Who can forget Angela Bassett as Tina Turner or Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles? Do you remember who played Billie Holiday? Or who Beyoncé performed as in the film Cadillac Records? More recent African-American biopics include the Lifetime original movie Betty & Coretta (2013), starring Angela Bassett as Coretta Scott King and Mary J. Blige as Betty Shabazz, and The Butler (2013), starring Forest Whitaker and based on the life of Eugene Allen.
View our photos of African-American biopics to compare these famous figures to the actors and actresses who have portrayed them.
Featured African-American Biopics
Browse full biographies—and view photos and video—of the African-American figures whose inspirational lives are the focus of recent biopics, as well as of their silver-screen mimics.
Coretta Scott King
Civil Rights Activist, Women's Rights Activist, Anti-War Activist, Writer / 1927 - 2006
Coretta Scott King was an American civil rights activist and the wife of 1960s civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
Mary J. Blige
Singer / 1971 -
"Queen of Hip-Hop Soul" Mary J. Blige has influenced a generation of artists with hits like "Real Love" and "Be Without You." She has also had a successful acting career, including playing Betty Shabazz in the TV movie Betty & Coretta.
Film Actor, Filmmaker / 1961 -
Actor, producer and director Forest Whitaker won an Academy Award for his portrayal of dictator Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland. He's also known for films like Bird, Ghost Dog and The Butler.
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Learn more about the lives of African-Americans who have made extraordinary achievements in their fields, with our collection of Black History Groups.
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Check out BIO’s original video series, American Freedom Stories, about the historic events of the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama, and the leaders and everyday heroes who fought to make racial equality a reality. Watch videos.
Flip through these photos of some of Black History's most important, controversial and inspiring figures. Check out our African-American Firsts - Athletes, Black Comedians, Million-Dollar Ideas, African-American Biopics, African-American Expats, or explore all of our Black History photos.
Celebrate the historical icons of America's black community through this interactive journey.
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