The small screen has long served as a catapult for future Black Hollywood stars. As television series these days have widened in their scope and representation (and beyond just networks), these five new young Black stars have stepped forth to shine bright on streaming platforms such as Hulu and Prime Video as well as networks like FX.
If there’s one thing that can be said for the state of television these days, it’s that things are certainly looking up. The traditional television networks of ABC, NBC, CBS & Fox have stiff competition from streaming platforms, and the result is the production of fresh and bold new series. The complexion of these series can’t be overlooked when it comes to their casts, from Sterling K. Brown’s formidable performance on NBC’s This is Us to veteran actress Angela Bassett leading the way on Fox’s 9-1-1 and Quinta Brunson’s Abbott Elementary series becoming an instant delight for fans.
Cable networks and streaming platforms are not to be outdone, with HBO’s Watchmen series featuring Regina King and
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and AMC’s The Walking Dead with Danai Gunira as well as its spinoffs taking up a part of popular culture. There’s a new wave of shows that have captivated audiences over the past few years, and they’re fueled mightily
by the performances of young Black and gifted stars who are proving to be the faces of the next generation of young
Black Hollywood. Let’s take a look at five of them currently putting in that heavy work.
Damson Idris Snowfall
In observing Damson Idris playing Franklin Saint, the protagonist of the hit FX series Snowfall, it’s hard to believe that it was his first Hollywood role. Hailing from the Peckham neighborhood of London, England, Idris got his start in acting at the young age of 12 in several theater productions. His performance in Snowfall has led to the actor taking on more challenging roles with appearances in Jordan Peele’s The Twilight Zone reboot and co-starring with Anthony Mackie in Netflix’s Outside The Wire.
Deborah Ayorinde, Riches
As the star of the compelling drama series Riches, Deborah Ayorinde has made it clear that she’s someone to keep a consistent eye on. The new Amazon Prime series is the latest endeavor for the London-born actress, who grabbed audience attention as Livia “Lucky” Emory in 2021’s sci-fi/horror series Them. Ayorinde has also been on the big screen, with roles in 2019’s Harriet and in Girls Trip.
Iantha Richardson Will Trent
As ABC’s Will Trent crime drama series has made its debut this year, many are noticing the standout cast including Iantha Richardson. The Washington D.C. native, who plays Georgia Bureau of Investigation officer Faith Mitchell, has built a solid resume with a past appearance playing Tess as an adult on the smash NBC series This Is Us. She also stood out as Tessa Lorraine on BET’s American Soul, the drama series on the life of Don Cornelius.
Ayo Edebiri The Bear
The FX original series The Bear was one of television’s surprise hits from last year, and Ayo Edebiri’s turn as the meticulous and innovative chef Sydney Adamu had everyone buzzing. It’s the latest achievement for the young comedienne and writer, who’s appeared on Apple’s Dickinson series and Netflix’s Big Mouth with an undisclosed role in the upcoming Marvel Studios film Thunderbolts.
Shoniqua Shandai Harlem
The Amazon Prime series on the power of Black women’s friendships has delighted audiences since its debut, and Shoniqua Shandai’s character in Harlem of Angie Wilson has been a fan favorite. Hailing from Richmond, Virginia, Shandai is a trained singer as well who underwent schooling at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. Her growing resume also includes voice work on the Cartoon Network series Steven Universe.
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