African Queens Of The Big Screen: 13 Of Our Favorite African Actresses

November 11, 2013 ‐ By Iva Anthony

While we’re just beginning to recognize African American actresses the way we should in Hollywood, African actresses, who were either born on the continent or in the U.S. to parents from the motherland, still don’t often get the recognition they deserve. We’re going to attempt to put a stop to that with this list acknowledging 13 of our favorite African Queens of the big screen.

"Lupita Nyong'o pf"


Lupita Nyong’o

Although she was born in Mexico, Lupita Nyong’o was raised in Kenya once her family moved back to their native country. After attending college in the U.S., the 30-year-old actress and filmmaker worked behind the camera before making her debut in a short film in 2008. Nyong’o headed back to school and enrolled in the acting program at the Yale School of Drama. Immediately following graduation, she was cast in Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave. Up next for Nyong’o is Non-Stop, costarring Liam Neeson.

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  • Angela

    Lesley Ann Brandt isn’t a black African, she’s East Indian (Cape Coloured).

    Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Kandyse McClure should be here.

  • Merv

    You forgot Kandysse Mcclure from Battle Star Galectica and Hemlock grove. She is South African as well.

  • Clint

    Danai Gurira is one of the most beautiful women. She is gorgeous, educated and talented.

  • Ethel Kemp

    you left out Frema Agyemang (The Carrie Diaries) and
    Toks Olagundoye (The neighbors)

  • Nanaya Biness

    Black Girlz Rock!!

  • prinlee

    Y’all forgot Charlize Theron

  • Fact Checkah

    Oduye did not make her Broadway debut in Fela….she made her Broadway debut in A Trip to Bountiful…along side the legendary Ms. Cicely Tyson

  • Kenny Noir

    The book is PUSH, by Sapphire.

  • Ayisha Carnival Queen

    African Queens..what a beautiful sight to see…

  • Superwife

    Her (Lupita) skin is freaking flawless…wow.

  • Jibreen

    Absolutely gorgeous sister.

  • fek

    Yaya is not Nigerian. She adopted the Yoruba Nigerian Culture. Her real name is Camara Johnson. There are many African Americans that adopt the yoruba culture and change their names. You find many who do that in N. Carolina, and if I’m not mistaken that’s where yaya got inspired and decided to change her name.

    • Miss K

      I didn’t know that. hmm… interesting.

  • SendHim2Jail

    I just LOVE my girls Danai and Gugu! All of these women are BEAUTIFUL and talented!

  • KeepingItReal

    Lupita Nyong’ o is stunningly beautiful. Now, this is what I like to see:)

  • Val

    No one is really talking about it but African actors are taking over these days. It’s very interesting to see. I wonder how African American actors feel about the shift.

    • Ayisha Carnival Queen

      let’s not create division, seeing people of color on the big screen is important, not whether they’re African or African American. ” Taking over” Taking over what exactly? The same hardships that African Americans face will no different for Africans, Please do your research….I hate ignorance

      • Val

        Lol. Speaking of ignorance, can you even read?

    • Tito

      Wonder about how White Latina actresses are taking over but not the Black Hispanic ones who can barely get a job.

  • Chy

    Thank you madam noire for this update. My African girls have a feature.
    Not forgetting my Nigerian compatriots are heavily making waves.

    • Stephanie J. Munn

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