The 1990s were a powerful and inspirational time for television and movies. The ’90s brought more Black actors into the limelight with narratives featuring increasingly diverse storylines. As audiences increasingly enjoyed representations of Black America, the talent of notable Black actors became impossible to ignore.
There were many Black actresses in the 90s that really took the entertainment industry by storm. Some of them were so popular then that their careers have continued and diversified in many ways in the decades since.
Top 8 Black Actresses From The 90s
Below, we will provide an overview of the 8 top Black actresses (in no particular order) that became icons in the 90s. From familiar faces to some you may be less familiar with – these actresses have tremendously impacted the entertainment industry.
1. Whoopi Goldberg
Whoopi Goldberg is a name that most people recognize. She was massively popular in the 1990s with films like Ghost, Sister Act, and How Stella Got Her Groove Back. Since making her debut in Hollywood, Whoopi Goldberg has starred in numerous movies, television shows, Broadway performances, and more.
2. Robin Givens
Robin Givens’ career began in the 1980s with much of her success coming in the ’90s. After a divorce from Mike Tyson put her in headlines, Givens soon started making headlines for other reasons – primarily, her gift for acting. In the ’90s, Givens starred in films including A Rage in Harlem and Boomerang. She also appeared in television shows like Head of the Class, Angel Street, Courthouse, and even one episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
3. Angela Bassett
Angela Bassett is smart, educated, and one of Hollywood’s most popular Black actresses. In the 1990s, Bassett made a name for herself with films like Boyz in the Hood and Malcolm X. In 1993, Bassett won an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Tina Turner in the film What’s Love Got to Do With It? In 1995, she met huge success with her performance in Waiting to Exhale. And then in 1998, How Stella Got Her Groove Back. Since the ’90s, Bassett has continued to work in television and film.
4. Halle Berry
Halle Berry is one of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood. She has graced movie screens, television, commercials, ad campaigns, and much more. In the 1990s, she garnered massive success and numerous awards for her roles in films. Berry is an award-winning Black actress who, in the ’90s, appeared in movies like Boomerang, The Flintstones, and Executive Decision. Since the ’90s, Berry has appeared on film and television, graced the covers of many magazines, and was named “Sexiest Woman Alive”.
5. Vivica Fox
Vivica A. Fox was once the hottest actress in Black Hollywood. But her career went to new heights in the 1990s. During the ’90s, Fox appeared in popular movies including Booty Call, Batman and Robin, Soul Food, and Independence Day. Independence Day is considered to be her breakout role. Since the ’90s, Fox has continued to act in films and television. She also appeared, in 2005, on Dancing with the Stars.
6. Vanessa Williams
Vanessa Williams is one of the most versatile people in the entertainment industry. Yes, she is a Black actress, but she is also a singer and Miss America 1984. Her acting career began in the ’80s, and during the ’90s, Williams had major hits in both film and music. Her most successful films are Hoodlum and Soul Food.
7. Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston may be best known for her musical career, but she also had film success in the 1990s. In 1992, Houston starred in the blockbuster hit, The BodyGuard. In 1996, she starred in The Preacher’s Wife. Both movies were enormously successful. Houston also sang on the soundtrack for The BodyGuard. The song, “I Will Always Love You”, was a chart-topper. The album sold more than 44 million copies.
8. Lynn Whitfield
Lynn Whitfield is a talented actress who gained enormous success in the 1980s and ’90s. In 1991, Whitfield starred in the award-winning biopic The Josephine Baker Story. Her success there led to additional roles in films like Eve’s Bayou and The Wedding.
All of these Black actresses are very different and have different acting styles and genres. But what they all have in common is that they are strong representations of Black women in society.