actresses 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
776 261
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

2
833 330
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
762 219
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
777 211
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
622 187
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
514 202
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
524 165
Nia Long is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Nia Long Good Hair, Friday, Boyz n the Hood

8
446 195
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
522 178
Gabrielle Union is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Gabrielle Union The Honeymooners, Bring It On, Bad Boys II

10
528 281
Whoopi Goldberg is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Whoopi Goldberg Girl, Interrupted, Ghost

11
539 230
Queen Latifah is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Queen Latifah Jungle Fever, Bringing Down the House, Chicago

12
381 176
Pam Grier is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Pam Grier Bucktown, Foxy Brown, Jackie Brown

13
421 172
Octavia Spencer is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Octavia Spencer The Help, Beauty Shop, Black or White

14
414 191
Rosario Dawson is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Rosario Dawson Grindhouse, Rent, Clerks II

The 15 Hottest Actresses You Will Never See Naked on Film

15
404 161
Alfre Woodard is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Alfre Woodard How to Make an American Quilt, Scrooged, Grand Canyon

16
361 137
Regina Hall is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Regina Hall Last Holiday, The Honeymooners, Think Like A Man

17
285 165
Ruby Dee is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Ruby Dee A Thousand Words, Jungle Fever, A Raisin in the Sun

18
294 149
Dorothy Dandridge is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Dorothy Dandridge Carmen Jones, Island in the Sun, Porgy and Bess

19
405 182
Lupita Nyong'o is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Lupita Nyong'o 12 Years a Slave, Non-Stop, Star Wars: Episode VII

20
327 61
Zoe Saldana is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
bigcraig added Zoe Saldana Avatar, Star Trek, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

21
365 163
Sanaa Lathan is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Sanaa Lathan Something New, Blade, A Raisin in the Sun

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22
303 131
Vanessa L. Williams is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Vanessa L. Williams Under the Gun, Eraser, Johnson Family Vacation

23
347 166
Loretta Devine is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Loretta Devine Kingdom Come, Jumping the Broom, Dreamgirls

24
404 177
Jada Pinkett Smith is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Jada Pinkett Smith The Women, The Matrix Revolutions, Menace II Society

25
353 152
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
334 153
Vivica A. Fox is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Vivica A. Fox Born on the Fourth of July, Independence Day, Kill Bill

27
254 44
Thandie Newton is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
bigcraig added Thandie Newton Crash, Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, The Pursuit of Happyness

28
227 142
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

List of Black Movies, Ranked Best to Worst

29
220 148
Diahann Carroll is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Diahann Carroll Carmen Jones, Paris Blues, Starfest

30
266 130
Phylicia Rashād is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Phylicia Rashād Just Wright, For Colored Girls, A Raisin in the Sun

31
280 170
Jennifer Hudson is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Jennifer Hudson The Three Stooges, The Secret Life of Bees, Dreamgirls

32
297 211
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
240 180
Mo'Nique Imes-Jackson is listed (or ranked) 33 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

34
191 93
Della Reese is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
FranciscodeSouza added Della Reese Harlem Nights, Dinosaur, Beauty Shop

35
258 159
Keke Palmer is listed (or ranked) 35 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

Stars Who Passed on Iconic Hollywood Roles

36
220 121
Kimberly Elise is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Kimberly Elise John Q, Set It Off, The Great Debaters

37
281 176
Whitney Houston is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Whitney Houston The Bodyguard, Sparkle, Waiting to Exhale

38
208 136
Lisa Bonet is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Lisa Bonet Enemy of the State, High Fidelity, Bank Robber

39
178 95
Gina Torres is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
mixmaster reid added Gina Torres The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions, Serenity

40
206 159
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
152 75
Nichelle Nichols is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
FranciscodeSouza added Nichelle Nichols Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

42
182 131
Zoë Kravitz is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Zoë Kravitz X-Men: First Class, After Earth, Divergent

The Greatest Black Characters in Film History

43
219 168
Gabourey Sidibe is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Gabourey Sidibe Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, Tower Heist, Seven Psychopaths

44
189 119
Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
ColinBoddy added Tina Turner Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Last Action Hero, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

45
116 35
Tracee Ellis Ross is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Mike Williams Mendes added Tracee Ellis Ross Daddy's Little Girls, Labor Pains, Hanging Up

46
208 145
Janet Jackson is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Janet Jackson Poetic Justice, Why Did I Get Married, For Colored Girls

47
176 106
Tisha Campbell-Martin is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
FranciscodeSouza added Tisha Campbell-Martin Little Shop of Horrors, House Party, Zack and Miri Make a Porno

48
87 21
Jenifer Lewis is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Tom Weiss added Jenifer Lewis Cars, Cast Away, The Princess and the Frog

49
156 137
Margaret Avery is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Margaret Avery Heat Wave, The Color Purple, Welcome Home

50
191 149
Paula Patton is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Paula Patton Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, Idlewild, Jumping the Broom