The 'Black Don't Crack' All-Stars

Photo: Alberto E. Rodiriguez (Getty Images)

I was watching Set It Off the other day because there’s never not a good time to watch Set It Off. Watching Vivica, Jada, Kimberly Elise (looking as homely as they could possibly make her) and Queen Latifah rob banks and be overly dramatic is one of my favorite pastimes.

Queen Latifah as Cleo, though, always stands out to me. And it’s not for reasons you might think. She stands out to me because the movie came out in 1996 and we are currently in the year of our lord two thousand and eighteen and Queen Latifah pretty much looks the exact same as she did in 1996, 22 years ago. She is 48 years old and looks the exact same today.


My introduction to Queen Latifah was in 1989, in the video for “Ladies First,” the third single off of her debut album, All Hail the Queen. I vividly remember this video because of the afro-centric nature of it and because Queen Latifah had such a presence. I had ZERO idea that she was 19 in that video. If you’d told me she was 30, I’d have believed you. Keep in mind, in 1989 I was 10-years-old and anybody over 18 looked 90. And when you consider that back then even teenagers looked old as fuck, it makes sense. But still, in 1996, during Set It off, she was 26 and looked the exact same as she did in 1989.

What’s the point here? I’m glad you asked. We love to talk about how folks like Angela Bassett, Larenz Tate or even Pharrell are ageless, looking the same now as they did in their early days, but rarely do we talk about Queen Latifah, who has looked the exact same since she’s been on our radar for almost 30 years. Queen Latifah deserves a reserved starting spot on the Black Don’t Crack All-Star team.


Who else belongs on the team? I’m glad you asked that (too). Feel free to add at your whim.

Cicely Tyson, Age Infinity

Photo: Charley Gallay (Getty Images for TCM)

Goes without saying, but I’m saying. She’s been 90 for 100 years and still looks good.

Nia Long, 47

Photo: Kevin Winter (Getty Images)

Such a no-brainer.

Angela Bassett, 59 (she’ll be 60 on Aug. 16)

Photo: Shannon Finney (Getty Images)

More of a no-brainer than anybody here but Cicely.

Larenz Tate, 42

Photo: Nicholas Hunt (Getty Images)

Fun fact, he’s played characters with the last name Tate twice in his career, in The Inkwell and currently on Power. While he can’t be a 15-year-old anymore, he could be a 22-year-old.

Pharrell Williams, 45

Photo: Christopher Polk (Getty Images for iHeartMedia)

If he told me today that all of his people were vampires, I’d believe him.

Tamala Jones, 43

Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez (Getty Images)

She’s looked 21 since her career started. She’s also one of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air all stars.

Naomi Campbell, 48

Photo: Dia Dipasupil (Getty Images for The Fragrance Foundation)

Le duh in the most le duh way possible.

Regina Hall, 47

Photo: Emma McIntyre (Getty Images for Women In Film)

One of the few folks who I still find hard to believe is almost 50. Her entire ethos is youthful.

Morris Chesnut, 49

Photo: Kevin Winter (Getty Images)

He looked older in Out All Night than he does now. And that show that you don’t remember was on in 1992.

Gabrielle Union, 45

Photo: Astrid Stawiarz (Getty Images)

No list is complete without Gabrielle Union who could still be an East Compton Clover from Bring It On today.

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About the author

Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is the Senior Editor of Very Smart Brothas. He's pretty fly for a light guy. You can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking all her brown liquors.