Although it took Hollywood a time too long to appreciate black actors and pay them their true worth, a good number of them have been making waves and are paving the way for younger African-American actors to shine. The following stars rank as the highest paid black actors in Hollywood.
Born Emmitt Perry Jr, Tyler Perry is an African-American producer, writer, actor, movie director, and comedian. He is one of the top-grossing black actors in Hollywood and the first black man to open a fully black-owned studio in America.
His studio, Tyler Perry Studios, is the largest studio in the country. The studio has been a notable resource for Atlanta’s booming economy. He was named by Forbes in 2011 as the highest-paid man in entertainment, after raking in an impressive US$130 million between May 2010 and May 2011.
The 50-year old actor has been active in the movie industry for over 28 years and is popularly known for creating and portraying Madea, a tough black woman in various movies he directed and produced.
He has also acted in other movies such as Star Trek, Alex Cross, Gone Girl, Vice, A Fall From Grace, Why Did I Get Married? among others. In addition, he starred in highly successful television productions like The Haves and Have Nots, Meet the Browns and House of Payne. With a whopping net worth of US$600 million, Tyler Perry is one of the most financially successful actors in Hollywood.
Samuel L. Jackson
Samuel Leroy Jackson is a highly prolific actor and producer. He is the highest-grossing black actor of all time. His films have grossed over US$27 billion.
The 71-year old icon has appeared in over 150 films and received numerous awards and accolades during his 48-year presence in Hollywood. Also, he had appeared in movies like Goodfella and Jurassic Park, which catapulted him to fame.
He gained respect as a skilled actor for his roles in Pulp Fiction, Django Unchained and Snakes on a Plane. Jackson also made recent appearances include his role as Commander Packard in Kong Skull Island, Nick Fury in 11 Marvel Cinematic Universe films, and Mace Windy in the StarWars prequel trilogy. Samuel L Jackson’s net worth as of 2020 is US$250 million.
Willard Carroll Smith Jr. is an American actor, rapper, and producer. He was gaining some popularity in the late 1980s as a rapper. The soon-to-become actor was under the stage name ‘The Fresh Prince’.
He particularly gained attention with his hit song ‘Parents just don’t understand’ featuring DJ Jazzy Jeff. Smith entered into the film-making industry by starring in NBC’s hit television series, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air before moving on to star in blockbuster movies.
With his films grossing over US$8 billion worldwide, he has been ranked by Forbes as the most bankable star worldwide. He has eight consecutive films gross over US$100 million in the domestic box office. Also, another eleven consecutive films gross over US$150 million internationally.
Popular movies he starred in are the Bad Boys franchise, Men in Black franchise, Hancock, The Pursuit of Happiness, I am Legend, Aladdin, and Suicide squad. He sits pretty on a net worth of US$250 million.
Popularly regarded as an American cultural icon, Denzel Hayes Washington Jr. is a critically acclaimed American actor and producer. He has two Academy Awards, two Golden Globe awards, one Tony Award, and six Oscar nominations and two wins under his belt.
Praised for his incredible versatility as an actor, Washington has proven he knows his onions with his amazing portrayals of real-life figures. He played Muslim minister and human rights activist Malcolm X in Malcolm X; South African anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko in Cry Freedom; and drug kingpin Frank Lucas in American Gangster.
He received the DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award at the 73rd Golden Globe Awards. The 61-year old has a net worth of US $220 million, having spent 35 years in the film-making industry. Popular movies in his collection include Inside Man, American Gangster, and The Equalizer 1&2.
Edward Regan Murphy is an award-winning American actor, comedian, and singer.
His films have grossed over US$3.5 billion in the United States and Canada box office and over US$6.7 billion worldwide. In 2015, Murphy was the sixth-highest grossing actor in the United States. He has received numerous Golden Globe Award nominations and won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting actor.
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts gave him the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 2015. Murphy is known to take on comedic roles in movies and also playing multiple roles in some films. He played multiple roles in the popular Coming to America, Vampire in Brooklyn, and the Nutty Professor films. His net worth is an impressive US$160 million.
Morgan Freeman is an American actor, film producer, television producer, voice actor, and director.
Having spent over 50 years in the industry, the 81-year old is one of the most respected actors in Hollywood. Freeman has won numerous awards including an Oscar for his role in ‘Million Dollar Baby’, a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award.
His breakout role was in the film, Street Smart, where he played the role of a hustler. More importantly, Morgan Freeman has shown his versatility as an actor as well as his ability to maintain relevance over the years.
He portrayed former South African President, Nelson Mandela, in Invictus. That role earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. He has an estimated net worth of US$250 million.
Marlon Bishop, popularly known as Jamie Foxx, is an American actor, producer, singer, and comedian.
He played Ray Charles in the 2004 biographical film Ray. The role gave him the Academy Award, BAFTA, Screen Actors Guild Award, Critics’ Choice Movie Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Actor.
In addition, he has had a string of box office successes and was reportedly paid US$10 million for 2006’s ‘Miami Vice’. Jamie Foxx has also acted in other movies such as The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and Just Mercy. His net worth is US$100 million.