The Ten Best Black Actresses in Hollywood -40 and Under

Aug 23, 2007

The Bottom Line The Ten Most Talented Young, Black Actresses in Hollywood.

Yet again, another list from me. Over the past few weeks, really ever since J-Hud won her Oscar, I have been contemplating putting together this list of who I feel are the ten best Black Actresses in Hollywood 40 years of age and under. This list only considers those actresses who have a presence in film, not television actresses, which I consider to be a different category. We have the great divas such as Angela Bassett, Alfre Woodard,Diahann Carroll, Halle Berry,Whoopi Goldberg, and countless other Black actresses from different generations who have shined in the spotlight and have illuminated the silver screen. This list recognizes the best of the new faces. My choices, in no particular order are:

Kerry Washington

Kerry Washington just lights up any film that she appears in, and as of late has been one of the brightest burning lights in Hollywood. With stellar performances in Ray as Della Bea Robinson and in The Last King of Scotland as Kay Amin, I predict Oscar prospects will definitely be floating her way.

Thandi Newton

The mesmerizing star of Crash, Beloved, Jefferson in Paris, and The Pursuit of Happyness, Thandi Newton has the amazing ability to pull off powerful and often gut-wrenching performances with ease. She evokes drama and tears with the ease of Sally Field. An Oscar certainly should be in her future.

Jennifer Hudson

Oh what can be said about the magnificent J-Hud, surprise star of the hit film Dreamgirls, that has not already been said? With the best film debut and quickest road to celebrity since Barbra Streisand, J-Hud(with Oscar already in hand) has one of the brightest futures in Hollywood.

Rosario Dawson

Rosario Dawson is one of the biggest talents in Hollywood today. Of mixed heritage, her performance in Rent as Mimi is enough to put her on this list.

Tracie Thomas

Another rising star from Rent, Tracie Thomas is one of the most under-rated actresses in Hollywood. Her performances in Rent and The Devil Wears Prada are among the best to come out of Hollywood in recent years. With all of that, I have never seen her in a leading role, which is a shame. Her talent should definitely be put to use in brighter and more visible roles.

Queen Latifah

All hail the Queen. With an Oscar nod for her spectacular performance in Chicago and other worthy performances in Beauty Shop, Life Support, and Hairspray, the queen is one ofthe world's most talented actresses.

Jada Pinkett Smith

The other half of one of Hollywood's royal couples, Jada Pinkett-Smith outshines her husband as one of the brightest talents on screen today. Her performance as the reluctant, gun-wielding defender of integrity in Bamboozled was absolutely worthy of being noticed by the academy. With another stellar performance in Ali, Jada Pinkett-Smith certainly holds her own as a member of Hollywood royalty.

Regina King

One of the most unforgettable performances of the new millennium is Regina King, the little girl from 227 all grown up, playing lead singer of the Raelettes, Margie Hendrix. One can't forget that scene where Regina/Margie calls Ray at his new home with his wife in order to lure him to her hotel room or again when a jealous Margie lashes out at the other Raelettes. Regina King brought an edge to the tragic life of Margie Hendrix, one that should have been considered by the academy. This role alone makes her one of the best Black actresses in Hollywood.

Sharon Warren

There was little talk about Sharon Warren amidst the buzz about Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington, and Regina King with the release of Ray. Sharon Warren's performance was just as strong as any delivered in the film, and indeed the funeral scene, with the burial of Ray Charles' younger brother, was the most touching scene in the entire film. I expect to see a lot more from this actress.

Marianne Jean-Baptiste

Marianne Jean-Baptiste has been popping up in films all over the place ever since the 1996 sneaker hit, Secrets and Lies. What a sensational, shocking, and utterly gripping film that was.In all of her roles, Marianne comes off as an elegant,refined, and poised woman, bringing a certain grace to every film she is in.She is a welcomed import from the British Isles and definitely should be at the forefront of the Hollywood film industry.

Honorable Mention:
Macy Gray in Idlewild and Lackawanna Blues

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