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.

1
1,012 358
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
1,023 268
Viola Davis is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Viola Davis Antwone Fisher, Doubt, The Help

3
1,078 426
Halle Berry is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Halle Berry Jungle Fever, X2, Monster's Ball

4
1,004 296
Taraji P. Henson is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Taraji P. Henson Something New, Four Brothers, Hustle & Flow

5
800 251
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
696 247
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
720 247
Gabrielle Union is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Gabrielle Union The Honeymooners, Bring It On, Bad Boys II

8
694 238
Nia Long is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Nia Long Good Hair, Friday, Boyz n the Hood

9
601 245
Regina King is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Regina King Jerry Maguire, Poetic Justice, Ray

10
705 294
Queen Latifah is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Queen Latifah Jungle Fever, Bringing Down the House, Chicago

11
570 207
Octavia Spencer is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Octavia Spencer The Help, Beauty Shop, Black or White

12
557 246
Rosario Dawson is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Rosario Dawson Grindhouse, Rent, Clerks II

13
483 182
Regina Hall is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Regina Hall Last Holiday, The Honeymooners, Think Like A Man

14
535 197
Alfre Woodard is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Alfre Woodard How to Make an American Quilt, Scrooged, Grand Canyon

15
681 365
Whoopi Goldberg is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Whoopi Goldberg Girl, Interrupted, Ghost

16
471 231
Pam Grier is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Pam Grier Bucktown, Foxy Brown, Jackie Brown

17
569 219
Lupita Nyong'o is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Lupita Nyong'o 12 Years a Slave, Non-Stop, Star Wars: Episode VII

18
364 197
Ruby Dee is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Ruby Dee A Thousand Words, Jungle Fever, A Raisin in the Sun

19
380 178
Dorothy Dandridge is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Dorothy Dandridge Carmen Jones, Island in the Sun, Porgy and Bess

20
486 199
Sanaa Lathan is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Sanaa Lathan Something New, Blade, A Raisin in the Sun

21
504 96
Zoe Saldana is listed (or ranked) 21 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

22
402 174
Vanessa Williams is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Vanessa Williams Under the Gun, Eraser, Johnson Family Vacation

23
453 202
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
454 188
Meagan Good is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Meagan Good One Missed Call, Jumping the Broom, Friday

25
528 226
Jada Pinkett Smith is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Jada Pinkett Smith The Women, The Matrix Revolutions, Menace II Society

26
439 194
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
375 74
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
290 173
Diahann Carroll is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Diahann Carroll Carmen Jones, Paris Blues, Starfest

29
377 159
Phylicia Rashād is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Phylicia Rashād Just Wright, For Colored Girls, A Raisin in the Sun

30
285 171
Hattie McDaniel is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Hattie McDaniel Nothing Sacred, Gone with the Wind, Show Boat

31
359 201
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
399 254
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
272 123
Della Reese is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
FranciscodeSouza added Della Reese Harlem Nights, Dinosaur, Beauty Shop

34
303 147
Kimberly Elise is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Kimberly Elise John Q, Set It Off, The Great Debaters

35
338 194
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

36
304 225
Mo'Nique Imes-Jackson is listed (or ranked) 36 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

37
274 191
Maya Rudolph is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Maya Rudolph Bridesmaids, The Way, Way Back

38
361 221
Whitney Houston is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Whitney Houston The Bodyguard, Sparkle, Waiting to Exhale

39
267 179
Lisa Bonet is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Lisa Bonet Enemy of the State, High Fidelity, Bank Robber

40
245 162
Zoë Kravitz is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Zoë Kravitz X-Men: First Class, After Earth, Divergent

41
200 65
Tracee Ellis Ross is listed (or ranked) 41 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

42
227 130
Gina Torres is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
mixmaster reid added Gina Torres The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions, Serenity

43
241 137
Tisha Campbell-Martin is listed (or ranked) 43 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

44
284 205
Gabourey Sidibe is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Gabourey Sidibe Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, Tower Heist, Seven Psychopaths

45
284 186
Janet Jackson is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Janet Jackson Poetic Justice, Why Did I Get Married, For Colored Girls

46
253 185
Paula Patton is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Paula Patton Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, Idlewild, Jumping the Broom

47
184 108
Nichelle Nichols is listed (or ranked) 47 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

48
198 168
Margaret Avery is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Margaret Avery Heat Wave, The Color Purple, Welcome Home

49
139 46
Lynn Whitfield is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Victoria Richards added Lynn Whitfield Jaws: The Revenge, Silverado, Tyler Perry's Madea's Family Reunion

50
203 138
Tatyana Ali is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
FranciscodeSouza added Tatyana Ali Glory Road, Jawbreaker, Kiss the Girls