Top 7 Black Actors & Actresses Whose Careers Are Heating Up

September 29, 2011  |  

By Torri R. Oats

Every year, Vanity Fair publishes its version of the up-and-coming superstars of tomorrow — the famous “Hollywood Issue.”  Too often African-American actors and actresses are excluded because of many factors including lack of exposure and good, meaty roles.  But rest assured, there is a new generation of African-American talents waiting for their star turn.  Here are just a few we should watch closely, as they are poised to make their mark in Hollywood in the coming years. They have the style, they have the look, and they have talent in spades. Pretty soon the mainstream media will wake up and take notice — but you heard it hear first. Here are the Top 7 Black Actors & Actresses Whose Careers Are Heating Up.


Jurnee Smollett

It’s hard to believe that Jurnee Smollett has been in “the biz” for nearly twenty years.  Although, it wasn’t until 1997 that Ms. Smollett, who was a new face to most of us, burst on the scene with a scene-stealing, star-making performance as Eve Batiste in “Eve’s Bayou.”  Throughout her career, she has been a consistently solid performer in television and film — always interesting, always unique, always Jurnee. When we spoke to Shawn Edwards of, he was effusive with praise for Ms. Smollett. “I really, really like her,” he told The Atlanta Post. “She was great in ‘The Great Debaters,’ but it fizzled.  She hasn’t had that major role to take her to the next level.”  Despite this silver screen setback, this gifted actress has more than paid her dues and with several awards under her belt, including three Image awards, she is well-positioned to dominate the scene in the future.  Ms. Smollett is currently on the television show, “The Defenders.”

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