Film. Television. Music. You name it, they did it this year. EBONY presents the “fab five” breakout names of 2014—and offers an inside scoop on what’s in store for these talented titans in 2015.

By L’Oreal Thompson




From the big to the small screen and everything in between, you can’t escape the fact that Black is … well… the new Black. We’ve been demanding our just due, and the entertainment industry (if not all ears) seems to be listening much more carefully.

So before we turn the page on this glorious year in Black creativity, let’s celebrate what’s now and next for the five celebrities who forced their respective industries to stand up and take notice. And it’s not over yet, not by a stretch.



Lupita Nyong’o

Fresh off her Best Supporting Actress Oscar win for 12 Years a Slave, Nyong’o scored an endorsement deal with Lancôme cosmetics, the cover of Vogue and appeared as a flight attendant in the psycho-thriller Non-Stop with Liam Neeson.

Get ready for new projects on the horizon. The Kenyan beauty landed a highly coveted role in J.J. Abrams’ Star  Wars: Episode VII and will voice the mother wolf, Rakcha, in Disney’s new adaption of The Jungle Book, both due in 2015.

The 31-year-old isn’t just known for her increasingly  diverse body of work; she’s also become a bona fide fashionista, captivating the world with her brightly colored and elegant designer gowns on the red carpet. And that’s not all. The Yale University School of Drama grad will star in and  co-produce the film adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s award-winning novel Americanah. Just watch: 2015 is bound to be the Year of Lupita, part 2.


Laverne Cox

Time magazine hailed Laverne Cox, 30, as a “public face for the transgender movement,” and for a good reason. The Orange Is the New Black star is the first trans person to earn an Emmy nod. And as if that weren’t enough, Cox, who plays Sophia Burset on the hit Netflix show, continues to be a badass ambassador for LGBT rights.

The Mobile, Ala., native fully embraces the duty that accompanies being a newly minted pop culture hero. While serving as the grand marshal for this year’s Gay Pride Parade in New York City, she honored Islan Nettles, a transgender woman who was beaten to death last summer. “I really believe that God is working through me and that it’s not about me,” she told JET magazine earlier this year. “I’m a vessel that’s being used. It’s my job to get out of the way and let God work through me.”

Next, Cox is helping to launch a documentary, FREE CeCe. The film is about CeCe McDonald, a Black transgender woman who served time in a men’s prison. It explores the reality of violence directed toward trans women of color and is expected to  be completed by 2016.

Read more in the December 2014 issue of EBONY Magazine.