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Famous Folks Who Grew Up Without a Father was originally published on blackamericaweb.com

1. Mekhi Phifer

Mekhi Phifer

Mekhi Phifer never met his father. (Photo: Twitter)

2. Shaquille O’Neal

Shaquille O’Neal

Shaquille O’Neal grew up without his birth father.(Photo: Tumblr)

3. Notorious B.I.G.

Notorious B.I.G.

Notorious B.I.G. was abandoned by his father when he was two. (Photo: Tumblr)

4. Halle Berry

Halle Berry

Halle Berry was abandoned by her father when she was four.(Photo: Tumblr)

5. Mary j. Blige

Mary j. Blige

Mary J. Blige was abandoned by her father when she was four.(Photo: Tumblr)

6. Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey had little contact with her father after her parents divorce when she was three.(Photo: Tumblr)

7. Curtis Jackson

Curtis Jackson

50 Cent never knew his father and lost his mother when he was eight.(Photo: Tumblr)

8. Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton lost his father in a car accident 3 month before he was born. (Photo: Tumblr)

9. Sean Combs

Sean Combs

Sean Combs was three when he lost his father. He was murdered. (Photo: Tumblr)

10. Jamie Foxx

Jamie Foxx

Jamie Foxx was abandoned by both his parents and raised by his adopted grandparents.(Photo: Tumblr)

11. Adrian Grenier

Adrian Grenier

Adrian Grenier grew up not knowing who his father was.(Photo: Tumblr)

12. Samuel L. Jackson

Samuel L. Jackson

Samuel L. Jackson only met his father twice during his life. (Photo: Tumblr)

13. Jay Z

Jay Z

Jay-Z was abandoned by his father.(Photo: Tumblr)

14. Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys grew up without a father.(Photo: Tumblr)

15. Kid Cudi

Kid Cudi

Kid Cudi lost his father to cancer when he was 11. (Photo: Tumblr)

16. Dennis Rodman

Dennis Rodman

Dennis Rodman was very young when his father took off. Rodman met him for the first time in 42 years in 2012 after an exhibition game held in the Philippines where his father had been living. (Photo: Tumblr)

17. Martin Lawrence

Martin Lawrence

Martin Lawrence rarely saw his father after his parents divorced when he was eight.(Photo: Tumblr)

18. Jet Li

Jet Li

Jet Li lost his father when he was two. (Photo: Tumblr)

19. Eva Mendes

Eva Mendes

Eva Mendes was raised by her single mother after her parents divorced. (Photo: Tumblr)

20. Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphy lost his father when he was killed when he was eight.(Photo: Tumblr)

21. Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez was abandoned by his father when he was seven. (Photo: Tumblr)

22. kelly Rowland

kelly Rowland

Kelly Rowland’s father abandoned her and her mother during her early childhood. (Photo: Tumblr)

23. Gene Simmons

Gene Simmons

Gene Simmons was abandoned by his father when he was three.(Photo: Tumblr)

24. Etta James

Etta James

Etta James’ mother was 14-years old when she was born and she never knew her father. (Photo: Tumblr)

25. Kanye West

Kanye West

Kanye West was abandoned by his father when he was three.(Photo: Tumblr)

26. Lisa Bonet

Lisa Bonet

Lisa Bonet was six when her parents separated. She did not hear from him for 12 years after she was 18 and her career was taking off. (Photo: Tumblr)

27. Victoria Rowell

Victoria Rowell

Dancer and actress Victoria Rowell was a foster child for most of her childhood with both black and white families. (Photo: Tumblr)

28. Eminem


Eminem’s father abandoned the family when he was 18 months old, and he was raised solely by his mother.(Photo: Tumblr)

29. Louie Armstrong

Louie Armstrong

Louis Armstrong was raised by his grandmother and in an orphanage when she was unable to care for him.(Photo: Tumblr)

30. Ice T

Ice T

Actor & Rapper Ice-T was orphaned at age nine and was looked after by a variety of family members and neighbors. (Photo: Tumblr)

31. Bo Diddley

Bo Diddley

Bo Diddley was adopted and raised by his mother’s cousin, Gussie McDaniel, whose surname he adopted. (Photo: Tumblr)

32. Malcolm X

Malcolm X

Malcolm X was raised in an orphanage and in foster care. (Photo: Tumblr)

33. Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday’s father abandoned the family early on and refused to acknowledge his daughter until after her first success. (Photo: Tumblr)

34. Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson was born in 1919 the youngest of five children and his father abandon the family the following year. (Photo: Tumblr)

35. Luther Vandross

Luther Vandross

Luther Vandross was only eight years old when his father, Luther Vandross, Sr. died of diabetes.(Photo: Tumblr)

36. Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou was three when she and her brother were sent to live with their paternal grandmother. (Photo: Tumblr)

37. T.I.


T.I. was raised by his grandparents in Atlanta. He father lived in NYC and he would sometimes visit. His dad suffered from Alzhemimer’s and died from the disease.(Photo: Tumblr)

38. Barack Obama

Barack Obama

Barack Obama only remembers being around his father one time for a month during his entire life. He was ten years old. However, he says that his father’s absence contributed greatly to him really wanting to be a good dad.(Photo: Tumblr)

39. Lena Horne

Lena Horne

Lena Horne’s father was a a numbers kingpin in the gambling trade and left the family when she was three. Her mother was an actress with a black theatre troupe and traveled extensively, so Lena was raised mainly by her grandparents. (Photo: Tumblr)

40. Bob Marley

Bob Marley

Bob Marley’s parents separated after only a short time together. Although he provided financial support for both of them he rarely visited and Bob never really came to know his father.(Photo: Tumblr)

41. Eddie Griffin

Eddie Griffin

Eddie Griffin was born in Kansas City, Missouri and was raised by his single mother, Doris Thomas, a phone company operator.(Photo: Tumblr)

42. August Wilson

August Wilson

August Wilson’s father was a German immigrant baker & pastry cook and was mostly absent from his childhood. His mother, Daisy Wilson, was a cleaning lady and raised him and his siblings.(Photo: Tumblr)

43. Ella Fitzgerald

Ella Fitzgerald

Ella Fitzgerald was born to unmarried parents and before Ella was a year old her father left the family. Her mother passed away when she was 14 and she went to live in Harlem with her aunt.(Photo: Tumblr)

44. Jill Scott

Jill Scott

Jill Scott grew up an only child in a North Philadelphia neighborhood, raised by her mother, Joyce Scott, and her grandmother.(Photo: Tumblr)

45. Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder was four when his mom left his father and moved all six children to Detroit and changed her name back to Lula Hardaway. (Photo: Tumblr)

46. LL Cool J

LL Cool J

L.L. Cool J was four when he witnessed his father shoot both his mom and his grandfather. After his mom recovered, she started dating a young physical therapist who abused LL for years. (Photo: Tumblr)

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