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1.7k voters

The Best Black Actors & Actresses Under 40

Updated August 5, 2020 14.0k votes 1.7k voters 109.6k views59 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'o1
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    Lupita Nyong'o

    Age: age 36
    • Marvel Cinematic Universe
    • 12 Years a Slave
    • Star Wars Forces of Destiny
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    #77 of 222 The Best Actresses Working Today#511 of 2,443 The Most Influential People of All Time

  • Michael B. Jordan2
    736
    173

    BirthplaceSanta Ana, California, USA

    • Creed
    • Marvel Cinematic Universe
    • Fruitvale Station
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  • Daniel Kaluuya3
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    82

    Daniel Kaluuya

    Age: age 30

    BirthplaceLondon, United Kingdom

    • Get Out
    • Marvel Cinematic Universe
    • Sicario
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    #30 of 45 45 Under 45: The New Class Of Action Stars#54 of 71 The Best Living English Actors

  • Tessa Thompson4
    477
    98

    BirthplaceLos Angeles, California, United States of America

    • Marvel Cinematic Universe
    • Sorry To Bother You
    • Annihilation
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    #78 of 258 The Best Marvel Movie Actors Ever#6 of 53 The Best Latinx Actors and Actresses Under 40

  • Zendaya5
    699
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    Zendaya

    Age: age 23

    BirthplaceOakland, California, United States of America

    • Spider-Man: Homecoming
    • K.C. Undercover
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  • Letitia Wright6
    402
    93

    Letitia Wright

    Age: age 25

    BirthplaceGeorgetown, Guyana

    • Marvel Cinematic Universe
    • Urban Hymn
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  • Donald Glover7
    425
    118

    Donald Glover

    Age: age 36

    BirthplaceLos Angeles, California, United States of America

    • Atlanta
    • Solo: A Star Wars Story
    • The Lion King
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  • Lakeith Stanfield8
    310
    69

    BirthplaceSan Bernardino, California

    • Dope
    • Sorry To Bother You
    • The Purge: Anarchy
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  • Zoë Kravitz9
    322
    84

    BirthplaceVenice, Los Angeles, California, United States of America

    • Mad Max: Fury Road
    • Dope
    • Big Little Lies
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    #205 of 349 The Best American Actresses Working Today#31 of 87 Celebrities Who Should Be A-Listers

  • Winston Duke10
    249
    51

    Winston Duke

    Age: age 32

    BirthplaceArgyle, Trinidad and Tobago

    • Mavel Cinematic Universe
    • Modern Family
    • Us
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  • John Boyega11
    308
    83

    John Boyega

    Age: age 27

    BirthplacePeckham, London, United Kingdom

    • Star Wars cinematic universe
    • Pacific Rim Uprising
    • Attack The Block
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  • Marsai Martin12
    207
    37

    Marsai Martin

    Age: age 15

    BirthplacePlano, Texas

    • Black-ish
    • Little
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  • Janelle Monáe13
    279
    74

    BirthplaceKansas City, Kansas

    • Hidden Figures
    • Welcome to Marwen
    • Dirty Computer
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  • China Anne McClain14
    255
    64

    BirthplaceAtlanta, Georgia, United States of America

    • Black Lightning
    • A.N.T. Farm
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    #81 of 225 The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time#95 of 115 The Best Musical Artists From Georgia

  • John David Washington15
    190
    33

    BirthplaceToluca Lake, Los Angeles, California, United States of America

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  • Amandla Stenberg16
    318
    96

    BirthplaceLos Angeles, California, United States of America

    • The Hunger Games
    • The Hate U Give
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    #764 of 843 The Best Actresses in Film History#62 of 94 The Most Influential Women of 2019

  • Zazie Beetz17
    241
    62

    Zazie Beetz

    Age: age 28
    • Deadpool 2
    • Atlanta
    • Easy
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  • Issa Rae18
    223
    53

    Issa Rae

    Age: age 33
    • Awkward Black Girl
    • Insecure
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  • Caleb McLaughlin19
    166
    33

    Caleb McLaughlin

    Age: age 17
    • Stranger Things
    • The New Edition Story
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    #109 of 120 Who Is The Most Famous Actor In The World Right Now?#7 of 56 The 50+ Best Actors Under 25

  • Yara Shahidi20
    246
    77

    Yara Shahidi

    Age: age 19

    BirthplaceMinneapolis, Minnesota, United States of America

    • Black-Ish
    • Smallfoot
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    #175 of 286 The Most Beautiful Women Of 2021, Ranked#27 of 32 The Next Generation Of Stars (Age 20 and Under)

  • Keke Palmer21
    151
    28

    Keke Palmer

    Age: age 26

    BirthplaceHarvey, Illinois, United States of America

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  • Storm Reid22
    187
    59

    Storm Reid

    Age: age 16
    • A Wrinkle In Time
    • Sleight
    Amazon_watch buy button
  • Jennifer Hudson23
    183
    61

    Jennifer Hudson

    Age: age 38

    BirthplaceUSA, Chicago, Illinois

    • Dreamgirls
    • Chi-Raq
    • Cats
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  • Shameik Moore24
    154
    45

    Shameik Moore

    Age: age 24

    BirthplaceAtlanta, Georgia, United States of America

    • Dope
    • The Get Down
    • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
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  • Aldis Hodge25
    95
    10

    BirthplaceNorth Carolina, United States of America

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    #158 of 191 The Greatest Black Actors in Film History#446 of 461 The Best TV Actors of All Time