Top 10 Black Actresses That You Must Know About In 2023
When talking about black actresses, the most well-known black female faces are Halle Berry, Viola Davis, Gabrielle Union, and Whoopi Goldberg. These actresses have all made their mark on the entertainment world, appearing in some of the most popular movies and television programs of all time.
Black women continue to be significantly underrepresented in starring and supporting parts, and the industry as a whole lacks diversity. Black people become successful and recognized when their skin is lighter, which has led to a rift in the community itself. Borne out of the deeply embedded colonial sentiments, the problem seems to keep growing. However, these black actresses accomplishment is a start in the right direction. Hopefully, more black women will find success in Hollywood in the future.
These black actresses have all made important contributions to the black community. They have worked to tear down barriers for other black women in the entertainment business. Despite these actress’s success, there is still a long way to go in Hollywood when it comes to racial equality. The divide inside the black community between Lightskin and black people has made their overall advancement and representation difficult.
Top 10 Must Know Black Actresses
If you think about it, black actresses are not that many and neither a huge success. It takes a long time for them to get recognized. The advantage, however, lies with the black people who have mixed parents and, therefore, lighter skin.
Here are some of the names that made it big through their hard work, grit, and a few advantages in some cases.
Viola Davis is one of those few American actresses cum producers who has won numerous accolades. Her accolades include the Academy Award, the Golden Globe Award, and the Emmy Award.
Davis has been able to enjoy a lengthy and successful television and film career. She has featured in several films, like The Help, The Butler, and Doubt. The 58-year-old has also appeared in recent TV shows such as How to Get Away with Murder and Commander in Chief.
Kerry Washington is an actor, producer, as well as director from the US. Her movies and television credits include Ray, The Last King of Scotland, Django Unchained, and American Son. Additionally, Washington has produced/directed a number of films and television series like Confirmation and Little Fires Everywhere.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Halle Berry started her acting journey at the beginning of 1990 following her appearance in many TV commercials. Her film debut appearance was in the film Jungle Fever (1991). She then rose to fame for her part in the films Bulworth in 1998 and Introducing Dorothy Dandridge in 1999. For her performance in Monster Ball, she won the Oscar for Best Actress in 2002. It made her the first woman of color and, as of 2020, the only woman to receive this award.
Throughout her career, Berry has starred in films such as Die Another Day (2002), Catwoman (2004), X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), Things We Lost in the Fire (2007), and Perfect Stranger (2007) Some of her other films are Frankie & Alice (2010), New Year Eve (2011), The Call (2013), Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017).
Taraji P. Henson
Taraji P. Henson is an American singer and actor. She started her Hollywood journey in the early 2000s, showing up in smaller roles in movies like Baby Boy (2001) and The Fighting Temptations (2003). Henson’s big break was the film Hustle & Flow (2005), for which she got an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
She has acted in many movies, like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), The Karate Kid (2010), Think Like a Man (2012), and Hidden Figures (2016). Henson has been successful on TV, too, starring in the shows Person of Interest (2011-2016) and Empire (2015-).
Regina King is an American actor and Director. She has won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and three Emmys. Regina King is mostly known for her part as Shawn Spencer’s mother in the TV series Psych. She also appeared in many films like Friday, Boyz n the Hood, Poetic Justice, and Jerry Maguire.
She started her career in the late 1990s on TV sitcoms before gaining smaller roles in teen comedies like She’s All That and 10 Things I Hate About You (1999). Her big break came in the year 2000 with Bring It On, followed by her female lead role in the CBS medical drama City of Angels (2000).
Woodard is widely regarded as one of the greatest black actresses of her time. She has been nominated for an Academy Award, a Grammy Award, and 18 Emmy Awards (she won 4). She also won the Golden Globes and 3 SAG Awards. Alfre Woodard starred in several films, like Cross Creek in 1983, Passion Fish in 1992, Crooklyn in 1994, and Miss Evers’ Boys in 1997.
She has also given amazing performances in Star Trek: First Contact in 1996 and The Forgotten in 2004. Her most recent film, 12 Years A Slave, earned her a nomination for Best Supporting Actress. She has had a few TV roles, playing Betty Applewhite on ABC’s Desperate Housewives from 2006-08 and Karen Lawson on the FX series The Americans from 2013-14.
Yara Shahidi (born on September 18, 1984) is an American actress, model, and philanthropist. She is best known for playing Zoey Johnson on ABC’s Black-ish. Shahidi hails from Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is the daughter of a doctor (mother) and a business consultant (father). Her mother is Iranian-American, and her father is African-American.
She began her career in commercials and went on to guest-star on TV shows like Entourage, and The Game. In 2014, Shahidi was cast as Zoey Johnson in the lead role of Black-ish. The show is about a middle-class African-American family, and Shahidi has earned critical acclaim for her portrayal of her character. In 2018, Shahidi received an NAACP Image Award For Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.
She has also starred in Grown Ups 2 and Smallfoot. In 2019, Shahidi featured in The Sun Is Also A Star, a film based on the novel of the same name. She has also stood by the good causes of big organizations like Girl Up and UNICEF.
Born on 13 November 1955, Whoopi Goldberg hails from the Chelsea part of Manhattan. Known originally as Caryn Elaine Johnson, her mother was a teacher and nurse, and her father was a clergyman. She worked odd jobs while performing small roles on Broadway. She had her big break with HBO special Moms Mabley.
Whoopi Goldberg starred in The Color Purple, Burglar, The Telephone, Jumpin’ Jack Flash, and Ghost. She gave another massive hit with Sister Act. She also had a few smaller-scale comedies like Made in America and Soapdish. Her most recent films are Rat Race and Kingdom Come in 2001.
Zendaya (born Zendaya Maree Stoermer Coleman) is an American singer-songwriter, actress, and dancer. Zendaya started her career in modeling as a child and as a backup dancer before starring as Rocky Blue in Shake It Up on the Disney Channel from 2010–2013. In 2013, she was a finalist on the 16th season of Dancing with the Stars.
In 2012, Zendaya signed with Hollywood Records and released her self-titled debut studio album. The album reached number 51 in the US on the Billboard 200. She produced the single “Replay,” which reached the top 40 on Billboard Hot 100.
In the American culture, whiteness and a more European “look” is the norm, which has consequently made blackness to be seen as inferior. Looking at some of the celebrities, for example, Nicki Minaj has changed her appearance drastically since she first came out. As she grew in popularity, she began to look more and more “light.” It’s obvious that she has changed her appearance. Why is that?
Well, we can only speculate and say that in order for Nicki Minaj to move up in the music industry, she needed to capture the crossover appeal. She needed to adjust her appearance to become palatable to the pop demographic that the managers wanted her to. She may not approve of the ideas that her team is coming up with to curate her image. It has, however, helped propel her toward superstardom.
The African-American community needs to come together to demonstrate that they are not just a skin, but they are individuals. This may be a taboo topic, but this problem needs to be highlighted so that it can be solved on a larger scale. The culture needs to move past those years of oppression and look forward to what the future has to offer.
If this culture continues along its current path, then this problem will never cease to exist; the cycle must end, and the time has long passed. The media has made strides to portray darker African Americans in a better light. But the entire process needs to be upgraded a few notches to achieve real change.
Once again, the color of your skin is what you were born with. What you choose to make of yourself and all of your aspirations should be the only demarcation you are judged on.
Regardless of where an African-American is on the spectrum, they are still black.
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