Famous African American Actresses The World Really Admires

The world has generally been obsessed with blue-eyed, fair-skinned blondes. However, over the years, several actresses of African American descent have taken the world of glamor by storm and proved that ‘dusky is beautiful too’. The past few decades have seen the rise of several beautiful actresses of African American actresses, who have grabbed the limelight for both their drop-dead gorgeous looks and their acting prowess. Yesteryear actresses like Diahann Caroll and Dorothy Dandridge were one among the first few divas who became heartthrobs. They also inspired a whole generation of actresses to enter tinsel town and many young girls to look fabulous. Diahann Caroll earned a lot of acclaim for her performances in Broadway musicals. She went on to work in the acclaimed television series ‘Julia’ later, for which she even fetched the prestigious ‘Golden Globe Award’. A few other famous African American actresses are Halle Berry, Whoppi Goldberg, Kerry Washington, Viola Davis and Vanessa L Williams. Currently, Halle Berry is still considered hot property by many and has been making men weak in their knees. She is best known for her roles in the James Bond spy thriller ‘Die Another Day’, ‘Monster Ball’, ‘The Flintstones’ and several other acclaimed Hollywood blockbusters. Whoppi Goldberg has been praised for her great comic timing and her ability to leave audiences in splits. You will find below a list of famous African American actresses admired worldwide. Some of them continue being popular even after being away from the limelight since decades.
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 1 
Halle Berry
(Only African-American Woman To Win Oscar for Best Actress)
Halle Berry
152
Birthdate: August 14, 1966
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

Halle Berry is one of the most popular actresses of the current generation. During the 2000s, she was one of the highest-paid Hollywood actresses. Halle is also known for her activism for which she was honored with the 2006 Woman of The Year award by the Hasty Pudding Theatricals. She also gets featured in several Sexiest Women lists.

 2 
Mary J. Blige
(Rapper, and Actress Known as "Queen of Hip-Hop Soul")
Mary J. Blige
67
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: January 11, 1971
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bronx, New York, United States

Mary J. Blige is a popular singer-songwriter and actress. Having sold 80 million records worldwide, she is one of the best-selling female artists of all time. Referred to as the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul, Mary is credited with influencing the fusion of R&B and hip hop. She often gets featured in lists like The 100 Greatest Women in Music.

 3 
Zoë Kravitz
(Actress Best Known for Her Role in 'The Divergent' and 'Fantastic Beasts' Film Series)
Zoë Kravitz
109
Birthdate: December 1, 1988
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Venice, Los Angeles, California, United States

Actress, singer, and model Zoë Kravitz first gained prominence for her role in the superhero film X-Men: First Class in the early 2010s. She is the daughter of actor parents and her entry into Hollywood is hardly surprising. Besides acting, she also works as a fashion model and musician. As a singer, she is involved with the band Lolawolf.

 4 
Rashida Jones
(Actress, Writer & Producer, Best Known for Starring on the Comedy Series 'Parks and Recreation')
Rashida Jones
46
Birthdate: February 25, 1976
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

An actress, director, writer, and producer, Rashida Jones is a multi-talented woman who first gained prominence as a TV actress. A Harvard University graduate, the bright young woman entered the entertainment industry in the mid-1990s and has since made a name for herself. She is the recipient of several awards including a Grammy.

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 5 
Kerry Washington
(Actress and Producer Famous for Her Portrayal of ‘Olivia Pope’ in the Drama Series ‘Scandal’)
Kerry Washington
35
Birthdate: January 31, 1977
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bronx, New York, United States

American actress, Kerry Washington, attained fame when she starred in the television series, Scandal, which ran from 2012 to 2018. She was also commended for her role in the television film, Confirmation, and for the miniseries, Little Fires Everywhere. She has also acted in films like The Last King of Scotland, Django Unchained, Our Song, The Dead Girl and American Son.

 6 
Gladys Knight
(Singer-Songwriter)
Gladys Knight
25
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: May 28, 1944
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Height: 5'3" (160 cm)
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 7 
Dionne Warwick
(One of the Most-Charted Vocalists of All Time)
Dionne Warwick
19
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: December 12, 1940
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: City of Orange, New Jersey, United States

Dionne Warwick is an American singer, TV host, actress, and former FAO Goodwill Ambassador. Warwick was one of the most successful singers between 1955 and 1999, ranking among the 40 biggest hitmakers according to the Billboard Hot 100. 80 of her singles have been featured on Billboard's music charts, making Warwick one of the most-charted female singers in history. 

 8 
Patti LaBelle
22
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: May 24, 1944
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
The Godmother of Soul Patti LaBelle is best known for her chartbusting song Lady Marmalade, released with her group Labelle. She has had a successful solo career, too, winning multiple Grammys. She has appeared on her own TV shows, released cookbooks, and has launched her line of food and bedding.
 9 
Octavia Spencer
(The First Black Actress to Have Received two Successive Nominations at the Oscars)
Octavia Spencer
48
Birthdate: May 25, 1970
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Montgomery, Alabama, United States

Octavia Spencer is an American actress, producer, and author. Widely regarded as one of the best actresses of her generation, Spencer has received several prestigious awards, such as a Golden Globe Award, Academy Award, and Screen Actors Guild Awards. Octavia Spencer is the first black actress to have received two successive nominations at the Oscars.

 10 
Paula Patton
(Actress and Producer)
Paula Patton
26
Birthdate: December 5, 1975
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

Paula Patton is an American actress best known for her portrayal of Jane Carter in the 2011 film Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. She is also famous for playing Ms.Blu Rain in the 2009 American drama film Precious, for which she was honored at the Boston Society of Film Critics Award

 11 
Aisha Tyler
(Actress, TV Host)
Aisha Tyler
30
Birthdate: September 18, 1970
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: San Francisco

Aisha Tyler is credited with co-founding an all-female a cappella group called Dartmouth Rockapellas, which aimed at spreading social awareness through music. She later became a prominent actress, playing important roles in popular TV series like Criminal Minds and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Aisha Tyler is also an ardent advocate of the Black Lives Matter movement and LGBTQ rights.

 12 
Donna Summer
(Singer-Songwriter)
Donna Summer
20
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: December 31, 1948
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: May 17, 2012
Height: 5'7" (170 cm)
 13 
Lena Horne
(Actress and Dancer Known for Her One-Woman Show 'Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music')
Lena Horne
6
Birthdate: June 30, 1917
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bedford-Stuyvesant, New York, United States
Died: May 9, 2010

Lena Horne was an American singer, actress, dancer, and civil rights activist. Horne's 70-year acting career was embellished with several prestigious awards, such as Grammy Awards. Her life and career were depicted in many stage shows, where she was portrayed by actresses like Leslie Uggams, Nikki Crawford, and Ryan Jillian.

 14 
Vivica A. Fox
(Actress)
Vivica A. Fox
26
Birthdate: July 30, 1964
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: South Bend, Indiana, United States
Height: 5'7" (170 cm)
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 15 
Laura Harrier
(Actress)
Laura Harrier
17
Birthdate: March 28, 1990
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Height: 5'9" (175 cm)
 16 
Leslie Jones
(Stand-up Comedian)
Leslie Jones
49
Birthdate: September 7, 1967
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Memphis, Tennessee, United States
Height: 6'0" (183 cm)
 17 
Nichelle Nichols
(Actress)
Nichelle Nichols
13
Birthdate: December 28, 1932
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Robbins, Illinois, United States
Died: July 30, 2022
Height: 5'5" (165 cm)
 18 
Corinne Foxx
(Actress and Television Producer)
Corinne Foxx
14
Birthdate: February 15, 1994
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Corinne Foxx, daughter of actor/singer Jamie Foxx, gained fame as Miss Golden Globe 2016. She then appeared as a DJ on her father’s show Beat Shazam. She has also modeled for top-notch brands such as Ralph Lauren and was seen as Sasha in the movie 47 Meters Down: Uncaged.
 19 
Jurnee Smollett
(Actress)
Jurnee Smollett
12
Birthdate: October 1, 1986
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Height: 5'6" (168 cm)
 20 
Debbie Allen
(Actress Best Known for Her Work in the Musical-Drama Television Series 'Fame')
Debbie Allen
19
Listed In: Dancers
Birthdate: January 16, 1950
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Houston, Texas, United States

Debbie Allen is an actress, dancer, choreographer, and singer-songwriter.  She appeared in the musical-drama TV series Fame and also worked as the series’ principal choreographer. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including three Emmy Awards. She runs the Debbie Allen Dance Academy in Los Angeles and is a former member of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities. 

 21 
Ariana DeBose
(Actress, Singer)
Ariana DeBose
10
Birthdate: January 25, 1991
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: North Carolina, United States
 22 
Jill Scott
(Singer-songwriter)
Jill Scott
22
Listed In: Fashion
Birthdate: April 4, 1972
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Height: 5'6" (168 cm)
 23 
Kim Fields
(Actress and Director Best Known for Her Role in the NBC Sitcom ‘The Facts of Life’)
Kim Fields
10
Birthdate: May 12, 1969
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York City, New York

Kim Fields is an American actress best known for playing Dorothy Ramsey in the popular TV series, The Facts of Life. Also a musician, Fields briefly performed R&B and rap music with a group named Impromp 2. Fields is also known for her directorial skills and has directed several episodes of Kenan & Kel and Tyler Perry's House of Payne.

 24 
Karyn Parsons
(Known for Her Role as 'Hilary Banks' on The NBC Sitcom 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air')
Karyn Parsons
7
Birthdate: October 8, 1966
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

Karyn Parsons is an American comedian and actress best known for her portrayal of Hilary Banks in the popular sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Parsons is credited with co-creating, co-writing, and co-producing the sitcom Lush Life. She is also credited with creating a line of animated films titled Sweet Blackberry, which is about unsung black heroes.

 25 
Sonequa Martin-Green
(Actress)
Sonequa Martin-Green
20
Birthdate: March 21, 1985
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Russellville, Alabama, United States
Height: 5'5" (165 cm)
 26 
Loretta Devine
(Best Known for Her Role as ‘Adele Webber’ in the TV Series ‘Grey's Anatomy’)
Loretta Devine
16
Birthdate: August 21, 1949
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Houston, Texas, United States
Loretta Devine is best known for her portrayal of Lorrell Robinson in the Broadway musical Dreamgirls. Her performance as Adele Webber in Grey's Anatomy won her an Emmy. She has also delivered stellar performances in the films Waiting to Exhale and The Preacher's Wife and the series Family Reunion.
 27 
Jasmine Guy
(Actress and Singer Known for Her Role in the Series 'School Daze' and 'A Different World')
Jasmine Guy
13
Birthdate: March 10, 1962
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Jasmine Guy gained recognition as Dina in the film School Daze. She also won six NAACP Image Awards for playing Whitley Gilbert-Wayne on A Different World, a spin-off of The Cosby Show. She has also played a recurring role in The Vampire Diaries and has released a few R&B hits.
 28 
Ruby Dee
(Actress and Civil Rights Activist Known for Her Pioneering Work in African American Theatre and Films)
Ruby Dee
10
Listed In: Activists
Birthdate: October 27, 1922
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Died: June 11, 2014

Ruby Dee was an American actress, playwright, screenwriter, poet, civil rights activist, and journalist. She is best remembered for playing Mahalee Lucas in the 2007 film American Gangster, which earned her the Screen Actors Guild Award for Supporting Role. Dee also won a Grammy and Emmy during her career. She was also a recipient of the National Medal of Arts.

 29 
Mj Rodriguez
(Actress)
Mj Rodriguez
10
Birthdate: January 7, 1991
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
Height: 5'8" (173 cm)
 30 
Retta
(Stand-up Comedian)
Retta
14
Birthdate: April 12, 1970
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
Height: 5'8" (173 cm)
 31 
Lena Waithe
(Screenwriter)
Lena Waithe
13
Birthdate: May 17, 1984
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Height: 5'9" (175 cm)
 32 
Kyla Pratt
(American Actress Who Provided the Voice of ‘Penny Proud’ in the Animated Series ‘The Proud Family’)
Kyla Pratt
6
Birthdate: September 16, 1986
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Kyla Pratt is best known as Maya Dolittle from the Dr. Dolittle movie franchise. She voiced Penny Proud in Disney’s The Proud Family and played prominent roles in One on One, Recovery Road, and Black Ink Crew: Compton. Kyla has also sung Disney tracks such as Circle of Life.
 33 
Mo'Nique
(Comedian)
Mo'Nique
19
Birthdate: December 11, 1967
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Woodlawn, Maryland, United States
Height: 5'7" (170 cm)
 34 
Kiersey Clemons
(Actress)
Kiersey Clemons
16
Birthdate: December 17, 1993
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Pensacola, Florida, U.S.
Height: 5'7" (170 cm)
 35 
Michelle Wolf
(Comedian)
Michelle Wolf
2
Birthdate: June 21, 1985
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hershey, Pennsylvania, U.S.
 36 
Tichina Arnold
13
Birthdate: June 28, 1969
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Tichina Arnold started as a child actor, working in films such as Little Shop of Horrors. She then gained fame as Pamela James in Martin and as Rochelle in Everybody Hates Chris. She has also launched the We Win Foundation and was previously the owner of a designer headgear brand. 
 37 
Alisha Wainwright
(Actress role for Raising Dion (2019) and Shadowhunters.)
Alisha Wainwright
12
Birthdate: July 14, 1989
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Orlando, Florida, United States
 38 
Kenya Moore
(Actress & Model)
Kenya Moore
17
Birthdate: January 24, 1971
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Kenya Moore is an American model, actress, entrepreneur, and author. She achieved popularity after winning the 1993 Miss USA contest, becoming only the second African-American woman to do so. Subsequently, she established herself as an actress and TV personality and then used her fame to branch out into entrepreneurial ventures; she is credited with founding Moore Hair, a haircare brand.

 39 
S. Epatha Merkerson
(Film Actress)
S. Epatha Merkerson
19
Birthdate: November 28, 1952
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Saginaw, Michigan, United States
Height: 5'6" (168 cm)
 40 
Kimberly Elise
(Actress)
Kimberly Elise
12
Birthdate: April 17, 1967
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Height: 5'7" (170 cm)
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 41 
Madge Sinclair
8
Birthdate: April 28, 1938
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kingston, Jamaica
Died: December 20, 1995

The Kingston-born American actress, who began her career with the New York Shakespearean Festival, acted in a number films and television series and won Primetime Emmy Award for her role in the crime drama Gabriel's Fire. Madge Sinclair was also a voice artist in the famous animated film The Lion King, released a year before she succumbed to leukaemia.

 42 
Naturi Naughton
(Actor, Singer, Songwriter, Musician, Television actor)
Naturi Naughton
4
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: May 20, 1984
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: East Orange
 43 
Jackée Harry
(Actress, Comedian, and Television Personality Known for Her Role as ‘Sandra Clark’ in the TV Series ‘227’)
Jackée Harry
8
Birthdate: August 14, 1956
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA
Jackée Harry is best known as Sandra Clark from 227, a role that made her the first African-American to win the Emmy for “Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.” Fans also loved her as Lisa Landry in Sister, Sister and as JoAnn Payne in Tyler Perry's The Paynes.
 44 
Aja Naomi King
(Actress)
Aja Naomi King
7
Birthdate: January 11, 1985
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Height: 5'5" (165 cm)
 45 
Susan Kelechi Watson
(Actress)
Susan Kelechi Watson
6
Birthdate: November 11, 1981
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York (state) New York, United States U.S.
 46 
Danielle Brooks
(Actress)
Danielle Brooks
16
Birthdate: September 17, 1989
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Augusta, Georgia, U.S.
Height: 5'4" (163 cm)
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 47 
Adina Porter
(Actress)
Adina Porter
6
Birthdate: March 13, 1971
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Height: 5'6" (168 cm)
 48 
Isabel Sanford
7
Birthdate: August 29, 1917
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Harlem, New York, United States
Died: July 9, 2004
Height: 5'3" (160 cm)
 49 
Sharon Leal
(Actress)
Sharon Leal
9
Birthdate: October 17, 1972
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Tucson, Arizona, United States
Sharon Leal is best known as Michelle Morris from Dreamgirls and as Dianne Brock from the Why Did I Get Married? franchise. Fans also loved her as Dahlia Crede in Guiding Light and as Marilyn Sudor in Boston Public. She has also been part of the Broadway rock musical Rent.
 50 
Merle Dandridge
(American Actress Best Known for Performing in Broadway Musicals Such as 'Jesus Christ Superstar', 'Spamalot')
Merle Dandridge
3
Birthdate: May 31, 1975
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Okinawa, Japan

Born in Japan, to a Korean-Japanese mother and an African-American father, Merle Dandridge grew up in Nebraska and later gained a scholarship to study theater. She is known for Broadway musicals such as Jesus Christ Superstar and series such as Greenleaf. She has also appeared in the video-game series Half-Life 2.