There are some seriously fierce black stars out there right now, and we decided it was time to pay homage to them. These 40 hottest black female stars under 40 in 2017 rock every industry, from music to film, TV to Broadway, beauty lines, perfumes, clothing ranges, and much more besides. Some of the most powerful women in the business right now, these 40 are definitely not women to be underestimated!
Let’s get comfortable, grab yourself a drink, it’s time to sit up and pay attention …
- 1 1 – Beyonce
- 2 2 – Chanel Iman
- 3 3 – Rihanna
- 4 4 – Jessica Lucas
- 5 5 – Jasmine Tookes
- 6 6 – Bianca Lawson
- 7 7 – Freema Agyeman
- 8 8 – Noémie Lenoir
- 9 9 – Kelly Rowland
- 10 10 – Zoe Saldana
- 11 11 – Tia & Tamera Mowry
- 12 12 – Jordin Sparks
- 13 13 – Kat Graham
- 14 14 – Tatyana Ali
- 15 15 – Danai Gurira
- 16 16 – Alicia Keys
- 17 17 – Cindy Bruna
- 18 18 – Cassie
- 19 19 – Lauren London
- 20 20 – Samira Wiley
- 21 21 – Sonequa Martin-Green
- 22 22 – Keke Palmer
- 23 23 – Nicole Beharie
- 24 24 – Selita Ebanks
- 25 25 – Naomie Harris
- 26 26 – Brandy Norwood
- 27 27 – Zoë Kravitz
- 28 28 – Amber Stevens
- 29 29 – Tiffany Hines
- 30 30 – Meagan Tandy
- 31 31 – Jessica White
- 32 32 – K. D. Aubert
- 33 33 – Vanessa Lee Chester
- 34 34 – Jennifer Hudson
- 35 35 – Naturi Naughton
- 36 36 – Emayatzy Corinealdi
- 37 37 – Janelle Monáe
- 38 38 – Tika Sumpter
- 39 39 – Nicki Minaj
- 40 40 – Meagan Good
1 – Beyonce
Birthday: September 4th, 1981
She’s 35 years old, but even with a newborn, toddler-twins, a very successful husband, and a career that most women could only ever dream of, you would never, ever believe that Queen Bey herself was only a few years away from the big 4-0. Not only is she the name of everyone’s lips, mostly because of those fantastically staged Instagram announcements, but she’s also the first ever female music artist to have each of her first SIX studio albums head straight to the number one spot.
Oh, and just to prove just how amazing the singer, songwriter, actress, dancer and businesswoman is, her hit song, “Crazy in Love” was written with not just a whopping hangover, but also in under two hours too!
2 – Chanel Iman
Birthday: December 1st, 1990
She’s only 26 years of age, but Chanel Iman has actually been called one of the top 30 models of the 2000’s by none other than Vogue Paris. Oh, and she’s a Victoria’s Secret Angel … (As if we didn’t already know she was beautiful!)
Not just a catwalk model, she’s appeared in a large number of ad campaigns, for some of the biggest names in fashion too. With DKNY, Ralph Lauren, Tom Ford, Gucci, Burberry, and Saks Fifth Avenue campaigns under her belt, it’s no wonder she’s turning heads, and that’s before we actually do mention the names she’s rocked ON the catwalk – D&G, Louis Vuitton, Alexander McQueen, Michael Kors, and more.
We’re not jealous at all … (Lies!)
3 – Rihanna
Birthday: February 2nd, 1988
Robyn Rihanna Fenty, better known by her stage name, Rihanna, is a woman with some serious business acumen. She’s a singer and songwriter, with hits such as “Umbrella“, “The Monster“, also featuring Eminem, and “Disturbia“. She’s also an actress, popping up in kicks movies such as Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (her recent release), Home, Battleship, and Bring it On: All or Nothing.
You should also keep your eyes open for Ocean’s Eight too, coming out in 2018. She’s playing Nine Ball, and will also be starring alongside some serious Hollywood greats, including Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, and even British comedy legend, James Corden. It promises to be a very good watch, especially as it’s being produced by George Clooney too.
4 – Jessica Lucas
Birthday: September 24th, 1985
31-year-old Canadian actress, Jessica Lucas, is also a singer alongside being known for her roles in TV shows such as Gotham, Melrose Place, and Edgemont. If you’re wondering where else you recognize this stunning starlet from, she’s also been in a music video. It was the 2014 release of “True Love” by Coldplay that saw her take the leap from TV and film to music vid.
Her TV debut actually came in the shape of the 2000 TV show, Seven Days. There were a couple of TV movies thrown in there, and she has even appeared in some rather well-known Hollywood movies. She was in 2014’s Pompeii, Evil Dead in 2013, and also Cloverfield in 2008 (which we didn’t understand in the slightest!) Have you seen any of these?
5 – Jasmine Tookes
Birthday: February 1st, 1991
One of the Victoria’s Secret Angels, Jasmine Tookes is an infamous model and one that has been doing what she knows and loves since the young age of just 15. It was due to her mother’s career that she was first scouted by model agent scouts — she was a fashion stylist to the stars, and it was during one of these appointments that her beauty was first realized.
In 2010 she shot her first campaigns, and these were for big names too — Gap and ugg boots. Oprah Winfrey soon picked up on her beauty, praising her to the world, and just a couple of years after her first modeling campaign for big designer names, she became an Angel. And what a beautiful one at that.
6 – Bianca Lawson
Birthday: March 20th, 1979
38-year-old Bianca Lawson is well known in the TV world, mostly for shows such as The Vampire Diaries, Dawson’s Creek, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Pretty Little Liars, Teen Wolf …. Need we go on? She’s certainly made a name for herself, that’s for sure. Here’s a fun fact for you too – she’s actually the step-sister of number one on this list – Beyonce Knowles.
7 – Freema Agyeman
Birthday: March 20th, 1979
Have you ever seen Doctor Who? If you’re a fan, you’ll probably already recognize British Freema Agyeman as she was the face of Martha Jones in series 3, 4 and even a couple of specials between 2008 and 2010 too. You’ll see her in Sense8 lately, a Netflix drama TV show, but before that, there was The Carrie Diaries, Law & Order: UK, Torchwood, and even The Bill a couple of times.
8 – Noémie Lenoir
Birthday: September 19th, 1979
Very recently, Noémie Lenoir was the face behind one of Balmain’s biggest Spring campaigns, a French model well known for having beautiful and big bouncing curls. Of course, we should probably take a moment to appreciate how beautiful the girl’s name is, let alone how beautiful is. We also feel that it’s time we reminded you that this stunning beauty is 37 years old. We have everything-envy right now. Oh, and as if having a beautiful name AND a beautiful face wasn’t enough, she’s even busted into Hollywood, with a number of movies under her belt. We feel we should give a special mention to The Transporter Refueled in 2015 and Rush Hour 3 in 2007.
9 – Kelly Rowland
Birthday: February 11th, 1981
We can’t really mention one-third of Destiny’s Child without mentioning this stunning singer also. Kelly Rowland might be 36 years old, but just like Queen Beyonce, she sure doesn’t look it. Not just a singer, Kelly has also branched out into acting. Her movie debut came in the form of Freddy vs Jason in 2003, and there have even been a few TV appearances, both sides of the water.
Kelly appeared as a judge on the UK version of X Factor and then went on to appear on the US version of the show a couple of years later. This year saw her popping up on Australia’s version of The Voice, and this is all at the same time as having a lucrative solo music career. Oh, and just for the record, Kelly Rowland was a millionaire before she’d even reached the age of 18 years old. It’s great for some, eh … ?
10 – Zoe Saldana
Birthday: June 19th, 1978
She’s only a year away from the big 4-0, but Zoe Saldana still looks as if she’s in her twenties. A dancer and actress, she first rose to fame with TV shows, including Law & Order. After appearing in just the one episode, she branched out into movies, appearing in Center Stage in 2000, Get Over It in 2001, and Crossroads in 2002.
Zoe Saldana has since gone on to star in a serious amount of movies, including the recent hit, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and Star Trek Beyond, appealing to all the sci-fi lovers out there. In fact, while we’re on the subject of sci-fi, we can’t mention Zoe without reminding that she also played the fabulously blue Neytiri in 2009’s Avatar.
11 – Tia & Tamera Mowry
Birthday: July 6th, 1978
We would give them separate spots, but we’re going to pop them together. They’re both as beautiful, but, being twins, they’ve got the same birthday, they’re both 39, and they both look stunning. Not exactly the same, of course, because they are individuals, but you know what we mean.
They both rose to fame in the TV show Sister, Sister, a plot that was loosely based on the same premise as the Lindsay Lohan film, The Parent Trap. As well as other, smaller TV appearances, the sisters took time out to focus on their education, studying psychology. Following on from that, a number of movie appearances were offered, both together and separately, and they even went on to have a successful musical career, as well as solo ventures including podcasts, cooking shows, and even books.
12 – Jordin Sparks
Birthday: December 22nd, 1989
27-year-old Jordin Sparks is still very young, but the Arizona-born actress and singer-songwriter sure has filled those years with a lot of stuff. She can boast about that single with Chris Brown, of course, selling over 3 million copies in the US alone. In fact, this made her the third-selling highest single seller from the American Idol contestants, which is where she shot to fame. At just 17 years old, she won the 6th season of the show. Since her Chris Brown-collab days, she’s actually gone on to become one of, if not the most, successful contestant to come from the reality show.
Just like many singers before her, Jordin has since branched out into the movie and TV world and has created quite the acting name for herself. Her debut appearance was in the 2012 movie, Sparkle, and there was even a stint on Broadway!
13 – Kat Graham
Birthday: September 5th, 1989
Where will you have seen 27 Kat Graham? Well, to start with, how about the 1998 hit with Lindsay Lohan, The Parent Trap? Or the hilariously funny 2009 movie with Matthew Perry and Zac Efron, 17 Again? It’s her TV roles that she is perhaps more famous for, however, and one, in particular, is The Vampire Diaries, running from 2009 to 2017. You may recall her playing the part of Bonnie Bennett.
She’s not just an actress either. Switzerland-born Kat is also a singer and a dancer, with a career that started at the age of just six. She’s come a long way since the early commercial days, although you may very well have spotted her in ads for Pop-Tarts, K-Mart, and even Barbie. Her most recent work includes playing Jada Pinkett in the 2017 film, All Eyez on Me. The film portrays the life of the musical legend, Tupac Shakur, and sees Kat portraying Jada as Tupac’s school friends.
14 – Tatyana Ali
Birthday: January 24th, 1979
Most of us will probably better remember Tatyana Ali as Ashley Banks on the TV show that also kick-started Will Smith’s climb to fame, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Appearing on the NBC show for six years, Tatyana then went on to star in films (and a fair few at that!), as well as becoming a model and an R&B singer too.
The Fresh Prince wasn’t Tatyana Ali’s first TV appearance. That happened a few years prior, popping up in five episodes of Sesame Street between 1985 and 1990. You may also recall that she appeared in one episode of the Cosby Show, as well as Are You Afraid of the Dark, and more recently, Zoe Ever After and Key & Peele. One of her most recent adventures, however, includes getting married and having a baby. In September of 2016, she Tatyana gave birth to a son with husband, Vaughn Raspberry.
15 – Danai Gurira
Birthday: February 14th, 1978
Did anyone else notice that Danai Gurira’s birthday was Valentine’s Day? (Just us … ?) Anyway, 39-year-old Danai Gurira certainly doesn’t look close to 40, much like many of these 40 hottest black female stars under 40 in 2017. She is a very popular actress though, better known for her role as Michonne, kick-ass zombie-slayin’ babe in The Walking Dead. Not just into acting, Danai is also a writer of plays. If you’ve ever heard of Eclipsed, the Tony-Award winning play, you may be quite surprised to learn that it was, in fact, written by this beauty.
16 – Alicia Keys
Birthday: January 25th, 1981
Alicia Keys, born Alicia Augello Cook, was born in Manhattan, and the 36-year-old has made quite the name for herself in the music industry. She’s a well-known singer, as well as a very talented songwriter, and she’s also a pianist, a record producer and an actress to boot. With 15 Grammy Awards under her belt, you could very well say that Alicia Keys was definitely on top of the game as far as music was concerned, and that’s before we mention the 30 million + singles she’s sold across the globe, and 35 million + albums too.
You may be surprised to learn that, back in the 80’s, Alicia Keys was actually somewhat of a TV actress. She popped up in one episode of The Cosby Show. She’s since had a number of TV appearances notched up, although mostly as herself, and she has even branched out into Hollywood. She was nominated for a NAACP Image Award for ‘Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture’ for her part as June Boatwright in the hit drama movie, The Secret Life of Bees, and you also remember that she also appeared in The Nanny Diaries and Smokin’ Aces.
Alicia has recently hit headlines for going entirely make-up free, initiating a movement that began in 2016. It just reinforces to us how beautiful she is … naturally!
17 – Cindy Bruna
Birthday: September 27th, 1994
This absolutely stunning beauty is just 22 years old, but she’s knocked up quite a few achievements under her belt. Some of you may recognise the beautiful Cindy Bruna as a model, a French model to be exact. She has been a Victoria’s Secret model (2013) and was even noted to be the first woman of color to ever walk on the catwalk exclusively for Calvin Klein. Following on from that was Prada – Cindy was only the third woman of color to catwalk for the big designer too.
18 – Cassie
Birthday: August 26th, 1986
31-year-old Casandra Elizabeth Ventura, probably better known as Cassie, is a recording artist from Connecticut who has also gone on to star in Hollywood, much like many of her peers on this list. With collaborations from Akon, Lil Wayne, and Diddy (P. Diddy, Puff Daddy, whatever you like to know him as), you could say that she’s made quite the impact in the music world, and that was before she moved on to get her claws into the movie industry, and modeling too. As well as becoming the face of an ASOS collection, she has also modelled for the likes of Calvin Klein and Abercrombie & Fitch.
19 – Lauren London
Birthday: December 5th, 1984
Another fabulous woman of color who has achieved an impressive amount in her career, 32-year old Lauren London was originally born in California and started her impressive career appearing in music videos for the rich, famous and fabulous. You may recall seeing her in music vids for the likes of Snoop Dogg, Ludacris, Tyrese and Pharrell. Then there was that episode of Everyone Hates Chris, which opened up the biggest doors for her. It was following on from that, that she bagged herself a big movie role, playing one other than the love interest of T.I. Since then, there have been a number of TV appearances and movie roles too, including I Love You, Beth Cooper, Baggage Claim and, more recently, The Perfect Match.
20 – Samira Wiley
Birthday: April 15th, 1987
30-year-old model and actress, Samira Wiley, has been pushed to fame after starring in the Netflix show, Orange is the New Black. You may also remember that she popped up in The Handmaid’s Tale too, and that’s just recent work. She’s appeared in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Unforgettable, and Person of Interest for TV, and there have been a few movies too. This year saw the release of Detroit, but before that, you should check out The Sitter from 2011, and Being Flynn in 2012.
In other news, congratulations are in order! Samira Wiley got married to one of the writers of Orange is the New Black, Lauren Morelli, in March of 2017!
21 – Sonequa Martin-Green
Birthday: March 21st, 1985
Most of us will recognize Sonequa Martin-Green as Sasha from The Walking Dead, but there are a few that will recall she had a stint in Once Upon a Time, playing the part of Tamara. That wasn’t where it all started, however, and many of you may just be surprised at the TV shows and movies she has under her belt. Her debut movie appearance was in a 2005 movie called Not Quite Right, and her first TV appearance was actually in Law & Order: Criminal Intent, back in 2008. From there, she had three episodes in Army Wives, and then had a pretty big stint in The Good Wife, from 2009 to 2011. Add in NYC 22, then The Walking Dead, Once Upon a Time, New Girl, and even Star Trek: Discovery … We told you that she’d been in a lot of stuff!
22 – Keke Palmer
Birthday: August 26th, 1993
24-year-old, LA-born TV personality and presenter, singer-songwriter and actress, Keke Palmer, gained her first movie role in the form of Barbershop 2: Back in Business, at the age of just 11. It wasn’t long after that, that she decided to head into her singing career with more determination and, after a few false starts, soon saw her songs being featured in various movies, including Akeelah and the Bee.
She really has come a long way since then, and with movies such as Ice Age: Continental Drift, Imperial Dreams, and Brotherly Love under her belt, as well as featuring in TV shows such as Masters of Sex, Family Guy, Grey’s Anatomy, and even 90210.
23 – Nicole Beharie
Birthday: January 3rd, 1985
Did you ever watch the Fox supernatural series, Sleepy Hollow? It was based on the original Johnny Depp movie, but it also starred Nicole Beharie, number 23 on our list of 40 hottest black female stars under 40 in 2017. The 32-year old played the main role of Abbie Mills, and she also went to pop up in a crossover episode of Bones too.
It was in movies that Nicole made her acting debut, first appearing in the 2008 movie, American Violet, also starring Will Patton and William O’Keefe. Since then, she’s also starred in The Express, a 2008 sports movie, also featuring Dennis Quaid, and also 42, another sports movie, this one starring Harrison Ford. Keep your eyes peeled for a movie that is due out soon, however, called Jacob’s Ladder. You’ll see Nicole alongside Michael Ealy and Jesse Williams in the thriller.
24 – Selita Ebanks
Birthday: February 17th, 1983
In case you didn’t know who Selita Ebanks was, take a peek back through the Victoria’s Secret Angels. You’ll find her there, from 2005 to 2009, and while we’re on the subject of Selita’s modeling career, we should probably also mention the big names she’s worked with. Ralph Lauren and Neiman Marcus are just two names, and that’s before her magazine work, which has included Glamour, Sports Illustrated and Vogue.
Born in the Cayman Islands, she actually chose modeling over going to Universities, New York and Columbia. It was a step that obviously worked great in her favor, as just a little while later, Elite Model Management snapped her up as she was walking through a theme park’s turnstiles.
25 – Naomie Harris
Birthday: September 6th, 1976
We’re not sure if you’ll allow us to put Naomie Harris on this list of 40 hottest black female stars under 40 in 2017, as she’s actually 40 years old. Not that you’d believe it, of course, this English actress looks incredibly youthful. We almost didn’t believe it ourselves when we came across her age.
Born in London, England, you may recall seeing Naomie Harris in a number of movies over the years, although increasingly more so lately. We first remember spotting her in 28 Days Later, back in 2002. (It’s one of our favorite movies!) Since then, however, she’s gone from zombie-fighter to spy-babe, and packed in a few more movie-professions along the way. With Collateral Damage in 2016, the Bond movies, Spectre in 2015 and Skyfall in 2012, and other hits, including Southpaw, Sex, Drugs & Rock & Roll, and a few more besides, this is a name you won’t be forgetting at any point soon. In fact, she’s going to be appearing in the 2018 live action remake of the Disney hit, Jungle Book. She’s going to be Nisha, so keep your ears out for her voice.
26 – Brandy Norwood
Birthday: February 11th, 1979
Let’s all sing together: “The boy is mine!” One-half of the duo behind one of the best songs of the nineties (if you were to ask us), Brandy, also known as Brandy Rayne Norwood, is a 38-year old singer-songwriter, actress and record producer. A career that actually started in backing vocals, it was in 1993 that she was first signed by a label, Atlantic Records. Within a year of that, she’d not only released her first album but always sold over 6 million records across the globe, making it a quadruple Platinum seller.
Her move to movies began in Arachnophobia in 1990, although she wasn’t credited for her part. The first big part came in the form of I Know What You Did Last Summer in 1998, and she was actually nominated for the ‘Favorite Actress – Horror’ award at the Blockbuster Entertainment Awards for her role too. Recent works have included Zoe Ever After, an American sitcom which sees Brandy in the lead role. It sadly only lasted for one season but did bring the actress and singer back to TV lead roles for the first time in twenty years.
27 – Zoë Kravitz
Birthday: December 1st, 1988
28-year-old Zoë Kravitz is the daughter of the very famous musical artist, Lenny Kravitz. She’s also the daughter of the very famous actress, Lisa Bonet. Singing and acting seem to run in her blood, it would seem, as she has carved a name for herself in both industries. Zoë’s movie career kick-started with the Catherine Zeta-Jones and Aaron Eckhart romance, No Reservations, back in 2007. She then went on to appear in X-Men: First Class in 2011, and then the awesome Divergent in 2014. Her most movie works include The Lego Batman Movie which, as we all know, was brilliant, and also Rough Night.
28 – Amber Stevens
Birthday: October 7th, 1986
30-year-old Amber Stevens is both a model and an actress, known for parts in movies such as 22 Jump Street (she played the part of Maya) and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, and also TV shows such as The Carmichael Show and Greek. Her mother is a model and her father a radio announcer and actor, so it seemed only natural for her to follow right in their combined footsteps. They were great footsteps to follow in too, especially when you take a peek at her TV appearances. As well as being picked for the latest Fox supernatural sitcom, Ghosted, she’s also popped up in Criminal Minds, New Girl, 90210, and even How I Met Your Mother.
29 – Tiffany Hines
Birthday: September 2nd, 1983
It is in TV shows that you’ll probably know Tiffany Hines from specifically 24: Legacy and, before that, 90210 in a recurring role, Nikita, Lie to Me, 10 Things I Hate About You (the TV show), Bones, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and a whole load more. Oh, and in the biographical film about the singer’s life in Toni Braxton: Unbreak My Heart, in which she played sister, Tamar Braxton-Herbert.
30 – Meagan Tandy
Birthday: May 3rd, 1985
The beautiful Meagan Tandy is not just an actress and a model, she’s also a former Miss California USA and even came third in the hunt for Miss USA. If you hadn’t noticed her for her beauty pageant skills, it might be her acting that has struck up your interest. She featured in the movie Unstoppable with Denzel Washington. She played one of his daughters. She did also appear in Piranha 3DD, but it’s her TV work that she is perhaps better known for, and particularly TV shows such as Jane By Design, Teen Wolf, Survivor’s Remorse and, more recently, UnREAL, in which she has one of the main roles.
31 – Jessica White
Birthday: June 21st, 1984
Born in Buffalo, New York, 33-year old Jessica White didn’t exactly have the best start, born into an abusive relationship that also involved heavy drugs. She seemed to escape from that life when was 16 years old when Anna Winter chose her to feature in Vogue … after modeling for the grand total of just one week. It wasn’t long after that she was signed to a French modeling agency, and things have gone from strength to strength for her in that branch of her career.
She’s also starred in films and a number of music videos, and also started the Angel Foundation, a philanthropic organization for women. That’s on top of recording a documentary-style series and launching a skin care brand at the same time. It’s safe to say that she’s been busy!
32 – K. D. Aubert
Birthday: December 6th, 1978
As well as actually owning her own record label — Roseland Records a.k.a Roseland Entertainment, K.D. Aubert is also a singer, a model (usually of fashion), and an actress. Not bad for someone who’s only 38 years old. Of course, many of you will remember this beautiful babe from her time as one of the original Fanta spokesmodels, or Fantanas as they were called back in the day. If we’re going to get really specific about things, she was the model for strawberry Fanta. Moving to the boozy beverages, she’s also been featured in ads for Miller Lite and Bacardi, as well as recently appearing in a coffee ad alongside the delectable George Clooney.
33 – Vanessa Lee Chester
Birthday: July 2nd, 1984
33-year-old Vanessa Lee Chester was born in LA and first appeared on our screens in the TV show, Hanging’ with Mr. Cooper. It wasn’t until a few TV shows, one movie, and a couple of years later when she found real fame, however, and that was in A Little Princess, the 1995 movie that also starred Liesel Matthews and Eleanor Bron.
Following on from that, Vanessa went on to appear in movies such as The Lost World: Jurassic Park, She’s All That, and 17 Again. There was also plenty of TV shows, including How I Met Your Mother, Veronica Mars, and even Malcolm in the Middle.
34 – Jennifer Hudson
Birthday: September 12th, 1981
Chicago-born Jennifer Hudson might only be 35 years old, but she’s got one hell of a career behind her. She was Carrie Bradshaw’s assistant in the Sex and the City movie, and there’s also Dreamgirls, The Secret Life of Bees, Winnie Mandela, and Lullaby to boast about too. Moving on to her TV career, and that’s where it all started. In 2004, Jennifer Hudson popped up on the third season of American Idol. She came 7th place overall, but when went on become a guest judge for the British version of The X Factor. That’s all before we get to the music career which she has, of course, become known for.
She’s got one heck of a voice, has revealed three studio albums so far and has also bagged herself a few awards too. She won a Grammy Award — ‘Best R&B Album’ — for her self-titled album, and she’s also won awards for her acting career too. Dreamgirls saw her winning the Academy Award for ‘Best Supporting Actress’, and the same movie bagged two Black Reel Awards too. Oh, and a BAFTA, Critic’s Choice Award, Golden Globe …Need we go on?
35 – Naturi Naughton
Birthday: May 20th, 1984
33-year-old singer-songwriter and actress, Naturi Naughton, is best known for being one of the three members of 3LW, but also has made a name for herself in the world of acting. Aside from playing the infamous Lil’ Kim in Fame, Notorious, she also popped up in The Playboy Club and Fame. That’s just her movie appearances too. Her branching out into TV seemed like a natural step.
From 2014 to present, Naturi Naughton played one of the lead roles of Tasha St. Patrick in the 50 Cent produced TV series, Power, but it seems that the star has taken to another role lately — mother. In July, Naturi welcomed her first child, a daughter, into the world.
36 – Emayatzy Corinealdi
Birthday: January 14th, 1980
37-year-old Emayatzy Corinealdi is best known for her part in the critically acclaimed hit, Middle of Nowhere, which was nominated for a whole host of Black Reel Awards. You may also remember her from the 2015 horror-thriller, The Invitation, and also the 2016 movie, Miles Ahead, also starring Don Cheadle and Ewan McGregor. That’s the movies she’s got under her belt too, there are TV appearances on top of that, including a popup in Rosewood. Add a recurring part in Ballers, a couple of episodes of Roots, and even some Criminal Minds back in 2014, and you could say that Emayatzy Corinealdi is doing rather well for herself.
37 – Janelle Monáe
Birthday: December 1st, 1985
With six Grammy Award nominations under her belt, you’ll probably know Janelle Monáe better for her musical skills than anything else. She has also starred in a couple of really big-deal movies too, however, and two of these have actually won Academy Award nominations too. One of them actually won – Moonlight.
There is actually an untitled movie due to come out in 2018 starring Janelle Monáe, and she’s continually working on her music also.
38 – Tika Sumpter
Birthday: June 20th, 1980
37-year-old Tika Sumpter was born in Queens, New York, and has come a long way since her modeling and early waitressing career, appearing in ads for fragrances, such as Liz Claiborne and Hewlett-Packard. It wasn’t long after that she made the move into TV, appearing in the ABC daytime soap, One Life to Live. She has since gone on to star in a number of TV shows, including Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and having regular spots in Gossip Girl and The Game.
Of course, the leap from TV to film is a short one in Tinseltown, and Tika Sumpter has gone on to feature in almost twenty movies, including Stomp the Yard: Homecoming in 2010, Ride Along in 2014, and Ride Along 2 in 2016. 2018 will see the release of two movies starring this hottie. Keep your eyes open for The Pages and The Old Man and the Gun, also starring Robert Redford and Casey Affleck.
39 – Nicki Minaj
Birthday: December 8th, 1982
Born in Queens, New York, Onika Tanya Maraj, who we all know better as the singer, Nicki Minaj, is not just a singer. She’s a songwriter, a rapper, a model and all-round personality now. Her first couple of released albums went straight to number one on the US charts, and it wasn’t long after that she made the move into Hollywood, scoring parts in Ice Age: Continental Drift, The Other Woman with Cameron Diaz, and Barbershop: The Next Cut.
A woman that has never shied away from the limelight, Nicki has since worked with a large number of domestics companies, even releasing her own celebrity brand of perfume. She’s even worked with large mobile phone manufacturers to promote the launch of new models.
40 – Meagan Good
Birthday: August 8th, 1981
36-year-old Meagan Good is an LA born actress, famous for starring in a whole host of TV shows, movies, and even music videos. She’s even popped in a game! (2006’s Scarface: The World Is Yours.)
If you’ve ever watched Californication with David Duchovny, you’ll remember this face. She appeared in seven episodes as Kali. She also had a regular part in Deception in 2013, appeared in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit in 2014, and even had the main role in 2015’s TV show, Minority Report.
Moving aside from TV shows, Meagan Good has also appeared in too many films for us to list. There was the 2013 hilarious hit, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, as well as Don Jon in the same year. Saw V, Stomp the Yard, and Waist Deep are other hits you may have seen her in. If you keep your eyes peeled for Deuces (you’ll find it on Netflix), you’ll also see Meagan Good in that, playing the part of Janet Foster. In case you didn’t know, Deuces was created by Queen Latifah’s production company, Flavor Unit Entertainment, and the Queen herself even held the executive producer’s role.