The Richest Black Actresses of All Time, Ranked
Black actresses have had a long, difficult road to gaining recognition in Hollywood. But these ladies prove that the tide is indeed turning, as they take on role after role in some of the biggest projects the industry has to offer.
Meet the richest Black actresses in movies and television to date.
9. Viola Davis (Tied)
Net worth: $25 million
Bottom line: Davis made her film debut in 1996 with a small role in the movie "Customer Service." The same year, she made her TV debut on the show "New York Undercover" in a guest role.
Davis has since appeared in films and television shows, such as "Traffic," "Solaris," "Doubt," "The Help," "Prisoners," "Get On Up," "Fences" and "Widows." She most recently starred in "The Woman King" as the leader of an all-female unit of African soldiers called the Agojie.
Davis has also won Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG Awards for Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series for "How to Get Away with Murder" and has appeared on various shows including "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit."
9. Angela Bassett (Tied)
Net worth: $25 million
Bottom line: After working in small TV and movie roles throughout the 1980s, Bassett broke through the Hollywood noise in 1992 with her portrayal of Tina Turner in the biographical film "What's Love Got to Do With It," for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress.
Since then, she's appeared in movies like "Malcolm X," "Waiting to Exhale," "How Stella Got Her Groove Back" and "Black Panther." She has also had recurring roles on "ER" and "American Horror Story."
8. Zoe Saldana
Net worth: $35 million
Bottom line: Saldana is best known for her portrayal of Neytiri in James Cameron's "Avatar" (which also happens to be the highest-grossing film of all time) and also stars in its sequel, "Avatar: The Way of Water" (which is the seventh highest-grossing film of all time as of this writing.) She's also starred in the "Guardians of the Galaxy" series and the "Star Trek" reboot franchise. But her first big role was as Anamaria in "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl."
While Saldana has made her money in franchises, she sometimes feels limited by them saying, "I felt artistically stuck in my craft of not being able to expand or grow or challenge myself by playing different sorts of genres and different roles."
6. Raven Symoné (Tied)
Net worth: $50 million
Bottom line: Symoné began her career as a child actor on "The Cosby Show" and later starred in her own show, "That's So Raven," for the Disney Channel, which was widely popular and ran for four seasons.
She has since appeared in several films and TV shows, including the "Dr. Dolittle" franchise and "College Road Trip." Symoné also had recurring roles on various TV series such as "The Parkers" and "Empire" and currently stars as the adult Raven Baxter on "Raven's Home" for the Disney Channel, which is going on its sixth season.
6. Kerry Washington (Tied)
Net worth: $50 million
Bottom line: Largely known for her role as Olivia Pope on the hit ABC series, "Scandal," for which she won a Primetime Emmy award nod for Lead Actress, Washington has appeared in several critically acclaimed films, including "Ray," "Django Unchained" and "The Last King of Scotland."
Washington also founded her own production company, Simpson Street, and recently served as co-executive producer and director for the Hulu series, "Reasonable Doubt."
5. Jada Pinkett Smith
Net worth: $58 million
Bottom line: Even if you didn't know who Jada Pinkett Smith was before, you may remember her after the 2022 Oscar controversy when her husband Will Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock on live TV for making a joke about her.
However, Pinkett Smith is an actress and businesswoman in her own right and has starred in films such as "The Nutty Professor" franchise, "Menace II Society" and "Gotham." She also owns her own production company, 100% Women Productions.
Pinkett Smith's Facebook Watch talk show, "Red Table Talk," has also been successful since its debut in 2018 and often features other members of her family, including Will and her daughter, Willow. Guests discuss a wide range of personal and societal topics.
4. Whoopi Goldberg
Net worth: $60 million
Bottom line: Today, Goldberg is best known as a host on the highly controversial and successful daytime talk series, "The View."
But she was a stand-up comedian before making her debut in Steven Spielberg's critically acclaimed film, "The Color Purple." For her role, she received her first Golden Globe and Oscar nods.
She is the only black woman to have won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her acting in 1991's "Ghost" and has appeared in other successful films, including the "Sister Act" franchise and, most recently, "Till," the story of Mamie Till-Bradley, an educator and activist pursuing justice for her murdered son, Emmett Till.
3. Queen Latifah
Net worth: $70 million
Bottom line: Queen Latifah has seen massive success as a rapper, TV and film actress, and producer. Her debut LP, "All Hail the Queen, was released in 1989, and today, she is considered one of the pioneers of female rap.
In 1991, she added acting to her resume and made her screen debut in Spike Lee's "Jungle Fever." She has also had standout roles in "Chicago" and "Bessie." She currently has a recurring role on "The Equalizer" and has even hosted her own talk show, "The Queen Latifah Show."
2. Halle Berry
Net worth: $90 million
Bottom line: Berry began her career as a model before becoming an actress in the late 1980s. She also first gained attention for her role in the 1991 Spike Lee film "Jungle Fever." She quickly rose to leading roles in successful films, such as "X-Men" "Monster's Ball" and "Die Another Day."
Berry has since become an award-winning A-list actress — she won a Best Actress Oscar for her role in "Monster's Ball" in 2001 and is still the only Black actress to do so.
1. Oprah Winfrey
Net worth: $2.5 billion
Bottom line: When it comes to net worth, everyone else pales in comparison to Oprah Winfrey. While she is an actress and has appeared in classics such as "The Color Purple" and "Beloved," Oprah is more known for being a multimedia icon.
She began her career as a news anchor in the Nashville and Baltimore markets. In 1986, she became the host of the highly popular "Oprah Winfrey Show," which ran until 2011 in over 150 countries around the world. The show became one of the highest-rated daytime television programs in history.
Oprah also serves as an executive producer for her company, Harpo Productions, on many film and TV projects, which also contributes to her wealth.