Celebrities The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40  

Ranker Film
871 votes 82 voters 3.8k views 51 items

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
36 6
Michael B. Jordan is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
age 31
  • Creed
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe
  • Fruitvale Station
Michael Bakari Jordan is an American actor. He is best known for his roles as East Dillon High School quarterback Vince Howard in Friday Night Lights, teenage drug dealer Wallace in The Wire, ...more

2
31 6
Lupita Nyong'o is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
age 35
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe
  • 12 Years a Slave
  • Star Wars Forces of Destiny
Lupita Nyong'o is a Mexican-Kenyan actress and film director. She was born in Mexico, but was raised in Kenya. She attended college in the United States, earning a Bachelor's degree in film and ...more

3
32 7
Donald Glover is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
age 32
  • Atlanta
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story
  • The Lion King
Donald McKinley Glover, also known by his stage name Childish Gambino, is an American actor, writer, comedian, rapper, singer, and producer. He first came to attention for his work with Derrick ...more

4
25 5
Tessa Thompson is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
age 34
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe
  • Sorry To Bother You
  • Annihilation
Tessa Lynne Thompson is an American actress. She played Jackie Cook on the television noir Veronica Mars, Nyla Adrose in the film For Colored Girls, and civil rights activist Diane Nash in

5
24 5
Danai Gurira is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
age 40
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe
  • The Walking Dead
  • Mother of George
Danai Jekesai Gurira is a Zimbabwean-American actress and playwright, best known for her role as Michonne on The Walking Dead, an AMC television horror drama series.

6
23 6
Daniel Kaluuya is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
age 28
  • Get Out
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe
  • Sicario
Daniel Kaluuya is an English actor, comedian and writer, who is best known for playing Posh Kenneth in the E4 teen-drama Skins. He also appeared in the BBC dark comedy series Psychoville playing ...more

7
18 4
Issa Rae is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
age 33
  • Awkward Black Girl
  • Insecure
Jo-Issa "Issa" Rae Diop (born January 12, 1985) is an American actress, writer, director, producer, and web series creator. She is best known as the creator, co-writer and star of the ...more

8
18 4
Anthony Mackie is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
age 39 Anthony D. Mackie is an American actor. He has been featured in feature films, television series, and Broadway and Off-Broadway plays, including Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Drowning Crow, McReele, ...more

9
16 3
Amandla Stenberg is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
age 19
  • The Hunger Games
  • The Hate U Give
Amandla Stenberg is an American actress and voice actress. She is best known for her portrayal of young Cataleya in Colombiana and Rue in The Hunger Games.

10
19 6
Zendaya is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
age 21
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming
  • K.C. Undercover
Zendaya Maree Stoermer Coleman, known simply as Zendaya, is an American actress, singer and dancer. She began performing at an early age with the dance group Future Shock Oakland, the California ...more

11
13 2
Zoë Kravitz is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
age 29
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Dope
  • Big Little Lies
Zoë Isabella Kravitz is an American actress, singer and model. She is the daughter of musician Lenny Kravitz and actress Lisa Bonet. She has appeared in the films No Reservations, The Brave ...more

12
17 6
Gabourey Sidibe is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
age 34
  • American Horror Story
  • Empire
  • Precious
Gabourey Sidibe is an American actress who made her acting debut in the 2009 film Precious, a role that brought her a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress. From 2010 to 2013, she ...more

13
17 6
Letitia Wright is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
age 22
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe
  • Urban Hymn
Letitia Wright is an actress.

14
17 6
Janelle Monae is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
age 32
  • Hidden Figures
  • Welcome to Marwen
  • Dirty Computer
Janelle Monáe Robinson, is an American psychedelic soul and R&B singer-songwriter, composer, and record producer signed to Bad Boy Records, Wondaland Art Society and Atlantic Records. ...more

15
13 3
Nate Parker is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
age 38 Nate Parker is an American actor and musical performer who has appeared in Beyond the Lights, Red Tails, The Secret Life of Bees, The Great Debaters, Arbitrage, Non-Stop, Felon and Pride. He was ...more

16
16 6
Rosario Dawson is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
age 38
  • Marvel/Netflix Universe
  • Sin City
  • Josie and the Pusscats
Rosario Dawson is an American actress, singer, and writer. She has appeared in films such as Kids, Men in Black II, 25th Hour, Sin City, Clerks II, Rent, Death Proof, The Rundown, Eagle Eye, ...more

17
11 2
Jason Mitchell is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
age 31
  • Straight Outta Compton
  • Kong: Skull Island
  • Mudbound
Jason Mitchell is an actor.

18
13 4
China Anne McClain is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
age 19
  • Black Lightning
  • A.N.T. Farm
China Anne McClain is an American singer-songwriter, actress, dancer and member of the girl group McClain. China's career began in 2005 when she was seven years old acting in the movie The ...more

19
15 6
Tyler James Williams is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
age 25
  • The Walking Dead
  • Everybody Hates Chris
Tyler James Williams is an American actor and rapper. He is most recognizable for having played the title character of the Chris Rock-inspired sitcom Everybody Hates Chris, and songwriter Cyrus ...more

20
15 6
Yara Shahidi is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
age 18
  • Black-Ish
  • Smallfoot
Yara Shahidi is an actress.

21
12 4
Zazie Beetz is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
age 27
  • Deadpool 2
  • Atlanta
  • Easy
Zazie Beetz is a German-American actress known for the role of Vanessa "Van" Kiefer on Atlanta. In 2016, she appeared in the Netflix anthology series Easy, and in 2018, played Marvel ...more

22
13 5
Jay Ellis is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
Jay Ellis age 36
  • Top Gun: Maverick
  • The Game
  • Insecure
Jay Ellis is an actor.

23
13 5
John Boyega is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
age 26
  • Star Wars cinematic universe
  • Pacific Rim Uprising
  • Attack The Block
John Boyega is an actor.

24
14 6
Lakeith Stanfield is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
age 24
  • Dope
  • Sorry To Bother You
  • The Purge: Anarchy
Lakeith Lee Stanfield (born August 12, 1991), sometimes credited as Keith Stanfield, is an American actor and rapper. He made his feature film debut in Short Term 12 (2013), for which he was ...more

25
11 4
Shameik Moore is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
age 22
  • Dope
  • The Get Down
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Shameik Moore is an American singer, actor, rapper, dancer, model, best known for starring in the sketch-comedy series, Incredible Crew that aired on Cartoon Network.

26
15 8
Kevin Hart is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
age 38
  • Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
  • Central Intelligence
  • Ride Along
Kevin Darnell Hart is an American actor, comedian, writer, and producer. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Hart began his career by winning several amateur comedy competitions at ...more

27
9 3
Kiersey Clemons is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
age 24 Kiersey Clemons is an American actress and singer. Clemons is best known for her role as Diggy, the female lead in the Sundance award winning film, DOPE, and as Bianca in the award winning TV ...more

28
10 4
Raven-Symoné is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
age 32
  • Kim Possible
  • That's So Raven
  •  
Raven-Symoné Christina Pearman is an American actress, comedian, model, singer, songwriter, dancer, and television producer. She first appeared on television in 1989 on The Cosby Show as ...more

29
12 6
Tatyana Ali is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
age 39 Tatyana Marisol Ali is an American actress, model and R&B singer, best known for her childhood role as Ashley Banks on the NBC sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Since January 2010, she has ...more

30
13 7
Jennifer Hudson is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
age 36
  • Dreamgirls
  • Chi-Raq
  • Cats
Jennifer Kate Hudson is an American singer, actress and spokesperson. She rose to fame in 2004 as a finalist on the third season of American Idol, coming in seventh place. As an actress, she ...more

31
10 5
Nick Cannon is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
age 37
  • Chi-Raq
  • Love Don't Cost A Thing
Nicholas Scott "Nick" Cannon is an American actor, rapper, entrepreneur, record producer, and radio and television personality. On television, Cannon began as a teenager on All That ...more

32
8 3
O'Shea Jackson Jr. is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
O'Shea Jackson Jr. age 27 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

33
8 3
Alfred Enoch is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
age 29 Alfred "Alfie" Lewis Enoch is an English actor. In 2014, Enoch began starring as Wes Gibbins in the ABC legal drama series, How to Get Away with Murder. He is also known for his ...more

34
7 3
Nafessa Williams is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
age 28
  • Black Lightning
  • Twin Peaks
Nafessa Williams is an actress.

35
8 5
Yaya DaCosta is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
age 35
  • Whitney
  • Chicago Med
Yaya DaCosta is an American actress and fashion model. She was the runner-up in Cycle 3 of America's Next Top Model. Following her marriage to Joshua Bee Alafia in June 26, 2012, she has taken ...more

36
8 5
Quvenzhané Wallis is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
age 14 Quvenzhané Wallis is an American actress, model, and singer. She is known for her role as Hushpuppy in the critically acclaimed drama film Beasts of the Southern Wild, for which she ...more

37
7 4
Nicole Beharie is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
age 33
  • Sleepy Hollow
  • Shame
  • 42
Nicole Beharie is an American actress. She is known for her roles in the drama film American Violet, the drama Shame, which is about a man's sexual addiction, and the biographical sports drama ...more

38
9 7
Winston Duke is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
age 31
  • Mavel Cinematic Universe
  • Modern Family
  • Us
Winston Duke (born November 15, 1986) is a Tobagonian-American actor. He is best known for his role of M'Baku in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, starting with Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity ...more

39
7 5
Dascha Polanco is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
Dascha Polanco age 35
  • Orange Is the New Black
  • The Assassination of Gianni Versace
Dascha Polanco is a Dominican-American actress.

40
9 8
Jaden Smith is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
age 19
  • The Pursuit of Happyness
  • The Get Down
Jaden Christopher Syre Smith is an American actor and rapper. He is the son of actors Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, elder brother of singer Willow Smith and younger half-brother of Trey ...more

41
6 5
Ruth Negga is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
age 36
  • Preacher
  • Loving
  • Marvel's Agent sof S.H.I.E.L.D.
Jane Ruth Negga is an Ethiopian-Irish actress known for her appearances in films such as Capital Letters, Isolation and Breakfast on Pluto, in the BBC mini-series Criminal Justice, RTÉ's ...more

42
5 4
Brandon T. Jackson is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
age 34
  • Percy Jackson series
  • Tropic Thunder
Brandon Timothy Jackson is an American stand-up comedian, rapper, actor, and writer. He is best known for his roles in the films Roll Bounce, Tropic Thunder, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: ...more

43
4 3
Brian Tyree Henry is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
age 36
  • If Beale Street Could Talk
  • White Boy Rick
  • Hotel Artemis
Brian Tyree Henry is an actor.

44
5 5
Alexandra Shipp is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
age 27
  • X-Men franchise
  • Love, Simon
  • Straight Outta Compton
Alexandra Shipp is an actor.

45
4 4
Storm Reid is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
age 14
  • A Wrinkle In Time
  • Sleight
Storm Reid is an actress.

46
3 3
Corey Hawkins is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
Corey Hawkins age 29
  • Straight Outta Compton
  • The Walking Dead
  • BlacKkKlansman
Corey Antonio Hawkins is an American actor and singer. He is best known for his roles in the TV series The Walking Dead and 24: Legacy, as well as his portrayal of Dr. Dre in the 2015 film ...more

47
3 4
Arjay Smith is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
age 34 Arjay L. Smith is an American actor best known for his teenage role portraying the titular character of the Nickelodeon children's television series, The Journey of Allen Strange. Smith ...more

48
3 4
Mj Rodriguez is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
Mj Rodriguez age 27
  • Pose
  • Saturday Church

49
2 4
Omar Sy is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
age 40
  • The Intouchables
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past
  • Jurassic World
Omar Sy is a French actor and comedian. He is best known for his duo with Fred Testot, Omar et Fred, and for his role in The Intouchables. He received a César Award for Best Actor on 24 ...more

50
0 2
Jason Dirden is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40
dirdyfox added Jason Dirden