Grandmaster Flash

Birth Name: Joseph Saddler

Place of Birth: The Bronx, New York City, New York, U.S.

Date of Birth: January 1, 1957

*father – African-Nevisian
*mother – Sierra Leonean, African-Barbadian

Grandmaster Flash is an American DJ and rapper. He is considered a pioneer in the art of turntablism. He is known for perfecting the technique of scratching vinyl records to create new sounds in hip-hop music. Grandmaster Flash formed the group Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, the first hip-hop group inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Grandmaster Flash was born in The Bronx, the son of Regina Johnson and Joseph Saddler. His father was born in Boston, Massachusetts, to emigrants from Nevis. His mother was born in New York City, to a Sierra Leonean father and a Barbadian mother. His uncle, Sandy Saddler, was a boxing world champion in the featherweight and super featherweight divisions.

While Grandmaster Flash is sometimes said to have been born in Bridgetown, Barbados, this is not correct.

Grandmaster Flash’s paternal grandfather was named Alexander Saddler.

Grandmaster Flash’s paternal grandmother was named Miriam Dasent (the daughter of Joseph Dacent).

Grandmaster Flash’s maternal grandfather was named Israel Johnson. Israel emigrated to the U.S. from Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone was a British colony. Many Africans had their surnames Anglicized due to colonization. Some African-American slaves joined the British during the Revolutionary War, and were relocated to Sierra Leone; it is possible that Israel was of African-American descent.

Grandmaster Flash’s maternal grandmother was named Tabitha Clark. Tabitha emigrated to the U.S. from Barbados.


Grandmaster Flash’s father on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Naturalization record of Grandmaster Flash’s paternal grandfather, Alexander Saddler –

Naturalization record of Grandmaster Flash’s paternal grandmother, Miriam (Dasent) Saddler –

Grandmaster Flash’s mother on the 1940 U.S. Census –

Marriage record of Grandmaster Flash’s maternal grandparents, Israel Johnson and Tabitha Clark –

2 Responses

  1. transemacabre says:

    Miriam’s father was Joseph Dacent, as per the ship manifest when she arrived in the US.

    Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1897. Microfilm Publication M237, 675 rolls. NAI: 6256867. Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36. National Archives at Washington, D.C. She arrived with Florence Dasent, who may have been a cousin (they were not sisters, as Florence’s father is listed as Henry Dasent).

  2. Mr. Postman says:

    I shouldn’t have written “allowed to settle in Sierra Leone”. Most of the African-Americans in Sierra Leone were forced to relocate there after moving to England. Could you please change it to “relocated”? Thank you.

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