They Do Mix! 15 Black Celebrities Who Are Jewish

September 7, 2012  |  
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In the African American community, Christianity is definitely the most common religion. Though you don’t see it much, there are blacks who practice other religions, including Judaism. Here are 15 famous faces who are proudly black and Jewish.

Lauren London

Actress Lauren London has a Jewish father.


Rapper Drake was born to a mom who is Jewish Canadian.

Ben Harper

Ben Harper’s mother is Jewish.

Amar’e Stoudemire

New York Knicks power forward Amar’e Stoudemire has a Jewish mom.

Boris Kodjoe

Boris Kodjoe’s grandmother was Jewish and was a Holocaust victim.

Lenny Kravitz

Musician Lenny Kravitz’s dad is Jewish.

Maya Rudolph

Maya’s dad is Ashkenazi Jewish.

Sammy Davis Jr.

Entertainer Sammy Davis Jr. converted to the Jewish religion when he became an adult.

Rashida Jones

Actress Rashida Jones’ mom is Ashkenazi Jewish.

Tracee Ellis Ross

Tracee’s father is Jewish.

Craig David

Singer and songwriter Craig David’s mother is Jewish.


Rapper Shyne has said that his mother’s side of the family is Jewish.

Nell Carter

After marrying George Krynicki in 1982, actress Nell Carter began practicing Judaism.

Lisa Bonet

Actress Lisa’s mother is Jewish.

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  • Linda

    Wasn’t Minnie Riperton Maia Rudolph’s mother?
    I nver knew who Minnie married but I knew he was not African American.

  • Cameron

    Where is Kat Graham? Ya’ll didn’t add her!

  • david orlans

    I thought this was a list of Blacks who were practicing Jews. If so, then it is egregiously missing the great Yaphet Kotto.

  • Anonymous

    While I think this article is interesting, it does not indicate whether or not these people are practicing Jews, or if they self-identify as Jewish (with the exception of Sammy and Nell). Even though by technical rules, you are considered Jewish if your biological mother is Jewish, they may not consider themselves that way. I think its more important to note what they consider themselves to be. Even though there is a Jewish ethnicity, it is primarily a religion, and thus something one chooses to follow.

  • Darg

    So, am I the only one who finds it offensive that they feel the need to single out which celebs are both black and Jewish? As though those two factors are what defines the people?

    • Mead

      I don’t think they needed to single them out, as much as wanting to create awareness. As a mixed person, I appreciate knowing this information. It doesn’t take away from everything else these celebs have/had to offer.

  • I challenge you to find an American that ISN’T of mixed race, nationality or religion. Seriously. I bet you can’t do it.

    • Mead

      Most are NOT mixed race. Mixed nationality, sure, but not mixed race. Interracial marriage in the US wasn’t legal until 1967, so if there is any mixing at all, it’s usually only for one or two generations. Still, the majority of people tend to stick to their own race when looking for a mate. And there’s nothing wrong with that. People can be attracted to whoever they want. I just think it’s ridiculous to claim that every American is mixed race. You really can’t compare someone who is maybe a mixed of black, white and Asian, and someone who is a mix of Irish and Norwegian. The former is going to spend the rest of their life having to explain their race to absolute strangers, while the latter is just considered white.
      To add, yes, it is uncommon for Jews to be black, for whatever reason. I am glad to see black Jews.

  • Didn’t even know Rashida Jones was her name OR that we were supposed to consider her black.

    • Mead

      What would you consider her then? Not picking an argument, just curious.

  • Junkrawk

    I think it shoukd also be noted that most people don’t know that Rashida Jones is Black.

    • Sierra Reese

      Exactly at first when I saw her on Chelsea Lately I thought it was going to be a black woman and then when she came out I was confused so then i googled her and saw that Quincy Jones was her dad.

  • DJKA

    By traditional Jewish law, you’re a Jew if your mother is Jewish or if you officially convert. By 2012 American standards, if you consider yourself a Jew and practice Judaism, that’s good enough. If there’s one thing we Jews should stop doing, it’s ghettoizing ourselves. This article is just celebrity trivia, anyway. it’s nice to see people who are proud of their mixed roots (including adopted roots, for converts). L’chaim! 🙂

  • This article is properly titled “Blacks who have a Jewish ancestor”

  • So you’ve decided for all the rabbis in the world, that there is no such thing as a proper convert?

    Was Abraham born to a Jewish mother?

    Was Abraham Jewish?

    • mahatmacoatmabag

      Adam Smith , you are mixing apples & oranges. I made no remarks about converts to Judaism or any other religion, I merely reiterated that Obama is by accident of birth a Muslim since Muslims take their religion from their father. I have not read that Obama was baptised , unlikely given his mother was a Marxist Atheist Hippy, or of his formal conversion to Christianity, thus I would say the onus is on him to prove he is a Christian

      • sheeks

        Im a muslim n I can tell u this; islam is not a religion u can inherit. Its not a genes. U make the choice if being a Muslim. Even uf your grandmother, grandfather, father, mother,sister, cousin or your whole damn family are muslims, it does not make u one. U have a choice.

  • Sharon

    Didn’t Harry Belafonte also convert to Judaism?

  • This is what happens when yellow journalists are writing their articles devoid of cultural knowledge & overstanding. Their ineptness shows via lack of research

  • Agreed, political designation is determined by the bearer of the newborn

  • unlisted

    People who have a Jewish father and non-Jewish mother are NOT Jewish, unless they have undergone an Orthodox conversion. This is despite what “Reform” and “Conservative” streams have tried to change the rules, but those conversions are invalid.

  • “Actress Lisa’s mother is Jewish”

    She is also shockingly beautiful… Perhaps a descendent of the Queen of Sheeba? Such a woman could indeed bewitch even Solomon…

  • “New York Knicks power forward Amar’e Stoudemire has a Jewish mom.”

    Perhaps this explains his nose… LOL

  • Herman Storick

    If I understand correctly, there is no religious law in the Tanach (Hebrew Scriptures) that dictates Jewish identity only if born of a Jewish mother. In the later years during the Middle Ages, leading rabbis created the concept of children of Jewish mothers being Jewish. Important note, when a Jew is given an aliyah in synagogue he is called up for example by his Biblical name “son” of (fathe’rs Hebrew name.)

    • david orlans

      The Tanach is not the Torah. Originally, it was by the father’s side.
      Take note that the Isaac, Jacob and Moses took non-Jewish wives. Ruth, the grandmother of King David was a Moabite who converted to Judaism.

  • bobfairlane

    The real holocaust was the war against Germans. Why do jews love negros so much? They move to white countries time and time again, then always kiss # to negros, even mating with them.

    • pbrower2a

      Reported as hate speech. I’m not going to deny that the Germans and Japanese paid a high price for the crimes of their leaders. But German and Japanese leadership committed horrific crimes.

      …Could it be that Judaism is one of the most humane and decent religions in existence? I say this as a German-American.

  • ana

    Ur an idiot!

    • mahatmacoatmabag

      ana, if & when you learn to write in English, feel free to write another stupid remark !

  • Having a Jewish father doesn’t make you Jewish, you need a Jewish mother unless of course you convert. And yes even non-Jewish born children who are adopted by Jews have to convert (or be converted). This not new news.

  • How come you get decide Obama’s faith, but he doesn’t? He says he’s Christian and he practices Christianity. And even if he WERE Muslim, are you really going to follow the “They’re all alike” mentality, or are you going to consider him as an individual with his own flaws and merits? If we were in the time of Lincoln, then it would make sense for black people to support (though sadly not get to vote for) Lincoln. Times and parties change.

    • Rzldzl122

      Michelle Obama”s cousin is a Rabbi in Chicago, he sits on the Chicago Rabbinical council, Barack Obama’s father, who divorced his mother while he was an infant, went on to marry a Jewish Woman and Barack has 2 Jewish half brothers, one lives in Israel.

  • Republican Party??? Not today’s Republican party..choke. Lincoln’s Republican party was more in alignment with todays Democratic party.

  • Notice that you’re only Jewish if your Mom is jewish – but you’re n****er if you have only one drop of african blood!!

    • harvey

      Carl – I think you mean that “you’re Jewsih only if your Mom is Jewish.” Nobody is “only Jewish,” because if he were he would presumably not be a man or a woman or a worker or a homeowner, etc. because he’d be “only Jewish.”

  • rar113

    While it’s true that your mother must be Jewish for you to be (unless you convert), children of a Jewish father are considered, informally at least, to be “zera Yisrael” (of Jewish stock), and are, or should be, more readily accepted as converts, especially if they have been reared Jewish. I know, my 4 kids were in that boat! Also, the Reform movement accepts children of a Jewish father as Jews, but that contravenes Jewish law.

  • James’ Wife

    FYI, In the Jewish faith, your mother must be Jewish in order for you to be, unless you convert.

  • Habitual Guest

    Add author Rebecca Walker (daughter of Alice Walker and ex of Meshell Ndegeocello) to your list.

  • kee

    in order for one to be a Jew, you must convert or have born to a jewish mother. period

  • Selah!!!

    Bossip get your reading and understanding game up. “black people”, ” afro-americans” , “Ninja’s” or whatever you want to call us, are the original jews. Not the European “jews” that we have today.It is stated that the “true jews” would be scattered across the land and be as numerous as sand on a beach. They would make mockery of themselves, made into slaves, and will most deff. suffer. Blacks have been scattered across the lands through slavery. Blacks are now becoming so numerous that whites are actually the minority. Blacks are one of the most dominate race’s out on television and radio’s, making a mockery of themselves through violence, lust, idoltry, and the gathering of dirt ( big houses, fancy cars, jewlery, fancy clothes), for all things come from the dirt and is nothing more then refined dirt. So be not surprised when someone of color is half “jew”. Be surprised that you didn’t know which half is the real Jew.

    • walterr44

      The ancient Jews were the same racial type as the other semitic peoples.
      DNA analysis definitely links most Ashkenazi Jews with todays mideastern semitic
      population. Most Sephardic Jews are obviously of semitic background.
      The only black African Jews definitively established as Jews are Ethopian.
      Almost all of them fled from persecution by their fellow black Africans and went to Israel
      Just google to verify

      • deb

        what are you talking about? what about the ones in Nigria, Ghana, Brazil, Cuba, Jamiaca,Trinidad, Haiti, India, China, Columba, Congo, Usa, didn’t CNN found much more Black Hebrews in parts of Africa etc,etc? so Google has all facts then?

      • yehuda braun

        East Africans directly on a sea-trade route have the genes and the names, dummy!

  • mikki

    There Edomites . Get ready for slavery Esau

    • JustSaying_IMFO

      No, they’re not. Edomites were a specific group. Most of these are the children of a white Jewish person who procreated with a black person. Some are Jewish converts.

    • JustSaying_IMFO

      No, they’re not. Edomites were a specific group. Most of these are the children of a white Jewish person who procreated with a black person. Some are Jewish converts.

    • Lee

      Please enough with the Black Hebrew Israelite mumbo jumbo. Esau was the brother of Jacob (Israel), so what would that make Israelites?

      • sa’rah

        israelites are the children of israel (jacob). the hell that got to do with esau? anyone who’s father is an edomite is an edomite!!! they will be dealt with accordingly. read your scripture and stop using it a a prop