Stars In Black

by ReRun28 | created - 03 Nov 2011 | updated - 25 Jun 2018 | Public

A list dedicated to all the wonderful and talented black actresses and actors I've seen in my lifetime.

With an exception of the first 100, the rest of the list doesn't fall in no particular order, however, the order can surely shuffle around pending performance in movies and tv.

Enjoy the list!

1. Denzel Washington

Actor | Fences

Denzel Hayes Washington, Jr. was born on December 28, 1954 in Mount Vernon, New York. He is the middle of three children of a beautician mother, Lennis, from Georgia, and a Pentecostal minister father, Denzel Washington, Sr., from Virginia. After graduating from high school, Denzel enrolled at ...

2. 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 ...

3. Morgan Freeman

Actor | Se7en

With an authoritative voice and calm demeanor, this ever popular American actor has grown into one of the most respected figures in modern US cinema. Morgan was born on June 1, 1937 in Memphis, Tennessee, to Mayme Edna (Revere), a teacher, and Morgan Porterfield Freeman, a barber. The young Freeman...

4. 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), ...

5. Sidney Poitier

Actor | In the Heat of the Night

A native of Cat Island, The Bahamas (although born, two months prematurely, in Miami during a visit by his parents), Poitier grew up in poverty as the son of farmers Evelyn (nee Outten) and Reginald James Poitier, who also drove a cab. He had little formal education and at the age of 15 was sent to...

6. 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 ...

7. Forest Whitaker

Actor | The Last King of Scotland

Forest Steven Whitaker has packaged a king-size talent into his hulking 6' 2", 220 lb. frame. He won an Academy Award for his performance as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in the film The Last King of Scotland (2006), and has also won a Golden Globe and a BAFTA. He is the fourth African-American male to...

8. 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 ...

9. Laurence Fishburne

Actor | The Matrix

One of Hollywood's most talented and versatile performers and the recipient of a truckload of NAACP Image awards, Laurence John Fishburne III was born in Augusta, Georgia on July 30, 1961, to Hattie Bell (Crawford), a teacher, and Laurence John Fishburne, Jr., a juvenile corrections officer.

His ...

10. Lynn Whitfield

Actress | Madea's Family Reunion

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 ...

11. Samuel L. Jackson

Actor | Pulp Fiction

Samuel L. Jackson is an American producer and highly prolific actor, having appeared in over 100 films, including Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995), Unbreakable (2000), Shaft (2000), Formula 51 (2001), Black Snake Moan (2006), Snakes on a Plane (2006), and the Star Wars prequel trilogy (1999-2005), ...

12. Danny Glover

Actor | Lethal Weapon

Actor, producer and humanitarian Danny Glover has been a commanding presence on screen, stage and television for more than 35 years.

Glover was born in San Francisco, California, to Carrie (Hunley) and James Glover, postal workers who were also active in civil rights. Glover trained at the Black ...

13. Courtney B. Vance

Actor | The Hunt for Red October

Courtney B. Vance was born on March 12, 1960 in Detroit, Michigan, USA as Courtney Bernard Vance. He is an actor and producer, known for The Hunt for Red October (1990), Space Cowboys (2000) and Dangerous Minds (1995). He has been married to Angela Bassett since October 12, 1997. They have two ...

14. 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...

15. Don Cheadle

Actor | Crash

Donald Frank Cheadle was born in Kansas City, Missouri on November 29, 1964. His childhood found him moving from city to city with his family: mother Bettye (North), a teacher, father Donald Frank Cheadle, Sr., a clinical psychologist, sister Dawn, and brother Colin. After graduating high school in...

16. James Earl Jones

Actor | Rogue One

Widely regarded as the one of greatest stage and screen actors both in his native USA and internationally, James Earl Jones was born on January 17, 1931 in Arkabutla, Mississippi. At an early age, he started to take dramatic lessons to calm himself down. It appeared to work as he has since starred ...

17. Louis Gossett Jr.

Actor | An Officer and a Gentleman

Louis Gossett Jr. is one of the most respected and beloved actors on stage, screen and television and is also an accomplished writer, producer and director. Off-screen he is a social activist, educator and author dedicated to enriching the lives of others. Gossett was the first African-American to ...

18. 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, ...

19. 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...

20. 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 ...

21. Idris Elba

Actor | Beasts of No Nation

An only child, Idrissa Akuna Elba was born and raised in London, England. His father, Winston, is from Sierra Leone and worked at Ford Dagenham; his mother, Eve, is from Ghana and had a clerical duty. Idris attended school in Canning Town, where he first became involved in acting, before he dropped...

22. Bill Cosby

Actor | The Cosby Show

Bill Cosby is one of the world's most well-known entertainers and comedians. William Henry Cosby, Jr. was born on July 12, 1937, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Anna Pearl (Hite), a maid, and William Henry Cosby, Sr., a U.S. Navy sailor. After tenth grade, Cosby joined the Navy and completed high...

23. Loretta Devine

Actress | Crash

Equally at home on stage and on screen, award-winning actress Loretta Devine has created some of the most memorable roles in theatre, film and television.

Devine first captured national attention in the role of Lorrell, one of the three original "Dreamgirls" in Michael Bennett's classic ...

24. 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).

25. Djimon Hounsou

Actor | Blood Diamond

Djimon Hounsou was born in Cotonou, Benin, in west Africa, to Albertine and Pierre Hounsou, a cook. He moved to Lyon, France, when he was thirteen. Hounsou has graced the catwalks of Paris and London as a popular male model. He has since left his modeling career and has worked on Gladiator (2000) ...

26. Queen Latifah

Actress | Hairspray

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 ...

27. Mahershala Ali

Actor | House of Cards

Mahershala Ali is fast becoming one of the freshest and most in-demand faces in Hollywood with his extraordinarily diverse skill set and wide-ranging background in film, television, and theater.

This past fall, Ali wrapped A24's Brad Pitt and Adele Romanski produced independent feature film, ...

28. 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.

29. Omari Hardwick

Actor | Kick-Ass

Omari Latif Hardwick was born in Savannah, Georgia, to Joyce (Johnson) and Clifford Hardwick III, and grew up in Decatur, GA. His parents gave him a name to set a precedent, "Omari" meaning "most high," and "Latif" meaning "gentle." He shares, "I in no way believe that I am the highest or most high...

30. Tracee Ellis Ross

Actress | Girlfriends

Tracee Ellis Ross was born on October 29, 1972 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Tracee Joy Silberstein. She is an actress and producer, known for Girlfriends (2000), Black-ish (2014) and Reed Between the Lines (2011).

31. Oprah Winfrey

Producer | The Oprah Winfrey Show

Oprah Winfrey was born Orpah Gail Winfrey in Kosciusko, Mississippi, to Vernita Lee, a former maid. She was raised as the daughter of Vernon Winfrey, a coal miner, barber, and city councilman. However, according to Kitty Kelley, author of Oprah: A Biography, "The birth certificate for Oprah Gail ...

32. 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 ...

33. Ossie Davis

Actor | Do the Right Thing

Ossie Davis was born on December 18, 1917 in Cogdell, Georgia, USA as Raiford Chatman Davis. He was an actor and writer, known for Do the Right Thing (1989), Bubba Ho-Tep (2002) and Grumpy Old Men (1993). He was married to Ruby Dee. He died on February 4, 2005 in Miami Beach, Florida, USA.

34. Will Smith

Music_department | The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Willard Carroll "Will" Smith, Jr. (born September 25, 1968) is an American actor, comedian, producer, rapper, and songwriter. He has enjoyed success in television, film, and music. In April 2007, Newsweek called him "the most powerful actor in Hollywood". Smith has been nominated for five Golden ...

35. Terrence Howard

Actor | Hustle & Flow

Terrence Howard was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Anita Jeanine Williams (née Hawkins) and Tyrone Howard. He was raised in Cleveland, Ohio. His love for acting came naturally, through summers spent with his great-grandmother, New York stage actress Minnie Gentry. He later began his acting career ...

36. Jenifer Lewis

Actress | The Princess and the Frog

Jenifer Lewis is one of Hollywood's most familiar faces, with more than 300 appearances in film and television. Dubbed a "national treasure" by TV Guide.com, Jenifer stars on the hit show Black-ish (ABC), where her hilarious portrayal of "Ruby Johnson" earned her a nomination for the 2016 Critics ...

37. Tichina Arnold

Actress | Everybody Hates Chris

Tichina Arnold was born on June 28, 1969 in Queens, New York, USA as Tichina Rolanda Arnold. She is an actress, known for Everybody Hates Chris (2005), Little Shop of Horrors (1986) and Martin (1992). She was previously married to Rico Hines and Lamon Brewster.

38. 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...

39. 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 ...

40. 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....

41. Blair Underwood

Actor | Deep Impact

Smart, confident, eloquent, exceptionally handsome African-American actor Blair Underwood was born in Tacoma, Washington in 1964, the son of Marilyn Ann, an interior decorator, and Frank Eugene Underwood, Sr., an army colonel. With his family, he lived all over the world. Trained in musical theater...

42. Michael Kenneth Williams

Actor | The Wire

Emmy nominated actor and producer, Michael Kenneth Williams is one of this generation's most respected and acclaimed talents. By bringing complicated and charismatic characters to life-often with surprising tenderness-Williams has established himself as a gifted and versatile performer with a ...

43. Jeffrey Wright

Actor | Shaft

Born and raised in Washington DC, Wright graduated from Amherst College in 1987. Although he studied Political Science while at Amherst, Wright left the school with a love for acting. Shortly after graduating he won an acting scholarship to NYU, but dropped out after only two months to pursue ...

44. Jamie Foxx

Actor | Ray

Jamie Foxx is an American actor, singer and comedian. He won an Academy Award for Best Actor, BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, and Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy, for his work in the biographical film Ray (2004). The same year, he was nominated for the Academy...

45. Dwayne Johnson

Actor | Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

Dwayne Douglas Johnson, also known as The Rock, was born on May 2, 1972 in Hayward, California. He is the son of Ata Johnson (born Feagaimaleata Fitisemanu Maivia) and professional wrestler Rocky Johnson (born Wayde Douglas Bowles). His father, from Amherst, Nova Scotia, Canada, is black (of Black ...

46. Uzo Aduba

Actress | Orange Is the New Black

Aduba began earning recognition for her work in 2003, with a performance in "Translations of Xhosa" at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts that won her a Helen Hayes Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Play. Her Broadway debut was in 2007 as Toby in "Coram Boy". She was...

47. Ving Rhames

Actor | Pulp Fiction

Strikingly featured and muscular American actor Ving Rhames was born Irving Rameses Rhames in Harlem, New York, to Reather, a homemaker, and Ernest Rhames, an auto mechanic. A good student, Ving entered the New York High School of Performing Arts, where he discovered his love of acting. He studied ...

48. Diahann Carroll

Actress | Julia

One of television's premier African-American series stars, elegant actress, singer and recording artist Diahann Carroll was born Carol Diann (or Diahann) Johnson on July 17, 1935, in the Bronx, New York. The first child of John Johnson, a subway conductor, and Mabel Faulk Johnson, a nurse; music ...

49. Obba Babatundé

Actor | How High

Obba Babatundé is an actor, singer, dancer, director, writer and producer. Obba's breadth of work is known worldwide by audiences of all ages, and his face is one of the most recognizable in the entertainment industry. His career spans over 4 decades and he is a unique breed in today's industry as ...

50. Keith David

Actor | The Princess and the Frog

Keith David was born Keith David Williams in New York City's Harlem district, and was raised in East Elmhurst, in the Queens section of the city. He is the son of Dolores (Dickenson), a New York Telephone manager, and Lester Williams, a payroll operations director. As a child, he realized he wanted...

51. 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. ...

52. Terry Crews

Actor | Idiocracy

Terry Crews was born in Flint, Michigan, to Patricia and Terry Crews Sr. He earned an art excellence scholarship to attend Western Michigan University and also earned a full-ride athletic scholarship to play football. Crews was an All-Conference defensive end, and was a major contributor on the ...

53. 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 ...

54. Donald Glover

Actor | Solo: A Star Wars Story

The multi-talented Donald Glover is a writer, actor, musician, comedian, producer and director, who performs under the stage names Childish Gambino and mcDJ. He was born Donald McKinley Glover at Edwards Air Force Base, California, and was raised in Stone Mountain, Georgia. His mother, Beverly (...

55. Albert Hall

Actor | Apocalypse Now

Albert P. Hall was born November 10, 1937 in the small town of Brighton, Alabama. He attended Columbia University and graduated in 1971. His most famous film role was probably in 1979 as Chief Phillips in Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now (1979). Contemporary audiences will probably recognize ...

56. Omar Epps

Actor | House M.D.

Omar Epps is an American actor, starring on the ABC drama Resurrection (2014).

Epps was born in Brooklyn, New York, and was raised by his mother, Bonnie Maria Epps, an elementary school principal. No stranger to the big screen, Epps has appeared in lead roles in feature films, including Paramount's ...

57. Tika Sumpter

Actress | Southside with You

Tika Sumpter was born in New York and graduated from Marymount Manhattan College. Sumpter began her career as model, before she landed the role of "Layla Williamson" in ABC's daytime soap opera, One Life to Live (1968) (2005-2010, 2011).

After she left the soap, Sumpter won a recurring role in the ...

58. Debbi Morgan

Actress | The Hurricane

Debbi Morgan was born September 20, 1956 in Dunn, North Carolina, to Lora and George Morgan, Jr., she moved to New York City when she was three months old. Her most memorable role was on the television series All My Children (1970). She played Angie Baxter. Her performance in the series earned her ...

59. Lorraine Toussaint

Actress | Hudson Hawk

SAG Award and Critics Choice Award winner for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, Lorraine Toussaint shocked audiences on the smash hit Netflix original series "Orange is the New Black" as the viciously seductive inmate Vee. Toussaint's thrilling performance has won her glowing reviews from ...

60. Michael Ealy

Actor | Barbershop

Known for his charming looks and deep personality, Michael Ealy blessed the movie screen with his role in Barbershop (2002). When he left Silver Spring, Maryland, with a degree in English, he headed off to New York. From there he performed in several stage productions, including the Off-Broadway ...

61. 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 ...

62. 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, ...

63. Jussie Smollett

Actor | Empire

Jussie Smollett was born on June 21, 1982 in Santa Rosa, California, USA as Justin Smollett. He is an actor, known for Empire (2015), The Mighty Ducks (1992) and Alien: Covenant (2017).

64. Sheryl Lee Ralph

Actress | Oliver & Company

Sheryl Lee Ralph was born December 30, 1956 in Waterbury, Connecticut, USA. She is known for her roles in Moesha (1996), Its A Living (1980), and Instant Mom (2013). Her Career Began in the late 1970s. She has been Married to Vincent Hughes since July 30, 2005 a Pennsylvania state senator. She was ...

65. Pam Grier

Actress | Jackie Brown

Pam Grier was born in Winston-Salem, NC, one of four children of Gwendolyn Sylvia (Samuels), a nurse, and Clarence Ransom Grier Jr., an Air Force mechanic. Pam has been a major African-American star from the early 1970s. Her career started in 1971, when Roger Corman of New World Pictures launched ...

66. 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).

Nelsan was born on November 30, 1977, in Harvey, Illinois, the son of Jackie Ellis and Tommie Lee Thompson. Following his parents' divorce, Ellis ...

67. Sterling K. Brown

Actor | Black Panther

Emmy Award-winning actor Sterling K. Brown stars in NBC's Emmy and Golden Globe nominated drama series THIS IS US. For his role as Randall Pearson, Brown won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, as well as a Golden Globe, becoming the first African American actor to win his ...

68. Anthony Anderson

Actor | The Departed

Anthony Anderson was born on August 15, 1970 in Los Angeles, California, USA. He is an actor and producer, known for The Departed (2006), Kangaroo Jack (2003) and Transformers (2007). He has been married to Alvina Renee Stewart since September 11, 1999. They have two children.

69. 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), ...

70. Vanessa Williams

Actress | Ugly Betty

Vanessa Lynn Williams was born in Millwood, New York, to Helen L. (Tinch) and Milton Augustine Williams, Jr., both music teachers. Vanessa and her brother grew up in suburban New York in comfortable surroundings. Vanessa sang and danced in school productions and signed her high school yearbook with...

71. Ice Cube

Soundtrack | Friday

Ice Cube was born in South Central Los Angeles, to Doris (Benjamin), a custodian and hospital clerk, and Hosea Jackson, a UCLA groundskeeper. He first came to public notice as a singer and songwriter with the controversial and influential band N.W.A. His compositions with that group included many ...

72. LL Cool J

Actor | Deep Blue Sea

L.L. Cool J was born James Todd Smith on January 14, 1968, in Bay Shore, Long Island, New York, the son of Ondrea Griffith and James Louis Smith, Jr. Todd, as he was called, did not have a very happy childhood. At the age of four, he saw his mother and grandfather shot by his own father. After they...

73. Chiwetel Ejiofor

Actor | 12 Years a Slave

English actor, writer and director 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...

74. Ruby Dee

Actress | American Gangster

Ruby Dee was an American actress, poet, playwright, screenwriter, journalist and civil rights activist. She is best known for originating the role of "Ruth Younger" in the stage and film versions of A Raisin in the Sun (1961).

She also starred in The Jackie Robinson Story (1950), Cat People (1982), ...

75. Robert Townsend

Producer | Hollywood Shuffle

Robert Townsend transcends any medium he touches whether he's performing stand up, acting, writing, directing, producing, or running a television network. A Chicago native, Townsend is often referred to as one of the "Godfathers" of the Independent Film World." With over 30 years in the business, ...

76. Nia Long

Actress | Big Momma's House

Stunning pop culture icon, Hollywood leading lady and three-time NAACP award winner Nia Long returns to the big screen this fall in the highly anticipated Universal Pictures sequel The Best Man Holiday (in theaters November 15th) where she reunites with original castmates Taye Diggs ("Private ...

77. Jennifer Beals

Actress | Flashdance

Jennifer Beals was born in December 1963 in Chicago, Illinois and grew up in the city. With a life-long desire for acting, Beals first appeared in small high school plays and even got an uncredited bit part in My Bodyguard (1980) in 1980. After graduation, she enrolled in college at Yale University...

78. 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 ...

79. 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 ...

80. Charles S. Dutton

Actor | Alien³

Charles S. Dutton was born on January 30, 1951 in Baltimore, Maryland, USA as Charles Stanley Dutton. He is an actor and producer, known for Alien³ (1992), Gothika (2003) and Legion (2010). He was previously married to Debbi Morgan.

81. 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 ...

82. Sophie Okonedo

Actress | Hotel Rwanda

Sophie Okonedo is a British actress. She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Tatiana Rusesabagina in Hotel Rwanda (2004).

Okonedo was born within London in 1968. Her parents were Henry Okonedo (1939-2009) and Joan Allman. Her father was British Nigerian, ...

83. Danielle Brooks

Actress | Orange Is the New Black

Danielle Brooks was born on September 17, 1989 in Augusta, Georgia, USA. She is an actress, known for Orange Is the New Black (2013), The Angry Birds Movie (2016) and Clemency (2019).

84. Morris Chestnut

Actor | Kick-Ass 2

A tall, handsome, and versatile American actor, Morris Chestnut was born in Cerritos, California, to Shirley (Wynn) and Morris Chestnut, Sr. He first came to be recognized by moviegoers starring as Ricky in Boyz n the Hood (1991), a role where he played a high school running back using his football...

85. Wesley Snipes

Actor | Blade

Wesley Trent Snipes was born in Orlando, Florida, to Marian (Long), a teacher's assistant, and SMSGT Wesley Rudolph Snipes, an aircraft engineer. He grew up on the streets of the South Bronx in New York City, where he very early decided that dance and the theatre were to be his career. He attended ...

86. Ice-T

Actor | New Jack City

The legendary gangsta hip-hop emcee Ice-T was born Tracy Marrow on February 16, 1958, in Newark, New Jersey. He moved to Los Angeles, California, to live with his paternal aunt after the death of his father while he was in the sixth grade; his mother had died earlier when he was in the third grade....

87. Shemar Moore

Actor | Criminal Minds

Shemar Franklin Moore (born April 20, 1970) is an American actor and former fashion model. His notable roles are that of Malcolm Winters on The Young and the Restless from 1994 to 2005, Derek Morgan on CBS's Criminal Minds from 2005 to 2016, and as the third permanent host of Soul Train from 1999 ...

88. 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 ...

89. Taye Diggs

Actor | Chicago

Taye Diggs was born in Newark, New Jersey, and was raised in Rochester, New York. He is the son of Marcia (Berry), a teacher and actress, and Andre Young, a visual artist. When he was a child, his mother married Jeffries Diggs, whose surname Taye took. He received a BFA degree in musical theater ...

90. Crystal Fox

Actress | Driving Miss Daisy

Crystal Fox was born in Tryon, North Carolina, and began her professional acting career in the late 1970s. She is best-known for her role as Police Officer Luann Corbin in the series In the Heat of the Night (1988). She has also appeared in several theatrical productions, including "For Colored ...

91. Dwight Henry

Actor | Beasts of the Southern Wild

Dwight Henry was born on February 19, 1963 in Nashville, Tennessee, USA as Dwight David Henry. He is an actor, known for Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012), 12 Years a Slave (2013) and Sexual Healing.

92. Eddie Murphy

Actor | The Nutty Professor

Edward Regan Murphy was born April 3, 1961 in Brooklyn, New York, to Lillian Lynch (born: Lillian Laney), a telephone operator, and Charles Edward Murphy, a transit police officer who was also an amateur comedian and actor. After his father died, his mother married Vernon Lynch, a foreman at a ...

93. Larenz Tate

Actor | Crash

Larenz Tate was born on the west side of Chicago to Larry and Peggy Tate, the youngest of three brothers. His brothers are actors Larron Tate and Lahmard J. Tate. In 1984, Larenz and his family moved to California. It was while living in California that Larenz's parents got him and his brothers ...

94. Marianne Jean-Baptiste

Actress | Without a Trace

Marianne Jean-Baptiste was born on April 26, 1967 in London, England as Marianne Raigipcien Jean-Baptiste. She is an actress and director, known for Without a Trace (2002), Secrets & Lies (1996) and Spy Game (2001). She has been married to Evan Williams since 1997. They have two children.

95. Michael Clarke Duncan

Actor | The Green Mile

Michael Clarke Duncan was born on December 10, 1957 in Chicago, Illinois. Raised by his single mother, Jean, a house cleaner, on Chicago's South Side, Duncan grew up resisting drugs and alcohol, instead concentrating on school. He wanted to play football in high school, but his mother wouldn't let ...

96. Al Freeman Jr.

Actor | Malcolm X

Al Freeman, Jr. was an actor and director who was the first African American to win a Daytime Emmy Award for acting. His most famous role was that of Police Captain Ed Hall in the soap opera One Life to Live (1968), which brought him the Emmy in 1979. He was a regular on the soap from 1972 through ...

97. Jill Scott

Actress | Why Did I Get Married?

Born in 1972 in North Philadelphia, Jill Scott grew up in the ghetto with her mother, Joyce, and grandmother. A deeply loved and gifted child, she learned to talk at only eight months and was reading by age four. Always the center of attention, her principal in elementary school described her as a ...

98. Niecy Nash

Actress | Claws

Niecy Nash was born on February 23, 1970 in Palmdale, California, USA as Carol Denise Ensley. She is an actress and producer, known for Claws (2017), Reno 911! (2003) and Guess Who (2005). She has been married to Jay Tucker since May 28, 2011. She was previously married to Don Nash.

99. Regina Hall

Actress | Girls Trip

Regina Hall was born December 12, 1970 in Washington, D.C., to Ruby, a teacher, and Odie Hall, a contractor. She graduated from Fordham University in 1992, and went on to earn a master's degree in journalism from New York University before shifting to an acting career. In 1997 at age 26, she began ...

100. 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, ...



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