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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

The Best Black Actresses of All Time

People of color have always been underrepresented in the field of entertainment, and the situation of black women in the arena has been especially difficult. Women in Hollywood have always had to struggle to get more substantial roles and a pay scale at par with the male stars, and these issues have been even more pronounced for black actresses! Only a gutsy black woman who possesses a strong character along with beauty and acting skills can make it big in glamorous Hollywood! Check out the best black actresses of all time.

1. Halle Berry

Birthday: 14 August 1966

Born In: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

Sun Sign: Leo

Height: 5′5″

In 2002, Halle Berry became the only actress of African-American origin to win the ‘Academy Award for Best Actress.’ She received the award for her portrayal of ‘Leticia Musgrove’ in the 2001 romantic drama film ‘Monster’s Ball’.

2. Angela Bassett

Birthday: 16 August 1958

Born In: New York, New York, United States

Sun Sign: Leo

Height: 5′4″

Angela Bassett is the recipient of several prestigious awards, such as the ‘Golden Globe Award,’ ‘Black Reel Awards,’ and ‘Screen Actors Guild Award.’ In 2008, she was inducted into the ‘Hollywood Walk of Fame.’

3. Kerry Washington

Birthday: 31 January 1977

Born In: Bronx, New York, United States

Sun Sign: Aquarius

Height: 5′4″

Thanks to her impeccable acting skills, Kerry Washington has won several awards, such as ‘Black Reel Awards’ and ‘NAACP Image Awards’. In 2014, she was named in ‘Time’ magazine’s ‘Time 100’ list.

4. Taraji P. Henson

Birthday: 11 September 1970

Born In: Washington, D.C., United States

Sun Sign: Virgo

Height: 5′5″

Taraji P. Henson has a successful acting career in television and movies. Her big break came in the form of ‘Baby Boy.’ Her performance in ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ fetched her nominations for Academy Award, Golden Globe Award am,’ and Screen Actors Guild Awards.

5. Octavia Spencer

Birthday: 25 May 1972

Born In: Montgomery, Alabama, United States

Sun Sign: Gemini

Height: 5′2″

Winner of several awards, which include an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award, Octavia Spencer is the first black actress to receive two consecutive Academy Award nominations. She won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the movie ‘The Help’.

6. Viola Davis

Birthday: 11 August 1965

Born In: Saint Matthews, South Carolina, United States

Sun Sign: Leo

Height: 5′5″

Viola Davis is the first black actor to achieve the Triple Crown of Acting; she won an Academy Award for the movie ‘Fences’, Primetime Emmy for TV seies ‘How To Get Away With Murder’ and Tony Award for the play ‘Fences’.

7. Cicely Tyson

Birthday: 18 December 1924

Born In: Harlem, New York, United States

Sun Sign: Sagittarius

Died On: 28 January 2021

Cicely Tyson is a veteran actress who has won multiple awards for her performance on stage and screen, including ‘Primetime Emmy Award and Tony Award. She was bestowed with an ‘Academy Honorary Award’ in 2018.

8. Regina Hall

Birthday: 12 December 1970

Born In: Washington, D.C., United States

Sun Sign: Sagittarius

Height: 5′4″

Regina Hall became the first black actress to receive the ‘New York Film Critics Circle Award’ under the ‘Best Actress’ category. She won it for her portrayal of ‘Lisa Conroy’ in the 2018 film ‘Support the Girls’.

9. Lupita Nyong’o

Birthday: 01 March 1983

Born In: Mexico City, Mexico

Sun Sign: Pisces

Height: 5′5″

Lupita Nyong’o is a Kenyan-Mexican actress. She won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in her first film, ’12 Years A Slave.’ She has also appeared in blockbuster movies like ‘Star Wars’ franchise and ‘Black Panther’.

10. Queen Latifah

Birthday: 18 March 1970

Born In: Newark, New Jersey, United States

Sun Sign: Pisces

Height: 5′10″

Queen Latifah has made a name for herself as a musician and actress. She won an Academy Award nomination for her role in the movie ‘Chicago’ and an Emmy Award nomination for her performance in the TV film ‘Bessie’.

11. Regina King

Birthday: 15 January 1971

Born In: Los Angeles, California, United States

Sun Sign: Capricorn

Height: 5′3″

One of the most decorated black actresses of the current era, Regina King has won three Primetime Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award.

12. Gabrielle Union

Birthday: 29 October 1972

Born In: Omaha, Nebraska, United States

Sun Sign: Scorpio

Height: 5′7″

Gabrielle Union has been honored with several prestigious awards, including a ‘BET Comedy Award,’ ‘Black Reel Award,’ and ‘NAACP Image Award.’ In 2003, she won the ‘Rising Star Award’ at the ‘American Black Film Festival.’

13. Zoe Saldana

Birthday: 19 June 1978

Born In: Passaic, New Jersey, United States

Sun Sign: Gemini

Height: 5′7″

As of Feb 2019, Zoe Saldana is the second highest-grossing film actress in Hollywood with blockbuster films like ‘Avatar’ and ‘Avengers: Endgame.’

14. Alfre Woodard

Birthday: 08 November 1952

Born In: Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States

Sun Sign: Scorpio

Height: 5′3″

Alfre Woodard is regarded as one of the most versatile and successful actors of her generation. Her versatlity can he judged from the fact that she has been nominated 18 times for Emmy Award (she has won four of them). She has also won a Golden Globe Award and three Screen Actors Guild Awards.

15. Rosario Dawson

Birthday: 09 May 1979

Born In: New York City, New York, United States

Sun Sign: Taurus

Height: 5′7″

Thanks to her amazing acting skills, Rosario Dawson has received nominations at prestigious award ceremonies, such as ‘BET Awards,’ ‘Black Reel Awards,’ and ‘Critics’ Choice Movie Awards.’

16. Hattie McDaniel

Birthday: 10 June 1893

Born In: Wichita, Kansas, United States

Sun Sign: Gemini

Died On: 26 October 1952

Hattie McDaniel was theater and onscreen performer. For her role in ‘Gone With the Wind,’ she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress’ and became the first black person to win the Oscar.

17. Nia Long

Birthday: 30 October 1970

Born In: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Sun Sign: Scorpio

Height: 5′2″

Nia Long is popular for appearing in successful films like ‘Stigmata,’ ‘Boiler Room,’ ‘Big Momma’s House,’ and ‘Premonition.’ She has also received prestigious awards, such as a ‘Black Reel Award’ and ‘Image Awards’.

18. Lynn Whitfield

Birthday: 06 May 1953

Born In: Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA

Sun Sign: Taurus

Height: 5′5″

The recipient of seven ‘NAACP Image Awards,’ Lynn Whitfield has also won other prestigious awards, such as a ‘Black Reel Award’ and ‘Primetime Emmy Award.’

19. Phylicia Rashad

Birthday: 19 June 1948

Born In: Houston, Texas, United States

Sun Sign: Gemini

Height: 5′6″

Known as ‘The Mother Of The Black Community,’ Phylicia became the first black woman to win the prestigious ‘Tony Award’ under the ‘Best Actress in a Play’ category; she won it in 2004. She has also received other prestigious awards, such as the ‘Black Reel Award’.

20. Diahann Carroll

Birthday: 17 July 1935

Born In: Bronx, New York, United States

Sun Sign: Cancer

Died On: 04 October 2019

Height: 5′5″

In 1962, Diahann Carroll became the first African-American woman to receive a Tony Award for the Best Actress. She won the award for her performance in the Broadway musical ‘No Strings.’ Also known for her work on television, Diahann was inducted into the ‘Television Academy Hall of Fame’  in 2011.

21. Jennifer Hudson

Birthday: 12 September 1981

Born In: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Sun Sign: Virgo

Height: 5′9″

For her portrayal of ‘Effie White’ in the 2006 musical drama film ‘Dreamgirls,’ Jennifer Hudson won an ‘Oscar,’ ‘Golden Globe Award,’ ‘Screen Actors Guild Award,’ and ‘BAFTA Award.’ In 2013, she was honored with a star on the ‘Hollywood Walk of Fame.’

22. Sanaa Lathan

Birthday: 19 September 1971

Born In: New York, New York, United States

Sun Sign: Virgo

Height: 5′7″

Sanaa Lathan is one of those actresses who perform in theatre, films, and TV series. In 2003, she received a nomination for the prestigious ‘Tony Award’ for her performance in the play ‘A Raisin in the Sun.’ She has also won many awards, such as ‘Black Reel Awards.’

23. Whoopi Goldberg

Birthday: 13 November 1955

Born In: Chelsea, New York, United States

Sun Sign: Scorpio

Height: 5′5″

Whoopi Goldberg belongs to an elite group of actors and actresses who have won an ‘Emmy Award,’ ‘Grammy Award,’ ‘Tony Award,’ and ‘Academy Award.’ When she won an ‘Academy for Best Supporting Actress’ in 1991, she became the second black woman to receive an Oscar for acting.      

24. Loretta Devine

Birthday: 21 August 1949

Born In: Houston, Texas, United States

Sun Sign: Leo

Height: 5′7″

Loretta Devine has received many prestigious awards, such as ‘Primetime Emmy Award’ and ‘NAACP Image Awards.’ She has also received nominations at ‘Critics’ Choice Television Awards’ and ‘Black Reel Awards.’

25. Lena Horne

Birthday: 30 June 1917

Born In: Bedford-Stuyvesant, New York, United States

Sun Sign: Cancer

Died On: 09 May 2010

In a career that spanned over 70 years, Lena Horne played various characters in films, television series, and theater. In 1981, she performed in a one-woman show titled ‘Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music’ which became a major hit.       

26. Della Reese

Birthday: 06 July 1931

Born In: Black Bottom, Detroit, United States

Sun Sign: Cancer

Died On: 19 November 2017

Della Reese achieved popularity for playing the lead role of ‘Tess’ in the TV drama series ‘Touched by an Angel,’ for which she received the ‘Image Award’ for ‘Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series’ for seven consecutive years starting from 1996.

27. Dorothy Dandridge

Birthday: 09 November 1922

Born In: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

Sun Sign: Scorpio

Died On: 08 September 1965

Dorothy Dandridge was one of the foremost successful actresses of African-American descent. She was the first one of her ethnicity to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress category.

28. Meagan Good

Birthday: 08 August 1981

Born In: Los Angeles, California, United States

Sun Sign: Leo

Height: 5′5″

Megan Good started her career as a child artist. Her breakout role was in ‘Waist Deep.’ She has appeared in multiple horror films like ‘Venom,’ ‘One Missed Call,’ and ‘The Unborn.’ Her other famous works include ‘Think Like A Man,’ ‘Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.’

29. Pam Grier

Birthday: 26 May 1949

Born In: Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States

Sun Sign: Gemini

Height: 5′8″

Pam Grier is known as an action star. Her role as ‘Jackie Brown’ in the movie of the same name earned rave reviews for her and also a lot of award nominations. She is known for appearing in a series of ‘Women in Prison’ and ‘Blaxploitation’ movies in the 70s.

30. Vivica A. Fox

Birthday: 30 July 1964

Born In: South Bend, Indiana, United States

Sun Sign: Leo

Height: 5′7″

Vivica A. Fox has received several prestigious awards, such as ‘NAACP Image Award’ and ‘Acapulco Black Film Festival Award.’ In 2002, she won the ‘Black Reel Award’ for ‘Best Actress’ for her portrayal of ‘Shante Smith’ in the 2001 film ‘Two Can Play That Game.’

31. Kimberly Elise

Birthday: 17 April 1967

Born In: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Sun Sign: Aries

Height: 5′7″

Kimberly Elise is an accomplished actress who is active on both small and big screens. In the early years of her career, her performances in the movies, ‘Set it Off’ and ‘Beloved,’ earned her the appreciation of critics.

32. Ruby Dee

Birthday: 27 October 1922

Born In: Cleveland, Ohio, USA

Sun Sign: Scorpio

Died On: 11 June 2014

Height: 5′2″

The recipient of ‘Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award’ and ‘National Medal of Arts,’ Ruby Dee was inducted into the ‘American Theater Hall of Fame’ in 1988. In 2008, she was nominated for an ‘Academy Award’ for her performance in the film ‘American Gangster’.

33. Tracee Ellis Ross

Birthday: 29 October 1972

Born In: Los Angeles, California, United States

Sun Sign: Scorpio

Height: 5′7″

Tracee Ellis Ross has seven ‘NAACP Image Awards’ under her belt. She has also won the prestigious ‘Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy’ for her portrayal of ‘Dr. Rainbow Johnson’ in the sitcom ‘Black-ish.’

34. Thandie Newton

Birthday: 06 November 1972

Born In: Westminster, London, England

Sun Sign: Scorpio

Height: 5′3″

Thandie Newton is the recipient of many prestigious awards, such as the ‘BAFTA Award,’ ‘Screen Actors Guild Award,’ and ‘Black Reel Award.’ In 2019, she was appointed OBE for her services to film and charity.

35. Naomie Harris

Birthday: 06 September 1976

Born In: London, England

Sun Sign: Virgo

Height: 5′8″

Naomie Harris has won many awards, including the prestigious ‘Black Reel Award.’ In 2017, she was appointed an OBE by Queen Elizabeth II for her services to drama.

36. Eartha Kitt

Birthday: 17 January 1927

Born In: North, South Carolina, United States

Sun Sign: Capricorn

Died On: 25 December 2008

Height: 5′4″

Eartha Kitt has won many prestigious awards for her voice-over performances. She was twice honored with the ‘Daytime Emmy Award’ for ‘Outstanding Performer In An Animated Program’ for her work in ‘The Emperor’s New School’ and ‘Wonder Pets!’ In 1960, she was honored with a star on ‘Hollywood Walk of Fame.’

37. Keke Palmer

Birthday: 26 August 1993

Born In: Harvey, Illinois, United States

Sun Sign: Virgo

Height: 5′6″

In 2007, Keke Palmer won the prestigious ‘Black Reel Award’ for ‘Best Actress’ for her portrayal of ‘Akeelah Anderson’ in the 2006 drama film ‘Akeelah and the Bee.’ She has also won many other awards, such as ‘NAACP Image Awards.’ 

38. Gina Torres

Birthday: 25 April 1969

Born In: New York, New York, United States

Sun Sign: Taurus

Height: 5′10″

Gina Torres is known for playing recurring roles in popular TV series like ‘One Life to Live,’ ‘Hercules: The Legendary Journeys,’ ‘Any Day Now,’ ‘Angel,’ and ‘Suits.’ In 2001, she received the ‘ALMA Award’ for her performance in ‘Cleopatra 2525.’

39. Tatyana Ali

Birthday: 24 January 1979

Born In: North Bellmore, New York, United States

Sun Sign: Aquarius

Height: 5′4″

Tatyana Ali became a household name for her role of ‘Ashley Banks’ in the sitcom ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ and that of ‘Roxanne’ in the soap opera ‘The Young and the Restless.’

40. S. Epatha Merkerson

Birthday: 28 November 1952

Born In: Saginaw, Michigan, United States

Sun Sign: Sagittarius

Height: 5′6″

S. Epatha Merkerson has received several prestigious awards, such as ‘Emmy Award,’ ‘Golden Globe Award,’ ‘Screen Actors Guild Award,’ ‘Black Reel Award,’ and ‘NAACP Image Award.’

41. Zoë Kravitz

Birthday: 01 December 1988

Born In: Venice, Los Angeles, California, United States

Sun Sign: Sagittarius

Height: 5′2″

Zoë Kravitz is best known for playing ‘Angel Salvadore’ in the 2011 film ‘X-Men: First Class,’ for which she received nominations at ‘Teen Choice Awards’ and ‘Scream Awards.’

42. Nichelle Nichols

Birthday: 28 December 1932

Born In: Robbins, Illinois, United States

Sun Sign: Capricorn

Height: 5′5″

When Nichelle Nichols was cast to play ‘Nyota Uhura’ in the popular TV series ‘Star Trek,’ she became one of the first black women to be cast in a major TV series. In 1999, she was honored with a ‘Goldene Kamera’ for ‘Cult Star of the Century.’ 

43. Tisha Campbell-Martin

Birthday: 13 October 1968

Born In: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA

Sun Sign: Libra

Height: 5′5″

In 2003, Tisha Campbell-Martin won the ‘NAACP Image Award’ under the ‘Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series’ category for her role in ‘My Wife and Kids.’ The following year, she received the ‘BET Comedy Award’ for the same role.

1. Halle Berry

44. Paula Patton

Birthday: 05 December 1975

Born In: Los Angeles, California, United States

Sun Sign: Sagittarius

Height: 5′7″

Thanks to her awe-inspiring performance in the 2009 film ‘Precious,’ Paula Patton received the ‘Best Supporting Actress’ at the ‘Black Reel Awards.’ She also received a ‘Saturn Award’ nomination for her performance in ‘Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.’

45. Jada Pinkett Smith

Birthday: 18 September 1971

Born In: Baltimore, Maryland, United States

Sun Sign: Virgo

Height: 5′0″

One of the most talented black actresses of all time, Jada Pinkett Smith has appeared in many successful films, such as ‘The Nutty Professor,’ ‘The Matrix Reloaded,’ and ‘Collateral.’ 

46. Margaret Avery

Birthday: 20 January 1944

Born In: Mangum, Oklahoma, United States

Sun Sign: Aquarius

Margaret Avery received an Academy Award nomination for the ‘Best Actress in a Supporting Role’ category for her portrayal of ‘Shug Avery’ in the 1985 coming-of-age period drama film ‘The Color Purple’. She is a recipient of the prestigious ‘NAACP Image Award’.

47. Lisa Bonet

Birthday: 16 November 1967

Born In: San Francisco, California, United States

Sun Sign: Scorpio

Height: 5′2″

In 1988, Lisa Bonet was named the ‘Best Young Female Superstar in Motion Pictures’ at the ‘Young Artist Award.’ She has also received nominations at prestigious award ceremonies, such as ‘Black Reel Awards’ and ‘Primetime Emmy Award.’

48. Janelle Monae

Birthday: 01 December 1985

Born In: Kansas City, Kansas, United States

Sun Sign: Sagittarius

Height: 5′0″

Janelle Monae’s acting career got a shot in the arm after her impressive performances in critically-acclaimed and commercially successful movies ‘Hidden Figures’ and ‘Moonlight.’ The latter won the Academy Award for Best Picture. She has a lot of upcoming projects.

49. Mo’Nique

Birthday: 11 December 1967

Born In: Woodlawn, Maryland, United States

Sun Sign: Sagittarius

Height: 5′7″

Mo’Nique is known for her role as the abusive ‘Mary Lee Johnston’ in the movie, ‘Precious.’ She was nominated and has won several awards for the character, including ‘Academy,’ ‘Golden Globe,’ ‘Screen Actors Guild,’ and ‘BAFTA.’ She continues to give impressive performances.

50. Gabourey Sidibe

Birthday: 06 May 1983

Born In: Bedford-Stuyvesant, New York, United States

Sun Sign: Taurus

Gabourey Sidibe is best known for her wonderful performance in the 2009 film ‘Precious,’ for which she won several awards, including three ‘Black Reel Awards’ and an ‘Independent Spirit Award.’

51. Khandi Alexander

Birthday: 04 September 1957

Born In: Jacksonville, Florida, United States

Sun Sign: Virgo

Height: 5′4″

Khandi Alexander plays character roles in TV shows and movies. She is a highly respected artist in the African-American diaspora. She has been nominated and also won multiple awards, including the ‘Black Reels Awards’ and ‘NAACP Image Award.’

52. Samira Wiley

Birthday: 15 April 1987

Born In: Washington, D.C., United States

Sun Sign: Aries

Height: 5′3″

In 2014, Samira Wiley was named ‘Ingenue of the Year’ by ‘Out’ magazine. In 2018, she was honored with the ‘Primetime Emmy Award’ for her performance in the dystopian web television series ‘Handmaid’s Tale.’

53. Vanessa Williams

Birthday: 18 March 1963

Born In: Bronx, New York, United States

Sun Sign: Pisces

Height: 5′6″

Vanessa Williams was the first woman of African-American descent to receive the Miss America title. She won it in 1983. But owing to a scandal, she was replaced by the first runner-up. Vanessa Williams overcame this setback and established herself as a successful actress.

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