*These days, there are so many talented and inspirational black celebrities out there, that if you don’t pay attention, you’re going to miss out. We’re not talking about the likes of LeBron, Denzel, or Snoop, but up-and-coming celebs who are just getting into their stride and are set to become famous and influential very quickly.
Michael B. Jordan
Though he’ll be the first to tell you that there’s no relation at all to that Michael Jordan, MBJ definitely has the talent and drive to become one of the all-time greats of the acting world (no disrespect to His Airness in ‘Space Jam’). After getting some attention in the great 2013 drama, Fruitvale Station, and following this with his energizing performance both in and out of the ring in the boxing film, ‘Creed’, Michael really got the role where his star would explode in 2018.
Playing the complex (and jacked) villain, Killmonger, in the hugely important and successful ‘Black Panther,’ MBJ practically stole the show and definitely made cinemagoers shed a tear or two with the final scene. He’ll no doubt look to diversify his portfolio in the future, as well as likely appear in a few more Marvel adventures.
Rapidly on her way to becoming everyone’s favorite new actress, Lupita’s body of work ranges from good, to great, to astounding. After wowing audiences in ‘12 Years a Slave’ and picking up the Academy Award for Best Actress in 2014, Lupita kept the momentum going with ‘Non-Stop’, ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’, ‘The Jungle Book’, and ‘Black Panther’. It would have to be the biggest horror film in recent years that really put her on the map, in the scary yet thrilling ‘Us’, in which she plays two vastly different roles.
Thanks to her cool style and natural beauty, Lupita has become the brand ambassador – see here for the brand ambassador ‘Who, What, and Why’ if you’ve never heard that term before – for huge companies like Lancôme and Miu Miu. She has also had numerous cover shoots for Vogue and Vanity Fair.
When you’re drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers with the second pick in 2015, there are definitely going to be high hopes. In his first two seasons as point guard for the famous franchise, Russell had a decent start but didn’t light the world on fire. When traded to the Brooklyn Nets in 2017, however, Russell started to become the player everyone expected him to be. With flashy drives to the hoop, a silky-smooth release from the 3-point line, and a great eye for setting up teammates, Russell quickly made the Lakers regret that trade. In 2019, Russell helped bring the Nets to the playoffs and averaged an impressive 21.1 points per game, 7.0 assists, and 1.2 steals.
The 2019 off-season saw Russell on the move again, this time to the Golden State Warriors. Right now, Russell is undoubtedly the star of the show, playing point guard for an injury-depleted team and a young, new roster. With his cool look and explosive play, it should come as no surprise that Russell was recently added as a brand ambassador for Dwyane Wade’s new sneaker company, ‘Way of Wade’.
Mahershala (shortened from Mahershalalhashbaz) has worked incredibly hard to get where he is today, and it’s thankfully starting to pay off. After dozens of minor and supporting roles over his long acting career, 45-year-old Mahershala is now getting the recognition he deserves.
With must-see performances in ‘True Detective’, ‘Moonlight’ (winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 2017) and ‘Green Book’, Mahershala is going to step into Wesley Snipes’ shoes and take on the role of badass vampire hunter, Blade, in future Marvel movies.
Fresh off a historical 2019 Glastonbury performance, in which he became the first UK rapper to headline the renowned festival, the sky is most definitely the limit for Stormzy. Rocking a style of rap called ‘grime’, Stormzy’s tracks are fresh, smooth, and delivered with an earnestness that’s hard to ignore. After blowing up on YouTube, Stormzy released his first album, ‘Gang Signs & Prayer’ in 2017, where it went straight to number one in the UK charts. Stormzy will release his brand new album at the end of 2019, called ‘Heavy Is The Head’, and has collaborated with everyone’s favored collaborator, Ed Sheeran, for a new single.