Directors, actors, and screenwriters are some of the most visible people when it comes to names in the television and film industry. Many Blacks have stepped into these roles and pioneered or become the first in their specific professions. At a time when America is becoming more conscious of the treatment of the black community, their accomplishments are magnified.
Whether it’s winning a prestigious award, starting their own business, or simply being the first to do something, they’ve left their mark on history. Here is a list of influential black people who have made history on the big screen and on the big screen.
A longtime name in Hollywood, Sidney Poitier made history in 1964 when he became the first black man to win a Best Actor Oscar. His role as a construction worker in field lily (1963) earned him this honor.
The legendary Cecily Tyson received acclaim throughout her life. In the 60s, she became the first black person to star in a primetime drama for her role in the series East side/west side. Tyson was also the first black actress to receive an honorary Oscar in 2018.
This journalist-turned-media mogul became the first black woman to own her own production company. Winfrey is also a household name and one of TV’s highest paid performers.
Lena Waithe became the first black woman and the first black gay woman to win an Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series in 2017. She picked up the win by directing Netflix’s “Thanksgiving” episode. master of nothing.
This singer and actress was the first black person to star in her own series with the 1950s Beulah. Ethel Waters is also the first black woman to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy and the first nominated for a dramatic role for her appearance on the show. Road 66.
Oscar Micheaux is often credited as the first great black filmmaker, directing and producing 42 feature films from 1919 to 1948. His work brought to light the atrocities and struggles of black people during the Jim Crow era.
This comedian and Coming to America became the first black late-night talk show host in 1989 with The Arsenio room show.
Harry Belafonte was the first black man to win a Tony Award in 1954. He also became the first black man to win an Emmy in 1960 through his television special, Tonight with Belafonte.
Viola Davis has quite a few titles to her credit. She became the first black woman to receive three Oscar nominations in 2017 for her supporting role in Fences. In 2015, she became the first black woman to win an Emmy for Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her role as Annalize Keating in How to get away with murder. Davis is also the first black woman to win an Oscar, Emmy and Tony.
This critically acclaimed filmmaker is making waves in Hollywood. Thanks to his popular film get outPeele became the first black screenwriter to win an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.
Halley Berry was the first (and only) black woman to win the Best Actress Oscar. She claimed her award in 2002 for her role as Leticia Musgrove in Monster Ball.
This filmmaker is the first black woman to direct a live-action film that grossed over $100 million at the box office; it comes from his work on disney A shortcut in time. DuVernay is also the first black woman to win the Directing Award in the American Drama category at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.
Hattie McDaniel paved the way for black actresses by becoming the first black performer to be nominated and win an Oscar. She won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as “Mammy” in the 1939s. carried away by the wind.
John Singleton was the first black director, and the youngest, to be nominated for Best Director at the Oscars in 1992. He was also nominated for Best Original Screenplay the same year.
Diahann Carroll made television history in 1968 when she became the first black actress to play a non-stereotypical prime-time television role. The singer and actress starred on the show Julia.
An advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, Laverne Cox became the first openly transgender person to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for any acting category in 2014. It was for her role as Sophia Burset on Netflix. Orange is the new black.
A prolific black filmmaker from the 20and century, Spencer Williams made The Blood of Jesus (1941), which became the first “racing film” to be included in the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry in 1991.