40 and Fabulous: Top 10 Remarkable Black Actresses in Their 40s

black actresses in their 40s

Many people think working in the film and television industry has its age limits, but this is far from the truth. Black talent is ageless – and the many talented Black actresses in their 40s working in the industry today are living proof!

With plenty of roles and accolades under their belts, the following Black actresses in their 40s show the world that they still have plenty to offer to film and television. Here’s our list of the top 10 remarkable Black actresses in their 40s whose body of work you need to consume and whose upcoming projects you should watch out for!

1. Kerry Washington (Age 46)

Who doesn’t love some Kerry Washington? This 46-year-old actress is proving that talent and beauty don’t have an expiration date. Washington is known for her seemingly effortless talent in roles like Scandal (2012-2018), Django Unchained (2012), and Ray (2004), where she’s delivered powerhouse performance after performance and shown her endless versatility and adaptability.

Washington’s talent knows no age, and as her career progresses, we can’t wait to see what she has planned. All we know is that we’ll be seated and eagerly awaiting whatever Washington brings to the table!

2. Naomie Harris (Age 47)

An up-and-coming talent, Naomie Harris proves that there’s no age limit to reach your peak success. Perhaps best known for her breathtaking performance as Chiron’s mother in Moonlight (2016), Harris has shown her ability to adapt to fit any role she plays in parts like 28 Days Later (2002), Skyfall (2012), and The Man Who Fell to Earth (2022).

With nominations from the Academy Awards, BAFTA Awards, Critics Choice Awards, Golden Globes, and many more, there’s no denying that Harris is a powerhouse performer. With upcoming projects in the works, we’re excited to see what Harris offers next – and we’re certain we’ll love whatever it is!

3. Zoe Saldana (Age 45)

Next on our list of trailblazers is another remarkable Black actress in her 40s: Zoe Saldana. Perhaps most known for her roles in Avatar (2009), Avatar: The Way of Water (2022), and Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Saldana brings a lot to the table in terms of Black excellence.

Saldana’s undeniable charm and stunning acting abilities prove that age doesn’t dictate talent – and, in fact, many actors only get better and better with age! Saldana already has numerous upcoming projects underway, with plans to expand the Avatar series to at least five films where Saldana will continue shining bright!

4. Rashida Jones (Age 47)

You might know her and love her as the sweetheart Ann Perkins from the sitcom Parks and Recreation (2009-2015), but Rashida Jones has plenty of entries in her acting career that have earned her a spot on our list of the top 10 remarkable Black actresses in their 40s.

Roles like her performance in The Social Network (2010), I Love You, Man (2009), and The Office (2006-2011) have shown her range and ability to transition from comedic roles to dramatic ones with ease. Whether you associate her with her humor or her earnestness, there’s one thing for certain: Rashida Jones is an enduring talent we all want more of in the future.

5. Beyoncé (Age 42)

When it comes to the best actresses in their 40s, Beyoncé might not be the first person who comes to mind since she’s so loved and known for her beautiful singing voice. However, the star is far more than a pretty voice – she’s also a trailblazing actress with versatility in plenty of iconic roles.

Whether you associate her acting career with her recognizable role in Dreamgirls (2006), Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002), or her voice acting role in The Lion King (2019), one thing is certain: Beyoncé should be just as appreciated for her powerful acting career as she is for her breathtaking vocal talent.

6. Brandy Norwood (Age 44)

Whether you know her for her singing and songwriting career or her acting career, there’s no doubt that Brandy Norwood is a deserving candidate for our favorite actresses in their 40s. Beyond her incredible musical abilities, Norwood holds several iconic acting roles – namely, her memorable role as Moesha Mitchell in the series Moesha (1996-2001) and other roles like her appearance in I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998).

From comedy to drama and horror, there’s no underestimating the range that Norwood has and the breath of fresh air she brings to our screens. With more acting gigs and music numbers to come, we can’t wait to see how Norwood takes her game to the next level! 

7. Bianca Lawson (Age 44)

Speaking of ageless actresses in their 40s, Bianca Lawson is an undeniable talent that shines brighter every passing year. Lawson is known for her significant roles in films like Save the Last Dance (2001) and The Feast of All Saints (2001) and smaller roles such as her appearances in teen dramas like The Vampire Diaries (2009-2014) and Teen Wolf (2012-2014).

Lawson’s versatility makes her a true talent for all ages, no matter your media preferences. As she practically ages in reverse, we’re certain that there’s more to come for Lawson, and we eagerly await her next ventures!

8. Tika Sumpter (Age 43)

Known for her role as Alicia in Mixed-ish (2019-2021) and other starring roles in projects like Southside with You (2016), Sonic the Hedgehog (2020), and The Old Man & The Gun (2018), Tika Sumpter is proof that you can be a rising star even in your 40s! Sumpter’s growing talent shows that 40 is the new 20, and she serves as an amazing inspiration for Black women getting started in the industry at an age when many people falsely assume the glory days are gone.

Through her versatile performances and increasing star power, Sumpter has proven herself a force to be reckoned with in the modern acting world and one that we’re happily sitting back and watching take over.

9. Tyra Banks (Age 49)

While you might associate her with her prosperous modeling career and as the leader of the hit series America’s Next Top Model, Tyra Banks has done her fair share of acting to earn her spot on our list of the top 10 Black actresses in their 40s. Banks shines in productions like Coyote Ugly (2000) and has plenty of guest appearances in hits like Glee (2013), Black-ish (2016), and Insecure (2021).

While the roles might be small, Banks’s star power always shines through, making it impossible for the audience to turn away when Banks is on screen – and all at the age of 49!

10. Eve (Age 44)

This is another entry that you might not associate immediately with acting, but Eve deserves a spot on our list. While she’s known for her vibrant rapping and singing career, Eve has plenty of acting experience under her belt. Eve is known for roles in Barbershop (2002) and Whip It (2009) and has minor roles in series like Happy Together (2018) and Jane the Virgin (2018). Though we’re always looking forward to what music Eve offers next, we can’t deny that we want more from her acting career, too!

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