…Who Deserve Their Flowers (And Way More Roles)
by Jordan Simon | Shadow and Act
It’s no secret that Hollywood suffers from the disease known as racism, but it also suffers from ageism as well. To say that there aren’t enough leading roles film for Black women over the age of 50 is an understatement. The talent is there and we’ve decided to provide some receipts.
It’s never too late to give flowers to the Black women who paved the way for many of our cinematic faves. Here are five Black actresses over the age of 50 who deserves their flowers.
A criminally underrated actress, CCH Pounder is arguably one of the first Black heroines in the realm of science fiction and superhero cinema and television. The Guyanese-American actress has appeared in films such as Robocop 3, Face-Off, Avatar and Godzilla: King of the Monsters. Pounder has also lent her voiceover talents for Batman Beyond and Justice League Unlimited. She’s perhaps best known for her television roles in ER, The Shield and her current one in NCIS: New Orleans.
Debbi Morgan came to prominence in the soap world for her iconic role as Angie Baxter Hubbard on the famed soap opera All My Children. For her role, Morgan made history as the first Black woman to win the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Daytime Drama Series. However, Morgan has found eternal life in the hearts of many Black cinephiles for her spellbinding portrayal of Mozelle Batiste-Delacroix in the criminally overlooked classic Eve’s Bayou. Other roles also include Love & Basketball, Coach Carter and Woman Thou Art Loosed. She recurred in Starz’s Power and also appears in its spinoff, Power Book II: Ghost.
Fans of the weekend marathons of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit will surely recognize Tamara Tunie. For many SVU fans, Tunie is remembered for her portrayal of medical examiner Melinda Warner. Many may not realize she held down this role while starring in soap opera As the World Turns. She was in the role from 1987-2007. She has also appeared in many films like The Devil’s Advocate and Flight. Her extensive television resume also includes a recent role starring alongside Michaela Coel in Netflix/BBC’s Black Earth Rising.
Hamilton is known for several television series, including starring roles on ABC’s The Practice and TNT’s Man of a Certain Age. She also had a series regular role on the recent, short-lived Hulu space drama, The First. On the film front, she’s appeared in movies like Jackie Brown, Beloved, Beautiful Boy and Vice. She also has an extensive stage resume, as she was an original cast member of August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson and Gem of the Ocean.
Lorraine Toussaint is likely most known to mainstream audiences as Vee on Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black. Toussaint also appeared in Ava DuVernay’s Sundance darling Middle Of Nowhere, garnering an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Supporting Female Actresss. Toussaint also appeared in Julia Hart’s underrated science fiction gem Fast Color and can be seen appearing as women’s rights pioneer Flo Kennedy in the 2020 film The Glorias. She can also be seen soon opposite Idris Elba in Concrete Cowboy.