Most powerful African American actors in Hollywood

Determining who the most powerful people in any walk of life are is quite a challenge. However, in Hollywood there are actors who really stand out due to their talent, popularity and net worth. Here we present you some of the most remarkable African American actors who have taken a prominent place in the movie industry and became very powerful people.

Cuba Gooding Jr.

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Born in Bronx, Cuba Gooding Jr. was raised by his mother and attended four different high schools and was elected class president in three of them. As a young struggling actor he landed some small roles before his break in the 1991 crime drama Boyz n the Hood. In 1996 he reached a new level of fame when he was cast in blockbuster Jerry Maguire. His great performance earned him an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Ever since, he has been one of the most prominent actors in Hollywood.

Laurence Fishburne

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Fishburne’s acting career started early. By age 12, he got a recurring role on the daytime soap One Life to Live, and after that made his film debut in Cornbread, Earl and Me. He later earned a supporting role in Apocalypse Now. He was only 14. In his twenties he mostly worked on television and on stage. His big movie break came in 1991, in Boyz n the Hood. Fishburne’s most-popular role to date is Morpheus in The Matrix trilogy. Earning numerous awards, Laurence Fishburne has established himself as one of the premiere African American actors working today.

Jamie Foxx

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This talented actor, singer and comedian has been on the entertainment scene for over 20 years, starting off his career as a comedian on TV shows like Roc and In Living Color in the early ’90s. Since then, Foxx has starred in several films and become a box office success, solidifying his A-List status with his 2004 Academy Award win for the lead in Ray. Jamie has beat out several big names to win the lead role of Django in the Oscar awarded Western flick, Django Unchained and these days he is working on The Amazing Spider-Man 2. To top it all off, this top black male actor is also an accomplished R&B singer.

Samuel L. Jackson

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With no interest in acting, Samuel was active in black student movements for civil rights in his younger years. But after meeting his mentor Morgan Freeman, he decided to commit to acting. After gaining critical acclaim for his role in Jungle Fever in 1991, he appeared in films such as Patriot Games, Amos & Andrew, True Romance and Jurassic Park. In 1994, he was cast as Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction, and his performance received several award nominations and critical acclaim. Jackson has since appeared in over 100 films.

Denzel Washington

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The two-time Oscar-winner’s first name is so well recognized to the general public that marketing anything he acts in is really about promoting the content. This is also because Washington’s performances are generally among the most brilliant ones, be it in a historical biopic or a blockbuster. More than almost any other film actor, African American or otherwise, Washington’s brand connotes superlative quality. Washington was the second African-American performer to win an Academy Award for Best Actor, the first being Sidney Poitier who happened to receive an Honorary Academy Award the same night that Washington won. Washington holds the record (six so far) for most Oscar nominations and most wins (two so far) by an actor or actress of African descent.

Will Smith

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Not many actors in Hollywood offer the box office guarantee that Will Smith does. More than 10 of his films have crossed the $100 million threshold. Smith’s earning during 2008 was $80 million, according to Forbes, making him the best-paid actor of that year. Together with his actress wife Jada Pinckett Smith and their talented children, the Smith family is synonym for power in Hollywood.

Morgan Freeman

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Morgan Freeman is by far one of the most respected actors of our time. In Hollywood, 73-year-old Oscar-winner is an institution. His long biography of movies he starred in is just so rich that it would take much more than one top list to mention. Freeman has received Academy Award nominations for his performances in Street Smart, Driving Miss Daisy, The Shawshank Redemption and Invictus and won in 2005 for Million Dollar Baby. In addition to his film achievements, he is also the voice behind countless top TV-produced documentaries.

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