Hollywood is constantly churning out new talent. But unfortunately, existing actors are often pushed out of the spotlight to make way for newer talent. And the problem is even worse for Black actors.
Hollywood obstacles for Black actors
A lot of people have dreams of making it big in Hollywood. Many even plan to live in the city to get closer to fulfilling their dreams. But becoming a Hollywood star isn’t as easy as just landing an acting role. Even the most celebrated actors like Samuel L. Jackson or Regina King must work hard to be seen.
For example, being typecast is a major problem in Hollywood, but especially for Black artists. You’re almost guaranteed to find the same lineup in certain Black comedies or “hood classics.” But the Black actors who aren’t chosen for these roles tend to be left behind.
In an interview with Pop Culture, actor Alfonso Ribeiro discussed the challenges of being typecast in Hollywood. He encourages fans to support their favorite actor if they want to see them in more onscreen roles. He says, “Really, if you’re a fan of somebody on a show, and they do something else, make it a priority to go watch whatever it is they’re doing even though it’s not what you’re used to seeing them do.”
Giving Black artists their flowers
The road to stardom is a challenging one for many actors in Hollywood. But fortunately, you can celebrate your favorite actors by supporting them on television, in film, or wherever they create. Here are five talented Black artists who deserve more shine:
1. Dorian Harewood
Dorian Harewood is a legendary actor who knows his way around Hollywood. He played Jesse Owens in the 1984 film The Jesse Owens Story. And he also acted as Simon Haley in Roots: The New Generation, an ABC miniseries inspired by the life of Kunta Kinte.
His acting contributions in Hollywood have especially benefitted the Black community. Because of his role, the 71-year-old has encouraged a generation of people to feel pride in Black history and heritage.
Harewood has an extensive history as an actor. He’s been featured in television, film, and even several video games! Currently, you can find him in episodes of Bel Air as the fiery character Judge Robertson, who feuded with Uncle Phil in the original series.
2. Renée Elise Goldsberry
Renée Elise Goldsberry is an incredible talent, known for her role in the Angelica Schuyler of the Broadway show Hamilton. And she’s no stranger to Broadway. She’s also acted in other popular musical productions, such as Rent and The Color Purple.
Her acting chops earned her a number of nominations and awards. In 2016, she won a Tony award for “Best Featured Actress in a Musical.” And that same year, she won a Grammy award for “Best Musical Theater Album.”
She has certainly proven that she’s an impeccable industry talent. To give her her flowers, watch Goldsberry in the musical comedy Girls5eva, now on Peacock.
3. Manuel and Geiszel Godoy
Manuel and Geiszel Godoy are the creators behind Black Sands Entertainment, a comics and culture company making waves in the industry. The company creates comic books and animations that discuss Black history and achievements. Featuring a diverse range of Black characters, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
The stories are great for children and adults, with most of their books appropriate for middle school-aged children. The company provides an excellent way for parents to introduce their little ones to Black history.
From fictional stories featuring mighty warriors to ones inspired by West African Orisha gods, Black Sands Entertainment is great for getting children AND adults excited about their unique heritage.
4. Shahadi Wright Joseph
Shahadi Wright Joseph is a talent young actress, best known for her role as Zora Wilson in the movie “Us” by Jordan Peele. Joseph charmed fans with her performance in the film, but it wasn’t her first time stealing the show.
She got her start playing Young Nala in the Broadway musical The Lion King at just nine years old. And later, she would voice the same character in Jon Favreau’s 2019 musical reboot.
The multi-talented 17-year-old also had acting roles on television as Little Inez Stubbs in Hairspray Live! She currently plays Ruby Lee Emory in the thrilling Amazon Prime drama Them.
5. CCH Pounder
Carol Christine Hilaria Pounder, also known as “CCH,” is a super talented actress that you might recognize. She’s acted in a number of roles in both television and film. For example, she played Dr. Angela Hicks in the hit medical drama ER. And later, she acted as District Attorney Tyne Patterson in the popular series Sons of Anarchy.
Hollywood has a tendency to discard actresses as they age, with only a select few able to secure prime acting jobs. The window of opportunity is even smaller for Black actresses, no matter how talented they are.
Fortunately, you can still support CCH Pounder and other Black artists like her. Her new movie Avatar: The Way of Water hits theaters later this year.