Black History Month: 6 Icons from the world of Acting
In last week’s blog post, we looked at some of the most influential men and women, past and present, in the world of fashion. This week we turn our attention to the world of film and the exciting talents of the big screen. The following list comprises actors and actresses who are making big waves in the cinematic world, and who over the past few years have gone from strength to strength as champions of acting, writing and production.
Whilst there are so many men and women leading the way in this field, we have hand-picked a few inspirational pioneers to celebrate this Black History Month.
The multi-talented Coel, who grew up in East London, has been a shining presence in the world of television and film for many years now, her strong, emotive acting only one facet of her extraordinary career. A phenomenal actress, her writing and production is even more spellbinding, her work on the series Chewing Gum winning her nominations and accolades, whilst her more recent work, the utterly fantastic I May Destroy You has gained her even more notoriety. Not just a phenomenal actress and writer, Coel’s work speaks on a greater level, covering difficult, incredibly emotional and harrowing topics and approaching them in such a way that is thought provoking, moving and incredibly real.
Having started his career as a successful television actor, starring in the likes of Skins, Pyschoville and Black Mirror, Kaluuya became a household name for his Academy Award nominated appearance in Jordan Peele’s horror film Get Out. Not usually a popular genre in awards season, the film, thanks in large part to Kaluuya’s stellar performance, was one of the most highly acclaimed films of the year and a groundbreaking moment in cinematography. Since then Kaluuya has gone from strength to strength, earning him notoriety as a highly skilled and adaptable actor. In 2018 Kaluuya won the BAFTA Rising Star award and in 2021 he became the first He is the first British actor of African heritage to win an Academy Award, as well as becoming the seventh youngest supporting actor winner of all time.
A well-renown actor, and Titan of both stage and screen, who has a wealth of highly acclaimed TV and film roles to his name, Harewood is as impressive off screen as he is on. In 2019 Harewood filmed a documentary entitled “Psychosis and Me”, delving into his own mental health history. The documentary shed a greater light on mental health and sought to reduce the stigma surrounding it. Harewood has since gone on to write a book that was released this year and has become one of the country’s most well known mental health ambassadors
Undoubtedly a household name after the release of the new James Bond film No Time To Die, Lynch has long been an up-and-coming name in the world of cinema, and her latest role, breaking boundaries and stereotypes of women within the Bond franchise, has catapulted her further into the limelight. Lynch has gained notoriety for playing strong female roles and her latest performance in the new Bond film is no different, providing a new generation with an icon to look up to within the beloved franchise.
John David Washington
Following in his father’s footsteps, John David Washington has been making big strides within the cinematic universe, proving that he certainly inherited his father’s talent when it comes to the profession. One of Washington’s first starring roles was the Spike Lee film BlacKkKlansman, where he played leading character, and real-life icon, Ron Stallworth, a police officer who infiltrated the KuKluxKlan. Since then Washington has gone on to star in films such as the highly acclaimed Tenet, and looks to be continuing the family tradition of making a huge impact within the world of both cinema and theatre. The Washington legacy continues.
Starting her career in musicals and musical theatre, Erivo is crafting a career for herself in the worlds of both television and film. Initially working alongside Michaela Coel in Chewing Gum, Erivo has gone on to star in the adaptation of Stephen King’s The Outsider, played the iconic Aretha Franklin and is part of the up-and-coming film adaptation of Luther on Netflix. The multi-talented actress and singer is becoming a household name in both the UK and Hollywood, and we can’t wait to see her upcoming projects.