African Americans From New York

Famous black celebrities from New York, include Michael K. Williams, Colin Powell, Aaliyah.

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 Michael K. Williams

Michael K. Williams
17
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: November 22, 1966
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Flatbush, New York City, New York, United States
Died: September 6, 2021

Known for his supporting roles in films such as The Road, 12 Years a Slave, and When They See Us, Michael K. Williams is a budding talent of Hollywood. Fans adored him as Albert "Chalky" White in Boardwalk Empire. He became a critics’ favorite with his Emmy-winning role in Bessie.

 2 Colin Powell

Colin Powell
16
Listed In: Leaders
Famous As: 65th United States Secretary of State
Birthdate: April 5, 1937
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York City, New York, U.S.
Died: October 18, 2021

A veteran politician who served as the 65th United States Secretary of State, Colin Powell was the first African-American Secretary of State. A member of the Republican Party, he was an army man prior to entering politics. He was a  four-star general at the time of his retirement. After leaving politics, he pursued a career as a public speaker.

 3 Aaliyah

Aaliyah
39
Listed In: Fashion
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: January 16, 1979
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: August 25, 2001

Aaliyah was an American singer, actress and model, who became famous when her debut album, Age Ain't Nothing but a Number sold three million copies in the US. Her subsequent albums also sold in millions and won her numerous accolades. She also acted in some films. She tragically died in an airplane crash in the Bahamas, at the age of 22.

 4 Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan
25
Listed In: Sportspersons
Famous As: Basketball player
Birthdate: February 17, 1963
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

A superstar, a legend and the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan is all this and much more. Very few athletes can match up with his level of popularity and impact. And if that is not enough, he is also the richest former professional athlete in the world.

 5 Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson
37
Listed In: Sportspersons
Famous As: Boxer
Birthdate: June 30, 1966
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Fort Greene, New York, United States

A former professional boxer who reigned as the undisputed world heavyweight champion for three years, Mike Tyson is considered a colossal figure in boxing. Claiming his first heavyweight title at the young age of 20, he went on to become one of the best heavyweights of all time. Also a controversial person, he was once imprisoned on rape charges.

 6 Tupac Shakur

Tupac Shakur
75
Listed In: Criminals
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: June 16, 1971
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: September 13, 1996

Tupac Amaru Shakur, popularly known as 2Pac or Makaveli, is considered as one of the greatest American rappers of all time. Talent and trouble went hand in hand in Shakur’s journey to fame; the higher Shakur rose in his iconic status, the deeper he became entangled in gang violence and an infamous rivalry, which sadly led to his untimely demise.

 7 Will Smith

Will Smith
9
Listed In: Sportspersons
Famous As: American Football Player
Birthdate: July 4, 1981
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Queens, New York, United States
Died: April 9, 2016
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 8 Will Smith

Will Smith
24
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 25, 1968
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

The charismatic, versatile and bankable American artist, Will Smith, tasted early success with rapping. A successful transition into films and television soon followed and made Smith a phenomenal success. With solid earnings, he has also frequently secured himself a place in the list of highest paid actors in world.

 9 Shock G

Shock G
7
Listed In: Singers
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: August 25, 1963
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: April 22, 2021

 10 Denzel Washington

Denzel Washington
17
Famous As: American actor
Birthdate: December 28, 1954
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Mount Vernon, New York, United States

Actor, director, and producer, Denzel Washington, is famous for portraying strong real-life characters like anti-apartheid activist, Steve Biko, and human rights activist, Malcolm X, in films. Well-built and ruggedly handsome, he became the first black star to be named the Sexiest Man Alive in 1996. 

 11 Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey
17
Listed In: Singers
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: March 27, 1970
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Huntington, New York, United States

Known for her five-octave vocal range and melismatic singing style, singer-songwriter Mariah Carey is one of the best-selling music artists of all time. She holds the record for the most number-one singles by a solo artist and a female songwriter. She was ranked second on VH1's list of the 100 Greatest Women in Music in 2012. 

 12 Jay-Z

Jay-Z
23
Listed In: Singers
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: December 4, 1969
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Jay-Z is an American rapper and songwriter and is one of the world's best-selling music artists. His debut album Reasonable Doubt was hugely successful in 1996 and since then he has gone on to release many more acclaimed and successful albums. He has been charged with assaulting a record executive and was given a three-year probation sentence in January 2000.

 13 The Notorious B.I.G.

The Notorious B.I.G.
21
Listed In: Singers
Famous As: Rapper, Songwriter
Birthdate: May 21, 1972
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: March 9, 1997

The Notorious B.I.G. was a rapper and songwriter and is considered one of the best ever. His debut album Ready to Die in 1994 was critically acclaimed. He was murdered in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles in September 1996. His album Life After Death was released two weeks after his death. 

 14 50 Cent

50 Cent
11
Listed In: Singers
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: July 6, 1975
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Queens, New York City, United States

From selling drugs and getting arrested in his teens to becoming one of the world’s best-selling rappers, Curtis James Jackson III’s journey has been an interesting one. Better known by his stage name 50 Cent, his albums have sold in millions. However, despite being one of the richest celebrities, he filed for bankruptcy protection in 2015 due to financial troubles.

 15 Jean-Michel Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat
9
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Famous As: Artist
Birthdate: December 22, 1960
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: August 12, 1988

Jean-Michel Basquiat was an American artist whose legacy has had an influence upon fashion, film, music, and literature. He serves as an inspiration to street artists as he started off as one, painting graffiti on buildings. After his death, at the age of 27, the value of his work has increased; in 2017, one of his paintings sold for a record $110.5 million.

 16 Jon Jones

Jon Jones
10
Listed In: Sportspersons
Famous As: Mixed Martial Artist
Birthdate: July 9, 1987
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Rochester, New York, United States

Jon Jones, the American professional mixed martial artist, is widely regarded as one of the greatest mixed martial artists ever. He holds many Ultimate Fighting Championship records in the light heavyweight division. However, he has been also been involved in several controversies and has been arrested for felony, hit-and-run charges and has tested positive for banned substances.

 17 Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony
9
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: May 29, 1984
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York

A star basketball player currently with Los Angeles Lakers, Carmelo Anthony was first drafted by Denver Nuggets and played eight seasons with them. Amongst the most prolific scorers in the NBA history, he played another seven season with New York Knicks. At the Olympics, Anthony was part of the teams that won  a bronze medal in 2004 and a goldmedal in 2008, 2012, and 2016.

 18 RZA

RZA
7
Listed In: Singers
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: July 5, 1969
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Brownsville, New York, United States
Rapper RZA leads the hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan and previously performed with Gravediggaz, under the name “The RZArector.” He is also known for his directorial debut, The Man with the Iron Fists; his appearance in films such as American Gangster; and his BAFTA-nominated music in Kill Bill: Volume 1.

 19 Nas

Nas
12
Listed In: Singers
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: September 14, 1973
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Crown Heights, New York, United States

Widely considered one of the greatest rappers ever, Nas has seven platinum and multi-platinum albums under his belt in the US. In 2006, he was ranked fifth on MTV's The Greatest MCs of All Time list. In 2012, he was ranked second on the Top 50 Lyricists of All Time list published by The Source. He is also an entrepreneur.

 20 Whoopi Goldberg

Whoopi Goldberg
25
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: November 13, 1955
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Manhattan

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.

 21 Jordan Peele

Jordan Peele
5
Famous As: Actor, Director
Birthdate: February 21, 1979
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States

 22 Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphy
17
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 3, 1961
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Actor and comedian, Eddie Murphy, is one of the highest-grossing actors in the United States. Beginning his career as a comedian on the TV show Saturday Night Live, he went on to become a bankable movie actor. Also a singer, he has released many studio albums. He has been awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.

 23 6ix9ine

6ix9ine
67
Listed In: Singers
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: May 8, 1996
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bushwick, New York City, New York

A man whose music has been marked by an aggressive style of rapping, 6ix9ine is a figure who is as controversial as he is popular. Making waves in the music scene with his debut album in 2018, the upcoming rapper became involved in a string of sexual offenses and other felonies. Despite his legal issues, he continues to be popular.

 24 Ghostface Killah

Ghostface Killah
8
Listed In: Musicians
Famous As: Musician, Rapper, Singer
Birthdate: May 9, 1970
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York City

 25 Angela Bassett

Angela Bassett
5
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 16, 1958
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Harlem, New York City, 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.

 26 Sean Combs

Sean Combs
7
Listed In: Singers
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: November 4, 1969
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Harlem, New York, United States
Three-time Grammy-winning hip-hop legend Sean Combs, known to fans as Puffy, Puff Daddy, or Diddy, started off as a talent director with Uptown and then launched his own record label. His debut album, No Way Out, was certified 7Xplatinum, and his song I'll Be Missing You topped the Billboard charts. 
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 27 Terance Mann

Terance Mann
2
Listed In: Sportspersons
Famous As: Basketball player
Birthdate: October 18, 1996
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

 28 Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys
9
Listed In: Singers
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: January 25, 1981
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: New York, United States

Singer-songwriter Alicia Keys has been active in the music industry since the mid-1990s. Her debut album was a super hit and earned her five Grammy Awards. She is one of the best-selling artists in the United States and has sold over 40 million albums worldwide. She is also known for her humanitarian work, philanthropy, and activism.

 29 Damon Wayans

Damon Wayans
6
Famous As: Actor
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.

 30 Jimmie Walker

Jimmie Walker
8
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 25, 1947
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: The Bronx, New York, United States
Actor and stand-up comedian Jimmie Walker is best known as James Evans Jr. from the series Good Times, a role that earned him a Golden Globe nomination. He became famous for his signature catchphrase, “Dy-no-mite!” He has also appeared in films such as Super Shark and the series Bustin' Loose.

 31 Teyana Taylor

Teyana Taylor
10
Listed In: Fashion
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: December 10, 1990
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Harlem, New York

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.

 32 Sammy Davis Jr.

Sammy Davis Jr.
4
Listed In: Dancers
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: December 8, 1925
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: May 16, 1990

Nicknamed “Mister Show Business,” posthumous Grammy-winner Samuel Davis Jr. was a multifaceted performer who excelled in dancing, singing, and acting. From delivering vaudeville performances as a child, Samuel graduated to creating Billboard charters and performing with Frank Sinatra as part of the Rat Pack. Sadly, he died in debt.

 33 LL Cool J

LL Cool J
2
Famous As: Rapper, Actor
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.

 34 Cuba Gooding Jr.

Cuba Gooding Jr.
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 2, 1968
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: The Bronx, New York City, New York, United States
Cuba Gooding Jr., son of soul singer Cuba Gooding Sr., shot to fame with his Academy Award-winning role of Rod Tidwell in Jerry Maguire. He has played real-life characters O.J Simpson and Ben Carson on TV. His other notable projects include Pearl Harbor and As Good As It Gets.

 35 Sanaa Lathan

Sanaa Lathan
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: September 19, 1971
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New York City, New York
Sanaa Lathan voiced Donna Tubbs in The Cleveland Show and Family Guy. She has also starred in movies such as Contagion and The Best Man. She delivered a Tony-nominated performance in A Raisin in the Sun and was part of the all-Black cast of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

 36 Keith David

Keith David
3
Famous As: Actor
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.

 37 Neil deGrasse Tyson

Neil deGrasse Tyson
9
Listed In: Scientists
Famous As: Astrophysicist
Birthdate: October 5, 1958
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York, United States

Public Welfare Medal-winning astrophysicist and academic Neil deGrasse Tyson hosted shows such as NOVA ScienceNow, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, and Star Talk. He is the director of Hayden Planetarium and contributed to the dismissal of Pluto’s status as the ninth planet. He has also written a monthly column as "Merlin.”

 38 Michael Jai White

Michael Jai White
9
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: November 10, 1967
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Michael Jai White is an American martial artist and actor. When he portrayed Al Simmons in the film Spawn, White became one of the first black actors to play a major comic book superhero in the history of American film industry. Known for his martial arts skills, White has played leading roles in popular action films like Mortal Kombat: Legacy.

 39 James Baldwin

James Baldwin
11
Listed In: Activists
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: August 2, 1924
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Harlem, New York, United States
Died: December 1, 1987

Amongst the greatest writers of the 20th century and a leading literary voice in the civil rights movement, James Baldwin extensively explored issues like race, sexuality and humanity in his work. His best known work include his debut novel Go Tell It on the Mountain and his books of essays Notes of a Native Son and Nobody Knows My Name.

 40 Vanessa Lynn Williams

Vanessa Lynn Williams
4
Listed In: Fashion
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: March 18, 1963
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: The Bronx, New York, United States

 41 Tracy Morgan

Tracy Morgan
2
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: November 10, 1968
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: The Bronx, New York, United States

 42 Kerry Washington

Kerry Washington
5
Famous As: Actress
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.

 43 Louis Farrakhan

Louis Farrakhan
3
Listed In: Leaders
Famous As: Political Activist
Birthdate: May 11, 1933
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: The Bronx, New York, United States

Louis Farrakhan, formerly known as Louis X, is the leader of the ‘Nation of Islam’ which has been called a black nationalist organisation and a hate group. He has been described as anti-Semitic by monitoring organisations and has been accused of promoting anti-white theology and black superiority over whites. He was banned from Facebook in 2019 for being an extremist.

 44 Glynn Turman

Glynn Turman
2
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 31, 1947
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States

Glynn Turman is an American actor, filmmaker, and writer. In a career spanning over 60 years. Some of the notable characters that he has portrayed are: Lew Miles in the movie Peyton Place, Leroy Jackson in the film Cooley High, and Bradford Taylor in the sitcom A Different World. He has also won several awards like the NAACP Image Award.

 45 Kemba Walker

Kemba Walker
1
Listed In: Sportspersons
Famous As: Basketball player
Birthdate: May 8, 1990
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bronx, New York, USA

 46 Robin Givens

Robin Givens
4
Listed In: Fashion
Famous As: Model, Actress
Birthdate: November 27, 1964
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New York City

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.

 47 Errol Spence Jr.

Errol Spence Jr.
4
Listed In: Sportspersons
Famous As: Professional boxer
Birthdate: March 3, 1990
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Long Island, New York, United States

 48 Ving Rhames

Ving Rhames
1
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 12, 1959
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Harlem, New York City, New York, United States
Ving Rhames, mostly seen as the villain in films such as Con Air and Pulp Fiction, won a Golden Globe Award for his portrayal of real-life boxing promoter Don King in Don King: Only in America. He is also known as Luther Stickell from the Mission: Impossible franchise.

 49 Luther Vandross

Luther Vandross
12
Listed In: Singers
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: April 20, 1951
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York City
Died: July 1, 2005

Luther Vandross was an American record producer and singer-songwriter. As a background vocalist, Vandross contributed to the success of several songs recorded by artists like David Bowie, Diana Ross, and Judy Collins. Regarded as a singer with one of the greatest voices in recorded history, Luther Vandross' works have influenced many artists like D'Angelo, Jaheim, Ne-Yo, John Legend, and Usher.

 50 Busta Rhymes

Busta Rhymes
3
Listed In: Singers
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: May 20, 1972
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: East Flatbush, New York, United States