Photo: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0
Entertainment

The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40 

Ranker Film
Updated April 24, 2020 7.9k votes 1k voters 61k views

List Rules Vote up the young Black actors who are already household names.

It can be difficult to build a notable career as a young celebrity, especially if you're a Black actor or actress. We've put together a list of Black actors and actresses under 40 who are making waves with audiences and winning acclaim for their work in television and film.

We aren't only listing the best African American actors, but famous Black actresses and actors from other countries like John Boyega and Lupita Nyong'o. We also have included Afro-Latinx actors like Alfred Enoch and Tessa Thompson. All of these young Black actors are at different points in their careers, but all of them are owning their space in Hollywood and we can't wait to see where their future takes them!

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.

list ordered by
1
Michael B. Jordan is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
Age: age 32

Birthplace: Santa Ana, California

  • Creed
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe
  • Fruitvale Station
2
Lupita Nyong'o is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
Age: age 36

Birthplace: Mexico City, Mexico

  • Marvel Cinematic Universe
  • 12 Years a Slave
  • Star Wars Forces of Destiny
3
Zendaya is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
Age: age 23

Birthplace: Oakland, California, United States of America

  • Spider-Man: Homecoming
  • K.C. Undercover
4
Tessa Thompson is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
Age: 35

Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States of America

  • Marvel Cinematic Universe
  • Sorry To Bother You
  • Annihilation
5
Donald Glover is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
Age: age 36

Birthplace: Edwards Air Force Base, California

  • Atlanta
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story
  • The Lion King
6
Letitia Wright is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
Age: age 25

Birthplace: Guyana, Georgetown

  • Marvel Cinematic Universe
  • Urban Hymn
7
Daniel Kaluuya is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
Age: age 30

Birthplace: England, London

  • Get Out
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe
  • Sicario
8
Zoë Kravitz is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
Age: 30

Birthplace: Los Angeles, Venice, USA, California

  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Dope
  • Big Little Lies
9
Amandla Stenberg is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
Age: 20

Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States of America

  • The Hunger Games
  • The Hate U Give
10
John Boyega is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
Age: age 27

Birthplace: England, London

  • Star Wars cinematic universe
  • Pacific Rim Uprising
  • Attack The Block
11
Janelle Monáe is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
Age: 33

Birthplace: Kansas City, Kansas

  • Hidden Figures
  • Welcome to Marwen
  • Dirty Computer
12
Lakeith Stanfield is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
Age: age 28

Birthplace: San Bernardino, California

  • Dope
  • Sorry To Bother You
  • The Purge: Anarchy
13
Yara Shahidi is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
Age: age 19

Birthplace: Minneapolis, USA, Minnesota

  • Black-Ish
  • Smallfoot
14
China Anne McClain is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
Age: age 21

Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, USA

  • Black Lightning
  • A.N.T. Farm
15
Zazie Beetz is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
Age: age 28
  • Deadpool 2
  • Atlanta
  • Easy
16
Winston Duke is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
Age: age 32

Birthplace: Argyle, Trinidad and Tobago

  • Mavel Cinematic Universe
  • Modern Family
  • Us
17
Tyler James Williams is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
Age: age 26

Birthplace: USA, New York

18
Issa Rae is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
Issa Rae Age: age 33
  • Awkward Black Girl
  • Insecure
19
Marsai Martin is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
Age: age 15

Birthplace: Plano, Texas

  • Black-ish
  • Little
20
Jennifer Hudson is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
Age: age 38

Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States of America

  • Dreamgirls
  • Chi-Raq
  • Cats
21
Storm Reid is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
Age: age 16
  • A Wrinkle In Time
  • Sleight
22
Shameik Moore is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
Age: age 24

Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America

  • Dope
  • The Get Down
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
23
Gabourey Sidibe is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
Age: age 36

Birthplace: Bedford-Stuyvesant, New York City, New York, United States of America

  • American Horror Story
  • Empire
  • Precious
24
O'Shea Jackson Jr. is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
O'Shea Jackson Jr. Age: age 28
O'Shea Jackson Jr., also known by his stage name OMG, is an American actor and rapper. He is the oldest son of rapper Ice Cube, and portrayed his father in the 2015 biopic Straight Outta ...more
25
Caleb McLaughlin is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
Age: age 17
  • Stranger Things
  • The New Edition Story