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.
Beyonce Knowles is a singer, songwriter, and actress. She developed an interest in music as a child. As a teenager, she became the lead singer of Destiny's Child, one of the best-selling girl groups of all time. As of today, she is one of the world's best-selling recording artists.
American actress, Zoe Saldana, is best known for starring in fantasy-adventure films like Star Trek, Avatar, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, which were massive worldwide hits. She faced flak in 2016 when she used skin-darkening makeup to play jazz musician Nina Simone in the biopic Nina, which led to debates about colour bias in society.
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.
A popular American actress, Gabrielle Union has been vocal about violence against women and issues pertaining to women's health. Also a writer, she has released a memoir and a children's book. In 2020, she was named in Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world list. Gabrielle Union has been an inspiration for women like Oprah Winfrey.
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.
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.
11 Lena Horne
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.
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.
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.
14 Laverne Cox
Actress, singer, and dancer Dorothy Dandridge was one of the earliest African-American women stars to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress. Incredibly successful in her career, she was recognized with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. As a singer, she used to perform in night clubs. Unfortunately, she died under mysterious circumstances at 42.
Hattie McDaniel was an American actress, comedian, and singer-songwriter. She became the first African-American to be honored with an Academy Award when her portrayal of Mammy earned her an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Also a radio performer, Hattie McDaniel was the first African American woman to express her skills as a singer on the radio in the US.
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.
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.
21 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.
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.
23 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.
24 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.
25 Danai Gurira
26 Cicely Tyson
29 Sade Adu
Nigerian-British singer Helen Folasade Adu, or Sade Adu, often blends Afro-Cuban tunes with soul and smooth jazz in her music. The Grammy Award winner had initially studied fashion designing and been a model. The founder of the band Sade, she has released iconic tracks such as No Ordinary Love.
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.
31 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.
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.
33 Yara Shahidi
34 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.
35 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.
36 Donna Summer
37 Regina Hall
39 Meagan Good
Meagan Good is an American model and actress. After starting her career as a child artist, Meagan Good went on to establish herself as an actress in the entertainment industry. Over the years, she has contributed to the success of TV series, such as Deception and Minority Report. In 2014, she also contributed to the bestselling book Gentlewoman.
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.
41 Sanaa Lathan
45 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.
Alfre Woodard is an American actress. Considered one of the most accomplished and versatile actresses of her generation, Woodard was named in The New York Times' The 25 Greatest Actors of the 21st Century list in 2020. Also a political activist, Woodard is credited with founding Artists for a New South Africa, which aims at advancing equality in South Africa.
47 Wanda Sykes
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.
48 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.
50 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.