Tina Turner made her acting debut in 1975, in the film Tommy. She later went on to star in Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, and Last Action Hero.
Diana Ross made a smooth transition from songstress to actress in 1972’s Lady Sings the Blues, and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Billie Holiday in the film.
Aaliyah made her theatrical debut in 2000 with the film Romeo Must Die, and later starred in Queen of the Damned, which was released in 2002, the year after she died.
Whitney Houston made her big screen debut in 1992’s The Bodyguard, and went on the star in Waiting to Exhale, The Preacher’s Wife, Cinderella and the highly anticipated film Sparkle.
The “Always on Time” singer made her film debut in 2005’s Coach Carter and has since starred in three other movies.
Mary J. Blige
Mary J. Blige is set to star in Rock of Ages which hits theaters this summer. The “No More Drama” singer starred in her first film in 2001 with Prison Song, followed up by Tyler Perry’s I Can Do Bad All by Myself.
Grace Jones transitioned from singing R&B dance tracks to the big screen in action film Gordon’s War, directed by Ozzie Davis. She later went on to star in more than a dozen films, including Boomerang and Conan the Destroyer.
Kelly Rowland went from singing alongside Beyonce and Michelle Williams in Destiny’s Child to starring in Freddy vs. Jason in 2003.
Janet Jackson’s first film was Poetic Justice in 1993. She’s since starred in five additional movies including Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, Why Did I Get Married?
Jennifer Hudson went from being an American Idol contestant to an Academy Award winning actress with debut film role in Dreamgirls in 2006.
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Today Rihanna makes her film debut starring alongside Brooklyn Decker, Taylor Kitsch and Liam Neeson in the big-budget action adventure Battleship. The movie centers around a fleet of Navy battleships that are forced to fight off aliens that have invaded Earth. Rihanna takes on the role of the fierce, no-nonsense Navy Petty Officer Cora Raikes. She is following in the footsteps of many R&B singers (like Whitney Houston, Diana Ross and Tina Turner) that have taken on the craft of acting. Here are some our favorite female R&B singers-turned actresses.
Follow Chris Witherspoon on Twitter at @WitherspoonC