For the next four weeks I’m going to deal with black actors and actresses. For the first Top Ten in this series, I’m going to look at the best black actors that we should see more often. I’m eliminating the upper echelon of the black actors corp. Men like Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman, Cuba Gooding Jr and Samuel L. Jackson are established stars and we know that they are great actors. I’m also going to eliminate Terrance Howard and Don Cheadle from the list since they have “buzz”.
What I want to rank are the actors that seem to fall by the wayside. They show up in TV series here and there but their skills are far larger than the small screen and I find it a shame that more scripts are not available for these actors considering the trash that Hollywood consistently feed the populace.
Personally, I think the idea that Hollywood is a bastion of liberalism is a farce. The racism that persist in creating TV series depicting black life and the number of movies with a predominantly black cast is too far and in between. Even when a movie with a predominantly black cast is made, they are normally showing the most decollate aspect of the black community. If not that, then they are moronic comedies that are mediocre at best. This topic was discussed on Dell Gines blog and I have several rants there.
Now, back to this week’s Top Ten. These are the actors that I would like to see more often. All have exceptional talent and with the proper script, could pull of an Oscar winning performance (whatever that is – and we can discuss the racism in that in a later post)
Andre Braugher: Most Notable Role: Det. Frank Pembleton (Homicide, Life on the Streets)
The man is a brilliant actor. His role in Glory (Cpl. Thomas Searles) was the first time I took note of him but it was in Homicide, Life on the Streets where he showed his range. He definitely has A-List caliber talent.
Larenz Tate – Most Notable Role: Kevin 'O-Dog' (Menace II Society)
He seems to lack range and maybe because I see him as a young actor, but I like him. I happen to think The Inkwell and Love Jones were his best movie but he went gangsta in Menace II Society and Dead Presidents.
Lawrence Fishburne: Most Notable Role: Morpheus (Matrix)
I remember him in Cornbread, Earl and Me but only after it was pointed out to me. It wasn’t until Boyz n’ the Hood that I took note of him again. He’s been around for a long time but I’d still like to see him in more movies.
Omar Gooding: Most Notable Role: Demetrius Harris (Playmakers – TV Series)
Though this show was cut short because the NFL was too image conscience, it propelled him into the spotlight. He’s a good comedy actor (Smart Guy) and he was very good in Baby Boy. I know it must be hard living in the shadow of his brother Cuba Gooding Jr., but he is the lead in the new Barbershop series. Hopefully, he’ll get more love in Hollywood
Dennis Haysbert: Most Notable Role: President David Palmer (24 – TV Series)
If you were a fan of 24 then you were a fan of Dennis Haysbert. Outside of keeping track of Jack and his ever-rising body count, David Palmer was the most interesting character on the show. I know he’s doing Allstate commercials, but I can’t wait to see him on the big screen.
Delroy Lindo – Most Notable Role: Rodney Little (Clockers)
He should have won best supporting actor for his role in Clockers. I think the man is undervalued and he should have a lot more roles to display his range. I’d like to see him team up with Andre Braugher in a good detective movie.
Mekhi Phifer: Most Notable Role: Ronald 'Strike' Dunham (Clockers)
Clockers was his first movie and he performed brilliantly. The movie was overlooked because the acting and script makes it one of the best ‘street’ movies ever made. He had his shine going for minute then disappeared. Now he has a recurring role on the television show, ER. But I’m looking to see him in more movies.
Morris Chestnut: Ricky Baker (Boyz n the Hood)
I have yet to see a better performance from him than the one he gave in Boyz n the Hood. That is primarily do to the fact that he is playing in a lot of action movies and romantic comedies that don’t utilize his talent. Although I hate the movie, “The Brothers”, he was the only character that I thought was worth anything. His performance was ok but the script was so bad that it overshadowed him.
Isaiah Washington: Most Notable Role: Savon Garrison (Love Jones)
There is a scene in this movie where he opens the door to his returning wife and son who left him several weeks earlier. He opens the door and allows them to enter. There are no words spoken. After the pass him, he looks to the sky with a look like he is saying thank you to God. He turns and enters the house. Such a small scene but it is one of the best scenes in the movie. He was excellent in Clockers as well. (Note: If you have never seen Clockers, go BUY it, you will love it.) He’s on a hit TV series (Gray’s Anatomy) so maybe he’ll get more shine.
Michael Beach: Most Notable Role: Miles (Soul Food…the movie)
The man can flat out act but it seems that most role calls for him to be the hunk. His character in Third Watch was one where he really had the opportunity to show some range. He has been around for a while and I’m sure we’ll see him again but I’d like to see him in more dramatic roles.