Grauman's Chinese TheatreWith a wealth of talented African American actors, and a handful of roles that are offered to the same set of top Black mega-stars, many our personal favorites are sorely underrepresented on both the small and big screens. Here’s a breakdown of some of our preferred performers that are all but absent from the spotlight.

The lack of parts for Black actors in Hollywood results in a sort of starvation, if you will, of not only authentic talent but relatable images for African American viewers. We can all say that we are fortunate enough to have lived to see a Black man become Commander in Chief. In time, we’re sure this unfortunate trend in entertainment will change as well.

By the way, here’s brief continuation of our beloved unemployed/under-employed list:

Nia Long
Malik Yoba
Duane Martin
Terri J. Vaughn
Lisa Bonet
Paula Patton
Regina Hall
Jill Marie Jones

Clutchettes and gentleman – as always please feel free to add on to the list!

  • Stacye

    Too many singers are taking parts from actors. I.e., MJB playing the lead in Tyler Perry’s upcoming movie, I Can Do Bad All By Myself. Seriously?? At least start her at a supporting role. Ah well…

  • Glennisha Morgan

    Everybody seems to hate on Tyler Perry but, people need to take a few tips. Instead of waiting on folks to hand Black actors jobs how about creating our own. It’s time for us to get behind the camera then we’ll be in front more often!

  • Kevin Lockett

    Larez Tate is on Rescue Me with Dennis Leary. Last season his role wasn’t that big, but this season he hooks up with Leary’s daughter on the show so hopefully his screen time will increase, (Rescue Me comes back in April on FX)

    Kevin Lockett

  • Jennifer

    A) I agree with Glennisha!

    B) The fact that I’m thinking really hard to name other out of work actors goes to show that the above-mentioned list seems to represent Black Hollywood in it’s entirety. I know there are more out there, but it’s not easy to think of them.

  • kat kelly

    This is an interesting read. And, it revealed something to me. That black people should monitor the words that they speak. There is NOT a lack of parts for black actors. I repeat the IS NOT a lack of parts for black actors.
    There is only a lack of white directors WILLING to put Black actors in parts period.

    I feel very strongly about this, not because I am pro black, but because I am anti-brainwashing. That is what Hollywood wants people to believe. That there are not any roles written for a black person. That is ridiculous, a black actor can act in the same roles that Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, and etc. can act in. The roles that George Cloney, Brad, & Tom act in are not so challenging that a black actor like Isaiah Washington can’t perform just as well or even better.

    So please call it for what it is. There are roles always; the white directors do not believe that a black man has the same “star power.” However they never put them in roles to build star power. And, the reason why some people feel so strongly against Tyler Perry, is because they movies are “Black Movies.” With Stereo-typical roles, angry, big, loud, black women. Women becomes empowered after cheating man leaves, or wife, yes, white people go through this as well, however, they don’t have to make a movie about it, all these black movies have the same format. They do, and I feel that what we need are more creative black directors, that are willing to go outside the box of the typical black movies.

  • sara

    I agree with all the above. I am an executive for the #1 watched woman’s channel and they barely have ANY blacks in front of the camera and behind of the camera. Reasons are all about RATINGS! If a black actor i.e. Morris Chestnut can’t bring the numbers, he won’t be casted, but Taye Diggs will be casted (he’s a cross-over actor) and he can bring viewership. But if Vanessa Williams can bring the numbers, she’ll be casted, but Nia Long won’t, she’s not a cross-over actress.

    Clearly I feel you all, and I so get it! Just so you all know, hollywood will support black directors/producers, but won’t fund the money unless you give them your SOUL and (we), (some of us) have our morals and values and won’t let that happen. Some actors have to wait until its the right time to make that move!

    We all know when we watch TV/Film, we wonder..”now why did she/he do make movie”? Sometimes, we have to create a way out of no way.

    But give props to Angela Bassett and her hubby Vance they are directing/producing a new movie adapted from a novel titled, “Erasure”, from their very own production company!

  • ceecee

    Sometimes I wonder how the cross-over actors/actresses made it over the hump. Taye Diggs for example, I remember constantly tried to get roles in night-time dramas on ABC and has now landed a recurring role in Private Practise. Kerry Washington usually plays the side-kick but she’s consistent with and Meagan Good is constantly in horror flicks.

    So, what are these actors doing different that others aren’t? Just a thought…

  • ceecee

    excuse my typos :)
    Practice not Practise

  • Mona

    Whatever happend to the guy that played David Ruffin from the Temptations movie I haven’t seen him in years. He is such a good actor hopefully he will get back into the movies.

  • Danielle of Urban Glamour

    One of the main problems with not seeing many black actors is that not all of us support black movies. How many of us have friends who will go hit up the bootleg man instead of spending the $10 to support a black movie? I know I do, and no matter how many times I protest and promise to break their bootlegs, offer to pay for their movie ticket, they still run out and get them. *sigh*

  • kat kelly

    Sara, that is the way to go. Your own production company. Really in all things having your own is not a bad idea. Especially when it comes to the Arts & Entertainment industries. That is the sure way to get your voice heaard. It is the longer route but well worth it in the end. It is just not well-known actors but some we never heard of that are constantly at auditions but never getting a break. I just refuse to believe that color is not one of the main reason, for many black actors getting slighted. However, black actors should be willing to sacrifice doing Stereo-typical roles, it is hard to do that but a necessary evil.

    And, as a side note Will Smith is definitely changing the face of Hollywood

  • Joy Anderson

    I love Private Practice and one of the major reasons is I’m just so happy and proud to see Taye Diggs and Audra McDonald in every episode! Their roles are equal to the other stars and they do such a fantastic job. The only thing I think we can do to support our actors, since most of us have nothing to do with making decisions in Hollywood, is to watch those shows that treat our actors well. Show support with ratings!! (And yes, suck it up and buy that movie ticket or rent that DVD)

  • Wayne

    We have a Black president who is quite progressive-minded. Through brilliant initiatives such as the one Quincy Jones is taking in lobbying for the creation of a Cabinet-level Secretary For The Arts and Culture, we can identify the platform upon which great revolutionary changes (such as expanding the Hollywood media power structure to include Black decision-makers)are founded. Right On Q! Dig that!

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