Black actors have always been a staple in Hollywood. From the early days of silent movies, black actors have been playing characters on the big screen. Black actors roles in Hollywood can be traced back to the minstrel shows of the late 19th century, and with that came their stereotypical roles – as servants, cowboys, or simple maids. Things have changed since then, and now there are many more black actors working in Hollywood. And with so many new faces, you may not know much about them yet.
Morgan Freeman was born in Memphis, Tennessee. His father died of cirrhosis of the liver. After his father’s death, he was sent to live with his grandmother in Charleston, Mississippi. In Nashville, Tennessee, he won a drama competition. He also appeared on a radio show there. Freeman, who was a drama scholarship recipient at Jackson State University, turned down a position as a mechanic in the US Air Force in favor of working as a mechanic in the Memphis area. The World’s Fair in New York City in 1964 was Freeman’s first appearance on Broadway as a dancer. He played The Royal Hunt of the Sun on tour with a troupe in the 1960s and Hello Dolly! on Broadway in the same decade. Freeman’s character in these two productions was a transcript clerk before moving to New York City and performing as a dancer.
In 1971, Freeman made his film debut in Who Says I Can’t Ride A Rainbow? He gained notoriety for his performances in Another World and The Electric Company before making his debut on the big screen in Who Says I Can’t Ride A Rainbow? In the 1980s, Freeman portrayed a large number of supporting characters. In Driving Miss Daisy, he played Sergeant Major Rawlins as well as Red, a character who has been changed into a convict after being exposed to radiation. He subsequently appeared in films such as The Shawshank Redemption and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves with various big names.
At the 77th Academy Awards, Morgan Freeman won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Million Dollar Baby, where he starred opposite Hilary Swank. Freeman has played God twice in the critically acclaimed comedies Bruce Almighty and Evan Almighty, where he portrayed Lucius Fox. Freeman also portrayed Lucius Fox in the two Christopher Nolan superhero pictures, Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. In addition, he has provided narration for several films, including the award-winning March of the Penguins documentary and the invasion thriller War of the Worlds. Morgan Freeman lives in New York and Charleston, Mississippi, and he owns a blues club in nearby Clarksdale. He co-owns a high-end dining establishment called Madidi. In 2008, Freeman publicly endorsed Barack Obama’s presidential bid.
Cheadle was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri. He moved from city to city with his family as a child. Cheadle earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in fine arts from the California Institute of the Arts and subsequently pursued a range of auditions. Cheadle was encouraged by his college friends to seek out auditions and landed a recurring role on the hit series Fame. Cheadle’s performance as Denzel Washington’s son in Devil in a Blue Dress garnered critical acclaim and led to his selection as Best Supporting Actor by the Los Angeles Film Critics. Hotel Rwanda, Cheadle’s second film, was nominated for an Oscar, Golden Globe, Broadcast Film Critics and Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actor.
He is an accomplished stage actor and director as well as a talented musician who plays saxophone, writes music, and sings. And was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2004 for Best Spoken Word Album for his Walter Mosley novel ‘Fear Itself.’ He was also nominated for a Grammy Award in 2004 for Best Spoken Word Album for his narration/dramatization of the same book. Other notable off-stage accomplishments include the 2007 BET Humanitarian Award for the cause of the people of Darfur and Rwanda and sharing the Summit Peace Award by the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates in Rome with George Clooney for their work in Darfur.
Kevin Hart’s career in stand-up comedy began after he graduated from high school and took him to New York and Los Angeles. I’m a Grown Little Man was published in 2009. After the success of his 2011 tour, Laugh at My Pain, which brought in $15 million, Hart went on to feature in films including Think Like a Man, About Last Night, Get Hard, Central Intelligence, and two Jumanji movies.
Hart was born in Philadelphia on July 6, 1979. Nancy, Hart’s mother, raised her son alone when her spouse developed narcotics and legal troubles. Throughout Hart’s formative years, his father, Henry Hart, spent much time behind bars. In order to deal with the trauma he experienced as a youngster, Hart turned to humor. The relationship between Henry Sr. and Henry Jr. has been repaired now that Henry has sobered up.
The struggles of his youth informed Hart’s comedic outlook. His comedy, he claims, “comes from true experience.” Hart deeply respects the work of Chris Tucker and J.B. Smoove.
Upon graduating from high school, Hart initially settled in New York City before eventually settling in Brockton, Massachusetts. In Philadelphia, where he was selling shoes, Hart’s stand-up career took off.
Poor start. Hart used the alias “Little Kevin the Bastard” when performing in dive bars and other low-key venues. Some others who watched Hart just didn’t think he was humorous. I wanted to be everything,” he said honestly. “Puzzled, I couldn’t make sense of it. I had no idea what to do.”
Veteran comic Keith Robinson encouraged Hart to use his true name on stage and assisted him in writing stuff based on his own experiences. Eventually, I was successful. He began performing in venues around the country after winning amateur stand-up competitions.
Hart’s humor borrows from the styles of Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer, D.L. Hughley, and Bernie Mac.
As his stand-up career flourished, ABC handed Hart a comedy, The Big House. Hart portrayed himself in the program as a prosperous young man who, after been embezzled, is forced to relocate from Hawaii to Philadelphia. The absurd premise of the show led to its early cancellation after only six episodes.
Fast healing allowed Hart to go back to normal soon. His reputation as one of comedy’s top young actors was solidified with his performance in I’m a Little Grown Man (2006). His follow-up release, 2013’s Seriously Funny, was just as well received.