Huffpost OWN

Lenny Kravitz On Race: Rocker Talks About Growing Up With A White Father And Black Mother (VIDEO)

Posted: Updated:

As a Grammy Award-winning musician, Lenny Kravitz seems to transcend genres to create an indescribably cool sound. Though his musical style may escape clear-cut classification, Lenny has a strong sense of who he is -- something he admits he didn't always have as a biracial boy growing up in the 1960s and 1970s.

Lenny was born in 1964 to an African-American mother and a Caucasian father, and, in Sunday's episode of "Oprah's Master Class", says that he never thought much about race when he was a child. "I knew that my father physically looked different from my mother, but that wasn't an issue to me," Lenny says. "People look different."

But Lenny's outlook was challenged on his first day of first grade, when another child ran up to Lenny and his father, pointing at the duo. "He yelled, 'Your father's white!'" Lenny remembers. "I didn't understand what that was about and why that was an issue... That was the first day that I had to think about it. It just let me know, okay, this is how folks think."

From then on, Lenny became more aware of race and how being biracial affected him, especially in school. He specifically remembers feeling stumped when filling out the "race" section on school forms. "My great-grandmother's Cherokee Indian. My father's a Russian Jew. My mom's Bahamian," Lenny says. "[I thought], 'What the hell do I put on this thing?'"

Lenny says that his teachers always thought they had the answer. "The teachers came over and [said], 'Black. That's what you are,'" Lenny recalls. "And so, so many parts of your heritage are just squashed. 'That's it. You're that.' I didn't like that."

Lenny Kravitz appears on the next episode of "Oprah's Master Class", airing Sunday, June 2, at 10 p.m. ET on OWN.

Also on HuffPost:

Close
Celebrity News & Photos
of
Share
Tweet
Advertisement
Share this
close
Current Slide

Suggest a correction

Around the Web

Lenny Kravitz - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lenny Kravitz - IMDb

Lenny Kravitz (LennyKravitz) on Twitter

lennykravitz - YouTube

Lenny Kravitz | Facebook

All-New Episode of 'Oprah's Master Class' With Lenny Kravitz Airs Sunday, June ...

Lenny Kravitz asks for your help in saving children from preventable diseases

Heather Graham: Knowing Lenny Kravitz "Makes Me Feel Cool"

OPRAH'S MASTER CLASS Returns with Lenny Kravitz, Susan Sarandon & More ...

Filed by Lisa Capretto
 
Rob Bell's Finding Joy

Stay Connected

FOLLOW US
  • Download The Huffington Post
  • Get Huffington Post for Android
    Enter your mobile number to get the link!
    Message and data rates may apply. By clicking 'Send,' you represent that you are the account holder for the number you provided (or have the account holder's permission to receive a text message) and agree that the AOL Terms and Privacy Policy apply.
  • Get Huffington Post for Blackberry
    Enter your mobile number to get the link!
    Message and data rates may apply. By clicking 'Send,' you represent that you are the account holder for the number you provided (or have the account holder's permission to receive a text message) and agree that the AOL Terms and Privacy Policy apply.
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
    HuffPost OWN
    Thousands of Followers & Thousands of Listed
  • Apple
    Download The Huffington Post
  • Android
    Get Huffington Post for Android
    Enter your mobile number to get the link!
    Message and data rates may apply. By clicking 'Send,' you represent that you are the account holder for the number you provided (or have the account holder's permission to receive a text message) and agree that the AOL Terms and Privacy Policy apply.
  • Blackberry
    Get Huffington Post for Blackberry
    Enter your mobile number to get the link!
    Message and data rates may apply. By clicking 'Send,' you represent that you are the account holder for the number you provided (or have the account holder's permission to receive a text message) and agree that the AOL Terms and Privacy Policy apply.
  • Email
  • Rss
Rob Bell's Course
Subscribe to Oprah on Facebook
Oprah's Book Club Get the latest news on Oprah's new book club. Sign up today >