The New Black Hollywood A-List
Hollywood, the final frontier for The Culture. Breaking through here on a sustainable level has proven to be The Culture’s biggest challenge as far as worldwide influence is concerned. But it looks like a corner has been turned. Black Panther is a mega hit. A black woman just directed a $100 million dollar Disney film. And black men are winning Oscars for Best Original Screenplay and Golden Globes for Best Lead Actor. There’s too much talent generating too much money to be denied any longer. There’s a new Hollywood A-List and they’re reppin’ The Culture.
The new “It” film director and screenwriter. His first feature film, Fruitvale Station, starring Michael B. Jordan about the murder of Oscar Grant was a critical and commercial success. He then co-wrote and directed the seventh film in the Rockyseries, Creed(again starring Jordan), which rejuvenated a lagging franchise and again was a commercial and critical success. And now he’s taken it to the next level with Black Panther,which has been a record-shattering success. It is the highest domestic opening for a film directed by an African-American, the third biggest opening of all-time, made over $1 billion worldwide just to name a few of it’s accolades. In 2013, he was included on TIME’s list of the “30 people under 30 who are changing the world” and through his work he shows why.
He’s made a heart-felt film about the killing of an unarmed black man and made a Marvel super hero movie that was unapologetically black and for The Culture that is now a worldwide phenomenon. And with his frequent collaborator Jordan, they are poised to be The Culture’s Martin Scorsce and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Chadwick Boseman racked up one of the most impressive resumes in all of Hollywood on the low. In the last 5 years he has portrayed Jackie Robinson in 42, James Brown in Get On Up, and Thurgood Marshall in Marshall. For almost any other actor that’s a great career but for Boseman it was just a warm-up for his starring role as T’Challa aka the Black Panther in one of the most successful movies of all-time.
An actor’s actor, Boseman is a graduate of both Howard University and the British American Dramatic Academy at Oxford, England. And his talent was evident back then. So much so that Denzel Washington paid for Boseman’s tuition at Oxford University. Washington literally passed the torch to Boseman who has taken it and taken off to superstardom.
MICHAEL B. JORDAN
Jordan has had a steady rise up the ladder of success in Hollywood. First, Jordan has starred in three of the most critically acclaimed television dramas of the past decade. He played the hard-shelled but softhearted Wallace in HBO’s dramatic hit series The Wire, then went on to star as quarterback Vince Howard on Friday Night Lights, before playing a recovered alcoholic, Alex on NBC’s Parenthood.
Jordan successfully took on his first major leading film role when he starred as Oscar Grant in Fruitvale Station directed by Ryan Coogler. His performance earned him critical acclaim and comparisons to a young Denzel Washington and Jordan was named an “actor to watch” by People Magazine and Variety. Time named him, along with Coogler, one of 30 people under 30 who are changing the world. He took another huge step up ashe starred as AdonisCreed, the son of boxer Apollo Creed in the Rocky sequel Creed, his second collaboration with Coogler. In 2018, Jordan starred as the villain Killmonger in Black Panther; this marked Jordan’s third collab with Coogler and their biggest. A powerful, commanding, pro black villain stealing the show in a billion-dollar blockbuster. Jordan received unanimous praise cementing his spot on the A-List. Look for more team-ups with Coogler in the near future and more amazing work for The Culture.
A writer and director with a natural gift for storytelling. Duvernay made her feature film debut in 2008 with the documentary This in the Life, a history on hip-hop movement in 90’s L.A. She worked on several more music documentaries included My Mic Sounds Nice which aired on BET in 2010. Her 2012 narrative feature film, Middle of Nowhere won the Best Director Prize at that year’s Sundance film festival, making her the first African-American woman to receive the award. She was then invited to join both the director’s and writer’s branches of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences becoming only the second black woman to be invited to the director’s branch. She is also the first black female director to be nominated for a Golden Globe Award receiving the nomination for her film Selmaabout Martin Luther King.
Duvernay was named to TIME magazine’s “The 100 Most Influential People” issue in 2017 and in 2018, in yet another first, became the first black woman to direct a movie with a $100 million budget with Disney’s A Wrinkle In Time. She is also a producer, writer, marketer and film distributor. She founded the AFFRM, the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement attempting to help get films by other black creators out to the masses and furthering The Culture as a whole. Not bad for someone who didn’t attend film school and didn’t even start film making or even use a film camera until she was thirty-two.
Lupita Amondi Nyong’o is the perfect combination of beauty, brains, talent, and drive. She was actually born in Mexico City, Mexico, to Kenyan parents and was raised back in Kenya. She came to the States and graduated from the Yale School of Drama’s acting program. In 2013, she impressed movie audiences and critics alike in her film debut, as brutalized slave Patsey in 12 Years A Slaveand won the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role becoming the first Kenyan ever to win an Oscar. She then voiced characters in two Disney blockbuster franchises, JungleBookand StarWars: The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. And yes she’s another on this list who starred in cultural movement piece known as Black Pantherplaying the spy with the heart of gold and a real plan to help black people around the world, Nakia.
She is the “Face of Lancôme” becoming the first black celebrity to represent the French luxury cosmetic brand. She will be in more Star Wars films, more Black Panther and other Marvel films and will be starring in an African women warrior film with Angela Bassett. Lupita is even rumored to be starring in a future Charlie’sAngelsreboot. So look forward to seeing her kicking much butt on the big screen and making it look good for years to come.
At this moment in time, Tiffany Haddish is the queen of comedy in Hollywood. No woman of any color is hotter or in more demand. It has been an extraordinary rise for Haddish. After guest starring on several television series, Haddish gained prominence as Jackie on the first season of If Loving You Is Wrong in 2014. She then had a successful three-year run on The Carmichael Show. She then made her film breakthrough as Dina in the 2017 film Girls Trip, stealing virtually ever scene and receiving critical acclaim. The film also became a box-office hit, becoming the highest-grossing comedy of 2017 exposing her to millions of people. She parlayed that into her own Showtime comedy special, Tiffany Haddish: She Ready! From the Hood to Hollywood.On November 11, 2017, Haddish made history when she became the first black female stand-up comedian to host Saturday Night Live. She then became an author. Haddish’s memoir, The Last Black Unicorn, was released in December 2017 and became a New York Times bestseller.
And get ready to see a lot of her. Haddish is currently co-starring opposite Tracy Morgan in the TBS sitcom, The Last O.G., her first lead in a sitcom. She will star in the 2018 comedy film Night School alongside Kevin Heart which will reunite her with Girls Tripdirector Malcolm D. Lee. She is also set to lead in the comedy Limited Partners. Haddish also recently signed a first-look deal with HBO. In addition, Haddish will voice one of the main characters for the Netflix animated comedy Tuca & Bertie. Told you she was hot.
Actor, rapper, comedian, writer, producer, Glover is a young many of many talents. And at the age of 34, he’s already accomplished more than most in their entire careers. Glover started working as a writer for the NBC comedy 30 Rockat the age of 23. At 26 he landed a starring role in the NBC sitcom Community. Now he stars in the FX series Atlanta, which he created and occasionally directs. For his work on Atlanta, Glover has won various awards, including an Emmys for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series and Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series, and Golden Globe for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy and Best Actor – Television Series – Musical or Comedy. He’s only the second African-American performer to win an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series.In film, he’s part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe appearing in Spiderman: Homecoming and has roles in two more huge films playing the young Lando Calrissian in Solo: A Star Wars Storyand he’ll also provide the voice of Simba in a remake of the Disney film The Lion King.
Oh and the rapping thing. Going under the moniker Childish Gambino he’s released three albums, Campin in 2011, Because the Internet in 2013, and Awaken My Love in 2016. In total Glover has been nominated for 7 Grammys including an Album of the Year nod and won a 2018 award for Best Traditional R&B Performance. And his socially conscious viral video for This Is America has helped further move the discussion of race and violence in this country. A hit show, a hit album, and soon-to-be hit movies, Glover is another one you’ll be seeing and hearing from for a long time.
Zendaya Coleman is as accomplished 21 year-old as there is in Hollywood. She’s starred in two Disney Channel sitcoms one of them being K.C. Undercover which she created herself and co-produced. And now she’s stepping into the major motion picture game and doing it big starring as comic book female icon MJ in Marvel’s Spiderman franchise as well as starring and doing her own singing the musical The Greatest Showman.
She’s released an album, written a book to help young girls with their confidence, Between U and Me: How to Rock Your Tween Years with Style and Confidence, had an official Barbie doll made in her image, and started hew own clothing and shoe lines. She reps The Culture at all times always ready and willing to speak up and as her star continues to rise she will certainly continue to be a force for change and representation in Hollywood.
From sketch comedy actor to Oscar nominated horror director and winning screenwriter. Peele went from popular to A-Lister just like that. Known for co-writing and starring in the TV show Jordan and Peele and the film Keanu, opposite his close friend Keegan-Michael Key he took a risk, bet on himself, and wrote and directing the horror film Get Out, which ended up becoming a cultural phenomenon and huge hit grossing over $250 worldwide and was nominated for Best Picture, lead Actor, Screenplay, and Director at the Academy Awards. And when he took home the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay he became the first African-American to do so. He is also one of TIME magazine’s “The 100 Most Influential People” like many others on this list.
And after the success of Get Out, Peele announced that he had up to four other films that would be horror features that, like his first film (which dealt with racism) would address social issues through a genre framework. And the Get Out producers immediately announced they would make all of those films with Peele so his run is really just beginning.
STERLING K. BROWN
A true student of the craft of acting that is finally getting the recognition he so richly deserves. Brown graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Drama from Stanford University, before receiving his Master’s Degree in Fine Arts from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and has been working steadily in Hollywood since 2002. But it wasn’t until 2016 that he started his ascension to the A-List. That’s when Brown portrayed prosecutor Christopher Darden in FX’s highly-rated, award-winning television event series ThePeople V. O.J. Simpson: AmericanCrimeStory. He won an Emmy and a Critics Choice Award for the role and was nominated for a Golden Globe, SAG and NAACP Image Award. That same year he started his role on the NBC show This Is Us. His standout performance earned him the Golden Globe award for Best Actor in a Drama TV series making him the first black man to win this category in the ceremony’s 75-year history which he coupled when he also became the first African-American to win the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) award for ‘Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series’.
And he’s taken his talents to the big screen appearing in the Thurgood Marshall biopic Marshalland the blockbuster BlackPanther(alongside fellow A-Lister Chadwick Boseman in both films). And will be starring in the newest Predator movie. You can also catch him on the stage flexing those acting chops. The opportunities and roles are starting to pour in and the accolades and awards should keep coming as well. And when it’s all said and done, Brown could become one of the most accomplished black actors of all-time.
A woman in Hollywood that wears many hats. Actress, writer, director, producer, and web series creator. Rae started her career in 2011 with her YouTube series Awkward Black Girlwhich directly lead to her landing her own show on HBO Insecurefor which she is the creator, co-writer, and star. The show is a hit with fans and critics and Rae has received back-to-back Best Actress Golden Globe nominations. She is able to connect with people because she is so relatable and is not afraid to be vulnerable or show her character (or even herself) making mistakes.
And Rae has not forgotten her roots, she continues to develop her YouTube channel, which features short films, various web series, and other content created by women and people of color. She’s not only opened the door for awkward black girls in Hollywood but kicked it down so others can come in behind he ensuring we will see more like her on our screens.
Storm Reid is the youngest member on our list at 14 but she has already appeared in 19 films and television shows. Reid has known she wanted to be an actress since she was just three years old and has been on the grind ever since. After earning small parts, Reid landed a role in the Academy Award-winning film 12 Years A Slaveas Emily. Her next major film was Sleightplaying the younger sister of the film’s protagonist played byJacob Latimore. Her A-List turn just came as she played the lead role of Meg Murry in Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle In Timefrom Disney based on one of the best-selling children’s books of all-time. Disney was so impressed sherecently shot a pilot for a new Disney TV show based completely around her.
Her acting chops and charisma are evident and by starring in a major motion picture and working with Oprah Winfrey and Ava Duvernay, she has forged some major alliances that will ensure we will get to see her grow and shine brighter in Hollywood for years to come.
Written By @TalentedMrFord
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