In the 2010s, the entertainment industry has undergone significant change concerning how it regards Black talent. Part of that sea change has been the number of record-breaking moments Black Hollywood has achieved.
Here are just a few records that were broken in the past 10 years:
Samuel L. Jackson was named the highest-grossing actor of all time
In 2011, Samuel L. Jackson topped the list as the highest-grossing actor ever, with his films reaching a collective sum of over $7.4 billion. Jackson is currently still going strong by starring in the MCU as Nick Fury.
Peter Ramsey became the first Black person to direct a big-budget animated film
Peter Ramsey makes this list twice for his work in the animation field. He first made history in 2012 when he directed Dreamworks Animation’s Rise of the Guardians. With this, he became the first African American director of a major CG animated film.
Octavia Spencer became the fifth Black Best Supporting Actress
Also in 2012, Octavia Spencer became just the fifth Black actress to win Best Supporting Actress at the Oscars for her role in The Help. Her nomination and win are just two of the Oscar records she has broken in her career; so far, she has become the first Black actress to receive two back-to-back Academy nominations in consecutive years, the first Black actress to earn an Oscar nomination after previously winning and she is just one of two Black actresses to have earned three Oscar nominations.
Norm Lewis became the first Black Phantom of the Opera
Norm Lewis gave Broadway new life in 2014 when he became the first Black lead to play the phantom in The Phantom of the Opera. Lewis told CBS News at the time, “I feel very honored and I hope that I make not only everyone who is involved proud, but also my race proud and hopefully this will open up a lot of doors for people of color.”
Mary J. Blige broke Oscar records
At the 2018 Oscars, Mary J. Blige had a breakout moment in her film career when she became the first person ever to be nominated in both the Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Song categories for Mudbound. Her nomination also helped Mudbound director Dee Rees break records by becoming the first Black female to direct a film in which an actor earned an Oscar nomination.
Peter Ramsey won the Oscar for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Ramsey’s second entry on this list also happened during the 2018 Oscars when he became the first African American director of an animated film to win the coveted award. His film, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, was a cinematic achievement, pushing the genre forward while elevating the character of Miles Morales to the big screen.
The first Black female 007
Lashana Lynch will wow audiences as the first Black female 007 in the final film of the Daniel Craig-led James Bond series, No Time to Die. The big news was announced in 2019, and even though we still don’t know if future Bond movies will star Lynch, it’s nice to know that for right now, we will be able to see her kick butt and take names under the Bond moniker.