Less than 5 % of Black British actors are cast in lead roles in the UK. This is a representation of how difficult it is for Black British actors to succeed in the movie industry.
Thankfully, British actors are making their mark in Hollywood and we can’t help but notice it.
Here are some of the British actors we love seeing on our screen.
1. Idris Elba
Idris Elba is definitely one of the most talented and loved Black British actors of our time. This actor is best known for his roles as Stringer Bell in The Wire and Nelson Mandela in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, along with his roles in Luther, The Suicide Squad, beasts of No Nation, and more.
He has had four Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Actor in a miniseries. Idris has gone on to win one of these nominations. Need I say more? Idris Elba is a super talented actor and we just can’t get enough of him on our screens.
2. Chiwetel Ejiofor
This 45-year-old actor has played several roles that have earned him a spot in our hearts. He is known for his role as Solomon Northup in the movie 12 Years a Slave. He is also popular for his role as Karl Mordo in Doctor Strange.
Asides from winning numerous awards, Chiwetel is also a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
3. Thandiwe Newton
Thandiwe Newton began acting in 1991. Since then, she has become one of the most beloved Black British actors.
She has several awards to her credit and even more nominations. Thandiwe has starred in movies such as Beloved, The Pursuit of Happiness, and Crash.
These movies have made her a household name and a force to reckon with in the movie industry.
4. Naomie Harris
This talented actress started acting right from her childhood. She is popularly known for her role as Selena in 28 Days Later and as Winnie in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. Naomie won a Black Reel Award for Outstanding Breakthrough Performance for her role as Winnie Mandela.
According to the 2019 edition of the powerlist, Naomie Harris is one of the 100 most influential Britons.
5. Daniel Kaluuya
You loved him in Get Out, but did you know Daniel Kaluuya was British? Daniel Kaluuya is known for both his brilliant performances in theatre and his superb acting on screen. He has received critical acclaim for his role as Chris in the movie Get Out. In 2021, he won five major acting awards. He was the only actor to do so that year.
6. John Boyega
30-year-old John Boyega is one of our favorite Black British actors. Not only is he an actor, but he’s also a producer.
John Boyega is famous for his role as Finn in the Star Wars sequel trilogy. He has received a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor as well as other awards that acknowledge his talent.
7. Kingsley Ben-Adir
Born in 1986, this star has starred in several movies and television shows. Some of his upcoming projects include Barbie and a Bob-Marley Biopic.
Kingsley Ben-Adir has received several awards to celebrate his talent including Gotham Awards for Breakthrough Actor in One Night in Miami.
8. Rege-Jean Page
Rege-Jean Page is undoubtedly one of the Black British actors we love. Ever since his role as the Duke of Hastings in the Netflix period drama, Bridgerton, his fan base has grown tremendously.
Rege-Jean went on to win the NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. He has also acted in other movies and tv series such as Roots, For the People, and The Gray Man.
9. Sophie Okonedo
This Tony Award recipient never fails to keep us glued to our screens whenever we see her in a movie.
Sophie started acting in films in 1991. Her first film is Young Soul Rebels. She made history in 2005 as the second Black British female to receive a nomination for the Academy Awards Best Supporting Actress at the 77th Academy Awards. This nomination came as a result of her role as Tatiana Rusesabagina in Hotel Rwanda.
Sophie is a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
10. Ruth Negga
Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Ruth Negga is a successful screen and Broadway actor. She has received many awards and nominations for her work as an actor. In 2012, she won a well-deserved Irish Film and Television Academy award for Best Actress in a Lead Role-Television.
Ruth’s most popular role is that of Tulip O’Hare in Preacher.
11. Eamonn Walker
Eamonn began his acting career on stage and appeared in his first play in 1983. It wasn’t until 1985 that he started acting on television. In 1991, he acted in his first film. Eamonn Walker can be described as a theater, television, and film actor.
Eamonn is popular for his role as Chief Wallace in the popular tv series, Chicago Fire. In addition, he has won a CableACE Award for his role as Kareem Said in HBO’s Oz.
12. Delroy Lindo
Delroy Lindo is a British-American actor who has been in the industry since the 1970s. An NAACP Image Award and Satellite Award recipient, Delroy has sure made his mark in the movie industry.
His first Hollywood movie was Malcolm X. He went on to star in other widely successful Hollywood movies such as Get Shorty, The Core, and Da 5 Bloods.
13. Letitia Wright
Best known for her role as Shuri in Black Panther, Letitia Wright is one of the most loved Black British actors. She is a Guyanese-British actress.
Letitia Wright decided to become an actor after seeing Akeelah and the Bee. Her first lead role was in a 2015 film called Urban Hymn, but her most famous role was of course on Black Panther.
Letitia has gotten several nominations and won a good number of awards for her acting.
In 2018, she won the Teen Choice Awards for Choice Sci-Fi Movie actress. In addition, she has won an NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Breakthrough Performance in a Motion Picture.
14. Jimmy Akingbola
Most recently, this British-Nigerian actor played the role of Goeffrey Thompson in Bel-Air. His acting was nothing short of impeccable. Before this role, Jimmy had acted in several theatre and television productions.
Jimmy’s previous roles are responsible for his awards and nominations including three BAFTA Awards.
15. David Oyelowo
Not only is David Oyelowo an actor but he’s also a director and a producer. He became popular after playing the role of Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma.
David went on to play roles in movies such as The Help, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and The Butler.
This beloved actor has a Critics’ Choice Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award.