If you are looking for shows that star Black actresses in leading roles on popular platforms like Netflix, you’ve come to the right place. As films and TV series continue to diversify and target more specific audiences, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of Black actresses on Netflix in leading rather than supporting roles. While this may be the standard today, the level of cultural diversity and inclusion we see today was not always apparent in the media.
For years, minority groups, especially women of color, were lucky to be included as even a supporting role in a film or series. Today, there are a number of series starring and directed by these groups that focus on their lives and dreams.
From well-known and critically acclaimed actresses to up-and-coming actresses, Netflix offers a wide range of shows and films for you and your family to enjoy. So, without further ado, let’s dive into some of the series and the starring Black actresses Netflix showcases today.
1. Octavia Spencer
If you are looking for an inspiring story about Black American history, look no further than “Self-Made.”
This limited series explores the story and success of Madam C.J. Walker, the first self-made woman billionaire in America. Starring Octavia Spencer as Madam Walker, this series features incredible performances and an inspiring story for anyone watching.
Octavia Spencer is well known for her roles in “Hidden Figures,” “Shape of Water,” and “The Help”, and has been a part of over one hundred movies and television shows in both leading and supporting roles and has produced ten movies or shows in the past. Spencer will feature, as an actress or producer, in a few upcoming shows and movies (“The Bobby Love Story,” “The Heart”, and “Nobody Nothing Nowhere”), all of which is in pre-production at the moment.
2. DeWanda Wise
Up next for leading female roles is DeWanda Wise in “She’s Gotta Have It.” Wise’s standout performance as main character Nola Darling landed this acclaimed show an AAFCA (African American Film Critics Association) award as one of the top ten TV shows. “She’s Gotta Have It” is a TV show comedy-drama based on the film by Spike Lee, where Nola must balance staying true to herself and her dreams and juggling her three lovers.
Wise is typically most well-known for her roles in “Jurassic World: Dominion,” “Fatherhood,” and “The Harder They Fall.” Wise has two upcoming roles in “Poolman” and “Three Women,” the second of which is currently in production and slated for release this year.
3. Logan Browning
As one of the four stars of “Dear White People,” Logan Browning as Samantha White explores themes of social injustice, slippery politics, and misguided activism through a balanced mix of humor and drama. This fantastic and satirical romp through the social issues of a post-racist era Ivy League school provides a fun but insightful look into how we can continue striving for more in our society.
Browning is known for her work as an actress and voice actress and is best known for her roles in the 2007 film “Bratz” and her role as Zora in the TV series “Powers.” Logan Browning is not currently playing a role in any upcoming shows or films but is directing the short “Hey Boo,” which is currently in post-production.
4. Viola Davis
Viola Davis is another incredibly well-known and critically revered Black female actress who has been in over eighty different shows and films. One of her most popular roles has been that of Annalise Keating in “How to Get Away With Murder.” Davis’ performance in this role has been so impactful that she became the first Black woman in history to be awarded the Emmy Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series.
Some of her other most notable roles include her performance as Amanda Waller in many of the DC Comics franchise films, as well as her role as Rose Maxson in the 2016 film “Fences” and Aibileen Clark in “The Help.”
Davis’ illustrious career in the film industry is not looking to slow down anytime soon. She plays a role in six upcoming films or TV series, including titles such as “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” film and the “Waller” TV series. Davis will also be a producer in seven upcoming works, including the “Waller” series she will star in.
5. Clare-Hope Ashitey
Clare-Hope Ashitey stars as KJ Harper in the TV mini-series “Seven Seconds.” This series is a crime drama focused on the attempted coverup and aftermath of a white police officer hitting and critically injuring a Black teen in Jersey City.
Ashitey is most commonly known for her role as Kee in “Children of Men” and Marie in “Shooting Dogs.” She is an English actress and has had roles in both films and TV series, including an appearance in one of the UK’s most popular TV series, “Doctor Who.” She does not currently have any upcoming roles in films or television series on the record.
6. Sierra Capri
As one of the fastest-growing stars in Hollywood today, Sierra Capri is known for her roles as the lead of the hit Sundance film “Young. Wild. Free.” and her role as Monse Finnie in the Netflix TV series “On My Block.” This high school coming-of-age drama focuses on kids navigating their lives in a rough inner-city high school setting. Capri’s outstanding performance has made her stand out as one of the top young Black actresses Netflix features on its streaming service.
Capri is a model and dancer as well as an actress and has a vast online following on Instagram and Tiktok. She is not currently part of any new or upcoming shows or movies, but you can watch her performance as Monse Finnie in the 38 episodes of “On My Block.”
Looking for More TV Shows Starring Black Actresses?
If you’ve already seen the series we mentioned above, or are simply looking for more Black TV shows like these, check out BlackOakTV. We offer a catalog of Black actresses, TV shows, movies, and creators that you can stream from home!
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