DAR Films: 15 Of The Greatest Black Actresses

Compiled By @TrueGodImmortal, @Peagle05, @JADBeats, and @CherchezLaPorsh 

Introduction By @CherchezLaPorsh 
-We often talk about and hear about the black ctors in Hollywood. They’ve been cast in some of the greatest roles and solidified themselves as legendary. Who we don’t hear so much about are the talented, beautiful, and sometimes overlooked women/actresses of Hollywood (at least they use to be overlooked). In recent years, these women have dominated the big screen, as they’ve become highly sought after and with good reason. They all deliver outstanding performances and the movies they are cast in are almost guaranteed to be insightful, thought provoking, hilarious or heartfelt and captivating. Today, DAR is talking the best black actresses and while it will be impossible to name every one of them, here are 15 of our choices.

*Cicely Tyson
(Chosen By @TrueGodImmortal and @JADBeats)

-There's not many women in the business of Hollywood with the longevity of Cicely Tyson. For decades and decades, she's shined in every role she's been given. From her roles in Sounder, Hoodlum, Fried Green Tomatoes, and even Tyler Perry films, the elder actress of Hollywood, still remain relevant and shines in any role she has. Recently turning 92, she's the black actress with the most longevity without question.

*Queen Latifah 
(Chosen By @CherchezLaPorsh)

-Queen Latifah! This woman does it all and has been on screen since 1991. She’s played in every type of movie from rom-coms, dramas, heists, musicals, comedies and animated features. In every appearance, she exceeds the expectations. She’s worked alongside veterans and not only held her own but shined. My favorite role she was cast in was “Set It Off”, as she played the part well, she meshed perfectly with her co-stars and won over the audience with her personality, loyalty, and ultimate sacrifice with her life. The whole movie is great and Latifah was definitely a reason. This year we’ll see her in “Girls Trip”, which seems to be a free-spirited, feel good, empowering flick that I’m sure will be entertaining and of course have another great performance.

*Loretta Devine
(Chosen By @TrueGodImmortal and @JADBeats)

-Her roles haven't had the most diversity usually, but Loretta Devine has always shined in any movie she's been in. From her voice to the way she displays emotion, her roles in multiple films and TV shows only helped to enhance the viewing experience. From her roles on shows like Grey's Anatomy and Boston Public, all the way to her film roles in Waiting To Exhale, Crash, Jumping The Broom, The Preacher's Wife, and more, Loretta has never disappointed in any role she's been given.

*Regina King
(Chosen By @TrueGodImmortal and @JADBeats)

-Another great actress, Regina King has amassed a solid filmography over the years with a number of great roles in films like This Christmas, Enemy Of The State, Poetic Justice, A Thin Line Between Love And Hate, Friday, and so many more. My favorite role for her is actually the animated role she took on The Boondocks, as Riley and Huey, as she makes the delivery of every line hilarious and without her, the show and those characters would not have worked nearly as well. Regina King is a legend in my eyes.

*Nia Long
(Chosen By @CherchezLaPorsh)

-Nia Long. Not only is she absolutely stunning all the time, but she’s been in some of the dopest movies. I would first see her in “Boyz In The Hood” as Brandi. She fit the role well and much to my surprise, she would co-star with Morris Chestnut in “The Best Man” some years later. This would become one of my all time favorite movies and rank her amongst my favorite actresses. She didn’t stop there, as she would also appear in “Soul Food” and “The Best Man Holiday”, both favorite and highly enjoyable movies amongst others. Her on-screen chemistry with just about any other actor/actress makes her characters come to life and much like the other ladies on this list, her movies have always been pretty great.

*Sanaa Lathan
(Chosen By @CherchezLaPorsh)

-She is the queen of black romantic comedies and everyone’s favorite. Lathan’s big screen success started in the late 90’s and she actually started off doing various roles. She’s been a vampire queen, an aspiring basketball player, a hip hop magazine editor, a girlfriend/fiancé of an author and a successful lobbyist, this woman has done it all. My favorite movie she’s done is “Brown Sugar”. I think she did a phenomenal job alongside Taye Diggs just four years after “The Best Man” and her on screen chemistry with him (and anyone she co-stars with) is brilliant. Sanaa Lathan is one of those people you can’t hate no matter what, she’s charming and enjoyable and just dope overall.

*Lynn Whitfield
(Chosen By @JADBeats and @TrueGodImmortal)

-One of the more underrated actresses of our time, the woman who took the role of Josephine Baker and owned it, has to be on this list. She's had amazing roles in movies like Eve's Bayou, A Thin Line Between Love And Hate, and many more. Lynn is a true legend in the film business.

*Diahann Carroll
(Editor's Choice)

-It was either going to be her or Ruby Dee for the editor's pick, but Diahann's body of work is just a tad better. She's the epitome of elegance in acting, as she gracefully commanded the screen when she was on it. From appearances in Carmen Jones, Julia, Dynasty (the TV show), The Five Heartbeats, Eve's Bayou and more, she's commanded every time she was on the screen.

*Jada Pinkett Smith
(Chosen By @CherchezLaPorsh)

-Although I don’t agree with a lot of Jada’s beliefs and charitable work, I do enjoy the movies she’s done. From her early on screen appearances in “Menace II Society” and “A Low Down Dirty Shame” to her best-known role in The “Matrix Reloaded” and of course more recently in “Bad Moms” and “Magic Mike XXL”, Jada is one actress we’ve seen become polished in her acting. She’s been able to create a demeanor and distinctive quality about herself that makes her a sought-after woman for specific roles (the character Niobe was created with Jada in mind). While none of her roles stand out overall, Jada has a great film catalog and her characters have been fun and enjoyable to watch.

*Viola Davis
(Chosen By @Peagle05, @TrueGodImmortal, and @JADBeats)

-For today, Viola might be the best actress in the game right now. I'd think she's coming for the slot that Angela Bassett holds, because her work has been absolutely phenomenal and she's getting better and better with each role. Her best performance to me of all time came in the landmark classic film Fences, where she managed to nearly outperform Denzel in his role. Viola is a legend.

Peagle- When you talk about the greatest black actresses to do it, two women come to mind for me, and the first one is Viola Davis. She's played Amanda Waller from the DC Comics to show an evil edge and has been able to star in a range of roles, but she certainly shines in dramatic roles. Viola put her whole damn heart in Fences (though she took entirely too long to wipe that snot off her face but hey, when you're rolling, you're rolling). She's not only a legendary actress, but she's a legendary entertainer in general.

*Lupita Nyong’o
(Chosen By @CherchezLaPorsh)

-This incredible actress seemed to have come out of nowhere as she rocked Hollywood with her 2013 performance in “12 Years A Slave”. I’m glad I watched the movie, but it was difficult to watch and that's largely because of the way she executed her character. There aren’t many actors or actresses who win an Oscar in their very first feature film, but she did it. This speaks volumes to her acting abilities as well as bringing her characters and on-screen circumstances to life. Another thing I appreciate about Lupita Nyong’o is her choice of roles, which are always highly acclaimed (she’s in the Star Wars movies as well as Black Panther) and it stays true to her African heritage. That’s absolutely brilliant and I personally cannot wait to see her in more movies.

*Octavia Spencer
(Chosen By @JADBeats and @CherchezLaPorsh)

-This phenomenal and incredibly talented woman has been around since the mid 90's and if there’s anyone that can rival Queen Latifah with various roles and genres, it’s her. Octavia Spencer is a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood and her roles just seem to get better while her performance exceeds expectations (every single time). Although she has been in some classic movies, her most renowned role would be in “The Help” in 2011 and most recently in “Hidden Figures”. Although these are serious roles, Octavia was also the voice of Mrs. Otterton in “Zootopia”, which was a very well executed film altogether. “Hidden Figures” would be my favorite in her catalog. Octavia Spencer is someone who exudes determination and we can see that in her progressively stronger performances in each feature. She is currently averaging about two films per year, which means we will be seeing a lot more of her in upcoming years.

*Gabrielle Union
(Chosen By @CherchezLaPorsh)

-My appreciation for this woman came a little late, although I’m a fan of almost every movie she’s in. There was something about her always being depicted as manipulative that didn’t sit well with me until I realized, if not her who else? There isn’t anyone else quite like her, and she looks the part. She’s very pretty, confident and can go from being a bitch to the sweetest nicest woman (think “Deliver Us From Eva”) almost instantly. She may be a little type casted and always seems to play the same roles, but it works for her and every movie she’s cast in is worth watching and a success. My personal favorites are (in this order) “Love and Basketball”,  “Two Can Play That Game”, “Bad Boys II”, and of course “Deliver Us From Eva” amongst others. Most recently, she was in “Birth of A Nation”, which deals with serious matters, so she’s definitely expanding her range.

*Alfre Woodard
(Chosen By @TrueGodImmortal and @JADBeats)

-In many ways, I feel like she's always been the "mother" in a number of films. Her roles haven't been extremely diverse, besides her surprisingly evil take on Luke Cage, but for the most part, she's been one of the more consistent actresses through the years. My favorite role was her in Crooklyn, as she played her role with so much conviction and rawness. Another good role came surprisingly in a Tyler Perry film, The Family That Preys, but her film catalog is beyond extensive.

*Angela Bassett
(Chosen By @TrueGodImmortal, @Peagle05, @CherchezLaPorsh, and @JADBeats)

-There's no other choice for the best black actress ever if you ask me. The best way to end this off would be with Angela, because she's incomparable and one of a kind. There are way too many roles in her career to speak of, from her aggressive moments in Waiting To Exhale, her role in How Stella Got Her Groove Back, her amazing portrayals of Tina Turner and Katherine Jackson respectively in What's Love Got To Do With It and The Jacksons: An American Dream, her role as Betty in Malcolm X, and so many more great roles, Angela is the standard for black actresses. She can be funny in the right comedic role, evil in the right role, sympathetic in the right role, and really she can cover all spectrums of emotions in her roles. Angela, in my humble opinion, is the greatest of them all.

Porsha- The lady who showed us how “Stella Got Her Groove Back”, Angela Bassett. She’s been in movies, TV shows, and video games. She’s been EVERY character imaginable since gracing the big screen in 1985 and STILL doesn’t look a day over 35. She doesn’t need much explanation because her acting skills are second to none and is regarded as one of the best actresses in all of Hollywood with good reason. Much like the others on this list, I really like the majority of Bassett’s movies, but the most notable being “Waiting To Exhale”, “Malcolm X”, “The Score” and of course “Notorious”. Although her film catalog is immense, these roles were incredibly memorable and showed Bassett at her best. She depicts real life characters with profound accuracy and fictitious ones in the most believable way. Angela Bassett really is a brilliant actress and dominates every time!

Peagle- Much like Viola, Angela shines bright in any role (she also played Amanda Waller from the DC Comics). However, she really shines in dramatic roles. Need proof? Look no further than Bassett's work in both "What's Love Got To Do With It?" And "The Jacksons: An American Dream", where she completely nails both roles for two entirely different biopics. She's a great actress, amazing entertainer, and I think she, like Viola, should be mentioned with their male counterparts without question.



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