Outstanding Black Actresses

by kandraw45 | created - 08 Jul 2015 | updated - 08 Jul 2015 | Public

A list of all of the best black actresses in the movie industry.

1. Taraji P. Henson

Actress | The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Taraji P. Henson was born on September 11, 1970 in Washington, District of Columbia, USA as Taraji Penda Henson. She is an actress and producer, known for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), Hidden Figures (2016) and Hustle & Flow (2005).

Empire

2. Kerry Washington

Actress | Django Unchained

Kerry Washington was born on January 31, 1977 in The Bronx, New York City, New York, USA as Kerry Marisa Washington. She is an actress and producer, known for Django Unchained (2012), Scandal (2012) and Save the Last Dance (2001). She has been married to Nnamdi Asomugha since June 24, 2013. They ...

Scandal

3. Kimberly Elise

Actress | Diary of a Mad Black Woman

Kimberly Elise was born on April 17, 1967 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA as Kimberly Elise Trammel. She is an actress, known for Diary of a Mad Black Woman (2005), The Manchurian Candidate (2004) and John Q (2002). She was previously married to Maurice Oldham.

For Colored Girls

4. Angela Bassett

Actress | Strange Days

Captivating, gifted, and sensational, Angela Bassett's presence has been felt in theaters and on 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 ...

What's Love Got To Do With It

5. Jennifer Hudson

Soundtrack | Dreamgirls

Jennifer Hudson is a Grammy Award-winning recording artist, Academy Award-winning actress and best-selling author. Bright and booming talent Hudson is a perfect example of how NOT winning the title of American Idol (2002) can actually be a boon to your career and not necessarily the end of a ...

Dreamgirls

6. Gabrielle Union

Actress | Bring It On

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. There, ...

Being Mary Jane

7. Octavia Spencer

Actress | Hidden Figures

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, ...

The Help

8. Viola Davis

Actress | Fences

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), ...

How To Get Away With Murder

9. Queen Latifah

Actress | Chicago

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 Elaine Owens on March 18, 1970, in East Orange, New Jersey. She is the daughter of Rita (Bray), a teacher, and Lancelot Owens, Sr. She came from a ...

Bessie

10. 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 (1985), followed by a role in Boyz n the Hood (1991). She began to be recognized by a mainstream audience after her role as Cuba ...

Ray

11. Oprah Winfrey

Producer | The Oprah Winfrey Show

Oprah Winfrey was born Orpah Gail Winfrey in Kosciusko, Mississippi, to Vernita Lee, a former maid, and Vernon Winfrey, a coal miner, barber, and city councilman.

While Winfrey has been cited as the richest African-American of the 20th century, she does not come from a rich, or even middle class, ...

Lee Daniels' The Butler

12. Phylicia Rashad

Actress | The Cosby Show

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. ...

The Cosby Show

13. Lynn Whitfield

Actress | The Josephine Baker Story

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 ...

The Josephine Baker Story

14. 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...

Diary Of A Mad Woman

15. Jada Pinkett Smith

Actress | The Matrix Revolutions

Jada Koren Pinkett Smith was born in Baltimore, Maryland, to Robsol Grant Pinkett, Jr., a contractor, and Adrienne Banfield-Jones, a nurse. They divorced after only a few months of marriage. Her father is of African-American descent and her mother is of Afro-Caribbean ancestry (from Barbados and ...

Gotham

16. 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), ...

Eve's Bayou

17. 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 ...

The Family That Preys

18. Halle Berry

Actress | Catwoman

Halle Berry was born in Cleveland, Ohio. Her father, Jerome Jesse Berry, was African-American, and worked as a hospital attendant. Her mother, Judith Ann (Hawkins), who is Caucasian, has English and German ancestry, and is a retired psychiatric nurse. Halle has an older sister, Heidi Berry. Halle ...

Frankie & Alice

19. Whoopi Goldberg

Actress | Ghost

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...

Ghost

20. Mo'Nique

Actress | Precious

Monique received a standing ovation when she stepped on stage for the first time in her 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 (1999)...

Precious

21. Gabourey Sidibe

Actress | Precious

Gabourey "Gabby" Sidibe, the star of Precious (2009), was born in the Bedford-Stuyvesant community in Brooklyn, New York. Her mother, Alice Tan Ridley, is a former special education teacher who gave up her career and became a street performer/singer, while her father, Ibnou Sidibe, is a cab driver....

Precious

22. Anika Noni Rose

Actress | The Princess and the Frog

Tony Award winner Anika Noni Rose recently finished filming the lead role of the pilot episode Beast Mode (TBS / Macro), which is based on life of legendary boxing trainer Ann Wolfe. Anika is also serving as Co-Executive Producer.

In 2018, Anika starred in the title role of 'Carmen Jones' in John ...

The Princess and The Frog

23. Tasha Smith

Actress | The Whole Ten Yards

Tasha Smith was born on February 28, 1971 in Camden, New Jersey, USA. She is an actress and director, known for The Whole Ten Yards (2004), Couples Retreat (2009) and Why Did I Get Married? (2007). She was previously married to Keith Douglas.

Why Did I Get Married Too?

24. Janet Jackson

Soundtrack | Poetic Justice

Janet Damita Jo Jackson was born on May 16, 1966 in Gary, Indiana, to Katherine Jackson (née Katherine Esther Scruse) and Joe Jackson, a musician. She is the youngest of ten children. After her birth, her brothers formed a band later called The Jackson 5. She lived at home with her sisters, while ...

Poetic Justice

25. Beyoncé

Soundtrack | Dreamgirls

Beyoncé was born & raised in Houston, Texas. Her father, Mathew Knowles, manages Destiny's Child. Her mother, Tina Lawson designs their glittering costumes. Solange, her sister (they're about 5 years apart), has released her debut album. She dances with her big sister during DC-3 concerts. Beyoncé ...

Dreamgirls

26. Tisha Campbell-Martin

Actress | Martin

Tisha Campbell's first TV appearance was at the age of 8, on episode #006 of the PBS show The Big Blue Marble (1974). The show featured stories on the life and culture of children from around the world. In her segment, Tisha was shown playing with her brother, going to school with her mother who was...

My Wife & Kids

27. Lupita Nyong'o

Actress | 12 Years a Slave

Lupita Amondi Nyong'o was born March 1, 1983 in Mexico City, Mexico, to Kenyan parents, Dorothy Ogada Buyu 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...

12 Years A Slave

28. Alfre Woodard

Actress | Star Trek: First Contact

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 ...

Holiday Heart

29. Thandie Newton

Actress | Crash

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 ...

The Pursuit Of Happyness

30. Vivica A. Fox

Actress | Independence Day

Vivica A. Fox was born in South Bend, Indiana, on July 30, 1964, and is the daughter of Everlyena, a pharmaceutical technician, and William Fox, a private school administrator. She is of Native American and African-American descent and is proud of her heritage. She is a graduate of Arlington High ...

Set It Off



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