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
541 197
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
601 256
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
523 168
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
561 165
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
449 154
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
366 158
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
370 128
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
400 227
Whoopi Goldberg is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Whoopi Goldberg Girl, Interrupted, Ghost

9
338 161
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
404 189
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
355 134
Gabrielle Union is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Gabrielle Union The Honeymooners, Bring It On, Bad Boys II

12
306 160
Rosario Dawson is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Rosario Dawson Grindhouse, Rent, Clerks II

13
279 152
Pam Grier is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Pam Grier Bucktown, Foxy Brown, Jackie Brown

14
298 139
Octavia Spencer is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Octavia Spencer The Help, Beauty Shop, Black or White

15
304 137
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
211 140
Ruby Dee is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Ruby Dee A Thousand Words, Jungle Fever, A Raisin in the Sun

17
253 118
Regina Hall is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Regina Hall Last Holiday, The Honeymooners, Think Like A Man

18
213 131
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
249 141
Loretta Devine is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Loretta Devine Kingdom Come, Jumping the Broom, Dreamgirls

20
280 155
Lupita Nyong'o is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Lupita Nyong'o 12 Years a Slave, Non-Stop, Star Wars: Episode VII

21
301 144
Jada Pinkett Smith is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Jada Pinkett Smith The Women, The Matrix Revolutions, Menace II Society

22
256 141
Sanaa Lathan is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Sanaa Lathan Something New, Blade, A Raisin in the Sun

23
261 130
Vivica A. Fox is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Vivica A. Fox Born on the Fourth of July, Independence Day, Kill Bill

24
257 129
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
211 112
Vanessa L. Williams is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Vanessa L. Williams Under the Gun, Eraser, Johnson Family Vacation

26
195 43
Zoe Saldana is listed (or ranked) 26 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

27
176 124
Hattie McDaniel is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Hattie McDaniel Nothing Sacred, Gone with the Wind, Show Boat

28
220 142
Jennifer Hudson is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Jennifer Hudson The Three Stooges, The Secret Life of Bees, Dreamgirls

29
162 130
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
157 31
Thandie Newton is listed (or ranked) 30 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

31
178 151
Mo'Nique Imes-Jackson is listed (or ranked) 31 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

32
222 178
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
170 114
Phylicia Rashād is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Phylicia Rashād Just Wright, For Colored Girls, A Raisin in the Sun

34
151 99
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
176 140
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
128 71
Della Reese is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
FranciscodeSouza added Della Reese Harlem Nights, Dinosaur, Beauty Shop

37
131 74
Gina Torres is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
mixmaster reid added Gina Torres The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions, Serenity

38
209 156
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
171 141
Gabourey Sidibe is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Gabourey Sidibe Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, Tower Heist, Seven Psychopaths

40
151 143
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
128 109
Zoë Kravitz is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Zoë Kravitz X-Men: First Class, After Earth, Divergent

42
116 60
Nichelle Nichols is listed (or ranked) 42 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

43
142 124
Lisa Bonet is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Lisa Bonet Enemy of the State, High Fidelity, Bank Robber

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44
113 121
Margaret Avery is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Margaret Avery Heat Wave, The Color Purple, Welcome Home

45
119 88
Tisha Campbell-Martin is listed (or ranked) 45 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

46
138 104
Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 46 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

47
139 128
Diana Ross is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Diana Ross Lady Sings the Blues, The Wiz, Mahogany

48
100 66
C. C. H. Pounder is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
mixmaster reid added C. C. H. Pounder Avatar, Face/Off, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

49
131 132
Paula Patton is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time
Paula Patton Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, Idlewild, Jumping the Broom

50
107 89
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