African Americans From Illinois

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Famous black celebrities from Illinois, include Emmett Till, Juice WRLD, Keke Palmer.
Vote for Your Favourite African Americans From Illinois
 1 
Juice WRLD
(Rapper)
Juice WRLD
253
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: December 2, 1998
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: December 8, 2019
Rapper Juice Wrld is best remembered for his tracks Lucid Dreams and All Girls Are the Same. He was also part of the collective Internet Money. He died due to a drug-induced seizure at the age of 21. His posthumous album Legends Never Die topped the Billboard 200 chart.
 2 
Richard Pryor
(Greatest Stand-Up Comedian of All-Time)
Richard Pryor
16
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.

 3 
Emmett Till
(Victim of Racial Violence)
Emmett Till
28
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: July 25, 1941
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: August 28, 1955

In the 1950s, a teenage African-American boy, Emmett Till was kidnapped, tortured and brutally killed for allegedly misbehaving with a white woman. Those responsible were never convicted but the brutality of the crime brought focus on racial discrimination and African-American Civil Rights Movement. It eventually played a crucial role in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1957.

 4 
Mr. T
(Actor)
Mr. T
16
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.
 5 
Bernie Mac
(Actor and Comedian Known for His TV Series ‘The Bernie Mac Show’)
Bernie Mac
14
Listed In: Actors
Birthdate: October 5, 1957
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: August 9, 2008
A well-known comedian and actor, Bernie Mac was named in Rolling Stone magazine's 50 Best Stand-Up Comics of All Time list in 2017. In recognition of his contribution to arts, Chicago's Mayor Rahm Emanuel declared November 14 as Bernie Mac Day in 2016. Bernie's alma mater Chicago Vocational High School renamed its CVS Auditorium as Bernie Mac Auditorium.
 6 
Miles Davis
(Trumpeter and one of the Most Prominent Figures in the History of Jazz)
Miles Davis
16
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: May 26, 1926
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Alton, Illinois, United States
Died: September 28, 1991
Jazz trumpeter and composer Miles Davis was a pioneer in the bepop and jazz fusion genres. His work also had electronic, African, and Spanish influences. His album Kind of Blue sold 5 million copies in the U.S. and was termed a national treasure by the House of Representatives, years later. 
 7 
Anthony Davis
(American Professional Basketball Player Who Plays as the Power Forward and Centre Positions)
Anthony Davis
21
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: March 11, 1993
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

American professional basketball player, Anthony Davis plays, for the National Basketball Association’s Los Angeles Lakers. He is the youngest player to score at least 59 points in a NBA game. He was a member of the US men’s national basketball team which participated in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. The team was undefeated in London and won the gold medal.

 8 
Jennifer Hudson
(Singer & Actress Known for Her Role in the Musical 'Dreamgirls')
Jennifer Hudson
20
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
 9 
Keke Palmer
(Best Known for Her Role in the Film ‘Akeelah and the Bee’ and the Sitcom 'True Jackson, VP')
Keke Palmer
25
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.

 10 
Gary Coleman
(Actor and Comedian Best Known for His Role as ‘Arnold Jackson’ in the Sitcom ‘Diff'rent Strokes’)
Gary Coleman
14
Birthdate: February 8, 1968
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Zion, Illinois, United States
Died: May 28, 2010
Gary Coleman, who topped VHI’s list of the 100 Greatest Kid Stars, was best known to fans as Arnold Jackson from the sitcom Diff'rent Strokes and for The Gary Coleman Show. A congenital kidney disease and hormonal issues led to his short 4’8” frame. He struggled with financial issues later.
 11 
Polo G
(Rapper and Record Executive Known for His Albums: ‘Die a Legend’, ‘The Goat’ and ‘Hall of Fame’)
Polo G
44
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: January 6, 1999
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Polo G is an American singer, songwriter, rapper, and record executive. Polo G, who became famous for his Chicago drill sound, gradually adopted a more melodic style. Renowned for his vivid storytelling, Polo G's lyrics often reflect on subjects, such as mental health and racism. In 2020, he announced the launch of ODA Records, his own record label.

 12 
Andre Braugher
10
Birthdate: July 1, 1962
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois
Andre Braugher is best known for his Emmy-winning performances as Frank Pembleton in Homicide: Life on the Street and as Nick Atwater in Thief. Fans also loved him as Raymond Holt in Brooklyn Nine-Nine, as Woodchuck Coodchuck-Berkowitz in BoJack Horseman, and in the movies City of Angels and Poseidon
 13 
Chaka Khan
(Singer)
Chaka Khan
14
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: March 23, 1953
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois
Ten-time Grammy-winning funk/R&B/disco artist Chaka Khan, or the Queen of Funk, soared to fame as the frontwoman of the band Rufus. Known for her hit track I Feel for You, Khan has sold 70 million records and has ranked 17th on VH1’s 100 Greatest Women of Rock & Roll list.
 14 
Craig Robinson
6
Birthdate: October 25, 1971
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
 15 
Minnie Riperton
(Singer, Singer-songwriter)
Minnie Riperton
5
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: November 8, 1947
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Chicago
Died: July 12, 1979
 16 
Hannibal Buress
(Comedian)
Hannibal Buress
4
Birthdate: February 4, 1983
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Chicago Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
 17 
Laura Harrier
(Actress)
Laura Harrier
8
Birthdate: March 28, 1990
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
 18 
Nichelle Nichols
5
Birthdate: December 28, 1932
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Robbins, Illinois, United States
Died: July 30, 2022
 19 
Curtis Mayfield
(Singer, Guitarist)
Curtis Mayfield
8
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: June 3, 1942
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: December 26, 1999
Soul singer and guitarist Curtis Mayfield gained fame with The Impressions. His songs such as People Get Ready carried prominent social themes. The Grammy Hall of Fame inductee was paralyzed from the neck down after an accident during a live performance in 1990 but continued to record even after that.
 20 
Shonda Rhimes
(Television Producer)
Shonda Rhimes
16
Birthdate: January 13, 1970
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Chicago

Shonda Rhimes is a screenwriter, author, and television producer. She is credited with creating, writing, and executive producing one of the most popular American medical drama TV series ever, Grey's Anatomy. She is also credited with creating series like Private Practice and Scandal. In 2007, she was named in Time magazine's list of 100 People Who Help Shape the World.

 21 
Iman Shumpert
(American Professional Basketball Player Who Plays at the ‘Shooting Guard' Position)
Iman Shumpert
7
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: June 26, 1990
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Berwyn, Illinois, United States

Iman Shumpert is an American basketball player who has played in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for popular teams like New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers, Sacramento Kings, and the Houston Rockets. While representing the Cleveland Cavaliers, Iman Shumpert helped his team win NBA championship in 2016.

 22 
Andre Iguodala
(Basketball player)
Andre Iguodala
10
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: January 28, 1984
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Springfield, Illinois, United States
 23 
Lil Rel Howery
7
Birthdate: December 17, 1979
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
 24 
Lamorne Morris
(Actor and Comedian )
Lamorne Morris
4
Birthdate: August 14, 1983
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Lamorne Morris began his career with the BET shows HotWyred and 106 & Park. He gained game with his Teen Choice Award-nominated role of Winston in New Girl. He has appeared in many FunnyorDie shorts, in the docu-drama Valley of the Boom, and as Keef Knight in the series Woke.

 25 
Wood Harris
5
Birthdate: October 17, 1969
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Wood Harris, younger brother of actor Steve Harris, is best known for his portrayal of Avon Barksdale, a character modeled on real-life drug dealer Nathan Barksdale, in The Wire. He has also appeared in the series Empire and films such as Remember the Titans, and narrated the sports documentary Benji.

 26 
Da Brat
(Rapper and Actress Known for Her Albums: ‘Funkdafied’ and ‘Not Tonight’)
Da Brat
10
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: April 14, 1974
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Rapper Shawntae Harris, better known as Da Brat, is best known for her debut album, Funkdafied, which made her the first solo female platinum certified rapper. The two-time Grammy nominee soared to fame with her hits such as Loverboy. She has also served prison time for assaulting a waitress.
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 27 
Lupe Fiasco
(Rapper)
Lupe Fiasco
4
Birthdate: February 16, 1982
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
 28 
Jackie Joyner-Kersee
(One of the Greatest Female Athletes of All-Time)
Jackie Joyner-Kersee
7
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: March 3, 1962
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: East St. Louis, Illinois, United States

The first to score over 7,000 points in the heptathlon, Jackie Joyner-Kersee is considered by many as one of the greatest female athletes ever. While in school, she excelled in sports such as volleyball, basketball, and track, and also did well in studies. She later won three Olympic golds medals.

 29 
Sherri Shepherd
7
Birthdate: April 22, 1967
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Sherri Shepherd is an American actress, television personality, author, and comedian. She is known for co-hosting the popular talk show The View. She co-hosted the show from 2007 to 2014, for which she received several nominations for Daytime Emmy Award, winning the award in 2009. Also known for her dancing skills, Shepherd competed in Dancing with the Stars in 2012.

 30 
Maya Harris
(American Lawyer, Public Policy Advocate & Sister of 49th Vice President of United States, Kamala Harris)
Maya Harris
24
Listed In: Lawyers & Judges
Birthdate: January 30, 1967
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, United States

A lawyer, law professor, political analyst and a civil rights activist, Maya Harris’s list of achievements is huge. One of the youngest in the US to become a law school dean, Maya Harris has worked with Hillary Clinton and her own sister Kamala Harris in their respective presidential campaigns.

 31 
Jaimee Foxworth
(Best Known for Her Role as ‘Judy Winslow’ on the Long-Running Sitcom ‘Family Matters’)
Jaimee Foxworth
7
Birthdate: December 17, 1979
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Belleville, Illinois, United States

Jaimee Foxworth is an American model, actress, and former pornographic actress. Foxworth is best known for playing Judy Winslow in the popular TV series, Family Matters. Also a musician, Foxworth is credited with forming S.H.E., an R&B musical group, with her two sisters. Over the years, Jaimee Foxworth has also battled depression and substance abuse.

 32 
Jesse Williams
(Actor and Producer Known for His Role as ‘Dr. Jackson Avery’ in the TV Series ‘Grey's Anatomy’)
Jesse Williams
12
Birthdate: August 5, 1981
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Jesse Williams is best known as Dr. Jackson Avery from Grey's Anatomy. He has also been part of films such as The Cabin in the Woods and The Butler, and has done voice-work for video games such as Markus in Detroit: Become Human. Williams is also associated with Black activism.
 33 
Lou Rawls
(R&B Singer Famous for His Luxurious Baritone Singing Voice and Four-Octave Vocal Range)
Lou Rawls
2
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: December 1, 1933
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: January 6, 2006

Lou Rawls was an American singer, composer, record producer, and actor. Rawls sold over 40 million records during his illustrious career. He was also renowned for his charity work; in 2004, he was honored by the popular philanthropic organization United Negro College Fund for his work with the organization for more than 25 years.

 34 
Gil Scott-Heron
(Poet and Singer-songwriter)
Gil Scott-Heron
2
Listed In: Musicians
Birthdate: April 1, 1949
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: May 27, 2011
 35 
Lil Bibby
(Rapper)
Lil Bibby
8
Listed In: Singers
Birthdate: July 18, 1994
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois
 36 
Jabari Parker
(Basketball player at power forward)
Jabari Parker
2
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: March 15, 1995
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
 37 
Ken Norton
(American Professional Boxer and WBC Heavyweight Champion in 1978)
Ken Norton
4
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: August 9, 1943
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Jacksonville, Illinois, United States
Died: September 18, 2013

Professional boxer Ken Norton is remembered for his three highly publicized fights with Muhammad Ali, out of which he lost two. Norton was a towering figure in the boxing world and held the WBC heavyweight title in 1978. He was a forward-pressing fighter notable for his unusual stance. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1992.

 38 
Kirby Puckett
(Baseball Players)
Kirby Puckett
2
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: March 14, 1960
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Died: March 6, 2006
 39 
Patrick Beverley
(Basketball Player)
Patrick Beverley
4
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: July 18, 1988
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, USA
 40 
Rickey Henderson
(Baseball player)
Rickey Henderson
2
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: December 25, 1958
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
 41 
Lorraine Hansberry
(Writer, Theatre director, Screenwriter, Playwright, Human rights activist)
Lorraine Hansberry
3
Listed In: Activists
Birthdate: May 19, 1930
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: January 12, 1965

Lorraine Hansberry was a writer and playwright best remembered for her play A Raisin in the Sun which emphasizes the plight of African-Americans living under racial segregation. At the age of 29, Lorraine Hansberry received the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award, becoming the youngest playwright and the first African-American dramatist to win the prestigious award.

 42 
LisaRaye McCoy
(Best Known for Her Role as Diamond in Film ‘The Players Club’)
LisaRaye McCoy
4
Listed In: Fashion
Birthdate: September 23, 1967
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
LisaRaye McCoy is best known as Diana "Diamond" Armstrong from The Players Club. Fans also loved her as Neesee James in All of Us and as Keisha Greene in Single Ladies. She has earlier served as the First Lady of Turks and Caicos, as the wife of Premier Michael Misick. 
 43 
Robin Harris
(Comedian)
Robin Harris
2
Birthdate: August 30, 1953
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Died: March 18, 1990
 44 
Lena Waithe
(Screenwriter)
Lena Waithe
10
Birthdate: May 17, 1984
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
 45 
James Robinson
(American football Player)
James Robinson
1
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: August 9, 1998
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Rockford, Illinois, United States
 46 
Jason Weaver
2
Birthdate: July 18, 1979
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, USA
 47 
Drew Sidora
(Actress and Singer Known for Her Role as ‘Chantel’ in the TV Series ‘That's So Raven’)
Drew Sidora
0
Birthdate: May 1, 1985
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Drew Sidora is an American singer who has contributed to the original soundtrack for films like Step Up and Three Can Play That Game. Also an actress, Sidora has played important roles in TV series and films, including VH1's biographical movie CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story, in which she played singer-songwriter of TLC fame, Tionne Watkins.

 48 
Aaron McGruder
(Writer, Cartoonist & Public Speaker)
Aaron McGruder
3
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: May 29, 1974
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Chicago

Aaron McGruder is an American writer, cartoonist, screenwriter, producer, and lecturer. He is best known for writing a Universal Press Syndicate comic strip titled The Boondocks. He also wrote its TV series adaptation where he served as the creator, head writer, and executive producer.

 49 
Curtis Granderson
(Baseball Player)
Curtis Granderson
1
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: March 16, 1981
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Blue Island, Illinois, US
 50 
Antoine Walker
(Basketball Player)
Antoine Walker
1
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: August 12, 1976
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States