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6 Black Celebrities Who Abandoned Their 9-5 Jobs In Pursuit Of Fame

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Taraji P. Henson

Before all of her success on the screen, Henson was working in a very different arena. Prior to acting, the single mother worked as a receptionist at the Pentagon and a waitress on the Spirit of Washington cruise ship. She eventually left Washington, D.C., when her son, Marcel, was just a toddler in hopes of landing movie stardom.

“Wherever it is I’m going in this business, I’m not there yet,” she told The Washington Post in 2011. “Who wants to come to Hollywood and be on the B list? I want the A list!”

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Laz Alonso

The Avatar star was experiencing success long before his acting career began. The Howard University graduate had a lucrative job as an investment banker with Merrill Lynch on Wall Street. After realizing he didn’t want to spend his life in the corporate world, Alonso enrolled in acting classes.

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