A versatile actor and an inspiration for a generation of black youths, Chadwick Boseman is best remembered for portraying notable real life black figures like Jackie Robinson, Thurgood Marshall and James Brown in their biopics. His excellent performance in Black Panther, though, turned him into a household name.
A renowned former wrestler with numerous titles under his belt, Dwayne Johnson initially wanted to be a football player but an injury turned him towards wrestling. He soon entered the world of acting, experienced phenomenal success in television and films and became the highest earning male actor in the world.
American comedian, writer and actor, Dave Chappelle, is best known for the Chappelle’s Show, the acclaimed Comedy Central show which brought him much popularity before he decided to call it quits in its third season. He later released award winning comedy specials with Netflix. Dave has also featured in numerous films like Half Baked and A Star Is Born.
The charismatic, versatile and bankable American artist, Will Smith, tasted early success with rapping. A successful transition into films and television soon followed and made Smith a phenomenal success. With solid earnings, he has also frequently secured himself a place in the list of highest paid actors in world.
Snoop Dogg is a famous American rapper whose life is a perfect example of rags-to-riches story. As a child, he did various odd jobs to help his family make ends meet. He started rapping as a young boy to distract himself from his unstable family life. He ran into trouble with the law as a teenager. However, once he released his debut album, there was no looking back.
Actor, director, and producer, Denzel Washington, is famous for portraying strong real-life characters like anti-apartheid activist, Steve Biko, and human rights activist, Malcolm X, in films. Well-built and ruggedly handsome, he became the first black star to be named the Sexiest Man Alive in 1996.
Son of famous actor, Denzel Washington, John David Washington is a former professional footballer who played in the NFL Europe and the United Football League (UFL). He co-produced a film, The Book of Eli, and rose to fame as an actor with HBO drama series, Ballers. He later starred in critically acclaimed films, such as BlacKkKlansman and Tenet.
Jaden Smith, son of the famous Hollywood actor Will Smith, made his big screen debut with his father in The Pursuit of Happyness at a young age. Later, The Karate Kid proved to be a big movie for him. The young star, since then, has continued his acting career and simultaneously released two albums and launched his own clothing line.
American comedian and actor, Kevin Hart attained fame as a stand-up comic and then established himself as a leading comedic actor on the big screen with films like Get Hard, About Last Night, Ride Along and The Wedding Ringer. He has also been part of two Jumanji films. He was critically acclaimed for the 2019 comedy-drama film The Upside.
10 Eddie Murphy
Actor and comedian, Eddie Murphy, is one of the highest-grossing actors in the United States. Beginning his career as a comedian on the TV show Saturday Night Live, he went on to become a bankable movie actor. Also a singer, he has released many studio albums. He has been awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.
11 Jamie Foxx
Actor, singer-songwriter, and comedian, Jamie Foxx became internationally famous for his portrayal of Ray Charles in the biographical film Ray, a role that earned him an Academy Award. He is also known for hosting his own television sitcom, The Jamie Foxx Show. Besides acting, he is also a Grammy Award-winning musician who has released four albums.
Actor and producer, Samuel L. Jackson is widely regarded as one of the most popular actors of his generation. A highly prolific actor, he has appeared in over 150 films and is especially known for his roles in Quentin Tarantino films. Besides acting, he has voiced for several animated films, television series, and video games.
13 Idris Elba
Idris Elba is a successful actor both on the small and the big screen and is mainly known for the television series The Wire and Luther and also for films, such as Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom and Beasts of No Nation. He has also acted in blockbuster films of Marvel Comics universe like Avengers: Age of Ultron and Avengers: Infinity War.
14 Bill Cosby
One of America’s most popular and beloved comedians, Bill Cosby’s reputation was totally shattered when he was accused of sexual assault, sexual battery and rape by multiple women in the 2010s. Subsequently, he was found guilty of sexual assault in two cases and was sentenced in September 2018 to a total of three to ten years in a state prison.
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.
16 Tyler Perry
The amazingly talented, Tyler Perry, is an American actor who topped Forbes list of highest-paid man in entertainment in 2011. Perry is most known as the creator of the boisterous, African-American grandmother character, Madea, which he himself performs with great skill and artistry. From a homeless playwriter to having his own studio, Perry has surely achieved the evasive American dream.
Prominent character actor, Morgan Freeman, has appeared in a range of film genres playing versatile roles. He is known for his distinctive deep voice. In a career spanning over half a century, he has received various accolades, including an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award. Besides acting, he is an advocate of environmental causes.
Carl Weathers began his career as a football player, playing for the NFL team Oakland Raiders and the CFL team B.C. Lions. He stepped into acting with Arthur Marks’s blaxploitation films. He is best known as Apollo Creed from the Rocky films and as Greef Karga from The Mandalorian.
Michael Clarke Duncan was one of the most popular actors best known for his portrayal of John Coffey in the fantasy drama film The Green Mile. Apart from acting in films and TV series, he was also featured in several video games, such as SOCOM II: U.S. Navy SEALs, Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone, and The Suffering: Ties That Bind.
20 Nick Cannon
Nicholas Cannon is a comedian, rapper and television host. The Nick Cannon Show, America's Got Talent and The Masked Singer are some of his popular TV shows. He has also acted in films like Drumline, Love Don't Cost a Thing and Roll Bounce. Cannon has been accused of making racist and anti-Semitic remarks. He has called White people ‘savages’.
21 Chris Rock
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.
22 Trevor Noah
Trevor Noah is a writer, political commentator, comedian and television host and hosts the American satirical news programme, The Daily Show. He has also hosted several other shows, including the late-night talk show, Tonight with Trevor Noah. He is an actor too. He has written an autobiographical book, Born A Crime, and has received numerous accolades and awards, including the Emmy Award.
Considered one of the greatest stand-up comedians of all time, Richard Pryor entertained his audience and influenced generations of stand-up comedians with his pointed observations and skilful art of storytelling. He began by performing at clubs and gained immense fame with his third comedy album, That Nigger’s Crazy. He also became an acclaimed actor and an award winning writer.
24 Terry Crews
Terrence Crews is an actor, comedian, activist and a body-builder. He’s also a former professional football player. He has starred in sitcoms like Everybody Hates Chris and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Plus, he has acted in many movies including the Expendables series. In 2017, Crews talked about a sexual assault on him by a Hollywood executive. He fiercely advocates for women's rights.
25 Busta Rhymes
26 Bernie Mac
28 Shemar Moore
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.
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.
30 Danny Glover
Danny Glover is an American actor whose career has spanned more than four decades. Apart from being an actor, Danny Glover has had a major impact as an activist; he has made his presence felt as an activist in countries like Brazil, Iraq, Venezuela, Israel, and many African countries.
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.
American actor, Jussie Smollett is known for his work in television series, Empire, and science fiction film Alien: Covenant. He debuted as a child artist and worked in commercials, television shows like On Our Own and films like The Mighty Ducks before taking a break. He returned after years and proved his talent as an actor and also a singer.
Alfonso Ribeiro is an American actor, television personality, and dancer who got to dance alongside Michael Jackson for a Pepsi commercial when the former was just a kid. Since then, Ribeiro has not looked back and later used his dancing skills to become an actor. He currently hosts one of the most beloved TV shows ever, America's Funniest Home Videos.
Sidney Poitier is 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.
36 LL Cool J
LL Cool J is an American rapper, entrepreneur, and record producer. Such is his popularity that LL Cool J was named on VH1's list of 100 Greatest Artists Of All Time in 2010. In 2017, he became the first rapper to be awarded the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors. Over the years, Cool J has had a profound influence on hip-hop.
38 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.
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.
40 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.
43 Damon Wayans
An important member of the popular Wayans family, Damon Wayans is a stand-up comedian and actor. Over the years, Damon Wayans has been a prominent and influential member of popular sketch comedy series, such as In Living Color and Saturday Night Live.
Martin Lawrence is a German born-American actor and comedian. Despite being traumatized after witnessing his parents' divorce at the age of eight, Lawrence went on to succeed as a comedian and later as a leading Hollywood actor. After a problematic 1990s, which included episodes of arrests, lawsuits, and health problems, he bounced back with several hit films.
45 LeVar Burton
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.
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.
Akon is one of the most successful R&B, hip hop and rap singers in the world. His albums Trouble, Konvicted, Freedom, El Negreeto and Akonda have many chartbusters songs. He has also founded record labels Akonik Label Group, KonLive Distribution and Konvict Mizik. He courted controversy in 2007 for an onstage act involving simulated sex with a 15-year-old girl.