Black actresses were often ignored in mainstream cinema back in the day when their white counterparts used to sizzle. However time has changed and now Hollywood boasts of some of the biggest African-American film and television personalities. TopYaps is listing top 10 most notable black actresses, best known for their acting skills along with impeccable style sense.
10. Taraji P. Henson:
Taraji P. Henson is an American actress best known for her role as Yvette in “Baby Boy” and Queenie in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”. Taraji was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 2009. She joined PETA in its campaign combating the use of animal products in clothing and has also appeared in several music videos. In January 2011 she appeared naked in an advertisement for the “I Rather Be Naked Than Wear Fur” campaign. She currently is a co-star on the CBS series titled “Person of Interest”.
9. Zoe Kravitz:
The daughter of Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet, Zoe made a name for herself as an actress, notable for playing Pearl on the show “Californication”. She achieved worldwide fame for her role as Angel Salvadore in the 2011 film “X Men: First Class”. Kravitz made her debut in the movie “No Reservations” co-starring Catherine Zeta Jones and Aaron Eckhart, while still in high school. This actress has also modeled for fashion magazines such as Jalouse and Elle.
8. Whoopi Goldberg:
Whoopi Goldberg is an American actress and a talk show host. She made her film debut as Celie in the hit film “The Color Purple” in 1985 for which she won her first Golden Globe Award. The second film that won her this award was “Ghost” co-starring Patrick Swayze. This eminent actress has been nominated for 13 Emmy Awards for her work in television apart from films. She co-produced the popular game show “Hollywood Squares” from 1998 to 2004. Apart from her work in films and TV series, Whoopi is also a political activist and an author.
7. Angela Bassett:
Angela Bassett is well known for portraying real life women in African-American culture, notably for the movie “Malcolm X” where she played Betty X. She was born in New York but later moved to Florida. This actress made her television debut in 1985 as a prostitute in the TV movie “Doubletake. Angela earned an Image Award for her portrayal of Betty X. She is also a philanthropist who works for the upliftment of the youth.
6. Oprah Winfrey:
Ranked the richest African-American of the 20th century, Oprah Winfrey is an actress, a talk show personality and a media proprietor. She starred in Steven Spielberg’s “The Color Purple” as a distraught housewife named Sofia and went on to win an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. In October 1998 she produced and starred in the film titled “Beloved” based on Toni Morrison’s novel of the same name. She has a talk show to her name and is also popular as one of the greatest philanthropists in American history.
5. Cicely Tyson:
Being a successful stage actress, Cicely Tyson is perhaps best known for her work in movies like “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman” and “Roots”. This actress was initially discovered by a photographer for Ebony Magazine and she became a popular fashion model. In 1972 she was nominated for the Academy Award for best Actress for her role in the critically acclaimed movie titled “Sounder”. She later went on to win two Emmy Awards for “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittmann”.
4. Kimberly Elise:
Kimberly Elise nee Kimberly Elise Trammel is an American actress. She is remembered for her role in the films “Set it Off” and “Diary of a Mad Black Woman”. She made her debut with “Set it Off” where she played one of the four women bank robbers. However the turning point in her career was the TV movie “The Ditchdigger’s Daughter” in 1997. Elise was recognized as Best Supporting Actress for the movie. People have often likened her to a young Cicely Tyson whom she resembles.
3. Zoe Saldana:
Known for having one of the hottest bodies in America, Zoe Saldana is an American actress born in Passaic, New Jersey. Zoe made her debut in the 2000 film “Center Stage” where she played the role of Eva Rodriguez. She gained prominence for her roles in “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” and the 2009 movie “Star Trek”. Saldana is the only actress to have had three movies in the box office top 20 for three consecutive weeks, the movies being “Avatar”, “Death at a Funeral” and “The Losers”.
2. Ruby Dee:
Dee is an American actress, journalist and activist who gained recognition for her role in the film “A Raisin in the Sun”. She later went on to star in movies that won her numerous accolades like “The American Gangster” co-starring Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe. Before starting her work in movies, Ruby made several appearances on Broadway. This actress is notable for playing roles in politically charged movies that have helped pave way for other Afro-American actors.
1. Halle Berry:
Halle Berry is the only actress of African-American descent to have won the award for Best Actress for her performance in Monster’s Ball. Before embarking on a career as an actress, Halle entered several beauty contests finishing as the first runners-up for the Miss USA Pageant in 1986. She has often been credited for performing challenging roles such as her portrayal of a biracial slave in the TV adaptation of “Queen: The Story of An American Family”. In 2009, this notable black actress was voted #23 on Empire’s list of 100 Sexiest Film Stars.
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