Arts & Entertainment

A glossary of important Black (African) American individuals from the past and present. A knowledgeable resource for all, brought to you with an artistic touch.

LeVar Burton

LeVar Burton

LeVar Burton Jr. is an American actor, presenter, director and author. He is best known for his role in Star Trek: The Next Generation, hosting the long-running PBS children's series Reading Rainbow and in the 1977 award-winning ABC television miniseries Roots.

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Pat Cleveland

Pat Cleveland

Patricia Cleveland is an American fashion model who initially attained success in the 1960s and 1970s and was one of the first African-American models within the fashion industry to achieve prominence as a runway model and print model.

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Janet Collins

Janet Collins

Janet Collins was a ballet dancer, choreographer, and teacher. She performed on Broadway, in films, and appeared frequently on television. She was among the pioneers of black ballet dancing, one of the few classically trained Black dancers of her generation.

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Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby, Jr. is an American stand-up comedian, actor, musician, author, and convicted sex offender. He held an active career for over six decades before being convicted and imprisoned for sex offenses in 2018.

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Dorothy Jean Dandridge

Dorothy Jean Dandridge

Dorothy Jean Dandridge was an American film and theatre actress, singer, and dancer. She is perhaps one of the most famous black actresses to have a successful Hollywood career and the first to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress in the film Carmen Jones.

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Sammy Davis, Jr.

Sammy Davis, Jr.

Samuel Davis Jr. was an American singer, musician, dancer, actor, vaudevillian, comedian and activist known for his impressions of actors, musicians and other celebrities. In 2017, he was inducted into the Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame for being one of the Greatest Entertainers in the World.

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Redd Foxx

Redd Foxx

John Sanford, better known by his stage name Redd Foxx, was an American stand-up comedian and actor. Foxx gained success with his raunchy nightclub acts during the 1950s and 1960s. Known as the “King of the Party Records”, he performed on more than 50 records in his lifetime.

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Dick Gregory

Dick Gregory

Dick Gregory was an American comedian, civil rights activist, social critic, writer, conspiracy theorist, entrepreneur, and occasional actor. During the turbulent 1960s, Gregory became a pioneer in stand-up comedy for his “no-holds-barred” sets, in which he mocked bigotry and racism.

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Arsenio Hall

Arsenio Hall

Arsenio Hall is an American comedian, talk show host, actor, writer and producer. He is best known for hosting The Arsenio Hall Show, a late-night talk show that ran from 1989 until 1994, and again from 2013 to 2014.

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Herbie Hancock

Herbie Hancock

Herbert Jeffrey Hancock is an American pianist, keyboardist, bandleader, composer and actor. He helped redefine the role of a jazz rhythm section and was one of the primary architects of the post-bop sound (with the Miles Davis Quintet).

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Jay Hawkins

Jay Hawkins

Jalacy “Screamin’ Jay” Hawkins was an American singer-songwriter, musician, actor, film producer, and boxer. Famed chiefly for his powerful, operatic vocal delivery and wildly theatrical performances of songs such as “I Put a Spell on You.”

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Geoffrey Holder

Geoffrey Holder

Geoffrey Lamont Holder was a Trinidadian-American actor, voice actor, dancer, choreographer, singer, director and painter. He was known for his height, “hearty laugh”, and heavily accented bass voice combined with precise diction.

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Bishop T.D. Jakes

Bishop T.D. Jakes

Thomas Dexter Jakes Sr., known as T. D. Jakes, is a pastor, author and filmmaker. He is the pastor of The Potter's House, a non-denominational American megachurch. Jakes's church services and evangelistic sermons are broadcast on The Potter's Touch.

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Grace Jones

Grace Jones

Grace Jones is a Jamaican-American model, singer, songwriter, record producer, and actress. In 2016, Billboard magazine ranked her as the 40th greatest dance club artist of all time.

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Martin Lawrence

Martin Lawrence

Martin Lawrence is an American stand-up comedian, actor, producer, talk show host, and writer. Lawrence came to fame during the 1990s, establishing a Hollywood career as a leading actor, most notably in the Fox sitcom Martin and films like House Party, Boomerang, and Bad Boys.

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Jenifer Lewis

Jenifer Lewis

Jenifer Jeanette Lewis is an American actress, singer and activist. She began her career appearing in Broadway musicals and worked as a back-up singer for Bette Midler before appearing in films Beaches and Sister Act.

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'Sugar' Ray Leonard

‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard

Ray Charles Leonard, best known as “Sugar” Ray Leonard, is an American former professional boxer, motivational speaker, and occasional actor. Often regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time, winning world titles in five weight divisions.

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Moms Mabley

Moms Mabley

Loretta Aiken, known by her stage name Jackie “Moms” Mabley, was an American standup comedian. A veteran of the Chitlin’ Circuit of African-American vaudeville, she later appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show and The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.

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Bernie Mac

Bernie Mac

Bernard McCullough, better known by his stage name Bernie Mac, was an American comedian, actor, and voice actor. Born and raised on Chicago's South Side, Mac gained popularity as a stand-up comedian.

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Paul Mooney

Paul Mooney

Paul Gladney, better known by the stage name Paul Mooney, is an American comedian, writer, social critic, and television and film actor. He is best known for his appearances on Chappelle's Show and as a writer for comedian Richard Pryor.

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Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphy

Edward Murphy is an American actor, comedian, and singer. Murphy was a regular cast member on Saturday Night Live from 1980 to 1984. He has worked as a stand-up comedian and was ranked No. 10 on Comedy Central's list of the 100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time.

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Patrice O’Neal

Patrice O’Neal

Patrice O'Neal was an American stand-up comedian, actor, and radio host. He grew up in Boston and developed an interest in stand-up comedy at a young age, first performing in 1992 when his act mainly focused on conversations with his audience.

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Richard Pryor

Richard Pryor

Richard Pryor was an American stand-up comedian and actor. He reached a broad audience with his trenchant observations and storytelling style, and is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential stand-up comedians of all time.

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Lou Rawls

Lou Rawls

Louis Allen Rawls was an American singer, songwriter, actor, voice actor, and record producer. Rawls released more than 60 albums, sold more than 40 million records, and had numerous charting singles, most notably his song “You'll Never Find Another Love like Mine”.

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Faith Ringgold

Faith Ringgold

Faith Ringgold is a painter, writer, mixed media sculptor and performance artist, best known for her narrative quilts.

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Chris Rock

Chris Rock

Christopher Rock is an American comedian, actor, writer, producer, and director. After working as a stand-up comedian and appearing in supporting film roles, Rock came to wider prominence as a cast member of Saturday Night Live in the early 1990s.

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Esther Rolle

Esther Rolle

Esther Rolle was an American actress. Rolle is best known for her role as Florida Evans, on the CBS television sitcom Maude, for two seasons, and its spin-off series Good Times, for five seasons.

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Nipsey Russell

Nipsey Russell

Julius “Nipsey” Russell was an American comedian, poet, and dancer best known for his appearances as a panelist on game shows from the 1960s through the 1990s, including Match Game, Password, Hollywood Squares, To Tell the Truth, and Pyramid.

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Augusta Savage

Augusta Savage

Augusta Savage was an African-American sculptor associated with the Harlem Renaissance. She was also a teacher whose studio was important to the careers of a generation of artists who would become nationally known. She worked for equal rights for African Americans in the arts.

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Chris Tucker

Chris Tucker

Christopher Tucker is an American actor and stand-up comedian. He is known for playing the role of Smokey in F. Gary Gray's Friday and as Detective James Carter in Brett Ratner's Rush Hour film series. He became a frequent stand up performer on Def Comedy Jam in the 1990s.

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Danitra Vance

Danitra Vance

Danitra Vance was an American comedian and actress best known as a cast member on the NBC sketch show Saturday Night Live during its eleventh season and for work in feature films like Sticky Fingers, Limit Up and Jumpin’ at the Boneyard.

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Jimmie Walker

Jimmie Walker

James Carter Walker Jr. is an American actor and comedian. Walker is best known for portraying James Evans Jr., the oldest son of Florida and James Evans Sr. on the CBS television series Good Times, which ran from 1974 to 1979..

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George Wallace

George Wallace

George Wallace is a standup comedian and writer who is recognized for having been a regular at the world famous Comedy Store in Los Angeles, CA. In 1995, he was named the Best Standup Comedian at the American Comedy Awards.

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Keenan Ivory Wayans

Keenan Ivory Wayans

Keenen Ivory Wayans Sr. is an American actor, comedian, filmmaker, and a member of the Wayans family of entertainers. He first came to prominence as the host and the creator of the 1990–1994 Fox sketch comedy series In Living Color.

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Flip Wilson

Flip Wilson

Clerow “Flip” Wilson Jr. was an American comedian and actor best known for his television appearances during the late 1960s and the 1970s. From 1970 to 1974, Wilson hosted his own weekly variety series, The Flip Wilson Show, and introduced viewers to his recurring character Geraldine.

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John Witherspoon

John Witherspoon

John Witherspoon is an American comedian and actor who has performed in many television shows and films. Best known for his role in the Friday series, Witherspoon has also starred in films such as Hollywood Shuffle (1987), Boomerang (1992) and Vampire In Brooklyn (1995).

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