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The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40

Updated May 16, 2021 14.9k votes 1.8k voters 120.0k views60 items

From rising stars to Oscar winners, these are the best Black actors and actresses under 40. This list of young Black actors features up and coming celebrities in their 20s, and popular female actors under 30s. These aren't just the best African American actors - famous British Black actors, like John Boyega and Lupita Nyong'o, also appear on the list. We also have included Afro-Latinx actors, like Alfred Enoch and Tessa Thompson. Whether they're child actors or new faces in Hollywood, these young Black actors are on their way to becoming A-listers. 

Who's your pick for the best Black actors under 40 in Hollywood right now? Check out the list of famous young Black actors below and vote up the ones you think are nailing their roles and taking the industry by storm.

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    Lupita Nyong'o

    Age: age 36
    • Marvel Cinematic Universe
    • 12 Years a Slave
    • Star Wars Forces of Destiny

    More Lupita Nyong'o 

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    178
    • Creed
    • Marvel Cinematic Universe
    • Fruitvale Station

    More Michael B. Jordan 

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    Daniel Kaluuya

    Age: age 30
    • Get Out
    • Marvel Cinematic Universe
    • Sicario

    More Daniel Kaluuya 

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    Zendaya

    Age: age 23
    • Spider-Man: Homecoming
    • K.C. Undercover

    More Zendaya 

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    • Marvel Cinematic Universe
    • Sorry To Bother You
    • Annihilation

    More Tessa Thompson 

    #197 of 201 The Best Actresses Working Today#81 of 258 The Best Marvel Movie Actors Ever

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    Letitia Wright

    Age: age 25
    • Marvel Cinematic Universe
    • Urban Hymn
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    76
    • Dope
    • Sorry To Bother You
    • The Purge: Anarchy
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    Donald Glover

    Age: age 36
    • Atlanta
    • Solo: A Star Wars Story
    • The Lion King

    More Donald Glover 

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    • Mad Max: Fury Road
    • Dope
    • Big Little Lies

    More Zoë Kravitz 

    #206 of 272 The Best American Actresses Working Today#32 of 87 Celebrities Who Should Be A-Listers

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    Marsai Martin

    Age: age 15
    • Black-ish
    • Little

    More Marsai Martin 

    #12 of 32 Most Popular Teen Actors And Musicians Of 2021#16 of 30 Coolest Teen Actors and Musicians Of 2019

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    Winston Duke

    Age: age 32
    • Mavel Cinematic Universe
    • Modern Family
    • Us
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    John Boyega

    Age: age 27
    • Star Wars cinematic universe
    • Pacific Rim Uprising
    • Attack The Block

    More John Boyega 

    #95 of 113 The Best English Actors of All Time#20 of 22 Famous People You Never Realized Are British, Ranked By How Surprised You Were When You Found Out

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    • Black Lightning
    • A.N.T. Farm

    More China Anne McClain 

    #80 of 214 The Greatest Black Actresses Of All Time#86 of 115 The Best Musical Artists From Georgia

  • 14
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    More John David Washington 

    #194 of 219 The Greatest Actors Who Have Never Won An Oscar (For Acting)#45 of 103 The Best African-American Film Actors

  • 15
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    Issa Rae

    Age: age 33
    • Awkward Black Girl
    • Insecure
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    293
    80
    • Hidden Figures
    • Welcome to Marwen
    • Dirty Computer

    More Janelle Monáe 

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    Zazie Beetz

    Age: age 28
    • Deadpool 2
    • Atlanta
    • Easy
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    331
    106
    • The Hunger Games
    • The Hate U Give

    More Amandla Stenberg 

    #62 of 94 The Most Influential Women of 2019#47 of 58 The Most Influential Actors Of 2019

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    Caleb McLaughlin

    Age: age 17
    • Stranger Things
    • The New Edition Story

    More Caleb McLaughlin 

    #4 of 57 The 50+ Best Actors Under 25#1 of 33 The Best Black Actors Under 25

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    Yara Shahidi

    Age: age 19
    • Black-Ish
    • Smallfoot

    More Yara Shahidi 

    #288 of 360 The Most Beautiful Women Of 2021, Ranked#27 of 32 The Next Generation Of Stars (Age 20 and Under)

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    Keke Palmer

    Age: age 26

    More Keke Palmer 

    #1401 of 1,883 The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History#34 of 36 The Best Female Pop Singers Of 2020, Ranked

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    More Aldis Hodge 

    #157 of 178 The Greatest Black Actors In Film History#313 of 349 The Best TV Actors And Actresses Of All Time

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    Jennifer Hudson

    Age: age 38
    • Dreamgirls
    • Chi-Raq
    • Cats

    More Jennifer Hudson 

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    Storm Reid

    Age: age 16
    • A Wrinkle In Time
    • Sleight
  • 25
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    Shameik Moore

    Age: age 24
    • Dope
    • The Get Down
    • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse