While Memorial Day is a long holiday weekend used to observe the contributions of those who served in the U.S. military, it’s not just to celebrate veterans alone. Oftentimes, we forget the impact of those who serve in the military on the family and close friends in their quarters – and they deserve a round of applause for holding it down as well.
We recognize those celebrities who have previously served in the military from rappers Ice-T in the army and late rapper Nate Dogg in the marines to Jackie Robinson – the first African American to play Major League Baseball – being commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army in January 1943. What about those who grew up watching these heroes take flight in their own households?
Check out this shocking list below of Black celebrities who grew up with military parents – also known as “army brats” – from actors and actresses to some of your favorite rappers and singers.
The 7’1″ basketball legend and ‘Inside the NBA’ sports analyst mentioned his stepfather Phillip Harrison, who raised him since he was a baby, joined the U.S. Army when O’Neal was only two years old. According to his autobiography, Harrison made the decision “so he could get us out of the ‘hood.” From there on out, O’Neal would go on to live on several military bases around the nation and even in Germany.
The ‘Bad Boys’ actor and former Golden Gloves boxer was born on a military base in Germany. Lawrence eventually relocated to Washington, D.C. after his father, who served in the U.S. Army, had to move. Once his parents divorced, his mother continued to raise him on her own and didn’t have to move around much like most army brats.
Burton, who is best known for his roles in ‘Roots’ and host of ‘Reading Rainbow,’ was born on a base in Germany and his father was in the U.S. Army. Though his childhood wasn’t filled with the typical teenage pop culture references, the ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ actor treasures his memories of exchanging comic books with other brats on his base. “It was this experience as a child in a military family, and the excitement, comfort and escape the comics provided, that helped spark my lifelong love of reading,” he wrote for WhiteHouse .gov in 2015, as reported by TheDelite
The ‘Level Up’ singer’s father Carlton Harris was a United States Army member. Young Ciara relocated to army bases in Germany, New York, Utah, California, Arizona, and Nevada throughout her childhood.
Though the ‘Roll Up’ and ‘Black and Yellow’ rapper mainly claims Pittsburgh, he grew up in multiple places including Germany, England, and Japan. As the son of two military veterans, he is always proud to shoutout his parents for their services. His father Laurence Thomaz, who served in the Air Force, always encouraged young Wiz to pursue his dream as a musician.
Tamera and Tia Mowry
‘Sister, Sister’ sisters Tia and Tamera, as well as their brother Tahj, are all proud army brats. The former ‘The Real’ host and the ‘Family Reunion’ actress were both born in Germany, as their father, Timothy John Mowry, was serving in the US Army.
The North Carolina claiming ” i n t e r l u d e ” rapper was born on a U.S. military base in Germany to two soldiers who served in the U.S. Army. Eventually, the Grammy-nominated artist and his family landed in Fayetteville, North Carolina but his parents later split and his mother raised him solo. His mother moved forward with a job working for the U.S. Postal Service for years until early retirement thanks to Cole’s rap career success.