John Legend

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Legend in 2014, photo by

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.”

LOS ANGELES – SEP 9: John Legend at the 2018 Creative Arts Emmy Awards – Day 2 – Arrivals at the Microsoft Theater on September 9, 2018 in Los Angeles, CA photo by kathclick

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) –


Curious about ethnicity

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