03/11/2018 – Kehlani – 2018 iHeartRadio Music Awards – Arrivals – The Forum – Inglewood, CA, USA – Photo Credit: David Gabber /

Birth Name: Kehlani Ashley Parrish

Place of Birth: Oakland, Alameda, California, United States

Date of Birth: April 24, 1995

*paternal grandfather – African-American
*paternal grandmother – Scottish, English, German, Scots-Irish/Northern Irish, Welsh, distant Cornish and Irish, possibly Choctaw Native American
*mother – Blackfoot and Cherokee Native American, Spanish, Mexican, Filipino

Kehlani is an American singer, songwriter, and dancer.

She was adopted and raised by her maternal aunt, Tanya Marie French. Kehlani’s biological mother is evidently of Blackfoot and Cherokee Native American, and Spanish, Mexican, and Filipino, descent. Her biological father, Elon Thompson Parrish, died when she was a toddler. Kehlani’s paternal grandfather was African-American. Kehlani’s paternal grandmother is of Scottish, English, German, Scots-Irish/Northern Irish, and Welsh, as well as distant Cornish, Irish, and possibly Choctaw Native American, ancestry.

Kehlani stated her ethnic background as “Black, White, Native American and Spanish” in an interview on Hot 97, and specified that “Blackfoot Cherokee” are her Native American tribes. She has also said that she has a small amount of Filipino ancestry (at 0:23 at the link), and, in another interview, Mexican (at 24:14 at the link).

Kehlani has a daughter with her guitarist Javaughn Young-White. Javaughn’s brother is comedian Jaboukie Young-White.

Kehlani’s paternal grandfather is Guy Corwin Parrish (the son of Robert Lawrence Parrish and Jean Andra Thompson). Guy was born in Los Angeles, California, and is African-American. Robert was the son of J. A. Parrish and Belle Way. Jean was the daughter of Jesse Thompson and Kathryn Morris.

Kehlani’s paternal grandmother was Ruth Suzanne Thompson (the daughter of James Buchanan Thompson, Jr. and Ruth Imogene Wallace). Suzanne was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. James was the son of James Buchanan Thompson, Sr., whose own parents were Scottish, and of Barbara Adelaide Brown. Kehlani’s great-grandmother Ruth was the daughter of Baxter Boxbe Wallace and Nancy J. Jones.

Kehlani’s maternal grandfather was named Christopher French.

Agenda Las Vegas 2014 Summer Fashion Expo - Day 2

Kehlani in 2014, photo by

Sources: Birth record of Kehlani’s father –

Marriage record of Kehlani’s paternal grandparents, Guy Corwin Parrish and Suzanne Ruth Thompson –

Divorce record of Kehlani’s paternal grandparents, Guy Corwin Parrish and Suzanne Ruth Thompson –

Birth record of Kehlani’s paternal grandfather, Guy Corwin Parrish –

Marriage record of Kehlani’s paternal great-grandparents, Robert Lawrence Parrish and Jeana Andra Thompson –

Marriage record of Kehlani’s paternal great-grandparents, James Buchanan Thompson, Jr. and Ruth Imogene Wallace –

Kehlani’s paternal great-grandfather, James Buchannan Thompson, Jr., on the 1920 U.S. Census –

Obituary of Kehlani’s paternal great-grandfather, James Buchannan Thompson, Jr. –

Marriage record of Kehlani’s paternal great-great-grandparents, James Buchanan Thompson and Barbara Ade Brown –

Obituary of Kehlani’s paternal great-grandmother, Ruth Imogene (Wallace) Thompson –

77 Responses

  1. madman says:

    Two of Kehlani’s cousins’ (to some degree) parents are Ricardo Campos (who is from El Salvador) and April Faye Lewis. This is April:

    April is closely related to Kehlani’s mother and aunt, but I don’t know exactly how. Note that her mother’s surname is Byron, the same surname as the mother of the Christopher French that we have discussed before. It makes me believe that he actually is the right grandfather and that he and April are half-siblings.

    I remember follers saying before that this Christopher’s parents are both white. April is not (only) white, so if it is the right person, there is something else going on as well.

    • madman says:

      The mother of this Christopher French, Barbara M. Byron, was at some point married to men with the surnames French and Lewis. The familysearch tree connects her to a John Edward Lewis, who was black. Maybe William R. French was also black then.

      • madman says:

        Not convinced enough to add this? I think it can be pretty much considered confirmed that these are the right people now.

        • follers says:

          Whaat? Did you think I would write, “Kehlani’s grandmother and mother are white caucasian women. She is not of Blackfoot and Cherokee Native American, Spanish, Mexican, and Filipino descent”?

          I am not sure, btw, if it’s said that Kehlani’s mother has black ancestry.

          Also, didn’t you write:
          “It’s not the right Christopher French. Kehlani mentioned that her grandfather, almost certainly maternal, is featured on her mixtape from 2015 through a phone call. This Christopher French died in 2003, so he can’t be her grandfather (unless she meant a step-grandfather, which I don’t think). He seemed to fit well with the marriage record so perhaps that’s not the right one either. It’s also possible that her aunt was actually referring to another relative and not to her own father in the comment.”

          “The correct Christopher French was also born on 15 September 1946 and not 12 September. His middle initial is H, and the other one doesn’t have one on his birth record.”

          • madman says:

            We only know that Christopher French had a white mother. His father could’ve been non-white. Or did you find him too and have confirmed that he’s also white?

            I never wrote that her mother had black ancestry. This Christopher French had a mother who also evidently had children with a black man. But that man was not Christopher’s father. Also, do you know that Patricia D. Boyd was white?

            I know I wrote all that and I still think it made sense at the time. But the entire family is a bit confusing now that I’ve looked into it more. There are a lot of divorced, re-marriages, and step-family members, and they are also very liberal with the use of “cousin”, “nephew”, “grandfather” etc. Kehlani already refers to her step-grandmother as simply her grandmother, so I should’ve known better than to assume that man had to have been her biological grandfather.

            April Lewis’ birth record has changed my opinion. What we know for sure is that:
            1. Kehlani’s mother’s parents had the surnames French and Boyd.
            2. Kehlani’s mother has a relative named Christopher French (likely the grandfather).
            3. April Lewis is closely related to Kehlani’s mother, is not (fully) white, and her parents’ surnames were Lewis and Byron.

            We also know that there is a Christopher French who was born in the same year as Kehlani’s mother’s relative, very likely married a woman with the surname Boyd, had parents with the surnames French and Byron, and a mother who also at some points had the surname Lewis, which, if the people who made the familysearch-tree are to be believed, came from a black man named John Lewis. Take this for what it’s worth, but it fits way too well to be a coincidence in my opinion.

            The different birth dates are probably the weirdest part, but there’s probably an explanation for it. It’s also only a difference of three days, which I would care about more if it wasn’t for all the rest.

          • follers says:

            “Interestingly,” interracial marriage was illegal in California until October 1948, so whoever it was that Barbara was marrying had to be white or “white enough” for the magistrate.

        • madman says:

          I can’t find their marriage record so perhaps they never married or married out-of-state. There’s probably something else going on too though, I would’ve expected some recent Spanish surnames on her mother’s side.

  2. transemacabre says:

    Maternal grandparents are surely Christopher French and Patricia D. Boyd who divorced in 1972 in Alameda, CA: California, U.S., Divorce Index, 1966-1984 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2007.

    Grandfather Christopher was born 1946 in San Francisco and died in 2003 in Alameda, mother’s maiden name Byron.

  3. nick says:

    I think her maternal section should say “possibly” since it seems to all be unconfirmed, especially irt the Native stuff

  4. sadesdaughter says:

    I think she is basically just 1/4 black and 3/4 white with some remote indigenous ancestry. She’s always said that she was part Spaniard and then found out through Ancestry that she was part Mexican so any indigenous ancestry she has is likely very minor since she has no recent Latino heritage.

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