These Black Celebrities Have Proven Success is Not Defined By Their Skin Color
There has a long history of African-American oppression in the US. Being Black in America comes with its own set of challenges, just because their look and color are different. This is just one of the too many difficulties they have to face, not to mention the insults they have to go through.
Even the celebrities are not safe from this experience. They, too, struggle in their own fields, experiencing the same harmful treatments an ordinary Black citizen encounters—if not the worst—but they never let it stop them.
These stars bravely break the molds and snap all the barriers, making their way to the top and climbing the ladder of success. As we move beyond divisiveness and toward racial equality, some celebrities worked very hard to raise awareness that colored people deserve the same rights as others.
The degree of hard work they give is beyond palpable, in addition to dedication, determination, and believing in one’s self.
To know them more, check out this list of Black celebrities who have proven their skin color does not define success.
Aja Naomi King
Feisty. Impressionable. These are two of the characteristics shared by Aja Naomi King with her character, Michaella Pratt, in the series How to Get Away With Murder. Born in Walnut, California, King grew up intending to become a doctor. While that dream did not materialize, she did become an excellent actress able to play the role of a lawyer or a medical professional. The actress ended up starring as Cassandra Kopelson, a surgical intern, on Emily Owens, M.D.
Even while in college, she was already making history. King was the only Black woman in her program. After Yale, the future actress spent three years in New York juggling waitress jobs with audition schedules. She said that finding the right balance was challenging, and she probably felt tired all the time due to her busy daily activities. Appearing on several short films served as her stepping stone to a more fruitful career, which she enjoys now.
The tip of the iceberg showed us that Alicia Keys was successful when she launched her album, Songs in A Minor, back in 2001. Behind that success, however, were several changes of record labels before she found the best partner. As a result, her single Falling, which was included in the album, sold 12 million copies worldwide. The second and successive albums also became financial and commercial wins. Her financial advisor would have been happy with the sales and the musician’s increasing overall net worth.
More than her music, Keys is also a child advocate. She co-founded Keep A Child Alive, where among other causes, they provide clinical care and psychosocial support to a specific group of children. Several countries in Africa and India receive help from this organization. Its main fund-raising event is the yearly Black Ball, a black-tie affair with live musical performances from guest celebrities and bands.
When she was 16 years old, Arlenis Sosa was spotted by her mother’s agent. The agent complimented her and told her she could be a model in New York. She was inspired and tried working in her homeland, the Dominican Republic. However, after suffering color prejudice in her home country, she felt that contacting the moving company and starting a career in New York would be the best course of action.
Her decision proved to be correct, and within the first week in New York, she met Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue, who helped launch her career. With just a slight degree of effort, she was accepted into Marilyn Modeling Agency was given the contract on the spot. In 2008, Sosa appeared on Vogue Italia’s “all black” July issue. She also became a spokesmodel for Lancôme cosmetics. She serves as an inspiration to many young models, not just because she has been able to transcend the color barrier but also because many international brands admired her.
Portraying Josie McCoy, the lead singer in Riverdale, Ashleigh Murray also reprised the role in the spin-off Kate Keene. Both shows were aired on CW. Murray was a cast member from 2017 to 2019, when the show was active. This role has prepared her to take a more historical part, that of Loryn from Valley Girl, a remake of the 1983 movie.
Murray revealed in an interview that she was unaware that she was starring in a remake. Despite this, the celebrity was thankful for the role, and she gave credit to the production team for including her in the movie. The Riverdale actress has also spoken about how certain Black characters were being sidelined in films, but she did not seem to have any negative experiences so far. She is an avid supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement and believes that all lives are essential.
When Destiny’s Child had a hiatus in the early 2000s, Beyoncé saw it as a chance to test whether going solo would be the best idea. She was not mistaken. When the pop star released her 2003 album, Dangerously In Love, her singles Baby Boy and Crazy in Love rose to the top of the US Billboard Hot 100 right away. When her band decided to lead separate lives, she then released her second album, which became another commercial success.
Due to her skyrocketing career, Beyoncé became the most nominated female artist for the Grammys. She has gotten 79 nominations and won 28 awards, surpassing the previous record of bluegrass artist Alison Krauss. Being this famous also has tradeoffs, as the singer is prone to the prying eyes of the paparazzi. As such, she most likely has the latest home security system put in at the Bel-Air mansion that she shares with her husband, Jay-Z.
They say that if you only have one name, then you are famous. Beyoncé, Oprah, and Cassie are just some examples. If you ask us, the latter American celebrity has it all. She is a model, an actress, and a singer-songwriter. When Cassie released her album in 2006, it peaked at number four on the Billboard 200 chart. This inspired her to do more and made two more singles, Official Girl, which featured Lil Wayne, and Let’s Get Crazy, which featured Akon.
Now, Cassie is making history with her edgy music. She gave credit to La Luipe, Usher, Faith Evans, J. Lo, and more for positively influencing her work. A die-hard Janet Jackson fan, the artist said that she tries to emulate her idol’s career and life— from her voice to her moves. Of course, the Connecticut-born star has her own voice and style, described as full of character and ability. She is also known for being feminine and sophisticated.
Perhaps among the few non-actress or actors on the list, Chimamanda Ngozi is a Nigerian writer who has written literary works ranging from short stories to nonfiction and then novels. The Times Literary Supplement described Ngozi as the most prominent among the lineup of critically-acclaimed young Anglophone authors who successfully attracted a new generation of readers to African literature.
She lives in the United States, her second home, but the writer hails from the Enugu State of Nigeria. The family was well-off and sent Ngozi to college where she studied medicine and pharmacy— but her heart was not into it, so she asked herself what she really wanted. When the feminist writer moved to the US to further her studies in writing, she gained firsthand experience of race prejudice, but she used that to influence others to learn more about Africa instead. She now divides her time between Nigeria and the US, conducting in-person and even online classes on writing.
When she was younger, Ciara traveled the world extensively, which has perhaps shaped how she makes her music. In 2004, she released her debut album, Goodies, which gave birth to four singles that made it to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in the US and in the UK. RIAA also certified her album triple platinum, which became a factor in why she was given four nominations for the 48th Annual Grammy Awards.
This singer dubbed the Princess of Crunk&B has been highly commended. The Washington Post said that she has a very agile, reedy voice that is capable of conveying sad, sexy, and sassy emotions— all the feelings needed of an R&B singer. Her albums also featured crossover success, and in 2004, all 12 songs that topped the Billboard Hot 100 were of African-American singers, including that of Ciara. We can say that given the celebrity’s degree of effort, she deserves all the accolades.
His name might be Common, but come on, he is very extraordinary. The American rapper, writer, and actor released his first album in 1992. His second album, Resurrection, got him more critical recognition, but he maintained an underground following until the late 1990s. It was not until the budding artist worked with the Soulquarians, a rotating collective when he achieved mainstream success.
Since getting the world’s attention, Common has received multiple accolades, such as winning the 2015 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song and the counterpart award from the Academy Awards. The rapper has been trying to make a difference by being a supporter of animal rights and PETA. He even promoted vegetarianism as a form of conscientious eating where no animals are hurt. Common also founded the Common Ground Foundation for the underprivileged youth. He has been channeling some of his investment money into the organization, too.
The actor has been given praise and recognition for reconfiguring the very idea of classic movie stardom as he has been associated with characters that showed inner strength, humanity, dignity, and grace. Film historian Donald Bogle did not make a mistake when he said that because Washington’s performance in classics like Glory, Malcolm X, and Fences has been phenomenal. His portrayal of an attorney in Philadelphia was also well-received.
The American Gangster star had also made history when he became the second Black man to win an Oscar for Best Actor and the first to grab two Oscars. He also received 17 NAACP Image Awards, one Tony, and three Golden Globes, which showed just how talented the actor is. With a net worth of $250 million, Washington can also give away a portion of his wealth to various causes, such as the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the Elevate Hope Foundation.
Born to a second-generation wrestler father, Dwayne Johnson was destined to follow in the footsteps of his family’s patriarchs. He was destined to be a wrestler, and he did not disappoint. Johnson became widely regarded as among the greatest professional wrestlers of all time when The Rock was active at the WWF, now the WWE. After quitting wrestling, Johnson pursued a career in acting, where he found his new passion profitable.
His films have grossed over $3.5 billion in North America alone, and the actor has made significant savings and investments. With a net worth of about $400 million, this sought-after action star could afford to redirect some of his money to the various causes he supports. He even founded the Dwayne Johnson Rock Foundation to help sick children. Speaking of children, her daughter, Simone, is set to be the fourth generation wrestler in the family, a tribute to the proud father.
When Eva Marcille won in the third cycle of America’s Next Top Model, she realized that she had to work hard to make sure her career takes off. The stunning celebrity-in-the-making was attending Clark Atlanta University and trying to get a degree at that time, but she quit school and focused on modeling instead. Part of her winnings was a contract with Ford Models, a contract with CoverGirl Cosmetics, and a spread on Elle.
Her career proved to be prolific as she also appeared on various TV shows and movies, including Smallville, Tyler Perry’s House of Payne, and The Walk. The actress-model later joined the cast of The Real Housewives of Atlanta and was promoted to full-time cast member starting on its 11th season. There, Eva had served as an inspiration to other women because she was open about her struggles when she was in a relationship. Currently, she is in a happy relationship with Atlanta lawyer Michael Sterling who married her in 2018.
As an activist, Gabrielle Union has been making waves in Hollywood and the bigger world. She first began her career in the 1990s when the actress appeared on supporting roles in 10 Things I Hate About You and She’s All That. The movie Bring It On indeed brought her good news, serving as her breakthrough film. Better projects followed, and she starred on both the big and the small screen. Some of her credits include Sleepless, City of Angels, and Being Mary Jane.
She has been trying to exert her influence to make the world better when she wrote two books advocating for children and women’s rights. Union also recently spoke about how marginalized Black celebrities were also suffering due to the current world situation. She revealed that most of them now live from paycheck to paycheck. By drawing attention to the issues, Union was able to raise awareness and make a dent towards helping them.
Apart from Meghan Markle and Sarah Rafferty, there is one more powerful lady in the series Suits and its spin-off, Pearson. That person is Gina Torres, playing the role of lawyer Jessica Pearson, managing partner and co-founder of Pearson Specter Litt. She has also appeared in South of Pico, Jam, and The Matrix Reloaded. The Serenity star has worked extensively with her husband, Laurence Fishburne, on several projects.
Torres serves as an inspiration to many because she took a risk when she started acting. When she was just studying acting, the actress lacked the finances to pursue a career in the industry, but despite that, she persevered and dove straight into becoming a celebrity. It was a calculated yet risky move that proved to be for the better. This shows that having no money is not a hindrance but could even be a motivation to be successful.
The X-Men actress began her career as a model and a beauty pageant contestant. Halle Berry finished as the first runner-up in the Miss USA pageant and came up sixth in the Miss World competition back in 1986. However, she realized that she could do more in Hollywood, so she appeared on Boomerang in 1992, which served as her breakthrough movie. Berry has since then appeared in highly successful films like Die Another Day, X-Men and John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum
The actress made history when she won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her lead role in Monster’s Ball in 2001. She was the only woman of color to have won the prestigious award. Berry became relentless and was given credit as one of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood. The star also explored other aspects of Hollywood by producing movies starting in the 2000s. As an environmentalist, the actress is not afraid to voice her opinions on the use of natural gas as well as the exploitation and the need for the protection of the oceans.
At this point, it comes as no surprise that music can inspire millions of people around the world. Well, like many of us, one such person moved by it is Jennifer Hudson, who considers artists such as Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, and Mariah Carey as her idols.
Along with her love for music, Jennifer was also quite fond of singing. She performed on local theater plays and sang with the church choir when she was as young as seven years old. Soon after, she had the chance to join the talent show competition, American Idol. Her stint on the program garnered her a skyrocketing degree of recognition, eventually landing her a spot in the entertainment industry. Since then, Jennifer has released a couple of hit records and albums. The diva even went as far as starring in a few shows and movies, including Empire, Sex and the City, and Dreamgirls.
Perhaps to cover the personal or student loans she had at the time, 16-year-old Laila Ali worked as a manicurist. In fact, she even had a nail salon! Even so, she eventually shifted her sights on a different career path.
With her father being the world-famous boxer Muhammad Ali, it comes as no surprise Laila later followed in his footsteps. Beginning her career in the boxing ring at 18 years old, Laila had an impressive run before she finally retired in 2007 with a record of 24 wins, 21 by knock-out, and no losses. Often considered one of boxing’s all-time best female boxers, Laila has since become a media personality, having appeared in a couple of shows such as Fashion Police, Chopped: All-Stars, and competed on The Masked Singer. With all things considered, although her initial fame came from her familial roots, it’s safe to say Laila is now popular thanks to her hard work and efforts.
For Nathalie Emmanuel’s introduction to the world of acting, it’s safe to say a portion of the credit goes to her mother. Like many kids, Nathalie was quite energetic during her childhood, so her mother suggested she channel that energy to other things, such as acting and dancing. Well, by the looks of it, the idea undoubtedly paid off in the end.
Nathalie began her acting career on the stage, with one of her earlier stints being when she was ten years old, performing as Nala in The Lion King musical. Soon after, she landed more on-screen roles on TV shows, where she eventually garnered worldwide fame for her part in Game of Thrones. Since then, Nathalie has starred in a couple of big-name projects, most notably the Maze Runner movies and the recent installments in The Fast and the Furious franchise.
Jada Pinkett Smith
At a young age, Jada Pinkett Smith already had quite a passion for all things related to art. Along with her piano, tap, ballet, and dance lessons, Jada eventually added acting to her skill set. After finishing her studies as a dance and theater major, Jada wasted no time beginning her career in the entertainment industry.
Debuting her journey under the spotlight with her role in a True Colors episode, Jada has since garnered widespread recognition for her performance in titles such as A Low Down Dirty Shame, Jason’s Lyric, and The Matrix films. Besides acting, Jada has also made investments in other endeavors, including her music company 100% Women Productions, the Maja fashion label, and her children’s book Girls Hold Up This World. In more recent years, though, Jada has become most known for her hosting gig on the online talk show, Red Table Talk.
For his introduction to acting, Kenan Thompson’s mother enrolled him in acting classes when he was as young as five years old. From that point onward, Kenan found a passion for it and even performed on local stage productions and school plays.
Fast forward a couple of years, Kenan finally found his way into the entertainment industry, with one of his earlier stints being on CNN’s Real News for Kids segment as an entertainment reporter. Soon after, he garnered a skyrocketing degree of recognition for his role in the Nickelodeon comedy series All That. He’s also worked on titles such as Fat Albert, The Mighty Ducks, and his recently released series Kenan. Among all these projects, though, perhaps Kenan is most recognized among fans for his ongoing stint as a cast member of Saturday Night Live, with his first appearance on the show being back in 2003.
At a young age, Larenz Tate and his two older brothers were encouraged to take acting classes. Although they didn’t take it seriously at first, the trio eventually realized that acting could be a great investment for them after seeing one of their classmates, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, become famous for his role in The Cosby Show.
Larenz began his career in the entertainment industry with minor roles and landed his small-screen debut in an episode of The New Twilight Zone. Since then, he has had the chance to work on projects such as Love Jones, Crash, and A Man Apart. Even so, fans of the actor often recognize Larenz most for his performance in the TV series Power as Councilman Rashad Tate and in the movie Menace II Society, where he starred as O-Dog. Although he has since kept a relatively low profile, rest assured Larenz is still quite active in the acting business – he’s still more than happy to reprise his role as Rashad Tate.
Since its inception, the entertainment industry has had more than its fair share of child stars, and that includes Meagan Good. Beginning her career at four years old, Meagan’s earlier stints in the business were mostly as an extra for TV shows such as Amen and Doogie Howser, MD.
By the time she was 13 years old, Meagan finally landed her debut with 1995’s Friday. Two years after, in 1997, she received widespread acclaim and recognition for her acting credit in Eve’s Bayou, which also gave the actress her first award nominations. Since then, Meagan has remained quite active with her acting career, appearing in projects such as the drama series Deception and films like Venom, Anchorman 2, One Missed Call, and Shazam. With her career still far from reaching its peak, perhaps it’s safe to expect that Meagan will become more and more famous in the coming years.
With a family filled with musicians, it comes as no surprise Janelle Monáe eventually followed suit. At a young age, Janelle already dreamt of becoming a singer. She learned how to sing when she performed alongside a local church choir. Soon after, Janelle showcased her talents by competing in talent shows, particularly the Juneteenth events, which she won consecutively for three years.
Debuting in 2003 with her demo album The Audition, Janelle has since become one of the music industry’s well-known figures. Besides singing, Janelle eventually added other talents to her skill set, including acting and modeling. Along with her highly acclaimed seven-part series of concept albums titled Metropolis, Janelle has starred in movies such as Moonlight, The Glorias, and most especially, Hidden Figures. With her acting and singing career still far from over, it sure looks like Janelle still has plenty of tricks to fuel her gas tank of creativity for the next coming years.
Before graduating as a double major with a degree in anthropology and sociology, Kerry Washington has already had the chance to meet a big-name celebrity. Besides studying acting and performing on local stage productions, Kerry also learned how to dance. Throughout that period, there were times when the instructor wasn’t available, so they had sessions with a substitute dance teacher, who just so happened to be Jennifer Lopez.
By the looks of it, it’s safe to say all these experiences helped Kerry become the celebrity she is today. Beginning her career under the spotlight in 1994, the actress eventually garnered widespread fame and recognition for her role as Olivia Pope on the drama series Scandal. Since then, she has worked on other projects such as Confirmation, The Last King of Scotland, and Django Unchained. Not to mention, Kerry is set to star and produce the upcoming films 24/7 and Shadow Force.
Before any investment money was spent on movies and TV shows, people often went to the theaters and watched their stories depicted by actors on a stage. To this day, more than a few narratives are still told through this medium. With that said, it comes as no surprise many of the entertainment industry’s celebrities began their careers performing on stage productions. Well, one such figure is Michael Ealy.
After a few gigs appearing on Off-Broadway productions, Michael landed more on-screen roles, with his earlier stints being on the films Kissing Jessica Stein and Bad Company. Since then, along with appearing in a couple of music videos, the actor has appeared in movies such as Takers, Barbershop, Think Like a Man, and the TV series Almost Human. With his journey under the spotlight still far from over, it’s safe to say Michael will only become a more well-known star from here on out.
Before she took credit for being one of the fashion industry’s most recognized supermodels, Naomi Campbell had dreams of becoming a dancer. When she was just three years old, Naomi began taking dancing classes and eventually learned ballet and tap dancing a few years after. Along the way, she had the chance to appear in a few music videos, including Bob Marley’s Is This Love, before she was offered an opportunity to become a model.
Today, Naomi has made quite a name for herself under the spotlight, having worked alongside big-name brands and figures such as Versace, Roberto Cavalli, and Dolce & Gabbana. Besides modeling, Naomi has had the chance to appear in a few movies and shows, including Empire and American Horror Story: Hotel. Besides the fame and fortune she’s earned through the years, Naomi is also one who doesn’t shy from sharing, participating in various charity events and philanthropic endeavors along the way.
Although she initially dreamed of becoming an entertainment lawyer or horse racing jockey, Janet Jackson eventually found a love for music. After all, her older siblings are some of the music industry’s most recognized figures, especially Michael Jackson.
Today, Janet Jackson has made quite a name for herself under the spotlight. Through the years, she has released hit albums such as Control, Rhythm Nation 1814, Janet, and Unbreakable. Along the way, Janet also had the chance to fulfill one of her childhood dreams – become an actress. Among the films she’s starred in include The Nutty Professor II, Why Did I Get Married, and Poetic Justice. Thanks to all the work she’s done, Janet eventually received the honor of being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Among all the achievements she’s made, however, it’s safe to say the singer is more than happy to know that she’s become a source of inspiration for many aspiring artists worldwide.
Although the entertainment industry is plenty of world-famous celebrities, there are still a couple of stars that are not as popular. Even so, whenever they appear on screen, rest assured that these relatively low-profile figures can still radiate the same degree of charisma and talent as the others. Well, one such name is, without a doubt, Morris Chestnut.
For his introduction to the acting scene, Morris began his professional career in an episode of Freddy’s Nightmare. Soon after, he made his way to the big screens with his role in 1991’s Boyz n the Hood. Since then, Morris has appeared in numerous projects, including Under Siege 2, The Best Man, and its sequel, The Best Man Holiday. Despite working primarily for modest gigs, it’s safe to say Morris still earns a fortune, which is more than enough for him and his family – and that’s all that matters.
Throughout her childhood, Lupita Nyong’o was already exposed to the beauty of acting, often going on trips with her family to see stage plays. Not long after, she made her way to the stage, as well, debuting with an acting credit as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet. With her passion for the art not wearing off, it’s no wonder she eventually made her way into the entertainment industry.
Beginning her career doing mostly behind-the-scenes work, Lupita finally landed her on-screen debut in the short film East River. After starring in a few more roles, the actress garnered worldwide acclaim for her performance in 12 Years a Slave, which also earned her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Other projects she’s worked on since then include the Star Wars sequel trilogy, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the 2019 horror film Us. It goes to show one’s passion can surely go a long way.
During his teens, Idris Elba did just about anything to help with his family’s personal loans, such as working as a tire-fitter, among other jobs. With that said, by the time he was in his twenties, Idris thought it was high-time he pursued another career – acting.
Beginning his career on the TV show Crimewatch, Idris’s earlier stints were mainly for TV shows. A few of these shows include notable titles such as Law & Order, The Wire, The Office, and Luther. Since then, he has had the chance to work on big-budget films like Pacific Rim, Hobbs & Shaw, and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. Besides acting, Idris also dabbles in the music scene as an R&B artist and DJ, where he goes by the name DJ Big Driis. By the looks of it, it’s safe to say Idris is already on his way to becoming one of the industry’s most iconic figures.
Nick Cannon is a well-known multi-talented celebrity that has been in Hollywood since his teenage years. Nick is a skilled actor, and he has numerous acting credits to his name. Besides acting, Nick Cannon is also an incredibly successful host of television shows like America’s Got Talent. Rounding up Nick Cannon’s multi-faceted career is his somewhat successful career as a musician and rapper.
Nick Cannon has a long history of hosting well-known television shows. Interestingly, Nick got his first Hollywood breakthrough when he hosted All That back in the ’90s. Since hosting All That, Nick has been able to host successful television shows like The Nick Cannon Show, Wild ‘n Out, and Lip Sync Battle Shorties. Today, Nick Cannon is one of the wealthiest television hosts as he currently has a $30 million net worth. He’s undoubtedly poised to earn more as he never seems to run out of television projects to appear on!
Noemie Lenoir is a well-known French model, and she’s best known for her work with brands and companies such as Gucci, Next, Gap, Victoria’s Secret, Couture, Marks and Spencer, Tommy Hilfiger, and L’Oreal. According to photographer Annie Leibovitz, Noemie Lenoir is one of the world’s most successful black models. Lenoir also made appearances in various magazines and was constantly featured on billboards alongside other famed models such as Twiggy.
Noemie Lenoir indeed came a long way from being a simple teenager in France. She was first discovered in a local post office at 17, and she quickly the rest is history. Besides modeling, Noemie also managed to carve a path into acting, and she has an extensive list of acting credits to her name. Noemie starred in the film Rush Hour 3 alongside Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan. Lenoir was also featured in Usher’s music video for “Hey Daddy (Daddy’s Home).”
One cannot simply forget the polarizing performance of Omari Hardwick in the hit television series Power. Hardwick is one of the most recognizable television stars today, and he’s also a rapper, producer, poet, and podcaster. Some of Omari Hardwick’s notable acting credits came in films like Saved, Dark Blue, The A-Team, Spike Lee’s Miracle at St. Anna, and many more.
Landing roles wasn’t always easy for Omari Hardwick. He struggled to land roles on notable movies and television shows, but he never gave up. His career breakthrough came in 2004 in the television show Sucker Free City. Talent scouts must have noticed his talent as an actor, and in 2013, he landed a spot in the hit television drama Power. Hardwick is set to appear in more television and film projects now that Power recently ended. Some of the upcoming projects that he’ll be starring in are Pieces of Her, Spell, and a few more television shows.
It’s safe to say that almost everyone on this planet knows who Oprah Winfrey is. She’s a well-known talk show host, actress, producer, author, and philanthropist. Oprah is best known for hosting her talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, for over 25 years. Oprah was also once ranked as the most influential woman in the world, and she’s been dubbed as the “Queen of All Media.”
Being an influential talk show host surely brings in a ton of benefits. She reportedly earns around $300 million a year, and she has a current fortune that’s worth $3.5 billion. With this fact, Oprah Winfrey became the wealthiest African American of the 20th century. She also bagged the honors of being North America’s first African American billionaire. Oprah used her hard work, resilience, and plenty of wise investments to carve a billion-dollar empire, and she remains an inspiration to all women today.
Almost everyone recognizes Rihanna and all the hit singles and studio albums she’s released over the past two decades. Rihanna certainly came a long way from her humble beginnings in her hometown of Bridgetown, Barbados. Now, she’s an incredibly successful recording artist, pop star, actress, and businesswoman. She has managed to cultivate a career that yielded an astounding fortune worth $600 million!
Rihanna is one of the wealthiest figures in the music industry today. Besides a successful music career, Rihanna managed to venture out into investments in other industries. Rihanna has numerous clothing lines, and she currently oversees her Fenty Beauty Line, which is a partnership with LVMH. Rihanna owns 15% of the association, and the brand generates over $100 million in revenue. Today, Rihanna’s annual salary is estimated to be around $70 million. It’s safe to say that she won’t need a money loan to get by even if she decides to walk away from her music career.
Rosario Dawson is a well-known American actress and producer. Dawson is known as a strong-jawed beauty who’s appeared in several feature films throughout her career. Rosario Dawson first got her breakthrough in the independent film Kids back in 1995. After her performance in Kids, she quickly moved on to appearing in blockbuster film after blockbuster film. Some of her most notable acting credits came in films like He Got Game, Men in Black II, Sin City, Seven Pounds, Zookeeper, and many more.
Rosario Dawson is definitely more than just a pretty face as she has numerous awards and recognition in her resume. Besides multiple awards and nominations, Dawson also managed to earn millions of dollars throughout her career as an actress. Today, Rosario Dawson is worth $8 million. She’s also an active supporter of several charitable causes. Rosario is truly an inspiration for everyone, including young women trying to carve a successful career as an actress.
Samuel L. Jackson
Samuel L. Jackson isn’t just known for his memorable catchphrase in the iconic movie Pulp Fiction. He’s an incredibly successful actor who’s appeared in countless films throughout his career. Samuel L. Jackson first started his career as an actor in 1972, and he quickly rose into one of the most sought-after actors in Hollywood. Some of Jackson’s most notable acting credits came in films like Star Wars, Coach Carter, Snakes on a Plane, and many more.
Samuel L. Jackson appeared in over 150 films throughout his career, and he bagged the honors as one of the top-grossing actors of all time. The worldwide box office total of the movies that he’s starred in total at a whopping figure of $16.7 billion. Jackson has also been one of the highest-earning actors as he reportedly earns a salary between $10 million to $20 million. Today, he sits on a jaw-dropping fortune worth $250 million, which should increase more as he continues to appear in more feature films.
Selita Ebanks is a well-known Caymanian actress and model. Selita is known for working with high fashion companies and brands like Ralph Lauren and Neiman Marcus. Ebanks has appeared in several magazines, such as the Swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated, Glamour, and Vogue. She’s also known for her collaboration and work with Victoria’s Secret, as she was a Victoria’s Secret Angel from 2005 to 2010.
Besides a successful modeling career, Selita also managed to appear in a good number of films and television shows. Some of Selita’s notable acting credits came in television shows such as How I Met Your Mother, The Apprentice, and Real Husbands of Hollywood. Selita is also known when she became engaged with well-known actor-comedian Nick Cannon. The proposal was certainly enough to catch everyone’s attention as Cannon asked her to marry her via the jumbotron in Times Square. The engagement was eventually called off after a few months, and Selita now manages to divert all of her efforts and attention to her philanthropic work.
Serena Williams has been a polarizing figure in tennis for several decades now. Serena is one of the most successful athletes in the sport as she took home 23 Grand Slam singles titles, which is the most by any player who played in the Open Era. Serena also ranked no. 1 in singles between 2002 and 2017, and she held on to her ranking for an astonishing 186 consecutive weeks. In total, Serena Williams has been No. 1 for 319 weeks, and it ranks third in the Open Era, just behind Martina Navratilova and Graf.
Being the no. 1 women’s tennis player for several weeks indeed has its benefits. Besides being an accomplished tennis icon, Serena Williams is also the highest-earning female player in the sport. She currently has a tremendous net worth of $210 million. Serena also earns millions of dollars from several endorsements with well-known companies and brands. When it comes to achievements and legacy, Serena Williams undoubtedly deserves credit as one of the greatest players to ever play the sport.
It turns out that Beyonce isn’t the only multi-talented sibling in the Knowles family. Solange Knowles is Beyonce’s youngest sister, and she’s a well-known singer, songwriter, model, and actress. Like her older, more popular sister, Solange expressed her interest in music at an early age. She first started out as a backup dancer for Destiny’s Child, which heavily featured Beyonce among its members. Solange then signed with Music World Entertainment and released her first studio album titled Solo Star back in 2002.
Besides music, Solange was able to star and appear in a couple of feature films. Solange’s acting credits include the 2006 film Bring It On: All or Nothing. While appearing in a handful of films, Solange continued writing music for her elder sister and other members of Destiny’s Child like Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland. One can argue that Solange is as talented and as enthusiastic about performing, just like her elder sister!
Clifford Harris Jr. or better known as T.I. or T.I.P. is one of the most recognizable rappers today. Harris Jr. is also an incredibly skilled singer, songwriter, and entrepreneur. He first got his breakthrough when he signed a major-label record deal back in 1999 with Arista subsidiary LaFace. T.I. quickly rose through the ranks, and he quickly became one of the most famous rappers in the industry. He’s considered to have been one of the pioneers of hip hop’s subgenre called trap music.
Besides being a successful musician, rapper, and record producer, T.I. is also a skilled actor. He’s been able to star in a good number of films, and his acting credits include Takers, Get Hard, Identity Thief, ATL, and Ant-Man. He also appeared in the reality television shows like T.I.’s Road to Redemption, The Grand Hustle, and T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle.
Taraji P. Henson
Taraji P. Henson is a highly well-known actress and figure in the entertainment industry. Henson has been able to appear in many TV shows and films throughout her career. She’s known for her extensive and successful career in television as she’s appeared in TV shows like Boston Legal, The Division, and Eli Stone. Henson’s career as a TV actress brought her several awards and recognition, including a Golden Globe Award and a couple of nominations for an Emmy Award back in 2015 and 2016.
Taraji P. Henson also has an extensive film career. Some of her acting credits in films include movies like Think Like a Man, Date Night, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Hustle & Flow, and several more. Henson is undoubtedly a multi-faceted talent as she also managed to find success as a writer. Henson has been able to release an autobiography titled Around the Way Girl, which has become incredibly popular.
Scott Leo Diggs, better known as Taye Diggs, is a well-known figure and actor in American theatre, film, and television. Diggs is best known for his countless appearances in several stage productions throughout his career. Of course, he’s also known for his acting credits in various television shows. Throughout his career, Taye Diggs has been able to receive numerous awards, including a highly coveted Screen Actors Guild Award.
Besides acting, Taye Diggs is also an accomplished singer. No wonder he was so comfortable starring in different Broadway musicals like Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Rent. Today, Taye Diggs is heavily focused on the television projects that he has lined up for him. Some of his recent television appearances include Muppets Now, The Best Man: The Final Chapters, and Celebrity Ghost Stories. He’s also currently playing the role of “Head Coach Billy Baker” in the ongoing television show All American.
Terrence Howard is a well-known American actor who’s starred in several films since his first acting breakthrough in 1995. He broke into the mainstream with a good number of film and television roles between 2004 and 2006. His performance in Hustle & Flow brought him a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Actor. Without a doubt, Terrence Howard has been able to cultivate a widely successful career as an actor, and some of his notable acting performances came in films like Winnie Mandela, Biker Boyz, The Brave One, Prisoners, and many more.
Terrence Howard even played the role of “James Rhodes” in the first Iron Man movie. However, Howard was replaced by Don Cheadle in the sequel movies and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Terrence Howard currently has a net worth of $5 million. Of course, he should be much wealthier, considering that he’s appeared in several films. Unfortunately, Howard experienced many financial problems in the past. We certainly hope that he now has an excellent financial advisor on his side as he moves on with his acting career.
Tyra Banks is one of the most successful and recognizable models today. She began her modeling career at the young age of 15 and became the first African-American woman to be featured on Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition and GQ. Banks appeared on the cover three times, and her modeling career quickly evolved, eventually leading her to become a well-known Victoria’s Secret Angel. During her stint as a Victoria’s Secret Angel, Banks was one of the highest-earning models, and it was a no-brainer to venture out into other industries.
Besides her successful modeling career, Tyra Banks also managed to appear in a handful of films. Some of Tyra’s film credits include movies like Halloween: Resurrection and Eight Crazy Nights. Despite appearing in films, her run as an American television personality brought her more fame and fortune. She’s appeared in a long list of television series and shows throughout her career.
Nowadays, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t know Viola Davis. She is best known as an American actress, but some may not know that she is also a producer. If you’re into thrillers, then you have probably seen her in the hit series, How to Get Away with Murder. She won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 2015 for her role in the show. She’s also the first Black woman to have won the award.
The star is incredible. Throughout her career, Viola has won an Academy Award as well as two Tony Awards. With this, she became the first African-American to achieve the Triple Crown of Acting. The actress has been in the industry for more than two decades. Despite the number of her achievements and investments in the industry, she is yet to show signs of slowing down. Right now, fans can look forward to her next two films.
According to Forbes, Will Smith is the most bankable star worldwide. Starring in dozens of films ― a great number of which has been a hit. He has been in hit films such as the Men in Black film series and the critically acclaimed The Pursuit of Happyness. He also has the credit for playing the Genie in the 2019 film Aladdin.
Smith started his career in 1986. While the star is best known as an actor, he was also a rapper. His fame started under the name The Fresh Prince. His breakthrough happened when he starred in the series, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. After the series ended, he started acting on the big screens. He has been in the industry for more than three decades. Despite this, the actor is still very much active and continues to amaze us. Currently, he’s involved in the upcoming film, King Richard!
Have you been keeping up with America’s Next Top Model? If you have, you probably know Cycle 3’s Yaya DaCosta, the show’s runner-up. After the reality show, DaCosta went on and became an actress. She has starred in several TV shows since then, including the daytime drama, All My Children. She was also in the crime drama Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and comedy-drama Ugly Betty. That’s not all! She has also starred on the big screen.
In 2006, she appeared in Take the Lead, where she had the credit of playing LaRhette. That was her first appearance in a film. After that, she has also been in movies such as The Kids Are All Right and The Nice Guys. If you can’t get enough of the star and want to see more of her, then you can still catch her on the medical drama Chicago Med.
Are you a big Divergent fan? If you answered yes, then you probably know the Dauntless initiate, Cristina. The credit for the role goes to none other than Zoë Kravitz. She was born on December 1, 1988, to the amazing Lenny Kravitz and lovely Lisa Bonet. Considering who her parents are, it’s not surprising that the actress is so talented! However, despite having two of Hollywood’s most extraordinary personalities as parents, the actress has proven that she can make a name of her own.
She started her career in 2007, and after over a decade, she has already racked up roles and recognitions. She has been in films such as The Road Within and High Fidelity. In both films, her talent and hard work have earned recognition. She did not only receive a nomination, but she also won! Right now, she is to appear in two upcoming films. I’m sure her fans are thrilled!
Zoe Saldana is undeniably one of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood, especially to sci-fi fans. With her exceptional talent and character delivery, the star has managed to be part of several of the biggest franchises. You might know her as Gamora in the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. On the other hand, you might remember her as Neytiri in the Avatar film series.
Maybe you’re more of a Star Trek fan and mostly remember her for her role as Nyota Uhura in the film series. She has practically dominated the sci-fi universe! She has been in three out of five of the highest-grossing films of all time. Due to this, she is currently the second-highest-grossing film actress of all time as of 2019, with films grossing more than $11 billion worldwide! I think we could all agree the actress is far from needing any cash loans. If you want to see more of the star, then you’re in for a treat. She is currently involved in four upcoming films.
Tina Turner will not get credit as the Queen of Rock’ n’ Roll for nothing. She might have started as the lead singer of the duo Ike & Tina Turner, but she had successfully launched a solo career that brought her to where she is today. The 81-year-old legend has come a long way from using the name Little Ann to becoming the “Tina Turner” in the ’80s.
Her launch at the time was dubbed as “one of the greatest comebacks in music history,” and it’s easy to see why. Her 1984 album, Private Dancer, became multi-platinum and even won Record of the Year. Despite the age, she became the oldest female solo artist to top the Billboard Hot 100. In total, Tina has sold over 100 million albums, making her one of the best-selling recording artists of all time, while her 50th-anniversary tour became the highest-grossing tour of all time. With the number of successes, honors, and accolades she has, Tina is one of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2021 inductees.
Snoop Dogg has successfully maintained his superstar status as one of the leading rappers in the industry. After rising to prominence in the early ’90s, the famed singer-songwriter has managed to create and produce new music until today. He recently announced his new album, From the Streets 2 the Suites, which was already his 18th LP. So far, the 49-year-old personality has sold more than 23 million albums in the US alone and 35 million worldwide.
Aside from dominating the rap music scene, Snoop also ventured to host several TV shows and appear on a number of TV and movie productions. Believe it or not, he also coaches a youth football league and a high-school football team. It looks like there’s an endless list of things that Snoop can do, and you should even add to that the investments he has made.
Phylicia Rashad was famously known as Clair Huxtable on The Cosby Show, but her infamous contribution to the Black community got her credits as The Mother of the Black Community. The NAACP Image Awards honored her this name in 2010. The 72-year-old actress was also the first Black actress who won the Tony Award for Best Actress Play, thanks to her role in the A Raisin in the Sun revival.
Phylicia won another NAACP award for reprising her role in the play in its TV adaptation in 2008. The stage director has had a prolific career since she started in the early ’70s. She began making a name in the Broadway world, doing In the Woods and Jelly’s Last Jam, and managed to transcend in mainstream media. Some of the TV and movie projects that Phylicia has made are For Colored Girls, Good Deeds, Creed movie series, and more.
Fans may know Randy Jackson as the long-time judge of American Idol, but there’s more to this iconic musician’s name. He started in the business as early as the ’80s. At the time, he’s a session musician, playing bass guitar for different music performers. Whether it’s rock, jazz, or pop, the now-64-year-old singer can effortlessly play it. From here, he started to work in music production.
In 2020, Randy once again played as the Journey’s bassist after the group’s sudden split with its member, Ross Valory. He’s once part of the group in 1986, filling the role for its 1985 album, Raise on Radio, and the band’s tour. The TV personality has also made an investment by producing a reality TV show on MTV, titled America’s Best Dance Crew, in 2008. The show ended in 2010 due to a rating decline. As of current, there’s no known show Randy has.
Wendy Williams is famously known for her nationally syndicated eponymous talk show that has been on the air since 2008. Before she dominated the small screen, however, she started as a radio DJ and host. She’s popularly known as a shock jockette back then. If there’s one thing that made Wendy most known by the public, it might be the degree of on-air spats with celebrities. The 56-year-old star even became the subject of the VH1 reality series, The Wendy Williams Experience.
Aside from hosting, Wendy also authored a number of books and appeared in different TV and movie projects. She also has her own line of businesses in the fashion, jewelry, and wig fields. With her fame, Wendy was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2009, and Asbury Park, New Jersey, renamed the street where she grew up to Wendy Williams Way.
When Gabourey Sidibe’s acting career was in its infancy, she has made investments in college plays. The actress did so well that she caught the attention of director Lee Daniels, who hired her immediately to star in the movie Previous which was released in 2009. Sidibe has had a brilliant career since then.
As a plus-size woman, she has also been the subject of various criticisms, but the Empire actress is someone not to be trifled with. She underwent a massive transformation and has taken steps to reduce her weight. Sidibe also made sure she has very high confidence. This should be expected considering that her middle name, MaLingair, means “Queen,” and she has every right to be with her skills. The entertainment world also runs in her blood as her mother, Alice Tan Ridley, is a singer herself. Ridley even got featured on America’s Got Talent and subsequently made a record. For sure, Sidibe was proud.
The golf legend recently had to make use of his health insurance policy due to a road mishap, but this most likely would not dampen his enthusiasm for the sports he has loved over the years. While Woods is now considered one of the greatest players of all-time in golf, he did not start as a star. He has his career beginnings in college and then amateur, and then in 1996, he went full-on professional.
Serving as evidence of how Woods transformed over the years are his many photos online. Reports say that he is perhaps one of the most photographed and even most controversial players today. His decade of success was marked not just by professional awards such as holding the record for 11 PGA Player of the Year Awards but also by some personal struggles. Yet, Woods could face all of these struggles, a positive prognosis for any issues he faces now.
When Motown Records signed the Supremes, they knew they were looking at a star in Diana Ross. It was perhaps the best decision they made because the 1960s saw the female singing group rose to fame. After she separated from the Supremes in 1970, Ross engaged in a solo career and became successful in many aspects, including TV, stage, and film. In 1976, Ross was also named the Female Entertainer of the Century. With this, she solidified her image as among the top 5 singers of that decade.
Ross has gone a long way from the time she was just starting. Ross began her singing career when she joined a quartet called the Primette, which eventually became the Supremes. In recent times, Ross received her first-ever Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement. She was also slated to play the Sunday legends during the Glastonbury Festival. However, because of the current world crisis, this was postponed. Fans are definitely going to look forward to the next schedule.
The Miss Universe host began his career as a comedian. During that time, he barely had enough money to pay rent, much less a house mortgage. At one point, he was even homeless, but that has not deterred Harvey from doing his best. After trying his luck in stand-up comedy in the early 1980s, he found success and later became the host of Family Feud and Celebrity Family Feud. He has also written a number of books.
In the aftermath of the recent Miss Universe, fans certainly missed the presence of the iconic host. Some even went as far as saying that the pageant was not the same without its iconic host. So what keeps him busy now? He founded Steve Harvey Global, a company that serves as the holding company of East 112 and his other ventures. On top of that, he and his wife Marjorie founded The Steve and Marjorie Harvey Foundation, a nonprofit supporting youth education.
There are only 16 entertainers in the entire world that have received an Emmy, an Academy, Tony, and a Grammy. One of them is Whoopi Goldberg, who has proven that she is among the best artists in Hollywood through the years. She has also performed in several Broadway productions. Her reprisal in Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit in 1993 made her one of the highest-paid actresses during the period. She had also displayed money management skills when she accumulated a cool $60 million.
When she talked about her career in an interview, Goldberg revealed that her Academy Awards almost did not materialize, but it’s a good thing it did. Lately, what has kept the actress busy are various projects, including re-appearing for her role as Guidan in Star Trek. She is also set to appear on Sister Act 3, which will debut on Disney+.
As with many comedians, Saturday Night Live saw Eddie Murphy rise to fame. He was a cast member only for four years, but it was enough to hone his skills, and soon after, he received Golden Globe nominations for his movies. Among his most notable works are The Nutty Professor, Trading Places, and Dr. Doolittle. He has also worked as a voice actor, with his voice featured in Mulan.
In the past years, Murphy has suffered a decline in his career. Still, recently, there has been a resurgence in returning to adult-oriented films like Coming to America and the sequel, Coming 2 America, released in March 2021. Most of the other actors from the original film also joined him in that sequel. When not doing TV or movie work, Murphy keeps himself busy with singing and philanthropic work. He has been given for helping the Screen Actors’ Guild and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center.