Actress, comedian, and writer Mindy Kaling first gained international fame with her work in the NBC sitcom, The Office, for which she was nominated for several Primetime Emmy Awards. She earned a bachelor's degree in playwriting before beginning her career. As the child of immigrants from India, she is one of the few Indian-American women active in the industry.
Accomplished American comedian, actress, singer and Broadway star, Whoopi Goldberg is amongst the select few who have won all the four awards—Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. Moreover, she is also a political activist, author and talk show host. Her notable work include films Ghost, Sister Act and The Color Purple; Broadway show Thoroughly Modern Millie and talk show The View.
An actress, screenwriter, producer, and businesswoman, Jada Pinkett Smith is a woman who dons many hats. Entering the entertainment world in the 1990s as an actress, she quickly cemented her place in Hollywood and soon branched out into production as well. An ambitious lady, she also runs her own music company and fashion label.
With several prestigious honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, under her belt, Diana Ross is one of the most popular and influential singers of all time. In 1976, Billboard named her the Female Entertainer of the Century. She has influenced popular artists like Madonna, Beyoncé, and Michael Jackson.
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.
Best known for playing real-life black women in biopics, Angela Bassett does not mind being typecast as someone who often plays biographical roles. She has portrayed prominent personalities like Tina Turner, Betty Shabazz, Katherine Jackson, and Coretta Scott King. Also a director, producer, and activist, Angela Bassett works toward bettering the lives of African-Americans.
Queen Latifah is an American musician and actress whose song U.N.I.T.Y. played a major role in raising awareness about women's rights worldwide. Dubbed Queen of Jazz-Rap, Latifah has influenced several soul, R&B, and hip-hop artists like Remy Ma, Lil' Kim, Ivy Queen, Missy Elliott, Lauryn Hill, and Eve among other artists. As an actress, Latifah has won several prestigious awards.
13 Alex Martin
Amongst the best-selling recording artists of all time and an inspiration to millions of budding artists, Whitney Houston achieved stardom with her eponymous debut album. The success of her later albums consolidated her position and earned her a spot in the Guinness World Records as the most awarded female artist of all time. She struggled with drug abuse and troubled marriage and died of drowning in her hotel's bathtub.
15 Tina Turner
Known as the Queen of Rock 'n' Roll, Tina Turner is one of the best-selling recording artists of all time and has had a very long and successful career. Let's Stay Together, What's Love Got to Do with It, Private Dancer and Golden Eye are some of her chartbuster songs. She is also a songwriter and has acted in films too.
Aaliyah was an American singer, actress and model, who became famous when her debut album, Age Ain't Nothing but a Number sold three million copies in the US. Her subsequent albums also sold in millions and won her numerous accolades. She also acted in some films. She tragically died in an airplane crash in the Bahamas, at the age of 22.
17 Viola Davis
18 Alicia Keys
Singer-songwriter Alicia Keys has been active in the music industry since the mid-1990s. Her debut album was a super hit and earned her five Grammy Awards. She is one of the best-selling artists in the United States and has sold over 40 million albums worldwide. She is also known for her humanitarian work, philanthropy, and activism.
Tracee Ellis Ross is an actress and TV host best known for her performance in TV series like Girlfriends and Black-ish. One of the few actresses to sport a distinguishable curly hairstyle, Tracee owns a hair-care line called Pattern Beauty, which is exclusively meant for curly hair.
20 Tyra Banks
Tyra Banks became the first black woman to grace the covers of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and GQ. She became so successful as a model that she used her popularity to try her hand at acting, singing, writing, and producing. She is only one of seven women to appear consistently on Time magazine's world's most influential people list.
21 Halle Berry
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.
22 Tia Mowry
Tia Mowry is one-half of the famous Mowry twin sisters who formed a singing group called Voices in the early 1990s. She has also played important roles in several popular films. A basketball enthusiast, Tia serves as the head coach for the Atlanta team that participates in the Entertainment Basketball League.
23 Skai Jackson
From starting acting at age 5 to being one of TIME's Most Influential Teens, Skai Jackson has come a long way. She amazed audiences with her roles in Jessie and BUNK’D and later thrilled her fans on Dancing with the Stars. An anti-bullying activist, Skai has also written her memoir.
24 Tatyana Ali
Tatyana Ali is an American singer and actress who gained recognition as a child actress, portraying Ashley Banks on the sitcom TV series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Ali's singing abilities, showcased throughout the series, helped her release her debut studio album Kiss the Sky. Unlike many successful child artists, Ali was able to establish herself as an adult actress.
25 Lauryn Hill
Famous rapper and singer, Lauryn Hill, is widely regarded as one of the greatest rappers of all time and a pioneer in the Neo soul genre. The artist whose album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill won five Grammy Awards, is an inspiration for numerous singers and rappers. Earlier, she gained recognition as member of Fugees, an award-winning hip hop group.
26 Tamera Mowry
Tamera Mowry is best known as Tamera Campbell from Sister, Sister, a show that also featured her twin sister, Tia. Tamera also appeared in the movie Twitches and its sequel, and the reality show Tia & Tamera. She has co-hosted The Real, written books, and launched products for new mothers.
Lupita Nyong'o is one of the most popular black actresses of all time. The first Kenyan-Mexican actress to receive the prestigious Academy Award, Lupita Nyong'o has often been named in lists, such as the world's most beautiful woman. In 2020, she was named by Forbes magazine as one of Africa's 50 Most Powerful Women.
30 Mona Lisa
33 Leslie Jones
35 Sade Adu
A critically acclaimed and award-winning actress, Thandie Newton is also an activist—she led a flash mob in 2013 for gender equality and justice. An actress with an affinity for Buddhism, Thandie was named Sexiest Vegan of 2014 by PETA. During the 2019 New Year Honours, she was appointed OBE for services to charity and film.
38 Willow Smith
The daughter of popular American actors, Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith, Willow Smith has established herself as a singer-songwriter and rapper. Mentored by rapper Jay-Z, Smith became the youngest artist to be signed to the former's label Roc Nation in 2010. In 2019, she came out as bisexual and expressed her desire to be in a polyamorous relationship.
39 Robin Givens
Robin Givens is an American model and actress whose professional life during the late-1980s was overshadowed by her violent marriage to Mike Tyson. Subsequently, their acrimonious divorce drew considerable media attention as Givens claimed physical abuse, with Tyson admitting to punching her in the face.
40 Aisha Tyler
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.
44 Erykah Badu
Widely regarded as the queen of neo-soul, Erykah Badu is an American singer-songwriter whose debut studio album Baduizm helped popularize neo-soul in the late-1990s. Thanks to her popularity, Erykah Badu serves as a subject for street art in several places, including Greater London, England. Also an actress, Badu has appeared in popular films, such as The Cider House Rules.
47 Keke Palmer
Keke Palmer is an American actress, television personality, and singer. In 2019, she was recognized by Time magazine as one of the 100 celebrities who are shaping the future of health, entertainment, business, politics, and more. Palmer, who has been open about her struggle with depression and anxiety, supports movements, such as Black Lives Matter.