Lenny Kravitz

Kravitz in 2010, Featureflash / Shutterstock.com

Birth Name: Leonard Albert Kravitz

Place of Birth: Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S.

Date of Birth: May 26, 1964

*father – Ashkenazi Jewish
*mother – African-Bahamian, African-American

Lenny Kravitz is an American singer, songwriter, actor, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, and arranger. His father was producer Sy Kravitz (Seymour Sol Kravitz) and his mother was actress Roxie Roker. With his ex-wife, actress Lisa Bonet, he is the father of actress and model Zoë Kravitz. Lenny is related to weatherman and television personality Al Roker. Al has said that Lenny’s maternal grandfather and his own paternal grandfather were cousins.

Lenny’s father was Jewish (from a family from Eastern Europe, either Russia or Ukraine). Lenny’s mother was of half African-Bahamian and half African-American descent.

Lenny has been a practicing Christian since he was a teenager, having embraced Christianity as a personal choice when he was thirteen.

Lenny has stated that one of his maternal great-grandmothers (presumably Julia Tillman) was a Cherokee Native American. It is not clear if this Cherokee Native American ancestry has been verified/documented.

He has also said:

…I knew I was black, but I knew that wasn’t all I was. I knew I was also Russian Jewish and I knew that my great grandmother was full blooded Cherokee Indian. My mother always taught me, “Yes, you’re black, but you’re just as much this and you’re just as much that, and you don’t discount that.”.. you don’t discount one of your parents. You’re just as much one as the other. But, what my mother did say to me when I was a child that I think was very smart, and I didn’t realize it until I got older, was, “Even though you’re mixed, society only wants to see you as black.”

Lenny’s paternal grandfather was named Joseph Kravitz. Joseph was a Russian Jewish immigrant.

Lenny’s paternal grandmother was named Jean Kaufman. Jean was born in New York, to Russian Jewish parents.

Lenny’s maternal grandfather was named Albert Roker. Albert was a black emigrant from Nassau, The Bahamas.

Lenny’s maternal grandmother was Bessie Mitchell (the daughter of Will Mitchell and Julia Tillman). Bessie was an African-American from Georgia.

Sources: Genealogies of Lenny Kravitz – https://www.geni.com

Death records of Lenny’s parents – https://www.findagrave.com

Lenny’s father on the 1930 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org

Lenny’s mother on the 1930 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org

Obituary of Lenny’s mother – http://www.nytimes.com

Lenny’s maternal grandmother, Bessie Mitchell, on the 1920 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org


Curious about ethnicity

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