Bonjou! 8 Famous Folks You Might Not Have Known Were Creole
Let me be clear in saying, I’m talking Louisiana Creole descent. Sorry if you clicked and were looking for one of the many other kinds. But where was I?
Frenchcreole.com identifies Creole people as a broad cultural group of people of all races who share a French or Spanish background. No matter how you come to the conclusion that one is Creole (and please, let’s not get into the colorstruck aspects of it all), there are many people who identify as such, and they speak a wide variety of languages. In our random travels through the Internet (or da Intanetz as we like to call it), we were surprised to find a number of celebrities who are of the Louisiana Creole heritage. If you’re nosey like us, you probably want to know who. Check it out.
Sheila Escovedo is hands down one of the coolest people to ever pick up a set of drumsticks and go to town on the drums, and if you didn’t know, she’s also of Mexican and Louisiana Creole heritage. Her father, famous drummer Pete Escovedo, is Mexican-American, while her mother, Juanita Escovedo (formerly Gardere), is French and black. I’ve been a fan since homegirl showed up in Krush Groove and dropped The Glamorous Life, but I can say that I didn’t know she was Creole…
But of course Nicole would be on the list. If you didn’t know, she is the niece of Sheila E (Richie is the daughter of Peter Michael Escovedo). And if you look up her ethnicity online, they have her as a mix of Mexican, African American, Caucasian and Creole. Richie, who was born Nicole Camille Escovedo, was adopted by Lionel Richie as a young girl when her parents found they couldn’t financially support her. They raised her, she met Paris Hilton while in school, and before you knew it, she was a popular reality personality with a wild streak. Nowadays, she’s toned it down and is a mother and fashion designer.
The former Secretary of State under George W. Bush is a lot of things. Along with being a pianist and an extraordinarily smart woman, she’s also Creole. And if you were thinking, “I should have known by Condoleeza!” you’re confused–that’s actually Italian. But anywho, Rice’s grandmother, Theresa Hardnett, was actually a half-Creole woman hailing from Baton Rouge. Rice hasn’t been silent about her Creole heritage, and in the influence it’s had on her. And also the influence it’s had on her cooking skills. She told Piers Morgan she could throw down in the kitchen: “I’d cook you fried chicken. Southern fried chicken. I would cook chili perhaps. Uh, corn bread. I’m quite good at corn bread. Or perhaps because of my half-Creole grandmother, I’d cook you gumbo.” Can we get a bowl?
The rapper and now reality TV star (aka Coco’s boo) and actor (coincidentally, as a cop on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit) is the son of a Creole mother according to his memoir, Ice: A Memoir of Gangster Life and Redemption—from South Central to Hollywood. Sadly, the rapper, born Tracy Morrow, lost both of his parents at a young age, and while they raised him in New Jersey, once they passed he had to move to South Los Angeles to live with his relatives. And so the story begins…
I know ya’ll remember the singer Michel’le! “Something in My Heart” anyone? Well, the former girlfriend of Dr. Dre was actually born Michel’le Touissant, and homegirl is of mixed Louisiana Creole heritage. Nowadays (if you were wondering), though she does have a son with Dr. Dre, she is married to former Death Row CEO Suge Knight. The two married while he was in jail, and they have a daughter together named Balei.
The Gumbels: Bryant and Greg
Your favorite news and sportscasters are Creole folks born in New Orleans. They are the sons of Richard Dunbar Gumbel, and Rhea Alice LeCesne. While they were born in NOLA, the family moved to Chicago, and that’s where the boys and their two sisters grew up. Bryant and Greg Gumbel are definitely two of the most entertaining sportscasters to grace the television screen.
Sabrina Le Beauf
The last name is probably a dead giveaway, but the chick who played Sondra Huxtable is a woman of Louisiana Creole heritage. The owner of her own interior design business, Le Beauf has talked about being Creole in the past, and how her unique look had her worried she wouldn’t be able to get the acting roles she was seeking: “African-Americans who look like me didn’t really exist in the casting pool,” she says. But at Yale, where Angela Bassett was a classmate, she says she got inspired to keep acting. Good move!
Beyoncé, Solange and Tina Knowles
Okay, so this wasn’t that big of a shocker for you. If you’ve seen Bey’s controversial “True Match” ad for L’Oreal, or heard her song, “Creole,” it’s not something she’s particularly trying to keep on the hush. Mama Tina is the daughter of Agnèz Beyincé, who was French a speaking Louisiana Creole. Agnèz Beyincé’s life inspired her daughter and granddaughter immensely, as the women spawned their clothing line, House of Deréon in honor of her passion for making clothes (Agnèz Beyincé was formerly known as Agnèz DeRouen–hence the name).
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