11 Black Celebrity Families Who Have Shaped the Culture


February 1, 2024

Influence and innovation run in these families!

From music legends to political trailblazers, Black families have played a major role in shaping the cultural landscape. Each family represents a unique powerhouse, showcasing excellence in music, comedy, gospel, politics, and beyond. Here are the stories and legacies of 11 Black families who have shaped our culture in profound ways.

The Jacksons

Front, from left: Janet, Randy, La Toya, Rebbie. Back, from left: Jackie, Michael, Tito, Marlon. Credit: CBS Television

The Jacksons are an undeniable musical powerhouse, with Michael Jackson hailed as the “King of Pop.” The Jackson 5–featuring young Michael with brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, and Marlon– achieved massive success with hits like “I Want You Back” and “ABC.” Michael dominated the solo scene with albums like “Thriller.” Janet Jackson, the youngest sibling, carved her own path as an icon with hits like “Rhythm Nation.” Their contributions extend to acting, with Janet gracing films like Poetic Justice and Michael showcasing his charm in The Wiz. Jaafar, set to portray Michael in an upcoming biopic, continues the family’s artistic legacy.

The Wayans Family

Left to Right: Damien Dante Wayans, Damon Wayans Jr, Marlon Wayans, Shawn Wayans, Kim Wayans and Keenan Ivory Wayans on May 20, 2009. Credit: Alex Berliner/BEI/Shutterstock

The comedic genius of the Wayans family has been a staple in the entertainment world. Led by Kenan Ivory, Damon, Shawn, Marlon, and Kim Wayans, this family has given us memorable shows like The Wayans Brothers, the groundbreaking In Living Color, and My Wife and Kids. Their hilarious Scary Movie franchise showcased their ability to blend humor with social commentary. This talented family continues to leave audiences in stitches with their unique brand of comedy.

The Moss-Clark Family

Left to Right: Jacky Clark Chisholm, Dorinda Clark Cole, Karen Clark Sheard, and Elbernita “Twinkie” Clark. Credit: The Journal of Gospel Music

The Clark Sisters, led by their mother Dr. Mattie Moss Clark, are a powerhouse in the gospel music scene. Known for their tight harmonies and uplifting tunes, they’ve made an innovative mark. Not only did Mattie Moss Clark pave the way as a gospel choir director, but she also mentored numerous artists. Kierra Sheard, Mattie’s granddaughter, continues the family legacy, earning acclaim for her gospel career and contributions to the genre. The musical talent doesn’t stop there – J. Moss and J. Drew Sheard, II, also part of the family, have made significant contributions to the gospel and R&B music scenes.

The Simmons Family

Left to Right: JoJo, Diggy, Justine, Rev Run, Vanessa and Angela Simmons. Credit: Johnny Nunez/WIREIMAGE

Headed by Russell and “Rev Run” Joseph Simmons, this family has been a force in the realms of music, fashion, and television. Russell, a pioneering figure in the hip-hop industry, co-founded Def Jam Recordings. “Rev Run” led the iconic Run-D.M.C. and later shared the family’s life on the reality show “Run’s House.” Kimora Lee-Simmons made waves in the fashion world, while the next generation – Angela, Vanessa, and Diggy – continues to make strides in entertainment and entrepreneurship.

The Knowles-Carter Family

Jay Z, Blue Ivy Carter and Beyoncé. Credit: Christopher Polk/Getty Images for NARAS

The power couple, Beyoncé and Jay-Z, is synonymous with excellence in music and business, but its not where this family’s talent ends. Solange, a trailblazer in her own right, has created art that challenges norms. Mathew Knowles’ influence as a talent-cultivating manager and Tina Knowles’ iconic costume designs for Destiny’s Child laid the foundation for this talented family. Blue Ivy, the eldest daughter of Beyonce and Jay Z, hints at a new generation continuing the family’s legacy.

The Ross Family

Diana Ross with daughter, Tracee Ellis-Ross. Credit: Getty Images

Diana Ross, a Motown legend, and her daughter Tracee Ellis Ross, known for her roles in “Girlfriends” and “Blackish,” have made great contributions in the entertainment world. Diana’s contributions to music and Tracee’s impactful performances on screen highlight the family’s enduring influence. Diana’s son, Evan, is also an actor who starred in cult classic, ATL.

The Fields Family

Kim, Alexis, and Chip Fields pictured with relatives. Credit: Celebrity Family Feud

This mother, daughter, and daughter trio has been a part of our Black sitcoms for generations. Chip’s unforgettable portrayal as Penny’s mother on Good Times in the ’70s, laid a foundation for authentic and compelling storytelling. Kim’s memorable roles on Living Single and her current role on The Upshaws showcase her enduring talent and versatility. Alexis, known for her appearances on iconic shows like Moesha and Sister, Sister, continues to contribute to the evolution of Black representation on the small screen, currently gracing audiences on All American.

The Obamas

Barack and Michelle Obama’s wedding photo. Credit: Michelle Obama / Instagram

The Obama family, led by Barack and Michelle, made history as the first African-American First Family. Beyond politics, Michelle’s initiatives and Barack’s eloquence have shaped the cultural and political landscape. Their impact extends to their daughters, Sasha and Malia, who embody grace and intelligence. The Obamas’ legacy is not just political but cultural, inspiring a new generation of leaders.

The Winans Family

Bebe and Cece Winans. / Credit: John Mathew Smith

From the Mom and Pop, to the dynamic duets of BeBe and CeCe, and the legendary group The Winans, their harmonious voices have graced the gospel charts for decades. Vickie Winans, a Grammy-winning gospel artist, adds her powerful voice to the family’s repertoire. Through marriage, this family also includes the talents of Lisa Kimmey Winans of gospel trio, Out of Eden. Actress Deborah Joy Winans, known for her role in Greenleaf, showcases the family’s versatility. This musical dynasty has not only left an indelible mark on gospel but has also transcended into mainstream music.

The Edmonds Family

After 7 onstage in 1992. Credit: Margaret Norton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Babyface, the Grammy-winning singer, songwriter, and producer, is the creative force behind some of the most iconic R&B hits. From “Whip Appeal” to “End of the Road,” his touch defines the soulful sound of the ’90s. Keeping the talent in the family, Babyface’s brothers formed After 7, adding their own touch to the music scene. Together, they created classics like “Ready or Not” and “Can’t Stop.” The Edmonds are a powerhouse of rhythm and melody, shaping the smooth sounds that have become timeless.

The Mowrys

Tamera, Tia, and Tahj Mowry with their mother, Darlene Mowry. Credit: Jeff Kravitz

Twins Tia and Tamera Mowry first captured our hearts in the iconic ’90s sitcom Sister, Sister, showcasing their comedic chemistry and launching their successful acting careers. Beyond acting, they lent their voices to the music scene as part of the group The Voices. Tamera expanded her television presence with roles in Strong Medicine and The Real. Meanwhile, Tia starred in The Game and Family Reunion, showcasing her versatility. Adding to the family’s creative prowess, Tahj Mowry became a household name with his role in Smart Guy and later delighted audiences in Baby Daddy. Notably, all three siblings shared the screen in Seventeen Again (2000), cementing the Mowrys’ legacy as a talented and multifaceted family in the entertainment world.

Cover Photo: The Wayans Family. / Credit: Credit: Alex Berliner/BEI/Shutterstock

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