The 10 best young African-American actors have made their names in Hollywood and on television. These performers, both male and female, present the future of cinema and, regardless of race, are some of the best actors of their generation.

Anthony Mackie

Anthony Mackie, 31, starred in the Oscar winning movie “The Hurt Locker,” making his name as one of the best young African American actors. He got his start in the Eminem movie “8 Mile” and recently was a highlight in the sci-fi movie “The Adjustment Bureau.”

Brandon T. Jackson

Brandon T. Jackson, 27, is a standup comedian who tried his hand in acting and became one of the best young African American actors working. He started out with small roles but soon moved on to a hilarious scene stealing role in “Tropic Thunder.”

Zoe Saldana

Zoe Saldana, 32, is one of the most successful of the young African American actors on the list. Saldana got her start in movies with smaller roles in 2000 but she has recently starred in blockbusters including the first “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie, “Star Trek” and “Avatar.”

Quentin Aaron

While Sandra Bullock got all the awards recognition, “The Blind Side” would not have been anywhere near as good without Quinton Aaron, 26. Aaron played the young football player who is helped to a career in the NFL.

Gabby Sidibe

Earning an Academy Award in your debut film is impressive and Gabby Sidibe, 27, impressed critics worldwide with her performance in “Precious” as an abused teenage mother. The performance earned her a role in the television series “The Big C.”

Derek Luke

Derek Luke, 36, turned heads with his award-winning appearance in the Denzel Washington film “Antwone Fisher.” He also provided a solid turn in the football drama, “Friday Night Lights,” proving to be one of the best young African American actors.

Columbus Short

Columbus Short, 28, began acting in 2004, making his name in movies like “Stomp the Yard” and “Cadillac Records.” More recently, he proved to be one of the best young African American actors in movies like “The Losers” and “Death at a Funeral.”

Meagan Good

Meagan Good, 29, started her movie career as a 14-year old in the comedy “Friday.” She has since began a promising career as one of the best young African American actors, starring in “Brick,” “Stomp the Yard” and “Saw V.”

Damon Wayans Jr.

Damon Wayans Jr. is the son of comedian Damon Wayans and a third generation actor. Wayans Jr., 28, stars on the television series “Happy Endings” and co-starred in the comedy “The Other Guys," proving to be one of the best young African American actors.  

Jaden Smith

The son of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, Jaden Smith, 12, made his film debut in his father’s film, “The Pursuit of Happyness.” Smith has since become one of the best young African-American actors following his performance in the “Karate Kid” remake.

- Shawn Lealos