5 African-American Actors Who Changed Everything

At this year’s Academy Awards, there was not a single nomination for an actor of color. This caused quite a controversy, and rightly so. Watching these recent all-white Oscars might have left viewers with the impression that African Americans have not left their mark on Hollywood.

So now that Oscar season has past, it’s a good time to reflect on how much the movie business is indebted to African-American actors. And it’s a great time for all of us – black or white – to draw inspiration from these five Hollywood powerhouses:

1. Morgan Freeman

He’s been nominated for four Oscars and won one for Million Dollar Baby. He’s been in every sort of movie, from the serious (Driving Miss Daisy) to the light-hearted (The Lego Movie). Freeman deserves to be in the pantheon of great actors from recent decades. The son of a barber and a schoolteacher in Memphis, TN, he got his acting start at age 9, and he’s been developing his craft ever since.

2. Oprah Winfrey

You make think of her as a talk-show host, but remember, Oprah is also a world-class actress. She was nominated for an Oscar for The Color Purpleand has appeared in many other notable films. The “Queen of All Media” has been incredibly supportive of the African-American arts community and is living proof that you don’t need to be white to be a true media mogul.

3. Will Smith

He started out as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, did a bunch of rapping, and then turned into one of the biggest stars in Hollywood with massive hits likeMen in Black and I Am Legend. Now his children Jaden and Willow are taking the world by storm also. Will Smith has brought incredible youthful energy to an industry that is often considered too conservative (and too white!)

4. Tyler Perry

Is there anything Tyler Perry can’t do? His name is on everything: hit movies, TV shows, plays … he’s even a gospel songwriter. He’s been called the next Oprah – he’s building an empire like hers, and sometimes he even dresses like her. That’s right, his Madea movies have grossed over half a billion dollars, with Tyler Perry bending gender stereotypes with his outrageous portrayal of the mischievous matriarch.

5. Halle Berry

She’s won every acting award in the book, but what really makes Halle Berry stand out is her incredible range. Her breakout was the 1992 romantic comedy Boomerang but she’s since gone on to become a Bond girl and the mutant superhero Storm in the X-Men franchise. And perhaps most memorable was her Oscar-winning turn in the gut-wrenching Monster’s Ball. Having accomplished so much, Berry is the ultimate combination of beauty, talent, and class.

4 Responses to “5 African-American Actors Who Changed Everything”

  1. akeim sears

    Im very proud of actors,and behind scenes people.Im also an actor,looking to get out there,and working with people like Oprah,and Tyler Perry.I pray I get the chance.

  2. Marschia Thoms

    I am not an actress, but I love watching the movies and seeing how they make the lives of others come into reality. I would love to work in some capacity within the industry. I have a lot of God given talent that I would love to put to use. I watch the African American stars and I know their stories, it is sad to see that the industry this year doesn’t see any of the people of color as worthy of receiving kind of award. I hope that will change next year.

  3. Hey my name is miracle im from fort pierce fl im 22 years old im a black african american. female im 6″7. I have brown eyes i enjoy acting im outgoing well spoken im energetic im driven im socal i have good manners i have a big personality

  4. Please contact me concerning immediate casting calls. You already have my profile information and head shot picture


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