Lil Rel Howery recently shared that Tina Knowles-Lawson has stepped in as a second mom in his life, losing his mother, Nancy, to cancer in 2009.
“Ms. Tina is who I’ve gotten close to,” Howery said, referring to THEE Tina Knowles-Lawson, during a recent interview on The Read podcast. “She’s like my second mama. It’s something I didn’t know I needed. My mom has been gone for a while now (after battling cancer)…and Ms. Tina kinda out of nowhere became [my second mom].”
Since his mother’s passing, the comedian and actor has soared in the entertainment industry as one of the go-to Black Hollywood actors featured in different genres from horror, to drama, to rom-com’s. He’s experienced tremendous loss since his mother Nancy’s death, losing his middle brother to cancer in 2013, along with friend Kevin Barnett, who wrote and co-created his now cancelled self-titled Fox show, Rel.
Howery told the Chicago Sun-Times in a 2014 interview that his parents were always so supportive of his pursuit to be a comedian, something that he said other children who grew up with him on the West Side of Chicago.
“My father and mother participated in everything. It used to irritating. Like, ‘Why y’all always gotta come to everything? Nobody else’s parents come to everything.’ And I remember being checked by one of my gangsta friends. He was like, ‘Hey man, at least they come see you.”
But now he’s so grateful because it’s now Ms. Tina who fills that role for him, he said on The Read.
“Ms. Tina comes to everything, she’ll write me a prayer every once in a while…I didn’t know I needed that,” Howery said. “[At the Roc Nation brunch] I was asking Jay like, ‘Yo man, I think I would love for Roc Nation to put out my special as an album form because I want to try to get a Grammy next year.’ I said, ‘Do we have to have a meeting about it?’ He said, ‘Dude if I don’t do this, Ms. Tina would be mad. I gotta do whatever mama says.’”
Ms. Tina wrote a special tribute to the comedian directly after she attended the HBO screening of his comedy special last year.
“You killed it man, you know i got 50-11 kids, Lil Rel is one of them,” she wrote.