2018 has been a big year for black TV and film. We’ve had brand new seasons of Dear White People, Black-ish, and Insecure, and box-office hit Black Panther completely revolutionised Hollywood’s view of black films.
It’s time to celebrate! Here’s a look at seven black actresses who are rocking TV in 2018…
- Michaela Coel
Michaela Coel is a breath of fresh air. The BAFTA-winning actress, screenwriter, poet and comedian first came to fame in 2015 when her semi-autobiographical Chewing Gum aired on E4, telling the story of loveable but naive Tracey Gordon, a 24-year old shop assistant who decides to stray from her staunch Christian upbringing. Originally a play under the title Chewing Gum Dreams, the show went on to win her two BAFTAs and two RTS awards.
Since then, Coel has gone on to star with an ensemble cast in Black Mirror‘s ‘Nosedive’ and ‘USS Callister’ episodes, land a lead role in BBC miniseries Black Earth Rising (above), and will soon star in the Netflix musical Been So Long opposite Arinzé Kene.
- Viola Davis
Viola Davis is an acting legend. A big- and small-screen regular since the ’90s, she’s now carrying ABC’s drama How To Get Away with Murder in the lead role of lawyer Annalise Keating.
Amongst her many accolades, she’s the first black actress to have been nominated for three Academy Awards (she won one), and was also the first black person to win an Oscar, Emmy and Tony. (Only a Grammy to go and she’ll have the full EGOT.)
For her performance in Fences, where she starred opposite Denzel Washington, she won an Academy Award, BAFTA, Critics’ Choice Award, SAG Award and a Golden Globe. This year, she’s back for season five of How To Get Away with Murder, as well as starring in Amazon original, Troupe Zero, and it’s been rumoured she’ll be starring in a biopic on the life of 19th-century abolitionist Harriet Tubman.
- Angela Bassett
Best known for her captivating performance as Tina Turner in the 1993 biopic What’s Love Got To Do with It, for which she won a Golden Globe award for Best Actress, Angela Bassett has been acting since 1986.
Memorable performances in the likes of Malcolm X, How Stella Got Her Groove Back and Akeelah and the Bee followed, but Angela Bassett has inspired a true cult following for her acting in American Horror Story, starring in the Coven, Freak Show, Hotel and Roanokeseasons (she also directed episodes for the Roanoke and Cult series).
A force to be reckoned with, Bassett is currently starring in American procedural drama TV series 9-1-1 as Sergeant Athena Grant.
- Letitia Wright
We’ve kind of cheated here, because 24-year-old Wright’s star is so much on the ascendant that it’s all movies, movies, movies for her. Though her Black Mirror episode, ‘Black Museum’ aired on December 29, 2017, which basically counts as 2018.
This year alone, she’s starred as Shuri in box-office hit Black Panther, reprised her role for Avengers: Infinity War, made a cameo appearance in Drake’s Nice for What video and Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One.
She’ll also be making a welcome return as Shuri in the next Avengers film in 2019.
- Keke Palmer
Securing her first film role in Barbershop 2: Back in Business in 2004 at the tender age of 11, Keke Palmer has since gone on to win a number of BET and NAACP Image Awards. From starring in 90210, Grey’s Anatomy, Family Guy to landing main roles in Scream Queens (her Moesha-inspired portrayal of Zayday Williams will have you quite literally screaming) and Scream, to being the lead in her mockumentary style scripted comedy series, That’s The Gag, Palmer’s positive energy and unashamed bravado are infectious.
Alongside acting, Keke also has had a successful singing career, releasing two studio albums, and also wrote an inspirational guide for young women titled I Don’t Belong to You: Quiet the Noise and Find Your Voice, which was published last year by Simon & Schuster.
She’s also currently starring in Fox series Star as Gigi, a singer trying to navigate the music business in Atlanta.
- Samira Wiley
Despite acting in the likes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Unforgettable and Person of Interest, Samira Wiley didn’t get a breakout role until 2013, when she starred in Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black as the mischievous Poussey Washington, one of the show’s best-loved characters.
Following her shocking departure from the show, Wiley went on to star as Moira is the US TV-series The Handmaid’s Tale. Her ability to portray such raw emotion, from grief and loss to anger and ferocity, won her an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series. She’ll return for season three next year.
- Freema Agyeman
Freema Agyeman first made waves when she won the part of Martha, the first full-season black female companion of Doctor Who, following stints in Crossroads, The Bill and Silent Witness. Her feisty nature and strong-mindedness made her instantly memorable, cementing her future in Hollywood.
Following her heartbreaking departure from the sci-fi series, Freema went to the US, where she secured a major role in The Carrie Diaries, the HBO TV prequel to Sex and the City.
In 2015, Agyeman was cast in Netflix series, Sense8, as Amanita, girlfriend of Nomi, who shares a psychic connection to seven other people across the world. She’s now back in a leading role in NBC’s New Amsterdam, as oncologist Dr Helen Sharpe.
First Published 15.10.18: http://www.digitalspy.com/tv/feature/a867993/black-women-tv-2018/