This is a list of Best Black Actresses of All Time. These great black actresses have starred in every genre of film from musicals, to dramas to comedies. Some of these black actresses have even won Academy Awards for their work.
Best Black Actresses of All Time
1. Halle Berry
Halle Maria Berry is an American actress. Berry won the 2002 Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in the romantic drama Monster’s Ball. As of 2018, she is the only black woman to have won the award.
2. Viola Davis
Viola Davis is an American actress and producer. She was the first black actress to be nominated for three Academy Awards, winning one, and is the only black person to achieve the Triple Crown of Acting. Born in St. Matthews, South Carolina, she began her acting career starring in minor theatre productions.
3. Angela Bassett
Angela Evelyn Bassett is an American actress and activist. She is known for her biographical film roles, most notably her performance as Tina Turner in the biopic What’s Love Got to Do with It, for which she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress and won a corresponding Golden Globe Award.
4. Taraji P. Henson
Taraji Penda Henson is an American actress, singer, and author. She studied acting at Howard University and began her Hollywood career in guest-roles on several television shows before making her breakthrough in Baby Boy.
5. Kerry Washington
Kerry Marisa Washington is an American actress. Since 2012, Washington has gained wide public recognition for starring in the ABC drama Scandal, a Shonda Rhimes series in which she played Olivia Pope, a crisis management expert to politicians and power brokers in Washington DC, and also is a producer.
6. Gabrielle Union
Gabrielle Monique Union-Wade is an American actress, activist, and author. She began her career in the 1990s, appearing on television sitcoms, before landing supporting roles in teenage comedic films She’s All That and 10 Things I Hate About You. Her breakthrough role was in the 2000 film Bring It On.
7. Queen Latifah
Dana Elaine Owens, known professionally as Queen Latifah, is an American rapper, songwriter, singer, actress, and producer. Born in Newark, New Jersey, she signed with Tommy Boy Records in 1989 and released her debut album All Hail the Queen the same year, featuring the hit single “Ladies First”.
8. Nia Long
Nia Talita Long, is an American actress. She is known for her roles in the television series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Third Watch and Empire, and the films Boyz n the Hood, Friday, Love Jones, Soul Food, In Too Deep, The Best Man, Big Momma’s House and Are We There Yet?.
9. Rosario Dawson
Rosario Isabel Dawson is an American actress, producer, singer, comic book writer, and political activist. She made her feature film debut in the 1995 independent drama Kids.
10. Regina King
Regina Rene King is an American Emmy Award-winning actress and television director. She became known for her role as Dana in the film Friday, a supporting role in the feature film Jerry Maguire, and for her roles in the television shows The Boondocks and Southland.
11. Octavia Spencer
Octavia Lenora Spencer is an American actress and author. She is the recipient of several accolades, including an Academy Award, a British Academy Film Award, and a Golden Globe Award.
12. Whoopi Goldberg
Caryn Elaine Johnson, known professionally as Whoopi Goldberg, is an American actress, comedian, author, and television host. She has been nominated for 13 Emmy Awards and is one of the few entertainers to have won an Emmy Award, a Grammy Award, an Academy Award, and a Tony Award.
13. Lupita Nyong’o
Lupita Amondi Nyong’o is a Kenyan-Mexican actress. The daughter of Kenyan politician Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o, she was born in Mexico City where her father was teaching and was raised in Kenya from the age of one.
14. Sanaa Lathan
Sanaa McCoy Lathan is an American actress and voice actress. She has starred in many films, including The Best Man, its 2013 sequel, The Best Man Holiday, Love & Basketball, Brown Sugar, Alien vs. Predator, The Family That Preys, Contagion and Now You See Me 2.
15. Zoe Saldana
Zoe Saldana-Perego, known professionally as Zoe Saldana or Zoë Saldana, is an American actress and dancer. Following her performances with the theater group Faces, Saldana made her screen debut in a 1999 episode of Law & Order.