10 Best Young Black Actors

Thursday, September 1 by D. Michaels

Surprisingly, not many people can name their favorite 10 best young black actors. Sure, everyone knows Morgan Freeman or Cuba Gooding Jr. or even Denzel Washington, but their debut in movies and TV were several years ago, leaving the door open for a whole new generation of young actors to walk through and make their own way in the entertainment industry. Here are ten young black actors to keep an eye out for.

Donald Glover

One of the youngest stars of the NBC hit show “Community,” Glover also gained fame by running a very public campaign to play Peter Parker in the reboot of the “Spider-Man” franchise. Fan support was so great for this young black actor that he nearly succeed in his quest.

Jaden Smith

Son of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, Jaden got his start at a very young age in the Will Smith-produced TV show “All of Us” before jumping into movies. His recent effort, a reboot of “The Karate Kid,” was a surprising hit at the box office and made this young black actor a household name.  

Omar Epps

One of the stars of the acclaimed TV  hit “House,” Epps has been a staple of movies and TV for years, having established himself as a highly talented character actor. He’s recently moved into music after producing and directing videos for a few acts.

Dule Hill

Many know Hill from his seven years as Charlie Young on the acclaimed TV series “The West Wing,” but Hill surprised fans when he showed them his full range of talent by jumping went into comedy in the USA TV show “Psyche.” No wonder fans think of him as one of the best young black actors.  

Nelsan Ellis

Fans of Elli’s work on HBO’s hit series “True Blood” may be surprised that not only is he a successful actor (playing the flamboyantly gay Lafayette Reynolds), but also an acclaimed playwright and director. His production of the semi-autobiographical play “Ugly” while he was a student at Juilliard won praise and several awards.


Having acted steadily since 2001, one of the best young black actors around is still known primarily as a rapper, who has guested on more albums that most people can even count. He is certainly an example of a multi-faceted performer in every senses of the word.

Corbin Bleu

Keep a close eye on this young black actor. He’s set for the big time. Having spent the better part of his career making movies for Disney (the most well known of which are the “High School Musical” trilogy), he’s now breaking out into his own thing with a whole set of movies in pre- or post-production.

Chiwetel Ejiofor

One of the best young black actors in the business, the man with the unpronounceable name (chew-it-tell edge-oh-for) has acted with some of the best names in the business in almost every genre imaginable from drama (“Talk to Me”) to science fiction (“2012” and “Serenity”) and was once even rumored to be on the short list to replace David Tennant when he announced that he was leaving the BBC hit “Doctor Who.”

Craig Robinson

Not only is Robinson one of the best young black actors in the business, he is one of the busiest. There’s hardly a movie that has come out in the last few years that haven’ taken advantage of this young man’s innate ability to make people laugh. When he’s not busy on NBC’s “The Office,” he’s jumping on to the silver screen in hits like “Hot Tub Time Machine” or “Pineapple Express.”

Mekhi Phifer

Triple-threat Phifer, who is an actor-producer-director earned his ranking as a best young black actor in both TV and film, playing in productions of Othello (“O”), gritty drama (“8 Mile”) and horror (“Dawn of the Dead”). Next up for him is in the “Doctor Who” spinoff “Torchwood.”

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