We Got Now, We Don’t Care Who Got Next: 9 Black Women In Starring Roles On Television Right Now (And They’re Killing It!)

March 14, 2013  |  
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We’re finally having the type of positive success on television as black women that we’ve been looking for, for many years now. Or at least, since reality television took over scripted comedies and dramas. No longer do we have to just sit and accept that there are black women on TV fighting, arguing and acting a damn fool, because we finally have the option to change the channel on any given day to watch other beautiful black women in leading and strong supporting roles on many television shows. While we lost Tia Mowry-Hardrict on The Game, we’re gaining Issa Rae soon, as she’s working with Shonda Rhimes on a new series, and we have these nine other beautiful sistas who are changing the game as we speak.

Taraji P. Henson as Detective Jocelyn “Joss” Carter

Your favorite sista from movies like Baby Boy and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button has become such a force in the industry that she’s now got a leading role on the CBS drama, Person of Interest. The gritty crime drama has Henson starring as Detective Jocelyn Carter, a single mom (she lost her husband in the line of duty) and NYPD detective who works with a former CIA field officer and software engineer to catch people who need to be brought to justice for their shady crimes. Henson definitely adds to the show, as the the two main characters can get a little dull, and homegirl does not disappoint on the Thursday* night thriller, now in its second season.

Meagan Good as Joanna Locasto

Homegirl has come a long way from playing the love interest or…yeah…

Now she is killing the game on the show Deception as Detective Joanna Locasto, a woman going undercover to try and figure out what happened to her best friend, a wealthy socialite who was found dead. By going back to her own socialite past, Locasto gets “friendly” with the sneaky and conniving to figure out who is behind the young lady’s death, as it could be someone from the girl’s inner circle.If Good isn’t necessarily what lures you in every week, you might want to tune in since Laz Alonso’s fine behind is on there too…


Gabrielle Union as Mary Jane Paul

While it hasn’t debuted just yet, Being Mary Jane is indeed a go for BET, and the great mind that is Mara Brock Akil is behind it. Gabrielle Union will be playing Mary Jane Paul, a successful TV news anchor who has done big things with her career but hasn’t been so lucky in her private life. The series plot says, “As Mary Jane juggles her life, her work and her commitment to her family, we find out how far she’s willing to go to find the puzzle pieces that she, and society, insist are missing from her life as a single Black female.” After struggling for some really memorable roles over the last few years (she too has been caught in the “girlfriend” rut), we’re excited to see the talented actress get a big shot at small screen leading lady success.

Thandie Newton as Grace Travis

Now this one is a must, because who doesn’t love Thandie Newton’s acting skills? Newton plays in the dark drama a grieving mother and undercover cop named Grace Travis, who worries that her job and actions played a part in the death of her son. Seeking to get justice the street way, Newton…or Travis, goes to the streets of Oakland to track down her son’s killer, and the person involved could be a crime boss she gets waaay too close to. Don’t expect to find it on your usual channels, as Rogue is an original series for Directv’s Audience Network, and it’s set to premiere on April 3.


Regina King as Lydia Adams

King plays Lydia Adams, a dedicated detective for the LAPD’s robbery and homicide division. She’s the definition of tough, running down the bad guy even when pregnant, pulling out shotguns to protect witnesses, and just being an all around great detective with good instincts. She’s said to have an emotional connection sometimes to the cases she works, and has struggled to maintain one consistent partner over the years, but no one who watches can deny that her character, and the cop drama as a whole, is bad a**.

Gina Torres as Jessica Lourdes Pearson

Laurence Fishburne’s real life leading lady has a pretty dominant role on the USA Network’s Suits. If you’re willing to give it a try, the show is actually very entertaining and Torres plays Jessica Lourdes Pearson, co-founding and managing partner of the Pearson/Hardman law firm. She brings a lot of sass but even more knowledge (aka good sense) to the other lawyers. She’s the good looking Head Sister In Charge and is the definition of no-nonsense on the slick legal drama.

Rutina Wesley as Tara Thornton

Okay, so her character is something of a pain in the behind with all that attitude, but if you knew the things Rutina Wesley’s character of Tara Thornton had been through as a child with an alcoholic mother in Bon Temps, it might make a little more sense. Thornton is Sookie Stackhouse’s best friend and like many other characters on this list, she doesn’t put up with bull crap. In this latest season, after being shot trying to protect Sookie, Thornton is turned into a vampire to keep her alive, and let’s just say, all hell breaks loose after the fact. With Jurnee Smollett-Bell joining the cast and Tara still wildin’, season six is looking to be a must-watch.


Chandra Wilson as Dr. Miranda Bailey

Who doesn’t love Dr. Miranda Bailey on Grey’s Anatomy? Well, some folks don’t and that’s because she’s super tough and doesn’t play any games when it comes to her patients. Don’t let the big innocent eyes fool you folks! She can come off as a Mean Mindy to the struggling interns from time to time, but she can also have their back when they need it. She was one of Shonda Rhimes’ first black female characters to have a great deal of power out of her three shows and she’s still one of our favorites to this day.


Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope

How can you do a list like this and not have the queen bee? Of course, Kerry Washington is Olivia Pope, head of her own crisis management firm, and while she’s hardcore when it comes to her position and her work, her soft side has found her in a very complex relationship with Fitz, President of the United States. A controversial relationship that has its critics…but who cares!? It’s an amazing show. And I think we can all agree that the following of the show and the great acting by Washington and the cast has made is so successful that it’s allowed for many other women of color to take the reigns of black dramas and sitcoms big time, because word has spread everywhere–Scandal is a must-see…

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