Despite the COVID crisis, Black Hollywood continues to stand up, speak up, and make a difference on- and off-screen. From John Boyega’s passionate Black Lives Matter speech in London to Skai Jackson and her dedication to exposing “as many racists as she can,” this rising class of leading young men and women are the change many fought to make a way for and they are loud and proud.

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Hollywood’s pesky habit of ignoring characters of color from the blockbuster charts is quickly eroding into a new wave. Studios such as MACRO (Charles D. King), ARRAY (Ava DuVernay), JuVee Productions (Viola Davis), and Outlier Society (Michael B. Jordan) are engaging international audiences and telling unforgettable stories that speak to a healthy surge of creativity happening in the game.

And thanks to these talented stars on ESSENCE’s Young Black Hollywood list, it hasn’t been hard to miss just how impactful 2021 and beyond will be with these names headlining marquees here and abroad.

Scroll down to check out a list of this year’s must-watch young talent. Plus, be sure to join us as we check in with some of these talented young stars during the second-annual ESSENCE Hollywood House, streaming on ESSENCE Studios on April 23 at 7PM EST.

Kevin L. Clark is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer and curates ESSENCE’s The Playlist. Follow him @KevitoClark.

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