Most Influential Black People


The Top Ten

1 Martin Luther King Jr Martin Luther King Jr Martin Luther King, Jr. was an American Baptist minister, activist, humanitarian, and leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement.

This guy is the reason behind the respect of any black man, without him Obama wouldn't have been president, and M. J wouldn't have been a singer.

Think carefully before you vote... this guy changed the WORLD! - DJZeezo

This guy had the guts speak out wow please vote for this guy

Best by far

I LOVE this guy! For real! I used to listen to his speech I have a dream all the time. At one point, we where learning about it in class and where split up into groups. We where told to pick someone to read the speech to the rest of the speech and this one guy decided to go. The entire time I was pissing him off by saying the whole speech while he did it! LOL! - dipperpinesfangirl618

V 52 Comments
2 Nelson Mandela Nelson Mandela Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician, and philanthropist, who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the country's first black chief executive, and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election.

This man was a true genius, he fought for peace and remains in the heart of not only Africans but people all around the world. Michael Jackson inspired pop artists not precisely African Americans. He's only being voted at the top because of sympathy votes.

He was in my opinion greatest black man of new ages because he has done so much for his nation that no other black man has ever done. He sacrificed his own ego and kept his race and country at first instead of his own revenge, which made his country so powerful and united.

My idol

Not because I'm from his country but because this man of honor did not want any kind of oppression

V 10 Comments
3 Malcolm X Malcolm X Malcolm X, born Malcolm Little and also known as el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz, was an American Muslim minister and human rights activist.

The fact that Malcolm X isn't number one is sad. He told the unadulterated, politically incorrect truth about race in America. Whereas MLK talked about a dream, Malcolm preached the ugly reality. He encouraged Black people to learn their true history, be proud of who they are, and to rely on each other. He deserves every bit of the celebration and reverence that King gets.

Clarity of the affects of slavery on a group of enslaved Africans came from this master teacher. He gave African Americans consciousness of true "self worth". Studying his ideology dismiss one's perceived inferior complex manufactured from slavery in the U.S.


He and martin both believed in equal rights, but x was violent

V 7 Comments
4 Michael Jackson Michael Jackson Michael Joseph Jackson was an American singer, dancer, and songwriter born on August 29, 1958 in Gary, Indiana and passed away on June 25, 2009. He donated (at least) a remarkable 500,000,000 dollars to charity. Michael is also known as The King of Pop (a title given to him by Elizabeth Taylor) or under more.

It is said that he used his fortune amassed from his artistic success to donate over 300 million to charity, and supported around 39 charities. He and Lionel Richie wrote a song that was responsible for saving millions of lives in Africa during the deep famine in the 80's. His legacy is not just his music, it is the message of unity, love, and brother/sisterhood that will last for generations. He also substantially changed the face of popular music and video in America and the world, breaking racial barriers every step of the way. From the chitlin circuit to owning the most valuable music catalogue in the world, to breaking every musical record ever set, this man gave his all, and did it with humility and love.

Such an amazing man, full of passion and compisition. Even today his greatest hits can still be heard amongst the biggest radio stations across the world. With early fame an success he went on to continue to go from strength to strength with no1. singles such as "Thriller", "Man in the mirror", "Beat it" and such others.

His work and humanitarian contributions have influenced the world including me! He's such a great Inspiration..

Michael Jackson was the most famous human being on the planet for years of his life, he is undoubtedly the most influential black person of all time

V 19 Comments
5 Muhammad Ali Muhammad Ali Muhammad Ali (January 17th 1942 - June 3rd 2016) was an American former professional boxer . He was generally considered among the greatest heavyweights in the history of the sport.



He was one of the greatest because he solely not only fight against his so many greats but also stood against the dictatorship of US government too and he kept his mind clean and thoughts too. He was the great boxer ever born and despite against all odds he always proved No. 1

He is beautifal

V 12 Comments
6 Barack Obama Barack Obama Barack Hussein Obama II served as the 44th president of the United States of America. He was elected in 2008 after serving in the Senate from 2005-08, beating John McCain and becoming the first African-American to be elected President of the United States. He was elected again in 2012, beating Mitt more.

He lowered the unemployment rate to 4%, and broke a major color barrier.

Barack Obama is the greatest president of my life "i'm 30" his Health Care Act gave Healthcare to my father for $50 a month. He got the unemployment rate to the lowest it's almost ever been he also save the economy after Bush destroyed it in 2008. And this is coming from a liberal.

He is a good person

Yes he messed up our country and it would have been better if he was never president

V 14 Comments
7 Rosa Parks Rosa Parks Rosa Louise McCauley Parks was an African American civil rights activist, whom the United States Congress called "the first lady of civil rights" and "the mother of the freedom movement".

I feel as if the fact that she did something about the segregation of blacks and whites back then is just the courage and pride in self that is needed on a daily basis, not to mention the fact that black women were also on they're own being overlooked by society.

She helped M.L. K and was the major push for the civil rights movement when she refused to give up her seat in the black section when then white section was full.

Utter bravery which contributed to a sea change.

She should 4th or more because unlike Malcolm X she did promote violence

V 1 Comment
8 Oprah Winfrey Oprah Winfrey Oprah Gail Winfrey is an American media proprietor, talk show host, actress, producer, and philanthropist.

Beaten and abused, Winfrey is one of the greatest talk show hosts of all time-she was even named the most paid female T.V. entertainer of 2010. She helps women all around the world with her Charities and she is one of the best talk show hosts to walk this earth.

Most people don't even understand the depth of why she has a channel called "OWN" and what she is telling you in that one word. Black people need to take heed to that.

Oprah is probably the most inspiring black woman of all time

She was a wonderful host

V 1 Comment
9 Bob Marley Bob Marley Robert Nesta "Bob" Marley was a Jamaican reggae singer, songwriter, musician, and guitarist who achieved international fame and acclaim.

Very good artist

Changed my views on the world, he also changed my thought process if I become successful he is partially to blame

Sonia thinks he's cute

He is a great icon! Live that man. He changed my views on this earth

V 6 Comments
10 Jackie Robinson Jackie Robinson Jack Roosevelt Robinson was an American professional baseball player who became the first African American to play in Major League Baseball in the modern era.


First black player in the mlb!

His my boy!

The Contenders

11 Tupac Shakur Tupac Shakur Tupac Amaru Shakur, also known as 2Pac, was an American rapper and actor born on June 16, 1971 in East Harlem, New York. Tupac sold over 75 million records worldwide and has been referred to in multiple major publications such as Rolling Stone as one of the greatest music artists of all time. 2Pac was more.

He deserved number 1 spot

How? It's not like he changed or even impacted people's lives or anything. - RogerMcBaloney

Tupac is the best rapper on Earth and frankly he is basically the BLACK JESUS nobody asked for

Songs like Keep Ya Head Up, Dear Mama, Brenda's Got A Baby, If My Homie Calls, Life Goes On, Changes, Letter 2 My Unborn Child, Lord Knows, I Wonder If Heaven's Got A Ghetto, Trapped, It Ain't Easy, Nothing To Lose, Holler If Ya Hear Me, the' Lunatic, So Many Tears and a lot of others are the perfect example of how this guy was a revolutionary, in the beginning Thug Life was a movement that 2Pac created that had several rules that helped a lot to reduce the rate of crime and murder in a lot of cities and prisons in the USA, the words and poems of this men help a lot of people, more than the best rapper ever he was a visionary with a great future, R.I.P. Tupac

He was so influential just listen to Brenda's got a Baby or Keep ya Head Up! Those were very Influential songs! Tupac's legacy is still shown today, and he is still making albums 15 years after his death.

V 16 Comments
12 Jimi Hendrix Jimi Hendrix Jimi Hendrix (born November 27, 1942 - September 18, 1970) was an American rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter . Although his mainstream career spanned only four years, he is widely regarded as one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of popular music, and one of the most celebrated more.

Invented so many famous guitar licks without him half the riffs played by bands today would not exist.

He has influenced the some of the best guitarists in the world today - Jazzman

13 Frederick Douglass Frederick Douglass Frederick Douglass was an African-American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman.

Frederick Douglass was really one of the first African Americans to stand up to the slavery institutions and degradations of the US. With his great intelligence and astute manner, he convinced many that his people deserved better. He really was the MLK of his day.

Read about this man if you don't understand he should be top10

Without fredrick, all those people above in the list might still be slaves, no offense. - wren6


V 1 Comment
14 Dr. Ben Carson

Amazing influence and example set by a black man trapped in poverty, who became one of the greatest surgeons ever, and specialized in saving children's lives. Haters need to check themselves.

Maybe as far as being a surgeon goes. Definitely not as a politician.

The "Historic Revisionists" love to tear him apart.

Worked himself up from extreme poverty to become one of the best surgeons in the world.
A perfect example for others to follow.

V 1 Comment
15 Bill Cosby Bill Cosby William Henry "Bill" Cosby, Jr., is an American stand-up comedian, actor, and author. more.

Bill Cosy da rapist

He is so god at them memes

Bill Cosby above Frederick Douglass. Lol - N4XUS

When Lisa Bonet wouldn't come out vigorously for him, that told me everything. Sad sad.

V 3 Comments
16 Thomas Sowell
17 Michael Jordan Michael Jordan Michael Jeffrey Jordan, also known by his initials, MJ, is an American retired professional basketball player.

Sonia loves this man

He is the most famous and respected black person every, who else on this list could be know by a image around the world?

Just a bit of a lad really

He slam dunk his way to black victory, nice one Mike.

V 4 Comments
18 Desmond Tutu
19 Morgan Freeman Morgan Freeman Morgan Freeman (born June 1, 1937) is an American actor and narrator. Freeman won an Academy Award in 2005 for Best Supporting Actor with Million Dollar Baby (2004), and he has received Oscar nominations for his performances in Street Smart (1987), Driving Miss Daisy, The Shawshank Redemption and Invictus. more.

Quietly influential in an educational venue examining science and multiple religious views. The man speaks of humanity and its truths. POWERFUL INFLUENCE!

Morgan freeman is like a god

20 Beyoncé Beyoncé Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter, is an American singer and actress, who started out in the popular pop/r&b girl group Destiny's Child. They had multiple top 5 hits such as "No, No, No", "Say My Name", "Bills, Bills, Bills", "Survivor", "Independent Women", "Bootylicious", and "Jumpin', Jumpin" from more.

She is not a inspiration - micahisthebest

No she's not either

She is an inspiration

Lover her go queen bee

V 5 Comments
21 Cynthia McKinney
22 Samuel L. Jackson Samuel L. Jackson Samuel Leroy Jackson is an American actor and film producer. He achieved prominence and critical acclaim in the early 1990s with films such as Jungle Fever, Patriot Games, Amos & Andrew, True Romance, Jurassic Park and his collaborations with director Quentin Tarantino including Pulp Fiction, Jackie more.

For God's sake, he's one of the finest black actors EVER!

I'm sorry did I break yo concentration? - 9713524179

23 Bantu Steven Biko

Such a legend

24 Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe

The greatest South African ever, if only South African media was not controlled then the world would realize the influence and greatness of this Man. Ironically the man above him on the list used to call this man a god when he walked in a room.

25 Jesse Lee Peterson
26 Tyler Perry Tyler Perry Tyler Perry is an American actor, playwright, and filmmaker. In 2011, Forbes listed him as the highest paid man in entertainment, earning $130 million USD between May 2010 and 2011.
27 Jay Z Jay Z Shawn Corey Carter, known by his stage name JAY-Z, is an American rapper, record producer, entrepreneur and investor born on December 4, 1969 in Brooklyn, New York. He is best known for his albums Reasonable Doubt, The Blueprint, and The Black Album. He is considered to be one of the best rappers of more.
28 Biggie Smalls Biggie Smalls Christopher George Latore Wallace, born May 21, 1972, better known by his stage name The Notorious B.I.G (sometimes Biggie Smalls or just simply Biggie), is an American rapper from Brooklyn, New York. On March 9, 1997, he was murdered in a drive by shooting in Los Angeles, California at the age of only more.

He was a great rapper.

Bog eye in half

I love him

R.I.P KING OF New York

29 Booker T. Washington Booker T. Washington Booker Taliaferro Washington was an American educator, author, orator, and advisor to presidents of the United States.

Absolute intellect and giant of a man in an America where equality among the races was scorned at.

30 Louis Farrakhan

Minister Farrakhan is a world leader as he has followers all around the globe. He is the only man in America that had call a million Black Men to Washington DC and nearly two million showed up. He is credited for reforming black men and women and has called all people back to religion irrespective of their faith traditions.

The greatest leader next to his teacher Elijah Muhammad in modern time

I'm not a Muslim but I think he is the best scholar of all time

A very outspoken and truthful person...

V 5 Comments
31 Rihanna Rihanna Robyn Rihanna Fenty is a Barbadian-American pop singer. Born in Saint Michael and raised in Bridgetown, she first entered the music industry by recording demo tapes under the direction of record producer Evan Rogers in 2003. She ultimately signed a recording contract with Def Jam Recordings after auditioning more.

She's not either

32 James David Manning
33 Paul Kagame

Proudly Rwandan and African!

34 Whitney Houston Whitney Houston Whitney Elizabeth Houston (August 9, 1963 – February 11, 2012) was an American singer, actress, producer, and model. In 2009, Guinness World Records cited her as the most awarded female act of all time. Houston is one of pop music's best-selling music artists of all-time, with an estimated 170–200 more.

Real Lady
Real Diva
Real Singer -

Need to move up to about #6

35 Kwame Nkrumah

Almost made Africa one damn whole country. Should be way higher than 33

He is idealist and he thinks the black people are capable of managing their own affairs. He also of a holistic independence for all continent. He is a real legend.

He is idealist and he thinks black people are capable of managing their own affairs. He also think of a holistic independent for all oppressed continent..

He helped int he fighting for independence for the African Continent at larege. This man is a true hero

V 1 Comment
36 Will Smith Will Smith Willard Carroll "Will" Smith, Jr. is an American actor, comedian, producer, rapper, and songwriter. He is best known for his acting career overall. He has been in many popular movies, These include, but are not limited to, the Men in Black franchise, The Pursuit of Happyness, and After Earth. He is more.

He's a pop culture icon... one of the first rappers to come up and not swear and not only that but giving mostly black kids and kids in general a feeling of collective understanding that "parents just don't understand"

Saved the world three times and defeated the zombies in New york

He should be #1


37 LeBron James LeBron James LeBron Raymone James is an American professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association. LeBron has played for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, and the Lakers.

A lot of people dislike him (for no reason) but LeBron is a great dude he gave Miami two rings and hopefully he'll give Cleveland at least one - 9713524179

He's thinks he's the best player in NBA when he's not

38 Kobe Bryant Kobe Bryant Kobe Bean Bryant is an American retired professional basketball player. He played his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association. Kobe Bryant has won 5 NBA championships with the Lakers and is the all-time leading scorer in Lakers franchise history.
39 Kendrick Lamar Kendrick Lamar Kendrick Lamar Duckworth (born June 17, 1987) is an American rapper and songwriter. Raised in Compton, California, Lamar embarked on his musical career as a teenager under the stage name K-Dot, releasing a mixtape that garnered local attention and led to his signing with indie record label Top Dawg more.

K dot u deserve to be higher than Ben Carson - 9713524179

One of the best rappers on the 21st century.big up king kendrick aka king kunta

Honestly one of the most socially, political and economically conscious rappers alive right now. the elegance in which he puts issues that clearly are gripping not only America but the entire world... from slavery to how black lives don't seem to matter in modern times. he really is good.

40 Jomo Kenyatta

Kenya's 1st President, lead in struggle for independence for Kenya and other African countries

41 Chuck Berry Chuck Berry Charles Edward Anderson "Chuck" Berry was an American guitarist, singer and songwriter, and one of the pioneers of rock and roll music. He died on 18 March 2017.

He is so jazzy

42 W. E. B. Du Bois
43 Colin Kaepernick Colin Kaepernick Colin Rand Kaepernick (born November 3, 1987) is an American football quarterback who is currently a free agent. Kaepernick played college football at the University of Nevada, where he was named the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Offensive Player of the Year twice. After graduating, he was selected more.
44 Denzel Washington Denzel Washington Denzel Hayes Washington, Jr. is an American actor and filmmaker. He has received three Golden Globe awards, a Tony Award, and two Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actor for the historical war drama film Glory and Best Actor for his role as a corrupt cop in the crime thriller Training Day.
45 Colin Powell

Should be top 20, becoming a four star general means devoting a majority of your life to serve this country and that's no easy feat.

46 Condoleezza Rice Condoleezza Rice
47 Ray Charles Ray Charles Ray Charles Robinson, professionally known as Ray Charles, was an American singer, songwriter, musician, and composer.

He wrote songs that are modern classic not one musical person or person in general doesn't the late great Ray Charles

48 Nat Turner
49 P.K Subban

pk subban

50 Kerry Washington Kerry Washington
8Load More
PSearch List

Related Lists

Most Influential Black Metal Bands Top 10 Most Influential Black Supermodels Most Influential People of All Time Top Ten Songs that Weren't as Influential as Most People Think Most Influential People of the Cold War

List Stats

2,000 votes
233 listings
9 years, 157 days old

Top Remixes (5)

1. Bantu Steven Biko
2. Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe
3. Nelson Mandela
1. Nelson Mandela
2. Martin Luther King Jr
3. Muhammad Ali
1. Martin Luther King Jr
2. Nelson Mandela
3. Malcolm X

View All 5

Error Reporting

See a factual error in these listings? Report it here.