A veteran actor with a career spanning more than seven decades, James Earl Jones has been described as "one of America's most distinguished and versatile" actors. He initially aspired to be a doctor but fate had other plans for him. He began his career as a stage actor and soon joined films as well.
Sidney Poitier was a Bahamian-American actor who became the first Afro-Bahamian and Black male actor to receive an Oscar for Best Actor in 1964. In 2009, he was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His life and work inspired a couple of documentary films, including the 2008 film Sidney Poitier, an Outsider in Hollywood.
A high-school drop-out, Chris Rock worked at restaurants before stepping into stand-up comedy. He gained fame with SNL and earned his first role through Eddie Murphy. Known for voicing Marty in the Madagascar franchise, Chris also created the series Everybody Hates Chris and was voted Comedy Central’s fifth-greatest stand-up comedian.
The quintessential vampire-killer of Hollywood, Wesley Snipes is best known for his action-oriented films, such as the Blade film trilogy and The Expendables 3. Apart from being an actor, Wesley Snipes is also a martial artist, and hence often portray roles that require him to perform stunts. He is a black belt holder in Hapkido and Shotokan Karate.
A fashion model turned actor, Shemar Moore is known for his rugged good looks and raw sex appeal. He started modeling in college and soon moved to act in TV shows. After having a successful stint in the TV series The Young and the Restless, he became a popular name in the show business.
Known for his portrayal of domineering and aggressive characters in his films, Laurence Fishburne began his stint on screen as a child actor in projects such as Apocalypse Now. The play Two Trains Running won him multiple theater awards. However, fans remember him best as Morpheus from The Matrix.
Anthony Mackie is an American actor who achieved international recognition after playing Sam Wilson / Falcon in a series of superhero films produced by Marvel Studios. A self-made man, Mackie graduated from the Juilliard School and worked hard to establish himself in the American film and TV industry.
11 Mr. T
12 Spike Lee
Spike Lee is a celebrated and one of the most decorated American filmmakers of his generation. Most of his critically acclaimed films explore political issues, such as urban crime and poverty, colorism in the African-American community, and race relations. Four of his films have been selected for conservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.
Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor received scars on his forehead when he was just 11 as a result of an accident in which he lost his father. Although the scars might bring back terrible memories, they might have played a crucial role in Steven Spielberg selecting him for a role in Amistad, a film based on the events aboard a slave ship.
16 John Boyega
John Boyega is a British-Nigerian actor known for his portrayal of Finn in the Star Wars films, such as The Force Awakens and The Rise of Skywalker. He has also voiced Finn in a couple of video games and theme park attractions. Also known for his political activism, Boyega has participated in social movements like the Black Lives Matter rally.
18 Chris Tucker
Chris Tucker is an American stand-up comedian and actor best known for playing Detective James Carter in the Rush Hour film series alongside Jackie Chan. Also a humanitarian, Tucker joined the likes of Bill Clinton, Jeffrey Epstein, Kevin Spacey, and Ghislaine Maxwell on a trip to Africa in an attempt to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS.
Despite being born with conditions like microcephaly and dwarfism, Beetlejuice went on to become a popular film, radio, and TV personality. A prominent member of Wack Pack, which is part of The Howard Stern Show, Beetlejuice was named the greatest Wack Packer ever by Howard Stern in 2015.
Keith Stanfield is an American actor best known for playing real-life personalities like Snoop Dogg and Jimmie Lee Jackson in biographical films. For playing rapper Snoop Dogg in Straight Outta Compton, Lakeith Stanfield won the Breakthrough Performer award at the Hamptons International Film Festival.
21 Ving Rhames
22 Wayne Brady
Emmy Award-winner improv comedian Wayne Brady of Whose Line Is It Anyway? has also mesmerized audiences with his acting skills in the Broadway musical Kinky Boots. If that wasn’t enough, the multitalented performer was also nominated for a Grammy for his rendition of Sam Cooke’s A Change Is Gonna Come.
23 Keith David
24 André 3000
Michael Jai White is an American martial artist and actor. When he portrayed Al Simmons in the film Spawn, White became one of the first black actors to play a major comic book superhero in the history of American film industry. Known for his martial arts skills, White has played leading roles in popular action films like Mortal Kombat: Legacy.
26 Tracy Morgan
27 Master P
28 Busta Rhymes
29 LeVar Burton
Best known for his performances as Kunta Kinte in Roots and Geordi La Forge in Star Trek: The Next Generation, LeVar Burton is also known for his 23-year stint as the award-winning host of Reading Rainbow. Though he initially aspired to be a Catholic priest, he doesn’t believe in any religion anymore.
Actor, voice actor, and artist Billy Dee Williams first rose to fame for his role in the Star Wars franchise in the early 1980s. Making his Broadway theater debut as a child actor, he went on to pursue a career as an artist. Eventually, he started acting again and achieved success as both an actor and an artist.
34 Mike Colter
Mike Colter is an American actor known for portraying the eponymous character in the popular streaming television series Luke Cage. Thanks to his association with Marvel Cinematic Universe since 2015, Mike Colter is often credited with playing an important role in improving Marvel Television's business over the last few years.
The son of popular actor and comedian Damon Wayans, Damon Wayans Jr. followed in his father's footsteps to become a famous actor and comedian in his own right. He played a major role in helping the ABC comedy series Happy Endings become a critically acclaimed series and a cult classic.
37 John Amos
38 Isaac Hayes
Lance Reddick is an American musician and actor. Over the years, Reddick has contributed immensely to the success of several TV series, such as Oz, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, The Wire, Fringe, and Bosch. He has also been entertaining children and adults alike by providing his likeness and voice for video games like Quantum Break and Destiny series.
Jeffrey Wright is a popular American actor. A self-made man, Jeffrey Wright overcame many childhood problems, including the demise of his father, to become an award-winning actor. Jeffrey Wright serves as an inspiration to many black Americans. In 2011, he established a gold exploration company called Taia Lion Resources, which provided employment to several Americans.
41 Redd Foxx
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is an American actor best known for playing Black Manta in the 2018 superhero film Aquaman. He is also renowned for portraying Doctor Manhattan in the superhero drama limited series Watchmen for which he was honored with the prestigious Primetime Emmy Award in September 2020.
45 Winston Duke
Isaiah Washington is an American actor who achieved popularity after playing Dr. Preston Burke in the popular medical drama television series Grey's Anatomy. After learning about his African roots with the help of a genealogical DNA test, Isaiah Washington traveled to Sierra Leone where he touched the lives of many by building a school and donating supplies to a hospital.