Top 10 Famous Black Actresses of All Time

Today we will flip through the history of Hollywood and acknowledge these incredibly talented and famous black actresses of all time.

We can’t deny that black people all over the world have faced discrimination and ridicule in the past. Especially women have fallen victim to this in personal and professional settings. But now the world has learned to focus less on stereotypes and accept diversity.

African women have been winning the world with their amazing and charismatic personalities. Their talent has spoken for them quite loudly and it’s breathtaking to watch them perform on screen. They’ve taken the Hollywood and entertainment industry by storm for many decades.

1. Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey

There are not enough words to praise an extraordinarily talented woman like Oprah Winfrey. Her remarkable work as an actress, journalist, talk show host, and philanthropist has truly made her queen of all media. She was also the first black billionaire. Oprah is widely known for her talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, which is considered to be the highest-rated TV show in history. From being born in poverty to launching her own production company and overcoming all the challenging barriers in her life, she is truly one of the most inspirational women out there.

2. Whoopi Goldberg

Whoopi Goldberg

This amazing woman can do it all, be it comedy, writing, or acting.  Whoopi began her career in 1983 with Spook Show for which she won a Grammy Award. She also bagged the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a motion picture for her debut movie, The Color Purple.

She won the Academy Award in 1990 for being the best-supporting actress in the movie Ghost. Goldberg also went on to win a Tony Award for producing the musical Thoroughly Modern Millie. There’s absolutely no doubt here that Whoopi is one of the most talented women, which also made her the highest paying actress of her time.

3. Angela Bassett

Angela Bassett

A director, a producer, and a versatile actress. Angela Bassett her career with some minor roles and soon got her breakthrough in Tina Turner’s biopic What’s Love Got to Do With It. Her amazing performance got her nominated for an Academy Award for best actress. Basset is critically acclaimed for portraying some of the most strong African-American women like Katherine Jackson, Rosa Parks, Coretta Scott King and Betty Shabazz. for these and her other notable roles, she bagged 12 major awards including a Golden Globe Award, three Black Reel Awards and seven NACCP Image Awards. She’s indeed one of the most brilliant actresses in Hollywood.

4. Lupita Nyong’o

Lupita Nyong’o

Lupita had a bachelor’s degree in film and theatre studies and started her career as a production assistant. She made her debut with the short film East River in 2008. She is known for her role in the movie 12 Years a Slave, for which Lupita won the Academy Award for best supporting actress. Her other notable roles are in the movies Star Wars, The Jungle Book, Black Panther, and the most popular critically acclaimed movie Us. Aside from being an exceptionally talented actor, Lupita also wrote a book called Sulwe, which went on to become a New York Times bestseller.

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5. Cicely Tyson

Cicely Tyson young

Tyson started off her career as a model with minor roles here and there but soon gathered the limelight with her roles in movies like Sounder which got her nominated for not only an Academy Award but also a Golden Globe award for best actress. She is well-known for her portrayal of iconic African-American women like her role in The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, which got her two Emmy Awards and also a nomination for a BAFTA award for best actress in a leading role. Her other notable roles include films like The Help, How to Get Away With Murder, and numerous Broadway performances.

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6. Viola Davis

Viola Davis

Davis began her career with small theatre productions and several films. Later on, she won an Obie Award for her performance in Everybody’s Ruby. Davis bagged an Academy Award in her first breakthrough itself which was in the movie Doubt(2008). She rose to fame with her amazing performances as Rose in the Broadway play Fences and as a housemaid in the comedy-drama film The Help. Viola won numerous awards like a Primetime Award and two Tony Awards and is also the first African-American woman to attain the Triple Crown of Acting. She is also the most nominated black actress in the history of Academy Awards.

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7. Halle Berry

Halle Berry

Halle started her career as a model and was the first runner-up in the Miss USA pageant. She came 6th in the Miss World pageant 1986. She got her debut movie in 1992 in the romantic comedy Boomerang. She won both Primetime Award and a Golden Globe Award for her role in the film Introducing Dorothy Dandridge. Berry became the first and only African-American actress to win an Academy Award for best actress for her role in Monster’s Ball. She is also well known for her performance in the X-Men film series, Swordfish, Die Another Day, Bond Girl, Catwoman, Perfect Stranger, Cloud Atlas, and The Call. So there’s no wonder Halle established herself as one of the highest-paid actresses of her time.

8. Thandie Newton

Thandie Newton

She is described by her fans as an excellent and purely talented actress with a perfect personality. Newton is known for her roles in movies like Mission: Impossible, Beloved, The Chronicles of Riddick, and Crash for which she bagged a BAFTA Award for best actress in supporting role. Her other notable roles include Libby in Run Fatboy Run, Linda in Pursuit of Happyness, and Stella in RocknRolla. For her amazing work, Thandie has received a Primetime Emmy Award and a British Academy Film Award and was also nominated for two Golden Globe Awards.

9. Zoe Saldana

Zoe Saldana

Zoe started off her career with her theatre group Faces. She starred in science fiction movies like the Star Trek film series and Avatar film series, both of which were known to become extremely successful at the box office. Avatar became of one the most critically acclaimed movies ever and the first movie that grossed over 2 billion worldwide. Saldana starred in three of the most successful movies of all time – Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, and Avatar. This is something no other actor has achieved.

10. Dorothy Dandridge

Dorothy Dandridge

Dorothy, also known as the “Black Marilyn Monroe” rose to fame after her debut film Carmen Jones which was an Opera show only featuring black actors. Her amazing work in the musical Porgy and Bless landed her a Golden Globe Award. She was also the first-ever African-American actress to be nominated for an Oscar for best actress. Dorothy also received a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame. Today, she is counted among the best black actresses.

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