The number of African actors in Hollywood has been rising in recent years. These actors and actresses bring the much-needed diversity to Hollywood films. American movies are watched globally, and many fans can identify with the narrative if different cultures are portrayed.
Actors and actresses like Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong'o, Peter Mensah, Charlize Theron, Djimon Hounsou, and others have appeared in numerous blockbuster movies. They have also been recognized for global film awards for their outstanding performances. Who are all the African celebrities in Hollywood? Below are the top 20.
Top 20 African actors in Hollywood movies
Actors and actresses from Africa continue to prove to the world that the continent is full of talent. They come from various countries across the continent. Here is a list of the top 20 African actors taking huge strides in the United States.
1. Edi Gathegi from Kenya
The prolific actor was born in 1979 in Nairobi, Kenya. He has been active in the industry since 2006. Gathegi has starred in a number of Hollywood movies and series, including Twilight, X-Men: First Class, Beauty and the Beast, Nikita, My Bloody Valentine, The Fifth Patient, Lincoln Heights, and others.
2. Lupita Nyong'o from Kenya
Lupita Nyong'o was born in Mexico in 1983 and was brought up in Kenya. He then went to the United States for College. Her parents are Anyang' Nyong'o, a Kenyan politician, and Dorothy Ogada. She is one of the most successful Kenyan actors in Hollywood. Lupita is known for movies such as 12 Years a Slave, Black Panther, Us, Queen of Katwe, The Jungle Book, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and others.
3. Benjamin Ochieng' from Kenya
Benjamin was born in Nairobi, Kenya. His fluency in the Swahili language has made him the best choice in Hollywood for Swahili-related roles. He has starred in several movies, including Tears of the Sun, God's Not Dead, and Beautifully Broken.
4. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje from Nigeria
Adewale was born in 1967 in London to Nigerian parents of Yoruba origin. He was raised in a white household in England as a foster kid. Adewale started as a model before going to Hollywood and is now one of Hollywood's most prolific Nigerian actors. Popular Adewale movies and series include Thor: The Dark World, Game of Thrones, Tangled: The Series, Farming, Suicide Squad, Bilal, Concussion, Trumbo, Get Rich or Die Tryin', and more.
5. Chiwetelu Umeadi Ejiofor from Nigeria
Ejiofor was born in 1977 in London to Nigerian parents of Igbo origin. The award-winning actor has starred in 12 Years a Slave, Twelfth Night, American Gangster, Kinky Burns, Half of a Yellow Sun, Melinda and Melinda, Children of Men, Dirty Pretty Things, and others.
6. Carmen Elizabeth Ejogo from Nigeria
Carmen Ejogo was born in 1973 in London to a Nigerian father and a Scottish mother. She has featured in several popular movies and TV productions, including The Avengers, Metro, The Brave One, Boycott, Kidnapped, Alex Cross, Pride and Glory, among others.
7. Sophie Okonedo from Nigeria
Sophie was born in 1968 in London to a Jewish mother and a Nigerian father. The award-winning actress has been featured in a number of TV series and movies, including Hotel Rwanda, After Earth, Sinbad, Tsunami: The Aftermath, Ace Ventura 2, Martian Child, and others.
8. Peter Mensah from Ghana
Mensah was born in 1959 in Chiraa, Ghana, and was brought up in England. He is an incredible actor and a martial arts expert. Some of his movies and TV series include Avatar, Spartacus: Vengeance, Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, The Incredible Hulk, Hidalgo, Tears of the Sun, and others.
9. Boris Kodjoe from Ghana
The former model was born in 1973 in Vienna, Australia, to a Ghanaian father of Ga-Adangbe descent and a German-Jewish mother. Popular Boris Kodjoe movies and TV series include Surrogates, Brown Sugar, Resident Evil: Retribution, Resident Evil: Afterlife, The Gospel, Evil Goes Global, House of Cards, and others.
10. Prince David Osei from Ghana
Prince David was born in 1983 in Accra, Ghana. He is an actor, a model, producer, director, and philanthropist. David is known for movies like The Dead, Flight by Night, Merciful Heart, and others.
11. Charlize Theron from South Africa
Charlize Theron was born in 1975 in Benoni, South Africa. The award-winning actress started as a model before finding her way to Hollywood. She is now one of the richest African actors in Hollywood, with an approximate net worth of $130 million in 2020. She has been featured in a number of popular movies, including Monster, The Devil's Advocate, Mighty Joe Young, Cider House Rules, Prometheus, Sleepwalking, 15 Minutes, among others.
12. David Bailie from South Africa
David was born in 1937 in Springs, South Africa. He is an actor and professional photographer with a studio in London. He has acted in numerous television shows and movies, including Gladiator, Pirates of the Caribbean series, In the Trap, The House That Jack Built, Attila, and many others.
13. Adhir Kalyan from South Africa
Adhir is a South African Indian born in 1983 in Durban. He is one of the many South African actors in Hollywood that are doing well. Popular Adhir Kalyan movies include Rules of Engagement, Up in the Air, No Strings Attached, Holby City, Youth in Revolt, A Nice Girl Like You, Second Chance, among others.
14. Danai Gurira from Zimbabwe
Danai Gurira was born in 1978 in the USA to Zimbabwean parents. She is a prolific actress, a philanthropist, and a playwright. Gurira has starred in a number of popular films and series, including Black Panther, Avengers: Endgame, Avengers: Infinity War, The Walking Dead, Captain America: Civil War, Tinker Bell and the Legend of the Never Beast, Eclipsed, and many others.
15. Djimon Hounsou from Benin
Djimon Gaston Hounsou was born in 1964 in Cotonou Benin. He moved to France at an age of twelve, where he met a photographer who introduced him to modeling. He later moved to the USA in 1990, where he started his acting career. Popular Djimon movies and TV series include Fast and Furious 7, Blood Diamond, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Legends of Tarzan, Aquaman, Shazam!, Captain Marvel, Black Panther, and others.
16. Liya Kebede from Ethiopia
Kebede was born in 1978 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She is a model, an advocate, an actress, and a clothing designer. Some of her movies include 419, The Being Experience, Lord of War, Capital, Desert Girl, The Good Shepherd, Samba, and others.
17. Hoji Fortuna from Angola
Fortuna was born in 1974 in Luanda, Angola. He can speak several languages, including French, Hungarian, English, Portuguese, and Czech. His suave and distinguished demeanor has been likened to Morgan Freeman's. He has been in several films such as Viva Riva!, In the Morning, ABC's Pan Am, BBC's Mc Mafia, and others.
18. Chipo Chung from Zimbabwe
Chipo Chung was born in 1977 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where her parents lived as refugees. She is half Zimbabwean and half Chinese. Chipo has acted in numerous television shows and movies including Into The Badlands, Thomas & Friends: Big World! Big Adventures!, Beyond Plain Sight, Red Zone, In the Loop, Sunshine, Proof, Thomas and Friends, A.D The Bible Continues, Absentia, and others.
19. Constance Ejuma from Cameroon
Constance was born in Cameroon and raised in the United States. The award-winning actress and producer is known for movies and TV shows such as Black Panther, Ben and Ara, Monk, Proof, and others.
20. Rachel Mwanza from the Democratic Republic of Congo
Rachel was born in 1997 in DRC. Her father abandoned their family in Kinshasa, while her mother threw her to the streets after a false prophet claimed she was a witch. Rachel lived on the streets before being cast to feature in Wajnbrosse's Kinshasa Kids and the documentary Sorcerers Children, Kinshasa. She is now among the young African actors in Hollywood with a bright future. The award-winning actress has also starred in War Witch, a Canadian film and Third Wedding.
Who is the most famous black actor?
Hollywood has many famous black actors. It is hard to choose who is the most famous. Who are all the Black actors? Some of them include Morgan Freeman, Will Smith, Jamie Foxx, Sidney Poitier, Tyler Perry, Denzel Washington, Eddie Murphy, Samuel L. Jackson, Danny Glover, Whoopi Goldberg, and many more.
This list is not exhaustive as there are many more successful African actors in Hollywood. The American film industry is one of the most diversified and also the most successful. Apart from African actors, there are also numerous black actors who are natives of countries from other continents.
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