Over the years, we’ve been fortunate to see many black artists who broke through artistic barriers, pioneered acting styles, and captured the hearts of audiences across a wide range of genres. When it comes to black actors who have mastered their wide-ranging roles, some incredibly talented individuals are out there. So, who are some of the most famous black actors walking the planet?
We’ve compiled a list of the most famous black actors walking the planet today. These famous black actors have made the list through a combination of followers on social media, awards and achievements they’ve earned, and, of course, famous roles they’re known for. Here are some of the most famous black male actors alive today, in no particular order:
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson started his career as a professional wrestler, earning him a solid place in many viewers’ hearts early on. He started acting in the late 90’s and, over the next decades, built himself up as one of the most well-known actors in Hollywood, with a long range of well-known roles in movies such as The Scorpion King, The Other Guys, Fast Five, and Central Intelligence. Audiences often love his gritty action-hero portrayal of some of his most beloved characters.
Over the years, Johnson has won numerous accolades, such as several Kids Choice Awards as well as numerous nominations, an LEO Awards nomination, a Critics Choice Super Awards nomination, and numerous NAACP Image Awards nominations. With 387 million followers on Instagram at the time of writing, it’s clear that The Rock is one of the most famous black actors walking the planet today.
Kevin Hart is known for wearing multiple hats—having gotten his start as a stand-up comic, Kevin Hart has since won over audiences in a range of roles in films such as Ride Along, Central Intelligence, and The Secret Life of Pets.
Hart is known for his energetic storytelling abilities, his exciting characters, and his sometimes self-deprecating brand of humor that audiences often feel they can connect with on a human level.
With 178 million followers on Instagram at the time of writing, Kevin Hart is certainly one of the most famous black actors alive today. Combined with his prolific career in comedy and numerous accolades, such as his 2021 Webby Award, NAACP, Kids Choice Awards, Emmy, and Grammy nominations, he’s earned a solid place in history as a highly influential black actor.
Morgan Freeman is one of the most well-known and respected actors in Hollywood today. Many of us know and love Freeman’s many well-known roles from the 1990s, including in The Shawshank Redemption, Seven, and Deep Impact—though his career began much earlier. Freeman began acting in the 1960’s in everything from stage musicals to films. Audiences are charmed by Freeman’s gravitas and soothing voice, as well as his skillful acting abilities that have enabled him to play a wide range of roles in everything from the stage to the big screen.
Morgan Freeman’s prolific career has earned him numerous awards and accolades—so many, in fact, it would be difficult to list them all, yet some notable examples include multiple Academy Awards nominations as well as a 2004 win for “Best Supporting Actor,” numerous Golden Globe Award nominations and a 1989 win for “Best Actor,” and numerous Primetime Emmy nominations.
With 3.8 million followers on Instagram at the time of writing, Freeman certainly hasn’t lost his influence or spot as one of the most famous black actors walking the planet today.
Wesley Snipes began his acting career in the 1980s, playing roles in shows and movies such as Wildcats and Miami Vice. Over the next few decades, he played a number of roles and won over audiences, especially for his prowess in playing characters in action movies such as Demolition Man and his characters in comedies such as White Men Can’t Jump.
His extensive career has earned him numerous accolades, including multiple MTV Movie Awards nominations, Blockbuster Entertainment Award for “Favorite Actor” in horror, and a Black Reel Award for “Outstanding Supporting Actor,” among others. With 1.3 million followers on Instagram, Snipes is easily recognizable as one of the most famous black actors walking the planet today.
Denzel Washington has won over audiences throughout an extensive career that spans decades. Beginning in the 1970s, Washington began acting on the stage and quickly moved to the screen. He’s now well-known for several roles, including those in A Soldier’s Story, Malcom X, Much Ado About Nothing, The Bone Collector, and Déjà Vu, among others.
Washington is beloved for his portrayals of deep and human characters. As such, he’s won numerous accolades, including “Best Supporting Actor” from The Academy Awards in 1990 and multiple Golden Globe wins and nominations, among others. At the time of writing, it’s unclear whether Washington has an Instagram account, but there are numerous fan accounts with thousands of followers, as fans wish to connect with Washington.
Samuel L. Jackson
Today Samuel L Jackson is one of the most famous, well-respected, and influential actors in Hollywood. In fact, though not the highest-paid actor in Hollywood, he’s one of the highest-grossing actors of all time and may be the highest-grossing actor of all time, thanks to the fact that his movies have collectively earned over $10 billion. Samuel L. Jackson is known and loved for a wide range of roles in films such as Coming to America, Django Unchained, The Incredibles, Iron Man, and The Attack of The Clones.
Audiences often love his portrayal of direct, brave, and non-nonsense characters such as the Jedi, Mace Windu, and Avengers director Nick Fury. He’s earned numerous accolades, including multiple Audie Awards wins and several Golden Globe Awards nominations. With more than 8 million followers on Instagram at the time of writing, it’s clear that Jackson’s fans are eager to connect with this Hollywood icon.
Final Thoughts: Sidney Poitier and The Next Generation of Great Black Actors
Though this list deals with famous black actors who are still with us, it’s worth remembering the legacy of Sidney Poitier, who we lost recently in 2022. Born in Miami to Bahamian parents, Poitier’s career spanned decades. In 1964, Poitier became the first black actor to win an Oscar award for “Best Actor.” Poitier won over audiences with his strong, admirable character and impeccable stage skills. Poitier was widely considered a trailblazer in the industry, leading the way for many younger black actors to come. Sadly, we lost Poitier in 2022, but his legacy lives on.
While there are some amazing and well-known black actors we recognize today, there’s also a whole new generation of black actors who’ve yet to see the peak of their careers. We’re excited to see the amazing art that is created as time goes on and excited to see who will eventually find their way onto lists like this one.
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