John Legend

by ethnic on February 14, 2014

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Birth Name: John Roger Stephens

Place of Birth: Springfield, Ohio, U.S.

Date of Birth: December 28, 1978

Ethnicity: African-American [including likely Fula Guinea-Bissauan, Mende Sierra Leonean], some European

John Legend is an American singer, songwriter, musician, and actor.

John’s parents, Phyllis Elaine (Lloyd) and Ronald Lamar Stephens, were/are both African-American. He studied English with an emphasis on African-American studies at University. He is married to model Chrissy Teigen, with whom he has two children.

A picture of John with his wife, child, grandmother, and father can be seen here. A picture of John with his mother can be seen here.

A DNA test taken by the show Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (2012) stated that John’s genetic ancestry is:

*64% African
*32% European
*4% Native American

John’s paternal grandfather was Arthur Benjamin Stephens (the son of John B. Stephens and Martha Cape). Arthur was born in Ohio. John’s great-grandfather John Stephens was the son of Henry Stephens and Julie. Martha was the daughter of John Kimsey Cape and Antinete.

John’s paternal grandmother is Marjorie Maxine “Maggie” Smith (the daughter of Dennis Wiley Smith and Esther Louise Ryder). Marjorie was born in Ohio. Dennis was the son of Sidney Smith and Matilda. Esther was the daughter of James Ryder and Bessie/Bethinia Underwood.

John’s maternal grandfather was Raymond Eugene Lloyd, Sr. (the son of William/Will Lloyd and Lillie Beatrice Greason/Greeson). Raymond was born in Tennessee, and was a Pastor Emeritus. Lillie was born in Tennessee, the daughter of Monroe/Mon Greason/Greeson and Laura Whitfield.

John’s maternal grandmother is Elmira M. Bass (the daughter of Ralph/Ralf Lewis Bass and Elmira/Elmyra Mack). Elmira was born in Ohio. Ralph was the son of Richard Bass and Mary Ella/Ellen Buchannon.

John’s DNA test stated that John’s patrilineal line likely came from the Fula people in Guinea-Bissau, and that John’s matrilineal line likely came from the Mende people in Sierra Leone. In his 2014 book based on the series, Finding Your Roots: The Official Companion to the PBS Series, Gates writes on page 266, “One analysis of [John’s] admixture indicates that his white ancestors were from southeastern Europe, around Romania, but he also shares genetic material with people living in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Jamaica.”

Sources: Genealogies of John Legend –

Obituary of John’s maternal grandfather, Raymond Eugene Lloyd, Sr. –

John’s maternal great-grandmother, Lillie Beatrice Greason/Greeson, on the 1910 U.S. Census –

John’s maternal great-grandfather, Ralph/Ralf Lewis Bass, on the 1900 U.S. Census –

Information about John’s appearance on Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (2012) –

Source: Photo by

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

andrew October 14, 2017 at 6:20 pm
andrew July 20, 2017 at 8:17 pm
andrew October 7, 2016 at 6:48 am
madman October 7, 2016 at 1:13 am

I think “Fula” and “Fulani” should have a single label, since they are the same tribe.

cwm85 December 5, 2015 at 10:10 am

He looks very African with lighter skin. The face, nose, head shape. Good thing he knows what part of Africa and tribes he’s from. He’s a third European too.

Adamina September 15, 2016 at 2:47 pm

I’ve seen Fulanis with skin as light as his. Africans come in different shades

Devotion October 15, 2015 at 2:09 am

He is Khoisan

bearboy June 13, 2015 at 12:17 pm

@Follers go to page 266 of the book Finding Your Roots by Henry Louis Gates Jr. In the middle of the first paragraph it says, “One analysis of his admixture indicates that his white ancestors were from southeastern Europe, around ROMANIA, but he also shares genetic material with people living in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Jamaica.” Page 266

Jaiylyn June 9, 2015 at 10:59 pm

Guys, look up the San or Khoisan Bush people of South Africa. They have your so called “Asian” features such as epithancal folds, slanted eyes and skin lighter than caramel. John Legend could very well be mixed to an extent like the average black American, but you could compare him to Nelson Mandela and there would not really be a big difference.

bearboy June 9, 2015 at 9:31 am
M June 9, 2015 at 7:15 am

There’s definitely some Asian in there.

follers February 23, 2015 at 10:41 am

John Legend, Christine Teigen, and Rita Ora again? Every time there’s an awards show they’re always the most-viewed pages, regardless of their level of involvement (did Ariana Grande take the night off?).

Was no one interested in the ancestry of Eddie Redmayne or Julianne Moore?

ethnic February 23, 2015 at 4:02 pm

Yeh I know. I guess John and Christine are perceived to be more Ethnically ambiguous to a lot of people.

bearboy February 1, 2015 at 9:24 pm

He is 32% European descent so I think Irish, United Kingdom (most likely English), and southeastern Europe (around Romania) should be added to his ethnicity.

follers February 1, 2015 at 10:43 pm

Romania? What are the chances of that?

midori29 February 9, 2015 at 7:02 am

@bearboy, I have never ever heard of that. Where did you get that one from??

midori29 November 24, 2014 at 6:03 pm

The asian features he so called has originated in South Africa with the Kalahari black bushmen , who were the oldest people on earth. I think people need to get away from the slavery notion that you have to be jet black skinned to be 100 percent black. Not true

ladida October 23, 2014 at 9:50 am

AFRICANS often times have Asian features. So basically he doesn’t have to have Asian or native ancestry to get those features. His ancestors probably came from Ghana and the surrounding areas where similar features are.

memphis January 23, 2015 at 5:05 am

Ghanaian doubtful, to me he looks to be of partially Yoruba decent of Nigeria, Benin, and Angola. Almond shaped eyes is a trait of some tribes in continental Africa. Oh course, he may have European ancestry due to this country’s history of admixture.

Your Mom August 9, 2014 at 7:50 pm

He Does Look A Bit Asian.

Check7t October 2, 2014 at 3:15 am

Probably some minor Amerindian heritage.

Nikki May 19, 2014 at 5:34 pm

he isnt asian but i bet there is a lil somethin (european or native merican) in this man

shobohunter April 15, 2014 at 6:20 am

this bruddah is denying his Asian side.

this half-Asian M O N G R E L.

this bruddah is handsome, I wonder how many white women he have banged.

andrew April 16, 2014 at 6:15 am

Marvin Gaye had a similar look

TajMahmud May 14, 2014 at 12:33 pm

Him and Marvin Gaye do NOT look alike. Da fuq?

andrew May 14, 2014 at 3:32 pm
Your Mom August 9, 2014 at 7:51 pm

Hell No. They Don’t Look Alike At All.

Your Mom August 9, 2014 at 7:56 pm

Honestly He Looks Like A Black Version Of Joseph Gordon Levitt. LMAO. JGL Looks Part Asian As Well.

ihatemostpeople February 19, 2014 at 1:51 pm

He must have some Asian ancestry way back. He looks Asian-influenced.

andrew February 20, 2014 at 7:00 am


TajMahmud May 14, 2014 at 12:34 pm

I agree! Clearly some Asian ancestry here.

shobohunter May 20, 2014 at 5:02 am

he has typical saka suloo look

andrew February 19, 2014 at 6:41 am

great performer

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