After devoting decades to showbiz, these 25 black actresses over 50 are still relevant and explosive in the roles they play today.
Their presence is well-respected, and their book of lessons remain open for young black women to take a page from.
These women, by no means, had anything handed to them or found showbiz ‘easy’, but they rose above the challenges and made their bread.
Let’s consider who these black actresses are, and a few films and TV shows they’ve appeared in.
At over 90 years old, Cicely’s grace, elegance, and modesty continue to rock showbiz.
With her career stretched over six decades, she’s a stellar example for aspiring and established black actresses.
Cicely’s career took flight and gained prominence for her draw-dropping performance in “Sounder” (1972), as Rebecca Morgan.
Her untiring performance in the famous East Side/West Side (1963) made her the first African-American to lead in a television drama.
Throughout the course of Cicely’s successful career, she has collected numerous awards and distinctions for her work.
She was drafted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame and received an Honorary Oscar at the Governors Awards in 2018.
At Age 60, Angela’s groove has never been more purposeful and intentional.
This passionate firecracker partly attributes her success to being prepared, showing up, and delivering with enthusiasm.
Angela is celebrated for her inspiring performances in ‘oldies but goodies’, such as What’s Love Got to Do With It (1993) and How Stellar Got Her Groove Back (1998).
With an industry that makes it difficult for women over 40 to secure good roles, Bassett’s recent roles in Black Panther (2018), Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018), and 9-1-1 (2018) TV series revealed there are no strings on her career.
Vivica A. Fox
This black actress, as she puts it, is always “hustling”. Fox is an animated, cheerful character who’s true to the game.
She’s down-to-earth, and as a grown woman, she believes in owning up to her actions and telling it like it is.
While her acting career took flight on humble TV programs such as Generations (1989), Fox is still doing her thing with appearances in recent films such as Empire (2015), Crossbreed (2019), The Wrong Cruise (2018), and The Wrong Teacher (2018).
Whoopi views acting as life itself. “It’s a part of my whole being, as breathing”, she said.
Whoopi is no ordinary woman.
She dominates and leads with fierceness, but her ability to show empathy for others is evident in her humanitarian efforts.
Whoopi is one of the 15 people to ever acquire an E.G.O.T and was viewed as the highest paid female black actress of all time back in the 1990s.
Her recent appearances in films such as Nobody’s Fool, Time Out, and The Stinky & Dirty Show, reveal she’s live and active in showbiz.
Alfre is everybody’s mama.
She’s that nurturing, big-hearted personality you want to draw close to during your most vulnerable; she’s that chilled to hang with.
Alfre’s acting began on Off-Broadway, but took flight in her debut screen appearance, Remember My Name (1978).
Throughout her career, she has won numerous awards, including Primetime Emmy, Black Reel, and Golden Globe.
At over 60 years old, Alfre continues to advance in her career, as we’ve seen her take on big and bold roles in movies such as Juanita, Clemency, and The Lion King.
Halle’s beauty and light-heartedness may have pushed her career into the spotlight, but her aspirations, firmness, and strength kept it alive and bubbly.
Halle has made several accomplishments throughout her career in showbiz.
As of 2019, she remains the only African American female to score an Academy Award in a leading role, and an Oscar Award for Best Actress.
Halle’s career continues to soar as she plays major roles in movies such as Kidnap (2017), Kings (2017), and John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019).
She also has roles in quite a number of new films, including Bruised and Jagged Edge.
Viola knows all too well the stings of poverty, but she made her own wealth through hard work and commitment.
This strong, passionate black woman is all about speaking for women without a voice and platform.
She’s the first black actress to score an Academy Award for Best Actress in a supporting role, and alongside Octavia Spencer, she’s the most nominated black actress, ever.
If you’re up for a good treat, you can find Viola doing her thing in film productions such as Fences (2016), Widows (2018), Troop Zero (2019) and How to Get Away with Murder ( 2014- present).
It was probably Pam’s witty, courageous, and gangster-ish disposition that made her one of the most interest arousing actresses of the 1970s.
During this period, her common appearance in blaxploitation movies as a cocky, fearless female made her a sensation.
In fact, she was the first African-American woman to “headline an action film”.