Famous Black Film & Theater Personalities

Right IconThis ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite Film & Theater Personalities
 1 
Jamie Foxx
(Best Known for His Portrayal of Ray Charles in the Biopic 'Ray')
Jamie Foxx
16
Birthdate: December 13, 1967
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Terrell, Texas, United States

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.

 2 
Dave Chappelle
(Stand-up Comedian Best Known for His Comedy Sketch Series 'Chappelle's Show')
Dave Chappelle
18
Birthdate: August 24, 1973
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States

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.

 3 
Richard Pryor
(Greatest Stand-Up Comedian of All-Time)
Richard Pryor
8
Birthdate: December 1, 1940
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Peoria, Illinois, United States
Died: December 10, 2005

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.

 4 
Chris Rock
(Ranked No. 5 on Rolling Stone's List of the 50 Best Stand-Up Comics of All Time)
Chris Rock
12
Birthdate: February 7, 1965
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Andrews, South Carolina, United States

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.

 5 
Whoopi Goldberg
(Actress, Comedian and Host; Best Known for Her Role in 'The Color Purple' and 'Ghost')
Whoopi Goldberg
23
Birthdate: November 13, 1955
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Chelsea, New York, United States

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.

 6 
Sidney Poitier
(Director and the First African-American to Win an Academy Award for Best Actor)
Sidney Poitier
7
Birthdate: February 20, 1927
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Miami, Florida, United States
Died: January 6, 2022

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.

 7 
Martin Lawrence
(Known for His Roles in the Sitcom 'Martin' & 'Bad Boys' Movie Franchise)
Martin Lawrence
11
Birthdate: April 16, 1965
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Frankfurt, Germany

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.

 8 
Spike Lee
(Film director)
Spike Lee
5
Birthdate: March 20, 1957
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, United States

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.

 9 
Chris Tucker
(Actor and Comedian, Best Known for His Roles in the 'Rush Hour' Triology)
Chris Tucker
7
Birthdate: August 31, 1971
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, United States

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.

 10 
Donald Glover
(Rapper & Actor)
Donald Glover
8
Birthdate: September 25, 1983
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: California, United States

The actor, rapper, writer and director, Donald Glover Jr became famous after playing the role of a college student In the sitcom, Community, from 2009 to 2013. He also stars in the FX series Atlanta. He has also acted in a number of commercially successful films. His albums have done well and he won a Grammy award for the single Redbone.

 11 
Zoë Kravitz
(Actress Best Known for Her Role in 'The Divergent' and 'Fantastic Beasts' Film Series)
Zoë Kravitz
11
Birthdate: December 1, 1988
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Venice, Los Angeles, California, United States

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.

 12 
Keith David
8
Birthdate: June 4, 1956
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Harlem, New York, United States
Three-time Emmy-winner Keith David is known for his voice roles in The War and Unforgivable Blackness. He has narrated several documentaries and audio books, apart from voicing iconic characters such as Arbiter in the Halo games. He played the title role in Greenleaf and supporting roles in many movies.
 13 
Tracy Morgan
7
Birthdate: November 10, 1968
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: The Bronx, New York, United States
 14 
Lupita Nyong'o
(Named One of Africa’s “50 Most Powerful Women” by Forbes in 2020)
Lupita Nyong'o
9
Birthdate: March 1, 1983
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Mexico City, Mexico

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.

 15 
Angela Bassett
(Known for Her Portrayal of Singer Tina Turner in the Biopic 'What's Love Got to Do with It')
Angela Bassett
11
Birthdate: August 16, 1958
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States

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.

 16 
Tyler Perry
(Creator and Performer of 'Madea' Character & Developer of the Sitcom 'Tyler Perry's House of Payne')
Tyler Perry
6
Birthdate: September 13, 1969
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

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.

 17 
Laverne Cox
(First Transgender Person To Appear on Cover of 'Time' Magazine)
Laverne Cox
8
Birthdate: May 29, 1972
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Mobile, Alabama, United States
 18 
Mahershala Ali
(The First Muslim Actor to Win an Oscar)
Mahershala Ali
5
Birthdate: February 16, 1974
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Oakland, California, United States

Mahershala Ali is an American rapper and actor. One of the finest and most decorated actors of his generation, Ali has won many prestigious awards such as Screen Actors Guild Awards, Academy Awards, Primetime Emmy Award, and Golden Globe Award. In 2019, Mahershala Ali was included in Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world list.

 19 
Hannibal Buress
(Comedian)
Hannibal Buress
8
Birthdate: February 4, 1983
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Chicago Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
 20 
Wesley Snipes
(Known for His Action Roles in Films 'Blade' and 'Passenger 57')
Wesley Snipes
5
Birthdate: July 31, 1962
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Orlando, Florida, United States

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.

 21 
Daniel Kaluuya
6
Birthdate: February 24, 1989
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: London, England, UK
 22 
Laurence Fishburne
4
Birthdate: July 30, 1961
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Augusta, Georgia, United States

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.

 23 
Jennifer Hudson
(Singer & Actress Known for Her Role in the Musical 'Dreamgirls')
Jennifer Hudson
4
Birthdate: September 12, 1981
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Jennifer Hudson shot to fame after reaching the finals of the third season of American Idol. She is known for her Academy Award-winning role of Effie White in Dreamgirls. She also won the Grammy twice, one for her self-titled debut album and the other for the musical The Color Purple
 24 
Anthony Mackie
5
Birthdate: September 23, 1978
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

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.

 25 
Redd Foxx
(Comedian)
Redd Foxx
6
Birthdate: December 9, 1922
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Died: October 11, 1991
 26 
Kerry Washington
(Actress and Producer Famous for Her Portrayal of ‘Olivia Pope’ in the Drama Series ‘Scandal’)
Kerry Washington
4
Birthdate: January 31, 1977
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bronx, New York, United States

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.

 27 
LL Cool J
(Known for His Album ‘Mama Said Knock You Out’ One of the Best Albums of All Time)
LL Cool J
5
Birthdate: January 14, 1968
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bay Shore, New York, United States

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.

 28 
Willow Smith
(Singer, Daughter of Actors 'Will Smith' and 'Jada Pinkett Smith')
Willow Smith
5
Birthdate: October 31, 2000
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

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.

 29 
Forest Whitaker
(Best Known for His Role in 'The Last King of Scotland')
Forest Whitaker
5
Birthdate: July 15, 1961
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Longview, Texas, United States
Forest Whitaker is best known for his Academy Award-winning performance as real-life dictator Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland. Fans also loved him in Rogue One and Ghost Dog. He is an advocate of the UN’s Global Goals and supports peace-building initiatives and programs that help war victims.
 30 
Mr. T
(Actor)
Mr. T
4
Birthdate: May 21, 1952
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Mr. T is best known as A. Baracus from The A-Team and Clubber Lang from Rocky III. Fans love his signature hairstyle and his gold jewelry, which he stopped wearing after Hurricane Katrina. His catchphrase “I pity the fool!" inspired a reality show. He has previously been a celebrity bodyguard.
 31 
Lena Horne
(Actress and Dancer Known for Her One-Woman Show 'Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music')
Lena Horne
4
Birthdate: June 30, 1917
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bedford-Stuyvesant, New York, United States
Died: May 9, 2010

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.

 32 
Regina King
(Actress and Director Best Known for Her Film ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’)
Regina King
9
Birthdate: January 15, 1971
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

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.

 33 
Naomi Campbell
12
Birthdate: May 22, 1970
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Streatham
Naomi Campbell is one of the “Big Six” supermodels of the 1980s and the 1990s, who has graced both the ramp and print. She has also released a music album, been part of a fashion reality show, started a web series, and founded charitable organizations such as Fashion for Relief.
 34 
Janelle Monae
(Singer-songwriter)
Janelle Monae
4
Birthdate: December 1, 1985
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kansas City, Kansas, United States
Artist Janelle Monae initially sang with rapper Big Boi and is known for albums such as Dirty Computer. She has been nominated for the Grammys multiple times. Monae also appeared in films such as Hidden Figures and the Academy Award-winning drama Moonlight. She is both bisexual and pansexual.
 35 
Chiwetel Ejiofor
5
Birthdate: July 10, 1974
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Forest Gate, London, England

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.

 36 
Nick Cannon
(TV Host, Actor and Rapper)
Nick Cannon
17
Birthdate: October 8, 1980
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: San Diego, California, United States

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’.

 37 
Mary J. Blige
(Rapper, and Actress Known as "Queen of Hip-Hop Soul")
Mary J. Blige
4
Birthdate: January 11, 1971
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bronx, New York, United States

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.

 38 
Danny Glover
(Known for His Lead Role as Roger Murtaugh in the 'Lethal Weapon' Film Series)
Danny Glover
6
Birthdate: July 22, 1946
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: San Francisco, California, United States

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.

 39 
Keke Palmer
(Best Known for Her Role in the Film ‘Akeelah and the Bee’ and the Sitcom 'True Jackson, VP')
Keke Palmer
4
Birthdate: August 26, 1993
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Harvey, Illinois, United States

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.

 40 
Charlie Murphy
(Best Known as a Writer & Cast Member of the Sketch-Comedy Series 'Chappelle's Show')
Charlie Murphy
5
Birthdate: July 12, 1959
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: April 12, 2017
Charlie Murphy, older brother of Eddie Murphy, is best remembered for his sketch-comedy series Chappelle's Show and for his performance as Vic in Black Jesus. He also voiced Big Kid on the children’s show Thugaboo. He also starred in movies such as CB4 and co-wrote Vampire in Brooklyn.
 41 
Damon Wayans
(Actor, Comedian and Member of the 'Wayans' Family of Entertainers)
Damon Wayans
4
Birthdate: September 4, 1960
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Harlem, New York, United States

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.

 42 
Octavia Spencer
(The First Black Actress to Have Received two Successive Nominations at the Oscars)
Octavia Spencer
4
Birthdate: May 25, 1972
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Montgomery, Alabama, United States

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.

 43 
Aisha Tyler
(Actress, TV Host)
Aisha Tyler
4
Birthdate: September 18, 1970
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: San Francisco

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 
Tyron Woodley
(Mixed martial artist)
Tyron Woodley
4
Birthdate: April 7, 1982
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ferguson, Missouri, United States
 45 
Zazie Beetz
(Actress Best Known for Her Comedy Series ‘Atlanta’ and Anthology Series ‘Easy’)
Zazie Beetz
6
Birthdate: May 25, 1991
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Mitte, Berlin, Germany

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.

 46 
Cicely Tyson
(Actress and Model Best Known for Her Films: 'Sounder' and ‘The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman’)
Cicely Tyson
4
Birthdate: December 18, 1924
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: January 28, 2021
Cicely Tyson is best known for her Academy Award-nominated role of Rebecca Morgan in Sounder and her Emmy-winning performance in The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. She is also a Tony- and Drama Desk-winning theater actor. Fans also loved her as Ophelia Harkness in How to Get Away with Murder.
 47 
Beetlejuice
16
Birthdate: June 2, 1968
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Jersey City, New Jersey

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.

 48 
John Boyega
5
Birthdate: March 17, 1992
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Peckham, London, England

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.

 49 
Patrice O'Neal
(Stand-up Comedian)
Patrice O'Neal
4
Birthdate: December 7, 1969
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: November 29, 2011
 50 
Djimon Hounsou
4
Birthdate: April 24, 1964
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Cotonou