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My Favorite Black Female Characters and the Actresses Who Portrayed Them

Updated: Feb 18, 2021

What we gon' do right here is go back! Way back! Back into time...

In honor of the closing of Black History Month and the start of Women's History Month, here is a list of some unforgettable characters and the actresses who brought them from the page to the screen.

5. Jada Pinkett Smith as Lyric

Jason's Lyric (1994) is a a romantic crime drama in which a humble T.V. repair shop worker, Jason (Allen Payne) falls for the beautiful ambitious, Lyric. Lyric and Jason's love story juxtaposed against his ex-con brother's gang antics, is magical and refreshing. Although, Lyric is relucant to give Jason the time of day, she eventually warms up to him. Lyric brings Jason into her world and inspires him to see life beyond their rough Texas neighborhood. The movie has an unforgettable ending, which I just learned is still a cause for debate for some. Honorable mentions: Stony in Set It Off (1996), Carla in The Nutty Proffessor(1996).

4. Nia Long as Nina Mosely

In the 1997 romantic comedy, Love Jones, Nia Long plays a photographer on the rebound of a failed engagement. Soon enough, a distraction appears in the form of writer, Darius Lovehall (Lorenz Tate). What I love about Nina is her free spirit and her ability to be present. Her ever-changing words and actions, show how she lives in the moment. In the end, she learns to relinquish control, and just be. Her only fault is jumping to conclusions rather than talking to Darius like a grown woman, but it be like that sometimes. Honorable mentions: Brandi in Boyz N the Hood (1991), Jordan in The Best Man (1999).

3. Halle Berry as Janie Starks

"Their Eyes Were Watching God" is my all time favorite book, so imagine my delight when I realized it had been adapted to film. The 2005 film, tells a story of love, loss, and self discovery. Janie, the main character, is searching to find her place in the world and through each of her relationships she learns what life is all about. Set in the 1920s in Florida, she struggles to be heard by her husband, Mayor Starks. What I love most most about Janie is her bold spirit and the passion she puts behind her desires. Janie is fearless and fights for true love in spite of the nay sayers. Honorable mentions: Angela in Boomerang (1992), and Zola in Why Do Fools Fall in Love (1998).

2. Sanaa Lathan as Monica Wright(-McCall)

Love & Basketball (2000) is a cult classic among the Black community. Point blank, periodttt. If you are Black and have not seen this film, I summon the Sandman to come scold you and revoke your Black card immediately. You are the weakest link! Goodbye. Now, Monica Wright is what most would call a Tomboy. She loves basketball and hates dresses. She is a force to be reckoned with on the court and her mouth is as fast as her feet. In her youth, she is unwillingly to be ladylike and tame her rough demeanor. However, love and heartbreak turn her into a softer version of herself and she builds the courage to face each of her problems head on. Honorable mentions: Sydney in Brown Sugar (2002), Kenya in Something New (2006).

1. Angela Basset as Bernadine Harris

In the 1995 Dramedy, Waiting to Exhale, four freinds bond over their unfortunate love lives. Each friend experiences differing stages of life and love including, dating, marriage, divorce, and co-parenting. Bernadine, played by the lenendary Angela Bassett, delivers an oustanding perfomance. In the iconic scene after she finds out her husband wants a divorce, Bernie captivatates the audience with her emotion. Everytime I hear "Not Gon' Cry" I too feel the urge to find the nearest scumbbag at set his ish on fire, on sight. ON SIGHT. But I digress...Burnadine will live on as a woman who inspires other women to let go of an ungrateful man. You deverve betterrr! Honorable mentions: Stella Payne in How Stella Got Her Groove Back(1998), Tina Turner in What's Love Got to Do with It?(1998).

Each of these women are strength and courage in their own unique way. Whether in or out of love they stood tall they can be examples to us all. Take time to show some love to a woman who has impacted your life in any way. There is no such thing as too much love; give it infinitly. You never know how you may brighten someone's day.

Happy Belated Black History Month & Happy Women's History Month!


Miya Marie~

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