Episode 27 – The Blacklist Continues: Let’s Talk About Black Actresses Part 2
Why Watch That
We couldn’t exhaust this list of talented actresses, so we’re back for another round. In this episode, the Critic and the Referee continue their discussion about notable black actresses and those actresses’ standout performances. Enjoy our surprisingly hilarious conversation about these women who often get overlooked!
Chandra Wilson – (born August 27, 1969) is an American actress and director, best known as Dr. Miranda Bailey in the ABC television drama Grey’s Anatomy. She made her New York stage debut in 1991. She also began to land guest spots on a variety of prime-time television shows. She made her big-screen debut in the 1993 film Philadelphia.
Octavia Spencer – (born May 25, 1970) is an American actress. She is best known for her role as Minny, the outspoken maid in the 2011 film The Help, for which she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and the BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress, among other accolades, including the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role.
Anika Noni Rose – (born September 6, 1972 in Bloomfield, Connecticut) is an American singer and actress known for her Tony Award-winning performance in the Broadway production of Caroline, or Change and her starring role as Lorrell Robinson in the 2006 film Dreamgirls. She also starred as Tiana, an African American princess in the 2009 film The Princess and the Frog. Rose is currently playing the role of Beneatha Younger in the Broadway stage production of the 2014 revival of A Raisin in the Sun.
Whoopi Goldberg – ( born Caryn Elaine Johnson; November 13, 1955) is an American comedian, actress, singer-songwriter, political activist, author and talk show host. Although Goldberg made her film debut in the avant-garde ensemble film Citizen: I’m Not Losing My Mind, I’m Giving It Away (1982), her breakthrough role was playing Celie, a mistreated black woman in the Deep South in the period drama film The Color Purple (1985).
She played Oda Mae Brown – a wacky psychic helping a slain man (Patrick Swayze) save his lover (Demi Moore) – in the romantic fantasy film Ghost (1990), for which she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Goldberg was the second black woman in the history of the Academy Awards to win an acting Oscar (the first being Hattie McDaniel, who won for Gone with the Wind in 1939). She was co-producer of the television game show Hollywood Squares from 1998 to 2004. She has been the moderator of the daytime television talk show The View since 2007. Goldberg has been nominated for 13 Emmy Awards for her work in television. She is one of the few entertainers who have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Award. In the 1990s, Goldberg was rumored to be the highest paid actress for her appearances in film.
Jada Pinkett Smith – (born September 18, 1971) is an American actress, singer-songwriter, and businesswoman. She began her career in 1990, when she made a guest appearance in the short-lived sitcom True Colors. She starred in A Different World, produced by Bill Cosby, and she featured opposite Eddie Murphy in The Nutty Professor (1996). She starred in dramatic films such as Menace II Society (1993) and Set It Off (1996). She has appeared in more than 20 films in a variety of genres, including Scream 2, Ali, The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions, Madagascar, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa and Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted.
Pinkett Smith launched her music career in 2002, when she helped create the metal band Wicked Wisdom, for which she is a singer and songwriter. Smith also created a production company, in addition to authoring a book, published in 2004.
In 1997, she married rapper and actor Will Smith. They have two children, Jaden and Willow, and Pinkett Smith is stepmother to Willard “Trey” Smith III, Will’s son from a previous marriage. The couple founded the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation, a charity organization which focuses on inner-city youth and family support and has worked with non-profit organizations like YouthBuild and the Lupus Foundation of America.
Robin Givens – (born November 27, 1964) is an American stage, television, and film actress. Givens began her acting career after graduating from Sarah Lawrence College in 1984. In 1986, she won the role of Darlene Merriman in the ABC sitcom Head of the Class. She remained with the series for its entire five-year run. After the series ended in 1991, she continued her career with film roles and guest starring roles on television.
In 1996, Givens co-starred on the sitcom Sparks which aired for two season on UPN. In January 2000, she took over hosting duties on the syndicated talk show Forgive or Forget. The show was canceled four months later. Givens has since had recurring roles on The Game, Tyler Perry’s House of Payne, and Chuck. In 2007, Givens released her autobiography Grace Will Lead Me Home.
Givens has been married and divorced twice. Her first marriage to boxer Mike Tyson in 1988 drew considerable media attention as did their divorce the following year. Her second marriage to tennis instructor Svetozar Marinković in 1997 also lasted a year. In 1993, Givens adopted a son. In 2000, she gave birth to a second son who was fathered by her ex-boyfriend, tennis player Murphy Jensen.
Diahann Carroll – (born July 17, 1935) is an American television and stage actress and singer. She has had a long, successful career that has spanned nearly six decades. After appearing in some of the earliest major studio films to feature black casts such as Carmen Jones (1954) and Porgy and Bess (1959) and on Broadway, she starred in Julia (1968), one of the first series on American television to star a black woman in a non-stereotypical role. Later she created the role of Dominique Deveraux on the popular prime time soap opera, Dynasty. She is the recipient of numerous stage and screen awards and nominations. Carroll has been married four times and became the mother of a daughter in 1960. She is a breast cancer survivor and activist. Carroll was scheduled to return to the Broadway stage in the 2014 revival of A Raisin in the Sun as Mama, but withdrew prior to opening citing the demands of the rehearsal and performance schedule.
Lynne Thigpen – (December 22, 1948 – March 12, 2003) was an American stage and television actress, best known for her role as “The Chief” in the various Carmen Sandiego television series. Thigpen had a long and prolific theater career, and appeared in numerous musicals including Godspell, The Night That Made America Famous, The Magic Show, Working, Tintypes and An American Daughter (for which she won her Tony Award for her portrayal of Dr. Judith Kaufman in 1997) .
Her first feature film role was Lynne in Godspell (1973), co-starring opposite Victor Garber and David Haskell. She appeared notably as the omniscient Radio DJ in The Warriors, and as Leonna Barrett, the mother of an expelled student in Lean on Me, a story of famous American principal Joe Louis Clark. She had a role in Shaft, alongside Samuel L. Jackson, as Carla Howard, the murder victim’s mother. She also played the Second President of the world council in Bicentennial Man (1999). Her last film was Anger Management (2003), starring Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson (which was released only a month following her death and paid tribute to her in the end credits).
Gloria Foster – (November 15, 1933 – September 29, 2001) was an American actress, most known for her stage performances both on and off Broadway, including her acclaimed roles in plays In White America and Having Our Say, winning three Obie Awards during her career.
In films, she was perhaps best known as The Oracle in The Matrix (1999) and The Matrix Reloaded (2003), the latter film being her last. Gloria Foster also played the role of the mother of Yusef Bell in the mini series “The Atlanta Child Murders’ which aired in 1985.
Nia Long – (born October 30, 1970) is an American actress. She is best known for her roles in the television series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Third Watch, and the films In Too Deep, Boyz n the Hood, Friday, Boiler Room, Soul Food, Love Jones, The Best Man, Big Momma’s House, and the sequels to the latter two films.
In 2000, Long was offered the role of Alex Munday in Charlie’s Angels, but she turned it down, and the role was eventually given to Lucy Liu. In 2003, she joined the cast of the drama Third Watch, where she played NYPD Officer Sasha Monroe, continuing until the series finale in 2005. In 2005 and 2006, Long appeared on Everwood, and appeared on Boston Legal during its 2006-2007 season. Long also starred in Big Shots from 2007-2008 alongside Michael Vartan and Dylan McDermott.
Zoe Saldana – Zoe Yadira Saldaña Nazario (born June 19, 1978), known as Zoë Saldana or Zoe Saldana, is an American actress. She had her breakthrough roles in the 2000 film Center Stage and the 2002 film Crossroads. She later gained prominence for her roles as Anamaria in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), Uhura in the 2009 film Star Trek and its 2013 sequel Star Trek Into Darkness, and her motion capture work as Neytiri in James Cameron’s Avatar (2009) and its upcoming sequels. In May 2014, she starred in a TV miniseries adaptation of Rosemary’s Baby, which aired on NBC.
In 2010, Saldana starred in The Losers in which she played Aisha al-Fadhil, for which she was required to gain weight, as she was expected to carry weapons around for eight hours a day. Saldana also appeared in Takers, Death at a Funeral, and Burning Palms. In August 2010, her television ad for Calvin Klein’s “Envy” line debuted. In 2011, Saldana starred in the romantic comedy The Heart Specialist, and she starred in the crime drama movie Colombiana as Cataleya Restrepo, a professional assassin. In 2012, she starred in the drama film The Words.
Rosario Dawson – (born May 9, 1979) is an American actress, singer, and writer. She has appeared in films such as Kids, Men in Black II, 25th Hour, Sin City, Clerks II, Rent, Death Proof, The Rundown, Eagle Eye, Alexander, Seven Pounds, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, Unstoppable, and Trance.
In 2008, Dawson starred with Will Smith in Seven Pounds and in the Steven Spielberg produced Eagle Eye. Beginning in August, she starred in Gemini Division, an online TV series. In the computer animated series Afterworld she voiced the character Officer Delondre Baines. On January 17, 2009, Dawson hosted Saturday Night Live. Later in the year, she voiced Artemis of Bana-Mighdall in the animated film Wonder Woman.
Naomie Harris – (born 6 September 1976) is a British actress. She played Eve Moneypenny in the James Bond film, Skyfall, The Voodoo Witch Tia Dalma/Calypso in the second and third Pirates of the Caribbean films, Selena in 28 Days Later, and Winnie Mandela in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.
Harris has appeared in television and film since she was nine, including a starring role on the remake of the science fiction series The Tomorrow People.In November 2002, she starred in Danny Boyle’s post-apocalyptic film 28 Days Later. In the same year, she starred in the television adaptation of Zadie Smith’s White Teeth.
Since then, Harris appeared in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End and Michael Mann’s Miami Vice. She also did a comic turn in Michael Winterbottom’s indie ensemble piece, A Cock and Bull Story.