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, some European [English/Scottish/Welsh/Cornish]

John Legend is an American singer, songwriter, producer, actor, and philanthropist. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Song, along with Common, for their song “Glory,” from the film Selma (2014).

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 four 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 was selected People Magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” in 2019. He is the fourth non-white man, and the fourth man of significant African ancestry, to have been given this title by the magazine (Denzel Washington, in 1996, is the first, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, in 2016, Idris Elba, in 2018, and Michael B. Jordan, in 2020, are the others, fitting both criteria).

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: Genealogy 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

44 Responses

  1. dlxzvs says:

    correction the word caucasian should be changed to white or european

  2. Mixed Kidd says:

    How come his Romanian ancestry isn’t added in his European part of his ethnicity. If you include UK and Irish, you might as well add his Romanian ancestry too.

  3. andrew says:

    Sexiest man alive? Really?

    Amy opinion by women is accepted

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