For at least 20 years, there have been the same go-to names at the forefront of mainstream Black film and television; the actors who we’ve watched save the day, find true love, win the big game or solve the mystery time and time again. The Denzels, the Samuel Ls, the Angelas, the Will Smiths and the Halles are all Hollywood veterans and established superstars, but who will be at the vanguard of the next generation of Black Hollywood. So many of our biggest stars are over 45 now–so who are the young guns in the game? Here are five actors we think are going to be holding down and lifting up Black Hollywood for years to come.
MICHAEL B. JORDAN
Wallace has come a long way. Once the shy kid on “The Wire,” Michael B. Jordan made the leap from TV (he was also featured on the acclaimed-but-short lived “Friday Night Lights”) onto the big screen. He generated widespread acclaim for his portrayal of the slain Oscar Grant in Fruitvale Station back in 2012 and he’s gone on to star in a wide array of films like Chronicle, The Fantastic 4 and most recently, the box office smash Creed.
The charismatic actress gained notice in Tyler Perry’s For Colored Girls, but Thompson broke through in Justin Simian’s indie comedy Dear White People before going on to appear as Civil Rights heroine Diane Nash in Ava Duvernay’s historical epic Selma last year. This year, she starred opposite Jordan in Creed and has two major films set for release in 2016.
The laconically funny standup landed a high profile role in the Seth Rogen comedy Neighbors last year and later starred in his own HBO special in late 2014 (directed by Spike Lee.) It all set the stage for Carmichael’s big leap to the small screen: “The Carmichael Show” debuted this past summer to rave reviews and has been renewed for a full season on NBC.
She gained a lot of attention starring as Dawn on AMC’s critically-acclaimed and long-running period drama “Mad Men,” but it was her turn as Coco in Dear White People that really got Parris on the fast track. From there, she landed on the popular STARZ sitcom “Survivor’s Remorse” and turned heads as the sexy and determined Lysistrata in Spike Lee’s controversial Chi-Raq.
Boseman made a name for himself starring as Jackie Robinson in the sentimental biopic 42 back in 2013. He followed that hit up with another major biopic, taking on the role of Godfather of Soul James Brown in 2014s <i. He’s next appearing as superhero Black Panther in Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War next summer and–wait for it–he’s landed the starring role in yet another biopic: as legendary Supreme Court justice Thurgood Marshall in Reggie Hudlin’s Marshall.