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
692 235
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

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2
753 297
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
696 191
Viola Davis is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Viola Davis Antwone Fisher, Doubt, The Help

4
673 197
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
557 172
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
461 184
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
465 149
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
468 158
Gabrielle Union is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Gabrielle Union The Honeymooners, Bring It On, Bad Boys II

9
487 260
Whoopi Goldberg is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Whoopi Goldberg Girl, Interrupted, Ghost

10
405 179
Regina King is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Regina King Jerry Maguire, Poetic Justice, Ray

11
491 214
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
343 167
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
374 159
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
376 180
Rosario Dawson is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Rosario Dawson Grindhouse, Rent, Clerks II

15
369 152
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

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16
324 131
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
261 155
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
265 141
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
331 155
Sanaa Lathan is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Sanaa Lathan Something New, Blade, A Raisin in the Sun

20
270 120
Vanessa L. Williams is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Vanessa L. Williams Under the Gun, Eraser, Johnson Family Vacation

21
314 155
Loretta Devine is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Loretta Devine Kingdom Come, Jumping the Broom, Dreamgirls

22
274 54
Zoe Saldana is listed (or ranked) 22 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

23
367 162
Jada Pinkett Smith is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Jada Pinkett Smith The Women, The Matrix Revolutions, Menace II Society

24
344 172
Lupita Nyong'o is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Lupita Nyong'o 12 Years a Slave, Non-Stop, Star Wars: Episode VII

25
312 142
Vivica A. Fox is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Vivica A. Fox Born on the Fourth of July, Independence Day, Kill Bill

26
322 142
Meagan Good is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Meagan Good One Missed Call, Jumping the Broom, Friday

27
220 37
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
211 135
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

29
206 142
Diahann Carroll is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Diahann Carroll Carmen Jones, Paris Blues, Starfest

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30
241 121
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
262 159
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
269 199
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
222 168
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
174 85
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
233 151
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
199 112
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
254 170
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
163 82
Gina Torres is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
mixmaster reid added Gina Torres The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions, Serenity

39
184 131
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
143 67
Nichelle Nichols is listed (or ranked) 40 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

41
209 156
Gabourey Sidibe is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Gabourey Sidibe Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, Tower Heist, Seven Psychopaths

42
183 153
Maya Rudolph is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Maya Rudolph Bridesmaids, The Way, Way Back

43
160 122
Zoë Kravitz is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Zoë Kravitz X-Men: First Class, After Earth, Divergent

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44
172 111
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
186 135
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
90 28
Tracee Ellis Ross is listed (or ranked) 46 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

47
146 129
Margaret Avery is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Margaret Avery Heat Wave, The Color Purple, Welcome Home

48
155 100
Tisha Campbell-Martin is listed (or ranked) 48 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

49
69 15
Jenifer Lewis is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Tom Weiss added Jenifer Lewis Cars, Cast Away, The Princess and the Frog

50
174 137
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Diana Ross Lady Sings the Blues, The Wiz, Mahogany