7 Black Entertainers Who Made History
Black entertainers are often the public face of movements: actors, DJs, directors, writers, musicians, activists, comedians, athletes, and more. Let’s take a look at ten Black entertainers who made history.
Black entertainers are often the public face of these movements: actors, DJs, directors, writers, musicians, activists, comedians, athletes, and more. Let’s take a look at ten Black entertainers who made history.
Movements and phrases like #BlackGirlMagic, Black Power, and Black Pride give people of color the strength and knowledge to beat the odds and become some of the most influential people in the country, and the world.
And Black entertainers are often the public face of these movements: actors, DJs, directors, writers, musicians, activists, comedians, athletes, and more. This determination can change the world. Let’s take a look at ten Black entertainers who made history.
Cicely Tyson was an actress and model from East Harlem with a career that spanned 7 decades. Among many things, she was also the first Black woman to wear her natural hair on television in “East Side/West Side” in 1963. Her performances inspired a generation of Black women – from Viola Davis to Zendaya – who were, for the first time, seeing themselves represented with dignity on the big and small screens.
One of the greatest basketball players of all time, Kobe Bryant’s name has been synonymous with making history many times in his life, which was tragically cut short in January of 2020.
He became the second youngest NBA player in history, and arguably one of the most accomplished high school draft picks in NBA history with 5 NBA championships, 18 All-Star Team appearances, and two Olympic Gold medals.
Maya Angelou, born Marguerite Annie Johnson, was an actress, poet, and civil rights activist with many credits to her name. Her collection of poems, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” was the first and most acclaimed autobiography in a seven-volume series that describes her life and experiences as a young black woman in America.
As for making history, other than her prolific works, Maya Angelou was the first female inaugural poet in US presidential history. She recited her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” for President Bill Clinton’s 1993 inauguration.
Spike Lee, award-winning director, producer, writer, and actor has made a great career out of addressing racism and the politics of race relations in America. His 2018 film “BlacKkKlansman” won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, and he’s set to make history again in the entertainment industry, becoming the first black man to lead the Cannes Film Festival jury.
Phylicia Rashad rose to fame as Claire Huxtable from “The Cosby Show,” and continues to have a varied and successful acting career. She made history as the first Black woman to win the 2004 Best Actress Tony Award for her portrayal of Lena Younger in the play “A Raisin in the Sun.”
HarlemAmerica founder and legendary radio personality G. Keith Alexander recently sat down to talk with Phylicia on his podcast, “What’s Hot! HarlemAmerica with G. Keith Alexander.” You can listen to the full episode here.
Though he needs no introduction, Will Smith rose to fame as the Fresh Prince and has become a staple in Hollywood blockbusters for the last three decades.
He is the only actor to have eight consecutive films gross over $100 million at the box office.
Oprah Winfrey’s dynamic presence and unparalleled work ethic have created many opportunities for her to be the first in her field.
Her talk show, the Oprah Winfrey Show, was the highest-rated television show of its kind in history, and she is also the first Black woman to own her own production company, be nominated for an Academy Award for her first movie, and to be television’s highest-paid entertainer.
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