The British are coming! Many debates have been had surrounding Black British actors and their presence in Hollywood. Rightfully so, many have wondered about how this affects the opportunities given to Black American talent, and, truthfully, it doesn’t seem to be a conversation that will end any time soon.
However, in the spirit of rooting for everybody Black, we can also say that some of the key players in the British invasion are quickly becoming favs. From speaking up on behalf of racial justice to portraying characters, we just can’t get enough of—here is a round-up of some of our favorite Brits.
His turn as everyone’s favorite South Central drug pusher, Franklin Saint, has endeared Damson Idris to many. With his boy next door looks, bright smile, and undeniable talent, you can find him on plenty of lists as one of the most sought-after men in Hollywood.
Let’s look at the receipts. Starring in some of the biggest films in recent years? Check. Being able to fully inhabit just about any role? Check. Oscar-winner? Check. Daniel Kaluuya has officially entered the realm where if he’s in a project, you’re going to, at least, give it a shot. He’s just that good. Of course, his soul-piercing gaze and enviable chocolate skin don’t hurt either.
A rapper and actor, Dave, aka Santan Dave, caught our eyes in the third season of Netflix’s hit Top Boy as the villain Modie. His intense and calculated performance made him an instant crowd favorite.
If you think you’ve seen him somewhere before, it’s because Kingsley Ben-Adir has been taking on the mantle of playing some of our most recognizable historical figures. Last year, he donned the iconic browline glasses of Malcolm X in Regina King’s directorial debut One Night In Miami and portrayed everyone’s favorite President, Barack Obama, in The Comey Rule.
Queen and Slim was not just a film, it was a cultural moment, and Jodie Turner-Smith burst onto the scene in a way that few Black actresses ever have. With her stunning good looks and internal fire she brings to the screen, Jodie is what leading lady dreams are made of. You can see her alongside Michael B. Jordan and Lauren London in Amazon’s Without Remorse currently.
Top Boy! As the endearing lead in Netflix’s hit organized crime drama series, Ashley Walters won hearts. He commands all eyes and attention as Dushane, who is determined to make it big in the drug world but whose heart keeps getting in the way.
Before she became part of Marvel’s Black Panther, Letitia Wright first stole scenes in Urban Hymn, Black Mirror, and Doctor Who. Wright’s authenticity and depth go beyond her 27 years, and spark plug-like talent is what keeps audiences coming back for more. Plus, she firmly stitched herself to our hearts as Shuri. Wakanda forever!
If you’re looking for a new young actor to stan, look no further than Michael Ward. From Top Boy to Small Axe, he continues to pour in performance after performance that sticks with you long after the show is over. He is equal parts vulnerable and powerful onscreen and has the ability to make you root for him no matter if he’s playing a low-level drug dealer or a lover with passion in his eyes.
We love a Black man who speaks up on our behalf. John Boyega became the people’s champ when he started to be candid about the racism he faced online in the wake of his casting in the legendary Star Wars universe as Finn. Understanding the storied history of Black Americans and racism, he used his platform to champion our cause with Disney dollars on the line.
I mean…you really think a Black Brit list can exist without the one we have all embraced (and swooned over!) since day one?! Y’all know why he’s here. He’s Idris. Enough said.