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The Greatest Black Actresses of All Time

Updated September 28, 2020 101.3k votes 6.3k voters 185.9k views225 items

List RulesVote up the black and African-American actresses, living or passed, with the most consistent top acting performances.

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.
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  • Viola Davis2
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  • Kerry Washington3
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    BirthplaceWashington, D.C., USA

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  • Halle Berry6
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    BirthplaceCleveland, Ohio, United States of America

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  • Thandie Newton7
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  • Regina King8
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    BirthplaceWashington, D.C., United States of America

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  • Vanessa Williams14
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    BirthplaceMillwood, New York, United States of America

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  • Octavia Spencer15
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    BirthplaceMontgomery, Alabama

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  • Nia Long16
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    Nia Long

    Age: 45

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York, USA

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  • Alfre Woodard17
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    BirthplaceTulsa, Oklahoma, USA

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  • Meagan Good18
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    BirthplacePanorama City, Los Angeles, California, United States of America

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  • Jada Pinkett Smith19
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  • Rosario Dawson20
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    BirthplaceNew York City, New York, United States of America

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  • Ruby Dee21
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    Ruby Dee

    Age: Died at 92 (1922-2014)

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  • Vivica A. Fox22
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  • Queen Latifah23
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    BirthplaceNewark, New Jersey, USA

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  • Lena Horne25
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    Lena Horne

    Age: Died at 93 (1917-2010)

    BirthplaceBedford-Stuyvesant, New York City, New York, USA

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