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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Amandla Stenberg is an American singer and actress. An openly gay actress who identifies as non-binary, Stenberg is popular for voicing her opinion on cultural appropriation among other sensitive topics. A self-proclaimed intersectional feminist, Amandla Stenberg was named in Time magazine's Most Influential Teens list in 2015 and 2016. She was also named in Oprah Winfrey's SuperSoul 100 list.
Regina King was first noticed when she appeared in the series 227 and then gained fame with her role in Jerry Maguire. Her performance as Sharon Rivers in If Beale Street Could Talk won her both the Academy and the Golden Globe awards for Best Supporting Actress.
Widely regarded as the first female action star of cinema, American actress Pam Grier achieved popularity for playing important roles in a string of blaxploitation, action, and women-in-prison movies throughout the 1970s. She also serves as an inspiration to those suffering from cancer; she made a recovery after she was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 1988.
German-American actress, Zazie Beetz, is best known for her role in the FX comedy-drama series Atlanta. She became interested in acting while in high school and appeared in many community theater productions. She began her career with small roles in short films and established herself as a popular TV actress in a few years.
Eartha Kitt was an American actress, comedian, dancer, and singer-songwriter. Renowned for her distinctive singing style, Kitt recorded several chartbusting songs during the 1950s. Also a well-known activist, Eartha Kitt established a non-profit organization called the Kittsville Youth Foundation, which helped underprivileged youths in Los Angeles. She was also an ardent advocate for same-sex marriage and LGBT rights.
American actress, Nia Long, was first noticed when she starred in the television series Guiding Light from 1991 to 1994. She is mainly known for her work on television series, such as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Third Watch, Boston Legal and Empire. She has also acted in movies like Friday, Made in America, Boiler Room, Big Momma's House and The Best Man.
R&B and hip-hop singer Teyana Taylor gained fame with MTV's My Super Sweet 16. She signed with Kanye West’s label and also appeared on the reality show Teyana and Iman, with her husband, NBA player Iman Shumpert. In December 2020, she announced her retirement from music through Instagram.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Wanda Sykes is an American actress, writer, and comedian. In 2004, Sykes was named in Entertainment Weekly magazine's list of 25 funniest people in America. Also known for her role as an activist, Sykes has been emceeing fundraisers and hosting events to tackle issues concerning same-sex marriages. She is also an ardent supporter of the Ruth Ellis Center.
Issa Rae is known for her award-winning YouTube series Awkward Black Girl and the HBO series Insecure. Her YouTube channel has promoted the works of Black artists. She made it to the Glamour 35 Under 35 and the Forbes 30 Under 30 lists and was also featured on TIME 100.
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.
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.
Born to an Irish mother and an Ethiopian father, Ruth Negga didn’t look back after grabbing a Laurence Olivier Award nomination for the Best Newcomer, with her performance in the play Duck. She also played both Ophelia and Prince Hamlet in two different productions of the play.
Karrueche Tran is an American actress best known for her portrayal of Vivian Johnson in the popular web series, The Bay. Apart from playing an important role in The Bay, Tran also produced the series for which she won two Daytime Emmy Awards. Before becoming an actress, Karrueche Tran worked as a model and was the face of Lady Crooks.
Diahann Carroll was an American actress, model, singer, and activist. In 1962, she became the first African-American woman to receive a Tony Award under Best Actress in a Musical category. She is credited with starring in Julia, the first American TV series to star a black woman in a non-stereotypical role; Carroll's portrayal of Julia earned her a Golden Globe.
Actress, singer, and songwriter, Renee Elise Goldsberry, is a popular figure in Broadway theater. She is best known for her role in the musical Hamilton, for which she won a Tony Award. She is also active in films and TV shows. As a singer and songwriter, she is the winner of one Grammy Award.
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.