In the illustrious realm of entertainment, Black EGOT winners stand as both trailblazers and masters, challenging the status quo with their undeniable talent and indomitable spirit. These incredible individuals have shattered glass ceilings and defied expectations, leaving an enduring mark on the entertainment industries of theater, film, television, and music. Their journeys to achieving the coveted EGOT status — winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony — serve as powerful narratives of resilience, excellence, and a relentless pursuit of artistic mastery.
As we celebrate these luminaries, we not only applaud their remarkable achievements but also recognize the revolutionary impact they’ve had in redefining what’s possible for Black artists in the entertainment industry. This is a salute to the brilliance, determination, and cultural significance of the Black EGOT winners who have forever altered the landscape of creative achievement. Let’s take a look at them below.
1. Viola Davis
Viola Davis, a powerhouse of talent and resilience, embarked on a groundbreaking journey to achieve EGOT status, leaving an indelible mark on the realms of film, television, and theater. The actress started with her Tony Awards, which she won for her outstanding performance in August Wilson’s “King Hedley II” and “Fences,” which showcased her unmatched depth and skill on screen. Davis then triumphed in the television arena, earning multiple Primetime Emmy Awards, including one for her compelling portrayal of Annalise Keating in the acclaimed series “How to Get Away with Murder.” Her genius was evident on the big screen when she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress after an incredible performance in the film Fences, capturing the hearts and minds of viewers worldwide.
To cap off her accomplishments, Davis won a Grammy Award for her stirring narrator work on the audiobook version of “Finding Me.” Through her multifaceted and distinguished career, Davis not only secured her place in the esteemed EGOT circle but also became an inspirational symbol for aspiring artists, proving that talent, determination, and authenticity can triumph against all odds.
2. Jennifer Hudson
Jennifer Hudson, the third Black person to ever successfully achieve EGOT status, burst onto the scene as a powerhouse vocalist. Her first conquest was a Grammy Award for Best R&B Album with her self-titled debut LP. Hudson’s meteoric rise continued on the silver screen, where she delivered an unforgettable performance as Effie White in Dreamgirls, earning her an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. The small screen also bore witness to Hudson’s brilliance, as she clinched a Daytime Emmy Award as executive producer on “Baba Yaga.”
Hudson added a Tony Award to her collection through work as a producer on “A Strange Loop,” capping off her EGOT victory. The multifaceted entertainer’s path is evidence of her diverse skill set and unwavering commitment to artistic excellence.
3. Whoopi Goldberg
Whoopi Goldberg has demonstrated her unmatched versatility by showcasing her comedy, acting, and hosting skills throughout her incredible journey to the EGOT. At a young age, Goldberg made a name for herself by winning a Grammy Award for Best Comedy Recording for her well-known, self-titled, one-woman Broadway show. She went on to win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in Ghost. After triumphing at the Tonys in 2002, Goldberg earned a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Class Special and a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk Show Host for “The View.”
Her television career proved to be equally successful. The path to EGOT status for this renowned performer shows her lasting talent and influence on the entertainment industry.
4. John Legend
John Legend’s path to the EGOT is proof of his extraordinary ability in the entertainment and music industries. His journey toward the achievement began in 2006 when he won the Grammy Awards for Best New Artist, Best R&B Album, and Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for his song “Ordinary People.” In 2017, Legend earned a Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play for his production of “Jitney” in the theater, demonstrating his wide-ranging influence in various artistic mediums.
As a producer for “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert” on the small screen, Legend received an Emmy for Outstanding Variety Special. He finally reached EGOT status when he won an Oscar for Best Original Song for “Glory” from the film Selma. Legend’s career demonstrates his unmatched skill and significant contributions to all aspects of the entertainment industry.
5. James Earl Jones
Legendary actor James Earl Jones’ mellifluous voice, exceptional talent, and work in various media helped him achieve the extraordinary distinction of being named an EGOT winner. The adventure started when James’ dominant presence on stage earned him a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play following his performance in “The Great White Hope.” James’ television endeavors earned him two Emmy Awards, one for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for “Gabriel’s Fire” and another for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie for “Heat Wave.” His narration of “Great American Documents” brought him a Grammy, concluding his EGOT accomplishment. While James hasn’t received a competitive Oscar, his unparalleled contributions were recognized with an Honorary Academy Award in 2011, celebrating a lifetime of excellence in the cinematic arts.
6. Harry Belafonte
Harry Belafonte had an incredibly diverse skill set and made significant contributions to a range of entertainment platforms, so it’s no surprise the late legend reached EGOT status. With his Grammy victories for “Swing Dat Hammer” and “An Evening with Belafonte/Makeba,” he revealed his talent in the music industry, especially in the folk and calypso genres. His ventures into television, notably hosting “Tonight with Harry Belafonte,” earned the icon an Emmy Award, underscoring his versatility as a performer. While a competitive Oscar eluded him, Belafonte’s significant humanitarian efforts were duly recognized with the prestigious Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the Academy Awards.
On Broadway, he secured a Tony for Best Featured Actor in a Musical following his role in “John Murray Anderson’s Almanac,” further solidifying his status as a trailblazer in the entertainment industry and a champion for social causes. Belafonte’s EGOT journey was a prime example of his dedication to using his platform for positive change, in addition to his artistic excellence.
7. Quincy Jones
Musical genius Quincy Jones has made a lasting impression on the entertainment industry by exhibiting his incomparable skill as a producer, composer, and arranger. His journey toward EGOT status began with an impressive array of Grammy Awards, recognizing his extraordinary contributions to the music industry. His brilliance extended to the television miniseries “Roots,” for which he clinched an Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Composition. Quincy’s journey took a turn toward the theater when he was recognized for his exceptional work on the Broadway musical adaptation of “The Color Purple” with not one, but two Tony Awards.
In addition, his influence on society went beyond the stage and cinema, as demonstrated by his acceptance of the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the Academy Awards, which honored his charitable endeavors and dedication to changing the world for the better.