White actors make up the vast majority of Hollywood’s acting talent pool. Despite this, several black performers throughout cinema history have brought iconic roles to life on the silver screen even though they have dark skin—affirming the spirit of peace that permeates contemporary civilization and rejecting the notion that it is discriminatory.
The richness, complexity, and entertainment value of Black narratives in television and film increase annually. From the great stories of our youth to the relevant features that form our adulthood, there are always one or two projects that become cult classics or feature characters so fascinating that they become enduring icons of popular culture.
However, in the previous two decades of media, several Black characters have swiftly etched their imprint on entertainment history and established themselves as icons. Here are 15 Black characters from television and movies which will have an enduring influence on future generations.
1. T’Challa – Black Panther (Played by Chadwick Boseman)
Black Panther will always be remembered as one of the essential movies in Marvel’s canon because it was the first superhero film ever to be nominated for an Academy Award in the highly coveted category of Best Picture.
In addition, the film was nominated for awards by the Critics’ Choice Awards and the Screen Actors Guild. Additionally, the film was nominated for a Golden Globe, which was a first in the award show’s history.
T’Challa is the current king of Wakanda, the greatest nation in Africa. He is also the keeper of the Black Panther’s power. He is considered one of the greatest brains in the world. He has dedicated his life to saving humanity using Wakanda’s cutting-edge Vibranium technology and his riches and financial potential.
2. Princess Tiana – The Princess and the Frog (Voiced by Anika Noni Rose)
Tiana‘s path was magical, as are all Disney love tales, but her importance as the first Black and first American princess is genuine, particularly to her followers.
Her appearance was the first time many Disney fans watched someone who resembled them have her tale, complete with realistic aspirations, anxieties, and hardships and discovering love so strong that it can break a magical spell! She became more than a princess; she is now a symbol.
A journey into Disney’s hand-drawn animation universe may be found in The Princess and the Frog. It’s an ancient fairy tale, but it’s been blended with new spices to create a lively, adventurous narrative packed with music and an extraordinary Disney-exclusive sensation of love.
3. John Coffey – The Green Mile (Played by Michael Clarke Duncan)
Since John Coffey was executed in The Green mile, more than two decades have passed (1999). The world is still as dark as the day he entered, and viewers are still troubled thinking about him, coming home to prison with warden Paul Edgecomb and mixed good and bad people.
If Gerald Butler is forever King Leonidas, Harrison Ford is forever Han Solo, then Michael Clarke Duncan is the one born to play John Coffey. After appearing in Michael Bay’s blockbuster Armageddon, he was noticed by Bruce Willis and recommended for the role of Armageddon.
The more you watch, the more emotional and angry the reader will be because of John’s pain: He is not angry when he is disparaged as a nigger, not excited when he is slandered. He only burst into tears when he hugged the bodies of two unlucky children and blamed himself for not pulling (death) out of them.
4. Jules Winnfield – Pulp Fiction (Played by Samuel L. Jackson)
Pulp Fiction premiered at the Cannes Feature Festival (France) in May 1994 and won the Palm d’Or for best film. The film has become a sensation in the film business due to its non-linear narrative and lead, which ingeniously connects three little tales via characters and elements.
Samuel Jackson plays the devout assassin Jules Winnfield, Vincent’s teammate. The character is known for his moralistic personality, often reading Ezekiel 25:17 in the Bible before killing people even though he doesn’t understand the meaning.
After meeting Samuel Jackson on the set of “True Romance,” Tarantino said he penned the role just for him. Numerous reviewers consider the character one of the “icons” of 1990s Hollywood movies due to their appealing, sincere, insightful, and sarcastic on-screen persona. He earned an Oscar nod for his supporting role.
5. Storm – X-Men (Played by Halle Berry)
Halle Berry played Storm in the “X-Men” series in the first episode of 2000. In later installments, Storm’s role was partially enhanced by Berry’s growing popularity. The character is impressive with white hair and robust weather control, but his personality is still pale compared to the original version in the comics.
Appearing in all three episodes of the original X-Men and Days of Future Past, Storm was one of Professor Xavier’s first students and also led the X-Men during Cyclops’ absence. Real name Ororo Munreo, this character has the power to control the weather and is portrayed on screen by Oscar-winning star – Halle Berry.
This “Bond girl” with a robust and seductive appearance said that she performed well in the role thanks to her empathy with the character when she had a childhood wishing to be able to change herself so that she could learn to accept herself as an adult.
6. Frozone – The Incredibles (Played by Samuel L. Jackson)
The Incredibles and its sequel delivered a positive and sarcastic perspective on the recurring themes prevalent in superhero films during the current period of the superhero movie craze. To the joy of children and adults alike, Brad Bird’s films emphasized not just the behind-the-scenes activities of superheroes but also their alter personas.
Frozone may not be the major character in The Incredibles, but he is nevertheless a cult favorite, and he has more depth than meets the eye. Frozone is Bob’s greatest buddy, and he boasts the power to transform water and steam into ice, which, as a result, often causes adversaries to tumble over on their backs. He never hesitates to rush into any conflict zone and fight for what he believes to be correct.
7. Vernita Green aka Copperhead- Kill Bill vol. 1 (played by Vivica A. Fox)
Since Vernita Green participated in the Massacre at Two Pines as a member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, Beatrix Kiddo included her name on Death List Five. Vernita Green’s involvement in the Massacre at Two Pines led Beatrix Kiddo to put her name on the list.
Eventually, Vernita abandoned her profession as an assassin and married Dr. Lawrence Bell under the nickname Jeannie Bell. Soon after, Nikkia Bell was born.
A fierce African-American lady excels in mixed martial arts and never backs down from a challenge in the ring. In my uninformed view, she should have been known by the moniker “Black Mamba” rather than any other name.
8. Rue Bennett – Euphoria (played by Zendaya)
Rue Bennett, the adolescent drug addict portrayed by Zendaya, is a relatively new character, yet it is not shallow. If the fact that the Euphoria actress won the Emmy for Best Actress in a Drama Series at the youngest age ever for her portrayal doesn’t tip you off to the truth of this statement, nothing else will.
After Viola Davis from How to Get Away With Murder, who was the first to push the limits of the Emmys in 2015, she is the second Black actress to get the honor.
Rue is portrayed disturbingly by the highly renowned Zendaya. The suburban adolescent, traumatized by the loss of her father, seeks refuge and satisfaction in oblivion’s emptiness. Zendaya makes love Rue worthwhile, despite its difficulty.
9. Juan – Moonlight (Played by Mahershala Ali)
Ali’s portrayal of Juan barely appears in the opening scene of the 2016 film, but his brilliant treatment of the character’s complexities has a lasting effect on any audience.
Juan, a drug dealer in Liberty City, Miami, discovers a little boy called Chiron, first portrayed by Alex Hibbert and subsequently by Ashton Sanders and Trevante Rhodes, hiding from bullies in a crackhouse with his mother, Paula (Naomie Harris).
Juan gradually warms to Chiron, transforming himself into a pseudo-father figure and mentor to the reclusive boy constantly bullied for “the way he walks.” When asked by ET about delving further into his character as Juan, Ali said that his responsibility was to “make these people human.”
10. Olivia Pope – Scandal (played by Kerry Washington)
“Scandal” (2012) is an American television series; the content revolves around the crisis management company of Olivia Pope – Former Director of the White House Communications Department, who successfully “created” the President. US president.
Kerry Washington portrays the main character Olivia Pope, based on the former deputy press secretary for President George Bush, Judy Smith. Olivia Pope represents the pride of successful and outstanding women.
The impeccable fashion style further emphasizes this character’s robust, professional but feminine character. Olivia’s sophisticated and mesmerizing fashion sense is every girl’s dream and inspiration.
11. Chris Washington – Get Out (played by Daniel Kaluuya)
Get Out by Jordan Peele will undoubtedly be one of the most-discussed films of the twenty-first century.
No matter how you felt about the horror movie’s meditation on race and racism, the fact remains that it has withstood the test of time. This is particularly true when considering how pertinent dialogues are continually being made in the society that we are now living in.
Chris Washington is a significant component of the winning recipe. Chris, a young photographer traveling to meet the family of his lover Rose (Allison Williams), is forced to fight for his life as the encounter turns deadly.
The film studies race and prejudice conceived in the days after Barack Obama’s victory, a moment that Peele described as a “post-racial lie.”
12. Annalise Keating – How To Get Away With Murder (played by Viola Davis)
How To Get Away With Murder focuses mainly on the professional and personal lives of Annalise Keating, a professor of criminal law at Middleton University in Philadelphia. Each year, Annalise chooses the top students in her class to study while working in her law practice.
How To Get Away With Murder is comparable to its sister show, Scandal, in that its main heroine is a woman of color. This is an uncommon occurrence in American culture, as the primary character of an entire television series.
Viola Davis was entrusted with the role of Annalise, the series’ spirit and a heroine with a complicated personality that fluctuates between forceful and frigid and fragile and compassionate. Despite her lackluster appearance, Viola Davis has extraordinary acting ability. She received two Academy Award nominations for Doubt (2008) and The Help (2011).
13. Ryan Wilder – Batwoman (played Javicia Leslie)
Leslie wore the iconic Batwoman costume for the first time in the second season of The CW’s Batwoman, and in doing so, she created history and altered the course of the franchise.
The former God Friended Me star was the first Black actress to portray Batwoman in a live-action TV series or film, with her character Ryan Wilder succeeding Ruby Rose’s Kate Kane as Gotham’s guardian after Rose departs from the series after season one.
Although Ryan was developed mainly for the live-action series, she has officially made her debut in the DC Comics universe, first appearing in Batgirl #50 and subsequently in Batman: Urban Legends #5.
In addition, she makes her first costumed comic appearance in Earth-Prime, a tie-in comic book focusing on Batwoman and other DC television programs.
14. Morpheus – The Matrix Series (played by Laurence Fishburne)
If you love science-fiction films, you must see The Matrix. The 1999 publication The Matrix has become one of the finest science fiction masterpieces.
Morpheus portrays a real-world leader who is stubborn and brave in the face of hardship. He was the one that forced Neo out of his cozy Matrix existence and revealed the truth to him. Morpheus considers Neo to be the chosen one.
This belief stays unchanged despite Neo’s blunders. Morpheus was a father figure to Neo and the whole crew of the Nebuchadnezzar, teaching them survival and battle techniques.
Even though Morpheus’s position is no longer prominent, he remains a symbol of knowledge and wisdom. This character does not desire personal glory. His altruism made him the protagonist of the Matrix trilogy.
15. Finn / FN-2187 – Star Wars: The Force Awakens (played by John Boyega)
When Finn appeared in the first trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, time paused. Not only did Star Wars enthusiasts see a helmetless stormtrooper, but he was also Black!
Finn immediately became a fan favorite as his journey developed in the first film. Finn’s virtuous, compassionate, and loyal demeanor quickly attracted him to followers, and his determination to find his way made him a fascinating character to explore.
A persona who provoked fans to consider the people under the helmet and ponder what could have been, particularly when fans were given a glimpse of what may have been. Finn’s existence had so much promise, and Boyega’s charisma made us all want to dive deeper.
Regardless of how you feel about his conclusion, it cannot be denied that Boyega’s Finn has left his stamp on Star Wars history.