Famous Black Playwrights

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

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 1 August Wilson

August Wilson.
5
Famous As: American playwright
Birthdate: April 27, 1945
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: October 2, 2005
August Wilson, also known as "theater's poet of black America,” was a renowned playwright. He is best remembered for The Pittsburgh Cycle, his series of 10 plays that focused on the 20th-century African-American community. Two of his plays, Fences and Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, were turned into movies.

 2 Lorraine Hansberry

Lorraine Hansberry.
6
Famous As: Writer, Theatre director, Screenwriter, Playwright, Human rights activist
Birthdate: May 19, 1930
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Chicago
Died: January 12, 1965

 3 Danai Gurira

Danai Gurira.
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: February 14, 1978
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Grinnell, Iowa
Danai Gurira is best known as Michonne from The Walking Dead and as Okoye from the Marvel films Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame. She earned a Tony nomination for writing the Broadway play Eclipsed. She has been a UN Goodwill Ambassador and promotes arts and women empowerment.

 4 Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes.
4
Famous As: Poet, Novelist, Playwright, & Columnist
Birthdate: February 1, 1902
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Joplin, Missouri, United States
Died: May 22, 1967

Langston Hughes is best remembered as a prominent leader of the Harlem Renaissance. He was one of the first to write jazz poetry. He also wrote plays and short stories. He was a columnist for The Chicago Defender and wrote the iconic poem The Negro Speaks of Rivers.

 5 Ernie Hudson

Ernie Hudson.
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: December 17, 1945
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Benton Harbor, Michigan, USA

 6 Michaela Coel

Michaela Coel
5
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 1, 1987
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London, England

 7 Yolanda King

Yolanda King.
4
Famous As: Activist
Birthdate: November 17, 1955
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Montgomery, Alabama
Died: May 15, 2007

African American activist, Yolanda King, was the first-born child of civil rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King. Exposed to social justice activism at a young age, she grew up to be an outspoken supporter of civil rights and LGBTQA+ rights. She was also known for her artistic endeavors. She died of heart disease at 51. 

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 8 Lashana Lynch

Lashana Lynch.
5
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: November 27, 1987
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Hammersmith, London, England, UK
Lashana Lynch is best known for her roles of Rosaline Capulet in the series Still Star-Crossed and Maria Rambeau in the film Captain Marvel. She received the Laurence Olivier bursary in drama school. Lynch will be seen as Nomi in the upcoming James Bond film No Time to Die

 9 Colman Domingo

Colman Domingo
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: November 28, 1969
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

 10 Charlayne Woodard

Charlayne Woodard.
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: December 29, 1953
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Albany, New York

 11 Paul Laurence Dunbar

Paul Laurence Dunbar.
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: June 27, 1872
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Dayton, Ohio, United States
Died: February 9, 1906

 12 Patrisse Cullors

Patrisse Cullors
4
Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: June 20, 1983
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, U.S.

 13 Buchi Emecheta

Buchi Emecheta
3
Famous As: Writer, Novelist, Sociologist, Playwright, Editor, Children's writer
Birthdate: July 21, 1944
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Yaba Department
Died: January 25, 2017

 14 Suzan-Lori Parks

Suzan-Lori Parks
3
Famous As: American playwright
Birthdate: May 10, 1963
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Fort Knox, Kentucky, United States

 15 Archie Shepp

Archie Shepp
3
Famous As: Jazz Saxophonist
Birthdate: May 24, 1937
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States

 16 Maryse Condé

Maryse Condé
3
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: February 11, 1937
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe

 17 Mbongeni Ngema

Mbongeni Ngema
3
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: May 10, 1955
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Verulam, KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

A South African Zulu, Mbongeni Ngema worked as a manual laborer and a guitarist before venturing into theater and then becoming a playwright and a director. While he created controversy with his play Asinamali!, he gained international repute with Sarafina! He was also a choir director for The Lion King.

 18 Oscar Cicero Brown, Jr.

Oscar Cicero Brown, Jr.
3
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: October 10, 1926
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: May 29, 2005

 19 Ola Rotimi

Ola Rotimi
2
Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: April 13, 1938
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ilesa, Nigeria
Died: August 18, 2000

 20 Dambudzo Marechera

Dambudzo Marechera
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: June 4, 1952
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Rusape, Zimbabwe
Died: August 18, 1987

 21 Wallace Thurman

Wallace Thurman
2
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: August 16, 1902
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Died: December 22, 1934

 22 Efua Sutherland

Efua Sutherland
2
Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: June 27, 1924
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Cape Coast, Ghana
Died: January 2, 1996

 23 Errol John

Errol John
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: December 20, 1924
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Died: July 10, 1988

 24 Bernard Binlin Dadié

Bernard Binlin Dadié
2
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: January 10, 1916
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Assini, Côte d’Ivoire
Died: March 9, 2019

Better known as a novelist, playwright and poet, Bernard Binlin Dadié was also an able administrator, serving as Ivory Coast's Minister of Culture. Inspired by Africa's rich traditions, he tried to highlight them not only through his writings, but also by publishing several volumes of legends, fables, folktales, and proverbs, concurrently giving expression to Africa's desire for equality and dignity.

 25 Charles Fuller

Charles Fuller
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Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: March 5, 1939
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

 26 Pauline Hopkins

Pauline Hopkins
2
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: 1859 AD
Birthplace: Portland, Maine, United States
Died: August 13, 1930

 27 Earl Lovelace

Earl Lovelace
2
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: July 13, 1935
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Toco, Trinidad and Tobago

 28 Birago Diop

Birago Diop
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: December 11, 1906
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Dakar, Senegal
Died: November 25, 1989

 29 Lonne Elder III

Lonne Elder III
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: December 26, 1927
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Americus, Georgia, United States
Died: June 11, 1996

 30 Duro Ladipo

Duro Ladipo
2
Famous As: Dramatist
Birthdate: December 18, 1931
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Oshogbo, Nigeria
Died: March 11, 1978

 31 Mari Evans

Mari Evans
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: July 16, 1923
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Toledo, Ohio, United States
Died: March 10, 2017

 32 Rudolph Fisher

Rudolph Fisher
2
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: May 9, 1897
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States
Died: December 26, 1934

 33 Abdias do Nascimento

Abdias do Nascimento
1
Famous As: Scholar
Birthdate: March 14, 1914
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Franca, Brazil
Died: May 23, 2011

 34 Djibril Tamsir Niane

Djibril Tamsir Niane
1
Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: January 9, 1932
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Conakry, Guinea

 35 Ed Bullins

Ed Bullins
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Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: July 2, 1935
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

 36 Kola Ogunmola

Kola Ogunmola
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Famous As: Dramatist
Birthdate: November 11, 1925
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Okemesi, Nigeria
Died: 1973 AD

 37 Owen Dodson

Owen Dodson
1
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: November 28, 1914
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: June 21, 1983

 38 Regina M. Anderson

Regina M. Anderson
1
Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: May 21, 1901
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: February 5, 1993

 39 Sony Labou Tansi

Sony Labou Tansi
1
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: June 5, 1947
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kimwenza, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Died: June 14, 1995

 40 Penina Muhando

Penina Muhando
1
Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: 1948 AD
Birthplace: Berega ,Morogoro Region , Tanzania

 41 Ngugi wa Mirii

Ngugi wa Mirii
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Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: 1951 AD
Birthplace: Limuru, Kenya
Died: May 3, 2008

 42 Bate Besong

Bate Besong
1
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: May 8, 1954
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Mamfe, Cameroon
Died: March 8, 2007

 43 Évelyne Trouillot

Évelyne Trouillot
1
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: January 2, 1954
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Port-au-Prince, Haiti

 44 Werewere Liking

Werewere Liking
1
Famous As: Actress, Writer
Birthdate: May 1, 1950
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Cameroon

 45 Cont Mhlanga

Cont Mhlanga
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Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Zimbabwea

 46 Sankie Maimo

Sankie Maimo
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: 1930 AD
Birthplace: Unknown
Died: September 4, 2013

 47 Zodwa Nyoni

Zodwa Nyoni
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: 1988 AD
Birthplace: Zimbabwe

 48 Yulisa Pat Amadu Maddy

Yulisa Pat Amadu Maddy
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: December 27, 1936
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Freetown, Sierra Leone
Died: March 16, 2014

 49 Vincent de Paul Nyonda

Vincent de Paul Nyonda
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: June 30, 1918
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Gabon
Died: January 20, 1995

 50 James Ene Henshaw

James Ene Henshaw
0
Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: August 29, 1924
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Calabar, Nigeria
Died: August 16, 2007