black Actors/Actresses in the 25ish-35ish Age Range whom I'd like to direct in both a leading capacity and/or a supporting capacity. I didn't just toss any and every black actor I know of in here: these people have either demonstrated obvious range or I'm curious to learn more...

No musician/actors on this list. I'm talking people with serious potential...in no particular order.

1. Nate Parker

Actor | The Birth of a Nation

Nate Parker was born on November 18, 1979 in Norfolk, Virginia, USA. He is an actor and producer, known for The Birth of a Nation (2016), Arbitrage (2012) and The Great Debaters (2007). He has been married to Sarah DiSanto since 2007. They have four children.

2. Zoe Saldana

Actress | Avatar

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 ...

duh.

3. Zawe Ashton

Actress | Blitz

Zawe was born on 21st July 1984 in Hackney, London, to two teachers, Ugandan Victoria and English Paul, and had her first acting experience at the age of six as a member of the Anna Scher Theatre school in Islington. After leaving the City and Islington College in London - where she was an A ...

4. Michael B. Jordan

Actor | Creed

Michael B. Jordan, middle of three children, was born in Santa Ana, California and raised in Newark, New Jersey by Donna (Davis), and Michael A. Jordan. His middle name Bakari means "noble promise" in Swahili.

Jordan has starred in three of the most critically acclaimed television dramas of the past...

5. DeWanda Wise

Actress | She's Gotta Have It

Critically acclaimed artist DeWanda Wise is a graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, training primarily at the Atlantic Theatre Company Acting School. While training at Tisch, DeWanda began her professional career with roles in many award-winning shorts and independent features...

6. Ellie Foumbi

Actress | Zenith

Born in Cameroon, Ellie Foumbi grew up in the suburbs of New York City. She attended the French-American School of New York where she studied classical French theatre. She worked very closely with acclaimed, late Malian actor, Sotigui Kouyaté, who became her mentor. Her producing credits include ...

7. Aïssa Maïga

Actress | Les poupées russes

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 ...

8. 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 ...

9. Adepero Oduye

Actress | Pariah

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 ...

10. Condola Rashad

Actress | Sex and the City 2

Condola Rashad was born on December 11, 1986 in New York City, New York, USA as Condola Phylea Rashad. She is an actress, known for Sex and the City 2 (2010), Money Monster (2016) and Billions (2016).

11. Rob Brown

Actor | Finding Forrester

Rob Brown was born in Harlem and raised in Brooklyn, New York. A natural who never studied acting and who had no professional acting experience, made his acting and motion picture debut in Finding Forrester (2000). Rob celebrated his 16th birthday just before the start of production. He is a ...

12. John Boyega

Actor | Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens

John Boyega is a British actor, known for playing Finn in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015). Boyega rose to prominence in his native United Kingdom for his role of Moses in the 2011 sci-fi comedy film Attack the Block (2011), before attaining international recognition for his work as Finn in the ...

13. Jay Pharoah

Actor | Ride Along

Jay Pharoah was born on October 14, 1987 in Chesapeake, Virginia, USA as Jared Antonio Farrow. He is an actor, known for Ride Along (2014), Saturday Night Live (1975) and Get a Job (2016).

14. Chiwetel Ejiofor

Actor | 12 Years a Slave

English actor Chiwetel Ejiofor is renowned for his portrayal of Solomon Northup in 12 Years a Slave (2013), for which he received Academy Award and Golden Globe Award nominations, along with the BAFTA Award for Best Actor. He is also known for playing Okwe in Dirty Pretty Things (2002), the ...

15. Rutina Wesley

Actress | True Blood

Rutina Wesley is known for the character Tara Thorton, on the gritty Southern vampire drama, True Blood (2008). She was born in the city most renowned for glitz and glamour, Las Vegas, Nevada and was exposed to the arts at a very early age; in fact entertainment runs through her veins. Her father, ...

16. Sanaa Lathan

Actress | AVP: Alien vs. Predator

Sanaa Lathan, pronounced Sa-NAA, "like Sinatra without the tra", was born on September 19, 1971, in New York, as her actress mother Eleanor McCoy performed on Broadway with the likes of Eartha Kitt, and her director father Stan Lathan worked behind the scenes in television for PBS. She was exposed ...

17. Jesse Williams

Actor | The Cabin in the Woods

Jesse Wesley Williams born August 5, 1981 is an American actor, model, and activist, best known for his role as Dr. Jackson Avery on the ABC Television series Grey's Anatomy. He also appears in the hit 2013 film Lee Daniels' The Butler as real life civil rights leader Rev. James Lawson. Previous ...

18. Jurnee Smollett-Bell

Actress | Underground

Jurnee Smollett-Bell was born on October 1, 1986 in New York City, New York, USA as Jurnee Diana Smollett. She is an actress, known for her role as "Jess Merriweather" on the Emmy Award-winning TV series, Friday Night Lights (2006). She is also known for her roles in The Great Debaters (2007), ...

19. Nathan Stewart-Jarrett

Actor | Misfits

Nathan was born in 1985. Brought up in Wandsworth, London, he jokes that he was 'pushed' into acting by his mother, a 'frustrated actress'. He studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama, which he graduated from in 2006. He made his professional stage debut playing a number of roles in '...

20. Amber Riley

Actress | Glee

Amber Riley was born on February 15, 1986 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Amber Patrice Riley. She is an actress, known for Glee (2009), The Wiz Live! (2015) and Glee: Director's Cut Pilot Episode (2009).

21. Evan Ross

Actor | The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2

Evan Ross was born on August 26, 1988 in Greenwich, Connecticut, USA as Evan Olav Næss. He is an actor, known for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 (2015), The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 (2014) and According to Greta (2009). He has been married to Ashlee Simpson since August 30, 2014. ...

22. Kevin Phillips

Actor | Notorious

Kevin Phillips is an actor and producer, known for Notorious (2009), Blood and Bone (2009) and Red Tails (2012).

23. Edi Gathegi

Actor | X: First Class

Edi Gathegi was born on March 10, 1979 in Nairobi, Kenya as Edi Mue Gathegi. He is an actor and producer, known for X: First Class (2011), Gone Baby Gone (2007) and Criminal Activities (2015).

24. Nelsan Ellis

Actor | The Butler

Nelsan Ellis was an award-winning American film and television actor and playwright, perhaps best known as Lafayette Reynolds on HBO's True Blood (2008).

Ellis was born on November 30, 1977, in Harvey, Illinois. Following his parents' divorce, Ellis and his mother moved to Alabama. He moved back to ...

25. Sinqua Walls

Actor | Shark Night 3D

Originally from Louisiana, Sinqua moved to Los Angeles with his Family and Attended Beverly Hills High School. He is a Graduate of the University of San Francisco arts program where he studied Theater and Film. He is also of French, and Native American Descent. When not acting, Sinqua is a ...

Really like him. Needs to be in a leading role. + that he's man sized.

26. Yara Shahidi

Actress | Salt

Yara Shahidi was born on February 10, 2000 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA as Yara Sayeh Shahidi. She is an actress, known for Salt (2010), Black-ish (2014) and Alex Cross (2012).

Young but had great range in BUTTER.

27. Dayo Okeniyi

Actor | The Hunger Games

Dayo Okeniyi (Pronounced: Die-o Okay-nii-yii) began performing on the stage in elementary school. In 2003, Okeniyi, the youngest of five siblings, moved from Nigeria with his family to the The United States. His father, now a retired customs officer and mother, a British literature teacher, were ...

28. Yaya DaCosta

Actress | The Butler

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 ...

29. Rose Rollins

Actress | The L Word

Rose Rollins was raised in Yonkers, New York, growing up with five brothers. She is an accomplished actress who has garnered attention on both the big and small screens.



Rollins now stars in ABC's The Catch opposite Mireille Enos. The series centers on a gutsy female forensic accountant who exposes ...

30. Chyna Layne

Actress | Precious

Raised in Jamaica, Queens and East New York, Brooklyn the rising star is commonly referred to as a young Diahann Carroll. Born to a Jamaican father and Filipina mother, this JamaicanAsian sensation breaks all of the rules and pursues acting strictly for the love and art.

A professional actor since ...

Usually comedic.

31. Annie Ilonzeh

Actress | Person of Interest

Annie Ilonzeh was born on August 23, 1983 in Grapevine, Texas, USA as Annie Ngasi Illonzeh. She is an actress and producer, known for Person of Interest (2011), Arrow (2012) and He's Just Not That Into You (2009).

maybe: haven't seen enough of her to know for sure.

32. Freema Agyeman

Actress | Doctor Who

Freema Agyeman was born on March 20, 1979 in London, England as Frema Agyeman. She is an actress, known for Doctor Who (2005), Sense8 (2015) and Law & Order: UK (2009).

Again, not sure I've seen enough of her to judge her acting abilities accurately but really like her look.

33. Joy Bryant

Actress | Bobby

Joy Bryant was born in a modest home in The Bronx, New York and as a young woman, was enrolled in an inner-city outreach organization called "A Better Chance," designed to encourage minority talent. Joy was also blessed with brains as well beauty and remained an excellent student throughout her ...

34. Naomie Harris

Actress | 28 Days Later...

British actress Naomie Harris was born in London, England, the only child of television scriptwriter Lisselle Kayla. Her father is from Trinidad and her mother is from Jamaica. They separated before she was born, and Harris was raised by her mother and has no relationship with her father. She ...

imo one of the top 5 young actresses working right now. She's amazing.

35. Antonia Thomas

Actress | Misfits

Antonia Thomas was born on November 3, 1986 in London, England as Antonia Laura Thomas. She is an actress, known for Misfits (2009), Northern Soul (2014) and Sunshine on Leith (2013).

The Brits are beasting.

36. Dana Davis

Actress | Prom Night

She is a native of Davenport, Iowa. Attended Davenport North High School in Davenport, Iowa. Graduated with a music degree from Loyola Marymount University in 2001. Was a singer with the group "Necessity."

curious to see more...

37. Megalyn Echikunwoke

Actress | House of Lies

Megalyn Ann Echikunwoke was born May 28, 1983 in Spokane, Washington. Her father was Nigerian and her mother is of English and Scots-Irish 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 ...

She's been around for a while but I don't feel like she's ever been given a role that forces her to stretch herself (like most black actresses are typically not challenged in this way)

38. Evan Ross

Actor | The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2

Evan Ross was born on August 26, 1988 in Greenwich, Connecticut, USA as Evan Olav Næss. He is an actor, known for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 (2015), The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 (2014) and According to Greta (2009). He has been married to Ashlee Simpson since August 30, 2014. ...

39. John Boyega

Actor | Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens

John Boyega is a British actor, known for playing Finn in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015). Boyega rose to prominence in his native United Kingdom for his role of Moses in the 2011 sci-fi comedy film Attack the Block (2011), before attaining international recognition for his work as Finn in the ...

40. Danai Gurira

Actress | The Visitor

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...