90s Black Actresses We Should Definitely Celebrate!

author-img By sagnika sinha 5 Mins Read 11 September 2023

90s black actresses

Are you a fan of black individuals? If so, then you will find yourself relating to me. I am not just fascinated with the beauty they present but also the resilience that is natural in them. The physical and mental beauty of black people should be celebrated. 

For me, 90s black actresses were like the tip of the iceberg, bringing a change. Hollywood was washed with genuine performance, hard work, and growth. Apart from racial discrimination, these actresses also suffered from gender bias.

It took a lot out of them, but they gave it back to society! Reading about some of the actresses and their work might take you on a nostalgic journey if you are a 90s kid! If not, thank me for the enlightening blog you are about to read.

90s Black Actresses We Should Celebrate!

90s Black Actresses We Should Celebrate

The iconic decade, the 90s, brings nostalgia and melancholia to our hearts. But there is something more: talent! Raw and unbridled talent is seen among the 90s black actresses, which is why we must celebrate them. There are several uncommon facts about Black women which you might find when you read this blog!

These beauties with brains were taken to television shows and movies to perform roles that not only gave them recognition in the public eye but also held them responsible for bearing the flag of black art, culture, and performance in the industry.

I am sure when you go through the following list of 90s actresses, you will see resilience, charisma, and talent. Their performances were not just a significant contribution to the panels of Hollywood but also shattered and resolved stereotypes across the section.

Lela Rochon

I first watched Lela Rochon in Waiting to Exhale (1995) and was floored! This film announced her arrival to the world, while her first movie in the industry was Harlem Nights (1989). The movie was so strong morally that people kept appreciating it in the years to come.

Her performance in movies resonated with her audience, along with exposing her to the critics. I realized that her relatable characters were multifaceted, which made her a favorite among the critics.

Vanessa Williams

Apart from a thrilling acting career, Vanessa Williams was the first Black Miss America winner in 1984! This beauty came into the spotlight for her performance in the 1990s.

If you are a fan of her, you already know what I am talking about when I say a fresh breath of air in movies like Hoodlum (1997), Soul Food (1997), Eraser (1996), and Dance with Me (1998)! 

You will know that Williams is one of the biggest names in the Hollywood industry for Black actresses. Black girls and women working hard to make it big in the movie industry are inspired by the success stories of this beauty.

Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston

Who can forget the movie The Bodyguard (1992), the romantic drama starring Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston, her acting debut? It is one of the coolest romantic movies I feel in future generations. Her performance is the secondary great thing, but she was known for her music before that!

She was tagged as one of the greatest singers of all time. Houston was like magic because the box office and the audience seemed to love her. You will be shocked to observe her impact on the movie and the music industry.

Other movies that made her a star in viewers’ hearts are The Preacher’s Wife (1996) and Waiting to Exhale (1995). Apart from being a musical talent, Houston is a movie star from the199the 1990s with a diverse and vibrant legacy.  

Nia Long

Her roles in the movies Friday (1995), Love Jones (1997), and Soul Food (1997) ensured her name was made in Hollywood’s history panels! Nia Long is a significant contributor to creating a path for black actresses in the 1990s.

A three-time NAACP Award winner, this icon has an extended career in television and films. You should know that out of several black actresses the industry produced in the 1990s, Long had one of the most impactful careers that flourished with her talent and hard work.

You might have seen her recently in the movie Fatal Affair! This prominent 90s black actress has become a director and producer in the industry, wielding power like no one else.

Jada Pinkett Smith

The current incidents related to Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith might seem bleak, but when it comes to 90s actresses, we must mention her! I have followed her performance in movies before she was Will Smith’s Wife, and I think she is talented!

You should watch her in movies like Scream 2 (1997), Set It Off (1996), and The Nutty Professor (1996) and give her credit for her performances. She also won a Daytime Emmy Award and NAACP Image Awards.

Have you seen her recent portrayal in the movie The Matrix Resurrections (2021), apart from her memorable performance in the television series Gotham (2014- 2019)?

Her reality show Red Table Talk, which she initiated in 2018, might be controversial, but we should acknowledge Jada Pinkett’s massive impact on Hollywood!

Angela Bassett

The queen, the icon, and the powerhouse performer, Angela Bassett, owns the 90s as the Black actress in Hollywood. Her memorable roles in Malcolm X (1992), How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1998), and What’s Love Got to Do with It (1993) helped her mark herself in our minds!

What inspired me the most about Bassett was that she never did roles where deterioration or demeaning happened! All her portrayals are of endearing, resilient, and strong women! Can you forget the Queen Mother in Black Panther (2018) and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022)?

Similarly, another role of hers that I dug recently is that of the stepmother in Damsel (2024)! It is nothing like the normal stepmother perspective that we have instead of an empathetic, genuine, and supportive mother. You can consider her as one of the famous black women in history!

Halle Berry

This beauty is a showstopper, and all lists that include 90s actresses are incomplete without her! Have you seen Halle Berry in Why Do Fools Fall in Love (1998)? If not, please do so because you will see the range of performance she can deliver. She has starred in some of the coolest 90s black movies!

It is not just her looks; she is a killer in her performances, as movies like The Flintstones (1994) and Strictly Business (1991) prove. Of course, we cannot restrict her career to just the 90s, but it was in the 90s that this star came into her own with some of her iconic roles.

I still need to remember her portrayal of Storm in the X-Men (2000)! Berry has been performing roles like the Bond movie Die Another Day (2002) or Cloud Atlas, nothing short of her male counterparts. A complete package, Berry has been an action star and delivered incredible performance! 

Regina King

Representing Black women’s power in the world, Regina King played diverse roles, creating her name in the industry. Her roles in movies such as Jerry Maguire (1996) and A Thin Line Between Love and Hate (1996) helped her rise to prominence in the 1990s.

Let me tell you that this beauty has won an Oscar in her career and been recognized by various award institutions, namely the NAACP Image Awards, Primetime Emmy Awards, and Critics Choice Awards. Her portrayal of Shirley Chisholm in the 2024 movie Shirley shows that she still has it!

Whoopi Goldberg

An actress who made a significant contribution to black-led cinema in the industry, Whoopi Goldberg won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 1990 for the movie Ghost! You will also see her work on television in Everybody Hates Chris (2005-2009) and The Whoopi Goldberg Show.

It shouldn’t surprise you to know that Goldberg became one of the highest-paid actresses in the 1990s with movies such as Corrina (1994), Made in America (1993), and The Long Walk Home (1990).

Did you know that she received an NAACP Image Award nomination for her work in the movie Ghosts of Mississippi (1996)? Apart from these, there are other awards in her bag, including the Golden Globe, People’s Choice, and BAFTA awards.


In short, 90s black actresses are an enigma and an example to be set for generations to come. A remarkable impact on the Hollywood industry has led to black actresses being the protagonists of Television shows and movies.

I am sure that reading the blog has helped you a lot when it comes to identifying the achievements, successes, failures, overall perceptions, and impact of black actresses on society and its practices.

Comment on the iconic black actress you relate to or love the most out of all mentioned above.

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sagnika sinha

Sagnika Sinha is a content writer who is passionate about writing travel vlogs, entertainment and celebrity articles and literature-based pieces. With a 4 years experience in teaching, she loves reading books. A procrastinator by nature, she loves travelling, listening to music, planting and gardening.

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