That’s My Cousin! Famous Black Celebrities Who Are Related

March 20, 2012  |  
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by Marissa Ellis

Culturally, black folks are known for referring to anyone they have a fondness for as their cousin. It’s a term of endearment per se. But it creates problems when it comes to an outsider determining actual blood connections. The outsider here being us, your very own nosy Madame Noire.

Case in point: many people assume that Ludacris and Monica are cousins. In actuality, they are merely connected via marriage. Luda’s uncle is married to Monica’s mom, essentially making Ludacris the nephew of Monica’s stepfather – not cousins. In any case, to the best of our abilities, we have highlighted some Black celebs who are first, second and third cousins.



Martin Lawrence and Christopher Martin 

They were in House Party together back in 1990 when Christopher Martin of Kid n Play was hot stuff and Martin Lawrence had not yet hit it big. Was cousin Chris responsible for getting Lawrence one of his breaks in movies? All we know is that these days, the roles are certainly reversed.

Al Roker and Lenny Kravitz

This came from the horse’s mouth. Al Roker revealed on the Today show that he and Lenny Kravitz were actually third cousins (their grandfathers were cousins).

Christopher Williams and Al B. Sure

These two held down the pretty boy era of 80s R&B, and are still in the entertainment industry, albeit on a much more low-key level. Al B. Sure is hosting a radio show and Christopher Williams is acting in stage plays.

Cherrelle and Pebbles

Cherrelle had a lot of great singles in the 1980s, including  Didn’t Mean to Turn You On,” but it’s her younger cousin Pebbles who is much more of a popular name amongst the younger generations. The two worked together when Cherrelle sang on Pebbles’ hit song “Always.”

K-Ci, Jo-Jo and Fantasia

K-Ci & JoJo of Jodeci and Fantasia are first cousins who hail from North Carolina. It’s kinda ironic that Fantasia rose to fame via American Idol when she had access to superstar relatives and their connections.

Stacey Dash and Damon Dash

It’s all in the Dash name for these first cousins who grew up in the Bronx together.


Bill Bellamy and Shaq

Now this is a surprising one. Although Bellamy has confirmed that he’s in fact Shaquille’s cousin, he never mentioned how distant or close they are in terms of cousinship. We’re guessing they’re second or third cousins.

Dionne Warwick and Whitney Houston

This couple marks the most famous of cousins in the industry. Sadly, Warwick has been coping with the death of her cousin in recent weeks. They are first cousins whose mothers were sisters and who sang in the gospel singing group the Drinkard Singers.


Pete Rock and Heavy D

Uber producer and DJ Pete Rock was the late Heavy D’s younger cousin. Shortly after his death, Pete Rock explained just how instrumental his cousin was to his career. Heavy D’s brother Floyd is the one who taught him how to scratch, putting him on the path to becoming the youngest DJ in New York when he was hired at WBLS at the age of 15. The New York natives remained close as they both rose up the ranks, and Pete Rock worked on a couple of D’s albums.

Marques Houston and J-Boog from B2k

Marques Houston definitely hooked up his cousin J-Boog (real name Jarell Damonte Houstonwith a plum job as part of the successful teen group B2K, who hit it big in the early 2000s. The elder cousin is busy with random projects as always and 26-year-old J-Boog is busy being a dad to his three children. 

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