These five black actors/actresses exude black excellence. And here’s why you should keep your eyes on them in 2023.
1. Dominique Fishback
The 31-year-old New York native already has a decade of work under her belt, but Fishback really started making noise in the powerful 2018 movie The Hate U Give. She appeared two years later as one of the protagonists in the popular Netflix movie Project Power. But it was the actress’s turn in the critically acclaimed Judas and the Black Messiah as Deborah Johnson, the partner of American civil rights activist Fred Hampton that earned her awards from the African-American Film Critics Association and the Black Reel Awards.
This summer, Fishback hits theaters alongside Anthony Ramos, Tobe Nwigwe, popular Autobots Optimus Prime and Bumblebee and more in Transformers: Rise of the Beasts. But first, get ready to see the actress in the upcoming Amazon Prime series Swarm, created by Donald Glover, which premieres March 17.
2. Saniyya Sidney
At 16 years old, Saniyya Sidney can already be considered somewhat of a Hollywood veteran. The actress started her acting career at the tender age of 6 in the 2012 short film The Babysitters. Since then, the Los Angeles product has gone on to display her talents in some notable projects and with heavyweights of Black Hollywood. She won “Best Ensemble” at the 2016 Screen Actor Guild Awards for her role as Taraji P. Henson’s daughter in Hidden Figures, and she also shined bright in her turn as Denzel Washington’s daughter in Fences.
More recently, Sidney has been seen playing young Venus Williams in the 2021 film King Richard starring Will Smith. And she has even showed off her chops as former First Daughter Sasha Obama in the Showtime series The First Lady, which also features Viola Davis as Michelle Obama. Coming up next for the talented thespian is her performance of unsung life civil rights pioneer Claudette Colvin in Anthony Mackie’s directorial debut, Spark.
3. Quincy Isaiah
Long before he portrayed NBA great Magic Johnson in the HBO series Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty, Quincy Isaiah was actually a high school and college football player. But the 6-foot-3 athlete switched lanes in his junior year at Kalamazoo College, around 2016, to pursue acting. After graduating the following year, he moved to Tinseltown like many other aspiring actors.
Now 27, Isaiah told PEOPLE the start of his Hollywood career wasn’t so glamorous. But as luck would have it, he landed an agent who was able to secure him an audition for an interesting new series about one of Los Angeles’ most storied sports franchises. “At this point, I had been on so many [unsuccessful] auditions. I was just like, ‘Alright, let’s just have fun,'” he told the outlet. “So, I went in there, read off the paper, and I left. I didn’t think nothing of it.” The second season of Winning Time is scheduled to drop later in 2023.
4. Sinqua Walls
Known for his role of Shawn Stark in the Power series and Don Cornelius in BET’s American Soul, Louisiana’s own Sinqua Walls is hitting the cinematic hardwood in 2023 for the remake of White Men Can’t Jump. He and rapper Jack Harlow follow up in the shoes of Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson, respectively, as a mismatched pair of hustling hoopers. Walls’ looks and charm landed him the role of Jamarcus Hall on the television series Friday Night Lights.
But it really was his showings on programs like MTV’s Teen Wolf and The Secret Life of the American Teenager that have made him a fave with the younger female audience. “I think it was really important to me to play characters that are really versed in duality,” he told Screen Rant while promoting the movie Nanny, from Amazon Studios. “And we don’t place them in one systemic environment, but they can traverse many waters. And I think that’s very similar to me in life, having gone through different life circumstances and elevating and growing.”
5. Dominique Thorne
Before she played RiRi “Ironheart” Williams in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, 25-year-old Dominique Thorne actually auditioned for the role of Shuri, which eventually went to Letitia Wright. The Cornell University grad made her first splash onscreen in the 2018 movie If Beale Street Could Talk, and she appeared three years later as Judy Harmon in the widely lauded Judas and the Black Messiah. But Thorne made such an impression with Disney casting directors that when wanted to bring the Ironheart to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “she was the first and only call.”
With the launch of her own upcoming Disney+ series, Williams also revealed some words of advice she received from the original Iron Man himself, Robert Downey Jr. “[H]e shared a lot about… making sure that Riri is her own person, and all of the things that I can obviously attribute to her existence, and what it means, and what it represents, and what it can offer,” she told The Direct. “Really just in the vein of being authentic to that, and true to that, and nurturing that.”
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