We absolutely love seeing celebrities with dark skin making a positive impact on the Black community. Countless Black celebrities have become inspirations to young African American people. We’ve listed 12 dark-skinned stars that we think have made a big impact on people’s lives.
1. Viola Davis
Viola Davis is legendary. You may have seen her in films and movies like How to Get Away with Murder, Fences, Widows, and Suicide Squad, to name a few. Not only is she a phenomenal actress (with the many awards and nominations to prove it), but she’s also an advocate and supporter for human rights and equal rights for women and women of color. She has taken on several philanthropic services and has been an activist for many others. Time Magazine even named her as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2012 AND 2017. Young Black people, especially those with dark skin, will be proud to see someone who looks like them doing incredible things.
2. Lupita Nyong’o
Lupita is the literal definition of Black beauty. She’s amazing at helping other dark-skinned women love who they are. Her children’s book Sulwe teaches young people with dark skin about colorism and how to love yourself no matter what your skin tone looks like. Lupita also works hard in preventing sexual harassment and working for women’s and animal rights, and she’s pretty vocal about it as well. She’s also been featured as Africa’s “50 Most Powerful Women” by Forbes this year!
3. Tika Sumpter
Tika Sumpter is another wonderful actress with dark skin who plays powerful female roles. You may have seen her in Tyler Perry’s The Haves and the Have Nots and in films such as Southside with You and Nobody’s Fool. She has a parenting podcast called The Suga, where she celebrates motherhood and sisterhood alongside Thai Randolph. Tika is a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement and has donated $10,000 to Color of Change, one of the largest online social justice platforms.
4. Skai Jackson
Even as a teenager, Skai Jackson is an influence to people everywhere! Times Magazine included her in the Most Influential Teens back in 2016. She even has a novel that she released in 2019 called Reach for the Skai: How to Inspire, Empower, and Clapback. It’s a compelling memoir about self-acceptance, girl empowerment, and the classy clapback. We love seeing young, Black women making a positive impression. Because of actresses like Skai Jackson, other young girls with dark skin will see themselves positively represented.
5. Jennifer Hudson
Jennifer Hudson wears a lot of hats! She’s a singer, actress, and philanthropist. Some might know her as being a finalist on the third season of American Idol, and some will know her as playing Effie White in Dreamgirls. She received numerous awards and nominations for her acting, singing, and other fields of entertainment. Time Magazine also named Jennifer Hudson as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2020. She had an incredible weight loss journey back in 2010, where she lost 56 pounds and became the spokesperson for Weight Watchers.
6. Octavia Spencer
You can’t help but to love Octavia Spencer. She is a phenomenal Black actress who has received many awards for her outstanding acting and is one of two women of color to have received three Oscar nominations. Octavia is also one of the first Black actresses to receive two consecutive nominations. Some notable films that you may have seen Octavia in include Hidden Figures, The Shape of Water, The Shack, and Ma. She recently also portrayed Madam CJ Walker in the Netflix limited series Self Made. Like Viola Davis, she is the most nominated Black actress to date, inspiring other women with dark skin.
7. Amber Riley
You might know Amber Riley as Mercedes Jones from the comedy-drama series Glee. She is a woman with many talents, and she’s such an inspiration. She acts, she sings, she dances, and she writes! She was nominated for many awards and has won quite a few, including the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series for Glee and the Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical for Dreamgirls. Amber is a Black Lives Matter activist and has used her platform to express that during the time the protests for George Floyd and Breonna Taylor took place. Young women with dark skin can look up to Amber Riley and see someone who is confident and passionate about everything that she does.
8. Issa Rae
Issa Rae is notorious for creating content for people of color. She created and starred in the HBO series Insecure and also has a memoir title The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, which became a New York Times best-seller. In the book, she opens up about her personal struggles with not fitting in or being “Black enough.” Issa was included in Time Magazine’s 100 most influential People of 2018 and is also an activist for police violence and brutality against Black Americans. Using her platform to bring attention to this issue, she raised $700,000 for the family of Alton Sterling in 2016 after he was shot and killed by a police officer. The money went to the Sterling Family Trust to help pay for the Sterling children to go to college. It’s incredible seeing Black women with dark skin creating positive change.
9. Michaela Coel
Michaela Coel is an English screenwriter and actress known for creating and staring in Chewing Gum and I May Destroy You. She appeared in British Vouge’s 2020 list of influential women. A lot of her content is humorous but also raw, which is why her work has received overwhelmingly positive reviews and widespread acclaim. She has received numerous awards and nominations for her acting and writing. In 2009, Michaela was the first Black woman to enroll in the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in five years. If there’s anything that young, Black women with dark skin can learn from this actress, it’s that you should go boldly after what you believe in, and don’t let anyone hold you back.
10. Tiffany Haddish
Growing up, Tiffany Haddish dealt with a lot of struggles. To see how big she is now is such an inspiration for everyone else who is going through some tough times. Tiffany made her big breakthrough in acting after playing her role as Dina in the 2017 movie Girls Trip. She’s gone on to grab more parts in movies such as Night School, Nobody’s Fool, and Like a Boss. Tiffany is a successful standup comedienne, actress, and author of a book called The Last Black Unicorn. It’s a collection of personal essays that shows readers how humble, down-to-earth, and hilarious she is. Young Black women with dark skin will definitely be inspired through laughter when they get to know Tiffany Haddish for who she really is!
11. Serena Williams
Serena Williams is an influence for many young, Black athletes out there. After all, she was number one in women’s singles tennis. This girl is a beast on the tennis court, and she still manages to look fabulous while playing! Serena is determined to be successful and isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. She has a legacy, as many commentators, coaches, and sportscasters say that Serena is the greatest female tennis players of all time. Her many victories have made her a positive influence on many young athletes who look up to her.
12. Danielle Brooks
Those who watched the Netflix original series Orange is the New Black will recognize Danielle Brooks as playing Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson. She was nominated for and won many awards for her role in Orange is the New Black as well as her portrayal as Sofia in the 2015 Broadway production of The Color Purple. In 2013, Danielle became the first African American actress to be cast on the HBO series Girls.
Which of these beauties with dark skin has inspired you the most? Comment below!
Hi, I'm Latasha! I was born and raised in sunny South Florida and graduated from Florida Atlantic University in 2018. I have my bachelor's degree in English with a concentration in writing and rhetoric. I'm also planning to go back to school to get my MFA in creative writing in the near future. I consider myself to be a storyteller, and I love writing and blogging about lifestyle-related topics. My ultimate goal is to become a published author.