Last year, we were introduced to several talented new Black actors and actresses like Shameik Moore, John Boyega, and Tessa Thompson – all of whom broke out to star in their own super successful endeavors.
Now, 2016 is poised to propel eight new actors to the next level. Most we’ve been introduced to before and never bothered to remember their names, and a few we already know – but it’s time to really see what they can do.
Keep reading to find out who got next.
You might know Stephan James as the guy who stole the show in Selma as John Lewis, but this super talented actor from Toronto will reach new heights this year. He’s playing Jesse Owens in Focus Features’ new movie Race. Stephan transforms into his role as the superstar, whose quest to become the greatest track and field athlete in history takes him to the 1936 Olympics, where he must face exposure to Hilter’s Nazi dictatorship. Prepare to see a lot more of him.
You’ve seen her in Dope and the Golden Globe award-winning show Transparent. But you’ll be re-introduced to Miss Clemons in Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising with Seth Rogen, and again in a flick called Little Bitches, which follows two best friends trying to reconnect with their former pal before high school graduation. This 22-year-old from Atlanta is putting in a ton of work.
Speaking of Neighbors, Jerrod took on a small role in Seth Rogen’s movie and flipped it into one of the best comedy specials we’ve seen on HBO in a while: Love At The Store. Now, the comedian has his own NBC sitcom that might prove him to be the Martin of this generation. Just smarter, better, and funnier. Be on the lookout for the upcoming Cosby episode of The Carmichael Show.
You can’t have Martin without Gina. Amber Stevens plays Jerrod’s girlfriend on The Carmichael Show, and you’ve also seen her as the love interest in 22 Jump Street. She has two movies scheduled for 2016 – romantic comedy The Way We Weren’t and buddy comedy Betting on Baker – and she’s a regular on the award circuit.
After smoking his role as Eazy-E in Straight Outta Compton, he got work for days. You’ll be able to see Mitchell in Warner Bros’ new comedy Keanu, and the crime thriller Vincent-N-Roxxy later this year, then you can catch him in a King Kong reboot planned for 2017. Remember the guy who all the award shows forgot this year. They won’t be able to much longer.
Look, no one liked that Aaliyah movie. But let’s not blame it on Alexandra. She is, however, the new Storm in the latest X-Men franchise film (X-Men: Apocalypse) and when you take over a role Halle Berry played, that’s a big deal. The otherworldly beauty is about to take off.
Honorable Mention: Terrence J
Sure, we know who he is, but the former 106 & Park host and E! News anchor has left all that behind to be a full-time actor. His first movie Perfect Match looks pretty promising. We’re excited to see what Terrence does on the big screen in 2016.
Honorable Mention: Karrueche
Kae is working very hard to be seen as more than Chris Brown’s ex-girlfriend. She snagged a role on Daytime Emmy Award-winning show The Bay, a shark movie on Sci-Fi, and a few other flicks that we might not ever see, but hey, you gotta start somewhere. Up next is the comedy Dinner with the Stankershets. Kae even ended up on the red carpet for the ridiculously successful Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
PHOTO CREDIT: Splash, Getty