Sofia Richie

NEW YORK-FEB 12: Sofia Richie attends the FENTY PUMA by Rihanna

Richie in 2016, photo by Debby Wong/

Place of Birth: Los Angeles, California, U.S.

Date of Birth: August 24, 1998

*father – African-American, small amounts of English, Scottish, and French-Canadian
*maternal grandfather – Greek
*maternal grandmother – English, Irish, Scots-Irish/Northern Irish

Sofia Richie is an American social media personality, model, and fashion designer. She has modeled for Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Kors, and Adidas. She is the daughter of Lionel Richie, a famed musician, and Diane Kerry/Keri Alexander, a dancer and designer. Her legal half-sister is Nicole Richie, who is Lionel’s adopted daughter. She is also known as Sofia Richie Grainge.

Sofia’s father is African-American; his parents were both black, with small amounts of English and Scottish, and distant French-Canadian, ancestry. Sofia’s mother is white. She is of Greek descent on her own father’s side, and of English, Irish, and Scots-Irish/Northern Irish ancestry on her own mother’s. A picture of Sofia’s mother and maternal grandmother can be seen here. Sofia’s mother was described as a “Greek beauty” in a 1993 article in Regents/Prentice Hall.

Sofia has said:

I’m very light, so some people don’t really know that I’m black… I’ve been in situations where people will say something kind of racist and I’ll step in and they’ll be like, ‘Oh, well, you’re light.’ That still doesn’t cut it, buddy. It’s 2016 – you better get your s–t together before you get slapped out here.

Sofia is married to British record executive Elliot Grainge, who is the son of Lucian Grange, the chairman and chief executive officer of Universal Music Group. Sofia is a convert to Judaism, which is Elliot’s faith.

Sofia’s paternal grandfather was Lionel/Lyonel Brockman Richie (the son of Charles A./E. Richie and Ida J. Garfield). Lionel was born in Alabama, to African-American parents. Charles was the son of Henry Richie and Georgia Anna.

Sofia’s paternal grandmother was Alberta R. Foster (the daughter of Albert Davidson Foster and Adelaide M. Brown). Alberta was born in Tennessee, to African-American parents. Albert was the son of George Foster and Betsey. Adelaide was the daughter of John Louis Brown and Volenderver Towson. Sofia’s great-great-grandfather John was the National leader and co-founder of “The Knights of the Wise Men,” a fraternal organization for black men in the post-Civil War period; John was the son of a white slave owner, Morgan Williams Brown, of English, Scottish, and French-Canadian descent, and of Mariah, who was a slave.

Sofia’s maternal grandfather is named Theodore T. “Ted” Alexander (the son of Stephanos Alexandropolis and Diamondo). Ted is of Greek ancestry.

Sofia’s maternal grandmother is Marilyn J. Gilbert (the daughter of Raymond Dewey Gilbert and Virginia Rae Moss Ferry). Marilyn is caucasian. Raymond was born in Illinois, the son of Irish parents, Stephen Winfield Gilbert and Martha Hill. Virginia was the daughter of David Walter Ferry and Maybell/Maybelle Jane Sherwin Moss.

"To Protect and Serve" an Evening of Entertainment and Inspiration - Arrivals

Sofia’s parents Lionel and Diane Richie in 2002, photo by Prphotos

Sources: Information about Sofia’s father’s appearance on Who Do You Think You Are?, 2011 –

Genealogy of Sofia Richie (focusing on her father’s side) –

Sofia’s paternal grandfather, Lionel/Lyonel Brockman Richie, on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Sofia’s paternal grandmother, Alberta R. Foster, on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Obituary of Sofia’s paternal great-great-grandfather, John Louis Brown –

Sofia’s maternal great-grandfather, Raymond Dewey Gilbert, on the 1910 U.S. Census –

Death record of Sofia’s maternal great-grandfather, Raymond Dewey Gilbert –

Sofia’s maternal great-grandmother, Virginia Rae Moss Ferry, on the 1930 U.S. Census –


Curious about ethnicity

82 Responses

  1. River9 says:

    What does Volenderver even mean, is that an actual name or is it just another name fabrication that failed to spread?

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