List Of Black Actresses Under 40 Years Old

Table of Contents

From Beyoncé to Zendaya, these gorgeous actresses prove that African-American actresses are not just great on screen but also possess youthful beauty. You’ll never guess their ages!

#25: Yara Shahidi - 22 years old

Yara Sayeh Shahidi is an American actress born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her mother is Keri Salter, of African-American descent, and her father, Afshin Salter, is Iranian. Yara is known for being the first black actress to play “Tinkerbell” in the live-action of “Peter Pan.” Aside from those, Yara has also made appearances in a number of TV sitcoms, such as “Grow-ish” and “Black-ish.”

#24: Teyonah Parris- 35 years old

Teyonah Parris is an actress most distinguishable for her character Dawn Chambers in the drama series “Mad Men.” But this beauty has made cameos in a whole lot of other films, such as “Dear White People,” “If Beale Street Could Talk,” and “Chi-Raq.” In 2021, Parris appeared in “WandaVision” as the adult Monica Rambeau.

Teyonah was born in Hopkins, South Carolina, on September 22, 1987, and was educated at the Juilliard School. Her gift for acting is evident in the two Black Reel Awards she has received and various nominations for awards such as Screen Actor Guild Awards and NAACP Image Awards. Truly, Teyonah’s acting career is outstanding. 

#23: Zazie Beetz - 31 years old

Zazie Beetz is a German-American actress of German and African-African descent. The sitcom “Atlanta” has brought Zazie her biggest break. The role she played made her recognizable to the mass audience.  

She is a very good actress and has received numerous nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. She is currently 31 years old, having been born on June 1, 1991.

#22: Cynthia Addai-Robinson - 37 years old

American actress Cynthia Robinson, who was born in England, is best known for her roles as Nadine Memphis in “Shooter,” Amanda Waller in “Arrow,” and Naevia in “Spartacus.” The actress’ mom was born in Ghana, while her father was American. She was born in London but then moved to the U.S. when she was 4. Currently, she plays the role of Tar-Miriel in “Lord of the Rings.”

#21: Amandla Stenberg - 23 years old

If you are a fan of “Hunger Games,” there is a huge chance that you’ll know who Amandla Stenberg is. Ever since the beginning of the film franchise, Amandla has been one of the unforgettable characters. Her talent and effective delivery of lines are so good that she gained an enormous number of followers. 

As a matter of fact, she was one of the “Most Influential Teens” in 2015-2016. She has received a number of honors, all of which she deserves. Amandla was born on October 23, 1998 to Tom and Karen Stenberg of Los Angeles, California. The mother Karen is of African-American descent while her father is Danish. 

In 2011, “Colombiana,” the movie, served as her acting debut. But the role of Rue in “The Hunger Games,” for which she won a Teen Choice Award for Best Chemistry, marked her first major acting success. Other films she appeared in include “Sleepy Hollow,” “Rio,” “Everything, Everything,” “The Hate U Give,” and many more.

#20: Nathalie Emmanuel - 33 years old

Born on March 2, 1989, Nathalie Joanne Emmanuel was raised in the United Kingdom. She was born to a Dominican mother, a half-Saint Lucian, and a half-English father in Southend-On-Sea, Essex, England.

While studying at St. Hilda’s School, her mom took notice of her passion for becoming an actress. So, at age 10, she auditioned and got accepted into London’s West End production of the “Lion King” as young Nala.

Emmanuel is also notable for her portrayals of the fantasy series “Game of Thrones,” “Maze Runner: Scorch Trials,” “Maze Runner: Death Cure,” and the “Fast and Furious” films.

#19: Jennifer Brito - 33 years old

Jennifer Brito started her career at the early age of 13. She is a native of New York and recipient of an Emmy Award. Jennifer majored in Theatre Arts and Fundamentals of Acting when she was still studying. She was born in Bronx, New York, and is mixed race.

#18: Solange - 35 years old

Many people only know Solange Knowles as Beyonce’s sister, but she finally established herself. When she was 14, she published her first studio album, “Solo Star,” and her career took off. Despite making a career for herself, a lot of people could still recall the humble beginnings of Solange as a backup dancer for Destiny’s Child. 

Solange Piaget Knowles is Solange Knowles’ complete name. Mathew and Tina Knowles welcomed her to the world in Houston, Texas, and she’s the younger sister of Beyoncé. 

#17: Sonequa Martin-Green - 38 years old

Sonequa Martin-Green is notable for playing the roles of  Michael Burnham from the television series “Star Trek: Discovery” and Sasha Williams from “The Walking Dead.” However, before she became those things, she was just an ordinary girl from Russellville, Alabama. Sonequa Martin-Green was born on March 21, 1985. Her father is Charles Winston Martin, and her mother is Vera-Lynn Martin-Moore.

She debuted in 2009 when she played the role of Tosha Spinner in “Toe to Toe,” and from then on, her career soared. In television, Sonequa has made various guest appearances and recurring roles in various television shows such as “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “The Goodwife,” and “Gossip Girl.”

#16: Elarica Johnson - 33 years old

Elarica Johnson is a British actress and model. Her performance as Juliette Durand in “A Discovery of Witches” is what made her most famous. Elarica also had a minor role as a waitress at Surbiton Station in “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.”

#15: Anna Diop - 34 years old

Anna Diop is a Senegalese-born American actress most notable for her character as Kory Anders or Starfire in “Titans.” She is currently 34 years old, having been born on February 6, 1988. Her career peaked when she became a part of the show, “Everybody Hates Chris.”

#14: Amber Stevens West - 35 years old

Amber Dawn Stevens West is seen in various television series and motion pictures. However, she is most notable for her appearance in “The Amazing Spider-Man” and “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.” 

She modeled for several television ads before beginning her acting career. She was born in Los Angeles, California, on October 8, 1986. Complete Savages” served as a stepping stone to attaining acting success for Amber. 

#13: Lupita Nyong'o - 39 years old

The name Lupita Nyong’o gained prominence as a Kenyan-American actress most notable for her role in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” “Star Wars: Force Awakens,” “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” “Us,” and “Black Panther.”

Lupita started her journey in the industry by being part of the production team of various films. Her acting debut came shortly after she finished her master’s degree program at the Yale School of Drama when she was cast in Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave.” From then on, her acting career blossomed.

Lupita is a recipient of various awards, including the Academy Award, Daytime Emmy Award, Screen Actors Guild Awards, BAFTA Awards, Primetime Emmy Awards, and Tony Award.

#12: Zoë Kravitz - 33 years old

Zoë Isabella Kravitz is one of the prettiest black actresses. In 2007’s comedic movie “No Reservations,” she made her acting debut. She didn’t become well-known, though, until she portrayed Angel Salvadore in the movie “X-Men: First Class.” It even won her Teen Choice Award and Scream Award nominations.

Aside from being an actress, she is also a gifted musician and fashion model. She even modeled for Yves Saint Laurent. In recent years, the younger generation knows her for her character Leta Lestrange from the “Fantastic Beast” Series. 

Some of the films Kravitz appeared in include, “The Divergent Series,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” and “The Lego Batman Movie.” The character of Mary Jane Watson from “Spider Man: Into the Spider-Verse” was also one of Zoe’s notable roles. 

#11: Keke Palmer - 29 years old

Keke Palmer, or Lauren Keyana Palmer in real life, is an American television personality, actress, and singer. Palmer’s career began in 2004 when she was asked to portray the role of Queen Latifa’s niece in Barbershop 2: Back in Business.” However, it was not until 2006 that Keke had her break for the film “Akeelah and the Bee.” The role gained her recognition in the Black Reel Award and NAACP Image Award. 

In 2008, Keke Palmer was one of Nickelodeon and Disney stars. In Nickelodeon, she became part of the sitcom “True Jackson, VP.” Aside from being an actress and singer, she also did voice acting for Winx Club’s Aisha and Ice Age: Continental Drift’s Peaches. Being born on August 26, 1993, makes Keke 29 years old at the moment. 

#10: Raven Goodwin - 30 years old

Many may recognize Raven Goodwin from the early 2000s. Raven started her acting career in 2001 with the comedy-drama “Lovely & Amazing” alongside Annie Marks. Her role in the film earned great praise from people, opening doors for various roles and earning her a nomination for Black Reel Award and Independent Spirit Award.

In television, Raven has been part of 19 sitcoms, including “Glee,” “Goodluck Charlie,” “Malcolm in the Middle,” and has been in six films. Raven Shamira Goodwin was born June 24, 1992, making her just 30 years old.

#9: Willow Smith - 21 years old

Willow Camille Reign Smith is a Hollywood royalty being, the daughter of actress Jada Pinkett Smith and actor Will Smith. She is an American songwriter, singer, and actress with different awards, which include Young Artist Award, NAACP Image Award, BET Award, and two nominations for Daytime Emmy Awards and an MTV Video Music Award.

Acting is in her blood. Willow was barely 7 when her father and her starred in the film I Am Legend (2007). By 2010, Willow Smith ventured into the music industry by having platinum-certified singles for “Whip My Hair.”

Willow is the youngest of Will Smith’s three kids, born on October 31, 2000. The other two being Trey and Jaden Smith.

#8: Gugu Mbatha-Raw - 39 years old

The full name of the British actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw is Gugulethu Sophia Mbatha-Raw. Her acting career started after she graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, which paved the way for her to have acting opportunities in British television and different stage productions. 

Gugu’s heritage includes South African and English since her father is a South African doctor while her mom is an English nurse. In television, Gugu first appeared in minor roles on “Bad Girls,” “Marple,” and “Doctor Who.” She also did some theatre acting in London’s West End and Broadway. 

#7: Tessa Thompson - 38 years old

Tessa Lynne Thompson is no stranger to fame. She is the daughter of Afro-Panamanian actor Marc Anthony Thompson. When Tessa Thompson was a student at Santa Monica College, she started her professional career in the Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company.

As a professional actress, she has appeared in “Dear White People,” “Selma,” “Creed,” “Creed II,” “Creed III,” “Thor: Ragnarok,” “Avengers: Endgame,” “Thor: Love and Thunder,” and “Men in Black: International.”

Tessa Thompson, currently 38 years old. She was born in Los Angeles, California, on October 3, 1983. Between Brooklyn, New York, and Los Angeles, Thompson spent her formative years there.

#6: Jennifer Hudson - 40 years old

Jennifer Kate Hudson, more popularly known as just Jennifer Hudson, is an American singer, talk show host, and actress. Jennifer is a native of Chicago, Illinois. She was born there on September 12, 1981, and is now 40 years old. 

Jennifer Hudson’s career blossomed in 2004 after she became a finalist on season 3 of American Idol. She eventually placed 7th in the season, but that didn’t stop her from being famous. She made her film debut in “Dreamgirls” in 2006 as Effie White. Because of her performance, Jennifer was honored with the Best Supporting Actress Award in the Academy Award. She was the youngest actress of African-American descent to succeed in the competitive acting category.

In addition, Jennifer Hudson was also the second and youngest African-American actress to win an award in four of the most prominent American Entertainment awards, the Emmy, Grammy Award, Oscar, and Tony.

#5: Halle Bailey - 22 years old

Halle Bailey is one of the youngest and most famous black actresses of the moment. She was born Halle Lynn Bailey on March 27, 2000, making her just 22. Despite her young age, Halle gained immense popularity when she got offered the job of portraying Ariel” from The Little Mermaid.” 

Her casting in the movie triggered various reactions from the audience. Some applaud her, while others criticize her for being black and allegedly portraying a “white” character. Despite the bashing she got, Halle’s popularity continues to soar. 

Halle Bailey was born and raised in Mableton, Georgia. She has an older sister named Chloe Bailey, with whom she was part of a musical duo called “Chloe x Halle.” To have better opportunities, the sisters moved to Los Angeles, California, in mid-2012, from Mableton, Georgia. 

#4: Kat Graham - 33 years old

On September 5, 1989, Kat Graham, now 33 years old, was born Katerina Alexandre Hartford. She is most recognizable for her character as Bonnie Bennett, from the supernatural drama series The Vampire Diaries.” Earlier on Kat Graham’s career, she appeared in The Parent Trap. As well as in other movies such as 17 Again, Honey 2, and The Roommate. In recent years one of her projects has been All Eyez on Me.

Kat Graham was born in Geneva, Switzerland, to Joseph Graham, of American-Liberian descent, and Natasha Graham, Jewish.            

Aside from being an actress, Kat is also engaged in philanthropic works. In actuality, she represents UNICEF as a Good Will Ambassador for refugees. Being an ambassador advocating for refugees runs in her blood since her paternal grandfather was a U.N. Ambassador for 40 years in countries like The Netherlands, Sweden, Romania, and Kenya. At the same time, both her paternal grandparents were refugees of the Holocaust and Liberia.

#3: Lauren London - 37 years old

Lauren London had her breakthrough in the industry in 2006 in the film “ATL” where she played the T.I.’s romantic lead. The role got Lauren London a nomination for “Best Supporting Actress” during the Black Movie Awards. 

“ATL” also paved the way for Lauren London to have a role on HBO’s comedy series Entourage” andThis Christmas.” Prior to being given an acting career, Lauren was a frequent face in various music videos of Ludacris, Snoop Dogg, Pharell, and Tyrese.              

Lauren London is a mother of two sons Kameron Carter, born September 9, 2009, and Kross Ermias Asghedom, born August 31, 2016. Both of her sons are fathered by American rappers. Kameron is her son with rapper Lil Wayne, whom London has dated on and off before deciding to part ways. However, Kross is the late American rapper Nipsey Hussle’s son. They dated beginning in 2013 and ending with his murder on March 31, 2019.

#2: Zendaya - 26 years old

Born and raised in Oakland, California, Zendaya Mare Stoermer Coleman started her career as a child model and actress. Her debut in television was on the Disney Channel sitcom Shake It Up” with fellow Disney Channel Star Bella Thorne. Since Shake It Up,” Zendaya’s career started to soar high when she debuted in her first film, “Spider-Man: Homecoming.”

At the age of 26, Zendaya has achieved so much. Zendaya received two Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actress in Drama because of her portrayal of Rue Bennett from Euphoria. 

Today, Zendaya is one of the top stars of African-American descent, being born to an African-American father. Her parents are Kazember Ajamu Coleman and Claire Stroemer, both teachers. Kazember is African-American from Arkansas, while Claire is German-Scottish. 

#1: Beyoncé - 40 years old

First on the list is none other than the queen herself, Beyoncé. Born Beyoncé Giselle Knowles in Houston, Texas, she is 40 years old. Her youthful appearance hides the fact that she is already in her 40s. She is the daughter of Matthew Knowles, an American record executive and manager to his daughters, and Tina Lawson (also known as Celestine Beyoncé Knowles-Lawson.) 

Beyoncé started singing and dancing when she was still young. However, she did not become well-known until the 1990s when she took over as Destiny’s Child’s lead singer. Since then, she has maintained her popularity all over the world through her singles “If I Were a Boy,” “Halo,” and “Single Ladies.” 

The singer also starred in various films, including, “The Panther” (2006), “Dreamgirls” (2006), “Obsessed” (2009), and “The Lion King” (2019). On April 2008, the singer married Jay Z. Together, they have three kids, Blue Ivy, Rumi, and Sir. 

For up to date celebrity news, from The New York Banner, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter.