film actors The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time  

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List Rules Vote for your favorite black and African-American actresses

This list ranks the very best black and African Americans actresses of all time. Throughout the history of Hollywood, movies have featured talented African American actresses and black actresses from all over the world. These great black actresses have starred in every genre of film from musicals, to dramas to comedies. Some of these black actresses have even won Academy Awards for their work.

Who are some of the greatest African American actresses? Halle Berry made our list. She has starred in memorable movies like Jungle Fever and Monster's Ball. Kerry Washington also appears on this list of the top black actresses. Though she is best known for her work on TV's Scandal, Washington has starred in such movies as Django Unchained and Lakeview Terrace.

Whoopi Goldberg won an Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance in Ghost. She was also nominated for her role in Steven Spielberg's The Color Purple. Jackie Brown actress Pam Grier also made this list, as did the striking Think Like a Man beauty, Meagan Good.

Who do you think is the best African American actress in the history of film? Did we include all of your favorite black actresses on this list? Vote on this list and share your thoughts in the comments section.
list ordered by

1
+ - 457 166
Angela Bassett is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Angela Bassett Jumping the Broom, Boyz n the Hood, How Stella Got Her Groove Back

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2
+ - 493 212
Halle Berry is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Halle Berry Jungle Fever, X2, Monster's Ball

3
+ - 416 148
Taraji P. Henson is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Taraji P. Henson Something New, Four Brothers, Hustle & Flow

4
+ - 443 148
Viola Davis is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Viola Davis Antwone Fisher, Doubt, The Help

5
+ - 377 134
Kerry Washington is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Kerry Washington A Thousand Words, Django Unchained, Lakeview Terrace

6
+ - 296 137
Cicely Tyson is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Cicely Tyson Because of Winn-Dixie, The Help, Alex Cross

7
+ - 345 207
Whoopi Goldberg is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Whoopi Goldberg Girl, Interrupted, Ghost

8
+ - 287 143
Regina King is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Regina King Jerry Maguire, Poetic Justice, Ray

9
+ - 301 112
Nia Long is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Nia Long Good Hair, Friday, Boyz n the Hood

10
+ - 249 136
Pam Grier is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Pam Grier Bucktown, Foxy Brown, Jackie Brown

11
+ - 266 144
Rosario Dawson is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Rosario Dawson Grindhouse, Rent, Clerks II

12
+ - 340 175
Queen Latifah is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Queen Latifah Jungle Fever, Bringing Down the House, Chicago

13
+ - 263 123
Alfre Woodard is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Alfre Woodard How to Make an American Quilt, Scrooged, Grand Canyon

14
+ - 250 127
Octavia Spencer is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Octavia Spencer The Help, Beauty Shop, Black or White

15
+ - 277 122
Gabrielle Union is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Gabrielle Union The Honeymooners, Bring It On, Bad Boys II

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16
+ - 182 128
Ruby Dee is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Ruby Dee A Thousand Words, Jungle Fever, A Raisin in the Sun

17
+ - 183 119
Dorothy Dandridge is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Dorothy Dandridge Carmen Jones, Island in the Sun, Porgy and Bess

18
+ - 192 108
Regina Hall is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Regina Hall Last Holiday, The Honeymooners, Think Like A Man

19
+ - 231 112
Vivica A. Fox is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Vivica A. Fox Born on the Fourth of July, Independence Day, Kill Bill

20
+ - 227 138
Lupita Nyong'o is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Lupita Nyong'o 12 Years a Slave, Non-Stop, Star Wars: Episode VII

21
+ - 202 130
Loretta Devine is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Loretta Devine Kingdom Come, Jumping the Broom, Dreamgirls

22
+ - 242 131
Jada Pinkett Smith is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Jada Pinkett Smith The Women, The Matrix Revolutions, Menace II Society

23
+ - 180 104
Vanessa L. Williams is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Vanessa L. Williams Under the Gun, Eraser, Johnson Family Vacation

24
+ - 208 132
Sanaa Lathan is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Sanaa Lathan Something New, Blade, A Raisin in the Sun

25
+ - 210 117
Meagan Good is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Meagan Good One Missed Call, Jumping the Broom, Friday

26
+ - 189 131
Jennifer Hudson is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Jennifer Hudson The Three Stooges, The Secret Life of Bees, Dreamgirls

27
+ - 144 120
Diahann Carroll is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Diahann Carroll Carmen Jones, Paris Blues, Starfest

28
+ - 148 117
Hattie McDaniel is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Hattie McDaniel Nothing Sacred, Gone with the Wind, Show Boat

29
+ - 133 39
Zoe Saldana is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Zoe Saldana Avatar, Star Trek, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

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30
+ - 116 27
Thandie Newton is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Thandie Newton Crash, Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, The Pursuit of Happyness

31
+ - 154 141
Mo'Nique Imes-Jackson is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Mo'Nique Imes-Jackson Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, Soul Plane, Welcome Home

32
+ - 191 163
Oprah Winfrey is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Oprah Winfrey Beloved, The Color Purple, The Butler

33
+ - 160 128
Gabourey Sidibe is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Gabourey Sidibe Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, Tower Heist, Seven Psychopaths

34
+ - 125 89
Kimberly Elise is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Kimberly Elise John Q, Set It Off, The Great Debaters

35
+ - 140 108
Phylicia Rashād is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Phylicia Rashād Just Wright, For Colored Girls, A Raisin in the Sun

36
+ - 118 67
Gina Torres is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Gina Torres The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions, Serenity

37
+ - 146 134
Keke Palmer is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Keke Palmer Tyler Perry's Madea's Family Reunion, Joyful Noise, Akeelah and the Bee

38
+ - 181 147
Whitney Houston is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Whitney Houston The Bodyguard, Sparkle, Waiting to Exhale

39
+ - 99 65
Della Reese is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Della Reese Harlem Nights, Dinosaur, Beauty Shop

40
+ - 134 133
Maya Rudolph is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Maya Rudolph Bridesmaids, The Way, Way Back

41
+ - 99 52
Nichelle Nichols is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Nichelle Nichols Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

42
+ - 123 115
Lisa Bonet is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Lisa Bonet Enemy of the State, High Fidelity, Bank Robber

43
+ - 104 103
Zoë Kravitz is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Zoë Kravitz X-Men: First Class, After Earth, Divergent

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44
+ - 126 94
Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Tina Turner Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Last Action Hero, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

45
+ - 94 111
Margaret Avery is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Margaret Avery Heat Wave, The Color Purple, Welcome Home

46
+ - 120 117
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Diana Ross Lady Sings the Blues, The Wiz, Mahogany

47
+ - 86 60
C. C. H. Pounder is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
C. C. H. Pounder Avatar, Face/Off, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

48
+ - 91 81
Tatyana Ali is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Tatyana Ali Glory Road, Jawbreaker, Kiss the Girls

49
+ - 94 83
Tisha Campbell-Martin is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Tisha Campbell-Martin Little Shop of Horrors, House Party, Zack and Miri Make a Porno

50
+ - 104 106
Joy Bryant is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Joy Bryant Antwone Fisher, Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins