2010: Black Actresses on TV

2010: Black Actresses on TV

After a long day at work few things compare to curling up on the sofa to catch your favorite TV show. While there weren’t many of faces of color on primetime this year, there were a few Black actresses whose talent caught our attention.Whether playing CIA agents, vampires or police officers, these actresses showcased their talent in compelling roles, and leading ladies like Vanessa Williams and Rutina Wesley reflected our diversity as Black women. Take a look at the fiercest Black actresses who graced the small screen this year.

Joy Bryant

Our favorite boho-chic, actress Joy Bryant, plays single mom, Jasmine Trussell, on NBC’s “The Parenthood.”

Jada Pinkett Smith

As executive producer Pinkett Smith doesn’t spend much time whipping her hair back and forth on her series “HawthoRNe,” but she does whip James River Hospital in order as Christina Hawthorne, the Chief Nursing Officer.

Rutina Wesley

Hailing from Sin City Las Vegas, the Juilliard graduate stars as Tara Thornton, the luckless character in the vampire series “True Blood.” And like a few of us, Tara has a best friend who dates a blood sucker.

Gabourey Sidibe

The breakout star from “Precious” proved Howard Stern wrong by getting more work. This summer, Gabby made her small screen debut as the quick witted and robust Andrea on “The Big C.” The Oscar-nominated actress is proof that sometimes it’s more about the size of your confidence.

Rashida Jones

Jones plays local nurse, Ann Logan, in the quirky mockumentary “Parks and Recreation” which returns for Season 3 in January 2011.

Tamara Tunie

We’ve loved watching Tunie play Dr. Melinda Warner on “Law and Order: SVU” for 12 seasons. Now that’s staying power.

Yvette Nicole Brown

Brown’s bubbly personality is thoroughly contagious. On NBC’s “Community,” she plays sassy single mom Shirley.

Katerina Graham

Graham plays witch Bonnie Bennett on the hit CW series, “Vampire Diaries.”

Queen Latifah

The reigning queen of all things cool proved she could hold her own against the guys during a guest appearance on HBO’s “Entourage.”

Lisa Gay Hamilton

Hamilton says she’s super proud she can wear her natural curls on TNT’s “Men of a Certain Age” with no pressure from producers. As actor Andre Braugher’s on-screen wife Hamilton shines.

Regina Hall

This trained journalist brings her love of the truth to her character, district attorney Evelyn Price, on “Law and Order: Los Angeles.”

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KeKe Palmer

Teen sensation KeKe Palmer is a certified star. We’ve loved watching her blossom on “True Jackson: VIP.”

Regina King

Going from the stoop of “227” to the dangerous streets of Los Angeles (with a few big-screen stops in between), King is no stranger to television. Starring in the cop series, “Southland,” the talented actress fought crime as Detective Lydia Adams, a homicide police detective.

Amber Riley

The 24-year-old might have been too young for the role of Effie in “Dreamgirls,” but she’s just right for the musical dramedy “Glee.” As Mercedes Jones, the confident yet sensitive leading lady, she belts out notes high enough to keep Kim Zolciak far away from the recording studio.

Vanessa L. Williams

Two different shows, same diva. The former Miss America beauty queen and Grammy nominated artist said goodbye to her audacious Wilhelmina Slater character during the “Ugly Betty” finale this spring. She can now be found stirring up drama on Wisteria Lane on “Desperate Housewives.”

Tamala Jones

Jones made her way back to television as medical examiner Lanie Parish on ABC’s “Castle.”

Sharon Leal

This former “Dreamgirl” brought the fire to CW’s “Hellcats” as feisty, no-nonsense coach, Vanessa Lodge.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw

The English beauty starred opposite the gorgeous (and talented) Boris Kodjoe as a CIA spy on “Undercovers.” Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt (who starred in "Mr. and Mrs. Smith) had nothing on these two. NBC, unfortunately, didn’t agree and canceled the show.

Rose Rollins

As weapons specialist Daisy Ogbaa on NBC drama “Chase,” actress Rose Rollins is all action.

Chandra Wilson

For the last five years, this Houston, Texas native has been on call as Dr. Miranda Bailey on “Grey’s Anatomy.” Always the straight shooter, the general surgeon gets a lot of respect, earning it the old fashion way: with hard work.

Essence Atkins

Atkins returned to our small screens in the TBS comedy, “Are We There Yet?” Welcome back Essence!

Audra McDonald

As a fertility specialist on “Private Practice,” the four- time Tony-award winning actress and singer brings life (literally) to the show. But it’s not all work for the doc who occasionally hooks up with her ex-husband, Dr. Sam Bennett, played by the chocolately Taye Diggs.