Every time we glance at the media, we see new stars. The film and television industry is booming with new talented individuals who are making the screen even more entertaining and enjoyable.
There is no doubt that change and variety are something that the media needs. Along with this, we should also not forget about the real legends who have paved their way into the film world. Even though there are numerous renowned actors and actresses, not all of them get the credit they deserve.
Think about it;
Many legendary black actors don’t seem to get enough recognition. As it turns out, the black stars that this article will be covering are on the best in the industry and have made some classic films. Following is a list of the top ten black actors that you all should know.
1. Morgan Freeman
With a strong sense of dialogue and peaceful attitude, Morgan Freeman has managed to win respect and popularity in the American cinematic industry. Freeman was born on June 1, 1937, in Memphis, Tennessee.
He worked as a mechanic for the US Air Force from 1955 to 1959. After that, the youngster went to Los Angeles City College.
His first onstage experience was acting in an all African-American play called Hello, Dolly! Till the 1970s, Morgan continued his drama career and won many awards like Drama Desk and Clarence Derwent awards for his fantastic stage play. He began his television career in 1971 with famous works like Easy Reader, Count Dracula, and Mel Mounds.
As if that’s not enough,
The talented actor also got his first Oscar nomination in 1987 for Street Smart and second Oscar nomination in 1989 for the film version of Driving Miss Daisy. He has appeared in many other award-winning movies and has been an inspiration for other upcoming actors.
2. Denzel Washington
Denzel Washington (also known as Denzel Hayes Washington, Jr.) is another powerful black actor who deserves more recognition than he receives. Washington was born on December 28, 1954, in New York. After high school, he immediately planned to attend Fordham University to pursue a career in journalism. While he was acting in a college dramatics event, he began to enjoy the limelight.
As it turns out,
By the time he graduated, he had decided to move to San Francisco and attend the ACT (American Conservatory Theatre).
Denzel’s first official role as a paid actor was in the play Wings of the Morning held at St. Mary’s City, Maryland. His character’s name was Mathias Da Sousa. After his beginning roles, his acting began to be appreciated in abundance.
He could act out a great variety of different scenes and had a strong sexual presence. Due to these talents, he quickly found many films to star in. He got Oscar nominations for Malcom X (1992) and The Hurricane (1997) and won in 2002 for Training Day (2002).
3. Will Smith
Willard Carroll ‘Will’ Smith, Jr. has received numerous awards and was declared Hollywood’s most powerful actor by Newsweek in April 2007.
But wait there’s more;
Not only is he an actor, but he also qualifies as a comedian, rapper, songwriter, and producer.
He has been nominated for two Academy Awards, five Golden Globe awards, and has won four Grammy awards! He was born on September 25, 1968. It’s a rumor that he did not attend college because he wanted to keep his passion alive for rapping.
Will Smith is the only actor in Hollywood who has eight continuous movies which have crossed over $100 million and eleven movies which have passed over $150 million worldwide! According to Forbes, he’s the most bankable actor in the world.
4. Samuel L. Jackson
This renowned actor has starred amazingly in more than a hundred movies. Some famous ones include Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995), Snakes on a Plane (2006), and the popular Star Wars prequel trilogy (1999-2005).
In the 1970s, Morgan Freeman accompanied Jackson while joining the Negro Ensemble Company. He became popular in the 80s after three films: Do the Right Thing, Mo’ Better Blues, and Jungle Fever.
The films that made him stand out and are some of his classics works in the 90s are Jurassic Park and True Romance.Before his Die Hard with a Vengeance film, he usually went for bad guy roles.
Best of all,
He was an inspiration for the Marvel’s character, Nick Fury. He has also been a part of voice roles for various Pixar films such as The Incredibles (2004).
5. Laurence Fishburne
Laurence Fishburne is one of the most diverse actors of Hollywood. He was born on July 30, 1961, in Augusta, Georgia. This is crazy, but he was in the spotlight at such a young age as he acted in his first play (In My Many Names and Days) in Manhattan when he was just a ten-year-old.
But wait there’s more;
even though he did not receive any formal education regarding acting, he won his first award when he was a twelve-year-old. Laurence got an Oscar nomination with Angela Bassett for their 1993 movie, What’s Love Got to Do With It.
What’s more is that he has always played intriguing roles in films that people did not find as interesting. In 2008, he played the male lead in Crime Scene Investigation and replaced William Peterson.
6. Eddie Murphy
As an intelligent child who spent most of his time living on the streets, he acquired less book knowledge and more skills in stand-up comedies. He was born in Brooklyn, New York on April 3, 1961. At an early age of fifteen, he had already attracted the downtown New York audience with his spot-on stand-up comedies and impressions of famous figures.
Murphy polished his comedian skills further when Not Ready for Prime Time Players of Saturday Night Live (1975) offered him a contract at the age of nineteen. Coming to America (1988) seemed to fail along with his Harlem Nights (1989).
After a few more films, he was back on track, including the famous Nutty Professor (1996). Eddie Murphy had a few ups and downs, but as it turns out, he has learned and groomed himself to quite an extent over the years as a successful comedian. He was also nominated for an Oscar for Dreamgirls (2006).
7. Forest Whitaker
Forest Whitaker has numerous achievements lined up. The one that leads them all is his 6’2″ and 220 lb body! He was born in Longview, Texas on July 15, 1961. He has won various awards which include an Academy Award for his role as a Ugandan dictator in The Last King of Scotland (2006).
He also won a Golden Globe and BAFTA for the same film. After Sidney Poitier, Jamie Foxx, and Denzel Washington, Whitaker is the fourth African-American to win an Academy Award for best actor.
In the beginning,
His focus was on sports as he attended college on a football scholarship. He eventually found his way to acting through music and stage play. His television career began with shows like Diff’rent Strokes (1978) and Cagney and Lacey (1981).
Whitaker has received the most fame and awards for The Last King of Scotland (2006). He also got a star on the Hollywood Walk in 2007.
8. Danny Glover
Danny Glover is a phenomenal actor and a remarkable philanthropist. We have watched him on stage, screen, and television for more than 25 years now. He was born on July 22, 1946, in San Francisco, California.
Most of his acting skills are from training at the Black Actors’ Workshop of the American Conservatory Theatre, which also led him to get his first Oscar nomination for Places in the Heart (1984).
He has started in many other award-winning films such as The Color Purple, Lethal Weapons, To Sleep With Anger, and Missing in America. Besides acting, he has emphasized quite a lot on healthcare, economic crises, and education in the US and Africa.
He was also a Goodwill Ambassador for UNDP during 1998-2004.
9. Sidney Poitier
Poitier did not have such a lavish childhood as we would all expect. He was born in Miami on February 20, 1927, even though he was a native of Cat Island in the Bahamas. Poitier was adamant on removing the differences between the locals and Africans in America.
After he had been rejected in an audition, he spent six months enhancing his accent and acting. The good news is that they accepted him on his second try.
As it turns out,
within some time, he had to choose between major roles that he was offered. He finally achieved his goals of removing the difference between Africans and Americans with his films Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967) and To Sir, With Love (1967).
10. Cuba Gooding Jr.
Cuba Gooding Jr. was an incredibly bright child while growing up. He attended four high schools and was class president in three of them! He was born in New York on January 2, 1968. Before going towards acting, for three years, Cuba practiced Japanese martial arts.
His first major film was Boyz n the Hood (1991) followed by some successful hits such as Lightening Jack (1994) and Outbreak (1995). Cuba won an Academy Award for Jerry Maguire (1996). He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2002.