Hollywood can be a place associated with the superficial, but many stars use their platforms and their fortunes to help those in need. For many Black actresses who’ve made it to A-list status, staying in touch with the community is a way of life.
Here are our top picks for the most generous Black women in Hollywood.
Beyonce has quietly donated to causes special to her heart for years, choosing to keep her charitable actions under the radar. But they’ve still been extremely significant. From helping the victims of the Flint water crisis to the homeless, she’s given away millions of her own money to help those in need. Most recently, when a devastating hurricane struck her hometown of Houston, Texas, the Grammy-winner’s charity BeyGOOD provided aid in the form of baby products, blankets, toiletries, cots and food to the victims who lost their homes and belongings. She also personally handed out food and posed for photos with the victims before hosting a star-studded telethon to raise millions for recovery,.
From her Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy in South Africa to the Angel Network to fueling the careers of entrepreneurs like Rachael Ray, Nate Berkus, Ava Duvernay and Iyanla Vanzant, Oprah is one of the world’s most renowned philanthropists.
Far from just her music and fashion, Rihanna has quickly become one of the most generous women in Hollywood, donating millions to build a cancer research facility in her native Barbados and raising massive amounts of donations from her Diamond Ball for women pursuing their education around the world. She’s been so generous with her wealth that she was named Harvard University’s 2017 Humanitarian of The Year.
Media maven (and the woman behind our site and parent company, Urban One,) Cathy Hughes is one of the most successful women in the game, but she has never forgotten her humble beginnings. Keeping in mind how hard she worked to achieve her success, she’s been a staple among the most generous of donors when it comes to causes close to her heart, including donating food and supplies to homeless shelters and seniors.
Having grown up in extreme poverty, Viola Davis knows what it’s like to experience hunger. And she’s made sure to make it a priority when it comes to her charitable donations. She’s teamed up multiple times with organizations like the Entertainment Industry Foundation to help raise funds and awareness to end childhood hunger in America.
The model-turned-DJ changed the game when founded the now-iconic “Black Girls Rock” organization, which helps young girls develop a healthy self-image, as well as learn practical and leadership skills. The annual awards show raises money and awareness every year by attracting a star-studded list of attendees all to celebrate young Black girls everywhere.
Jada Pinkett Smith
Far from just being beautiful and immensely talented, Jada Pinkett Smith is also a generous philanthropist. Together with her husband Will Smith, she founded the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation, which helps communities in need across the country. Especially close to her heart is work that she does in her hometown of Baltimore, MD, where she has donated to her high school, as well as organizations that help young Black girls.
Since the start of her career, Alicia Keys has been passionate about HIV/AIDS activism around the world. Through her organization, Keep A Child Alive, she has built clinics across Africa and raised millions in donations, as well as given a voice to the need for research for treatment.
Together with her husband, Russell Wilson, singer Ciara has become a staple at children’s hospitals across the country, where she donates time and money to children in dire health. They’ve even encouraged their famous friends to join them in bringing joy and help to children battling diseases like cancer.
Gabrielle Union does more than just lend her finances to charities and organizations like Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Planned Parenthood, she’s become an outspoken advocate for causes that affect women’s health. She’s also spoken out against issues that negatively affect the Black community and has given courage to victims of abuse around the world by sharing her own story.