21 Celebs with Global Roots

Some of our fave American icons were either born and raised in other countries, or come from a family with global roots. Think Kerry Washington, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, and newcomer Jidenna. In celebration of our first annual Global Issue, discover a whole world of celebrities with roots spreading across the oceans. 

1 of 21 Getty

The Bronx born native also has Jamaican heritage in her family tree. Her grandmother Isabelle was from Jamaica. "She was a badass," Washington told InStyle. "She was an immigrant from Jamaica who raised seven children alone in the Bronx."

2 of 21 Getty Images

This classic man was born in Wisconsin to a Nigerian father.  Jidenna recently ruffled some feathers in the Nigerian community after he made a statement about struggling while growing up in Nigeria because he was light-skinned. Shortly afterward the Nigerian community erupted with disappointed tweets. Jidenna has since written an open letter, clarifying his comments.

3 of 21 Getty Images

Nicki Minaj was born in Saint James, Trinidad and Tobago. She moved with her mother to Queens at the age of five, where she grew up with her two brothers.

4 of 21 Getty Images

Pop princess Rihanna is a bad gal from Barbados. The island greatly influenced her early musical style. Exhibit A: her first hit single, "Pon de Replay."

5 of 21 Getty Images

America's It Girl was born in Mexico but raised in Kenya before coming to the U.S. to attend college.

6 of 21 Getty Images

Our fave heartthrob Idris Elba was born and raised in London, England to a Sierra Leonian father and Ghanaian mother. The accent only enhances his sexiness.

7 of 21

British model Naomi Campbell was born in London, England to a Jamaican-born dancer, Valerie Morris, and father, who is said to be half Chinese. 

8 of 21 Jeffrey Mayer/ Getty

Saldana, who was born in Pasaic, New Jersey, grew up in the Dominican Republic shortly before moving to Queens, New York. Her mother is Puerto Rican and her father is Dominican.

9 of 21 Leon Bennett/Getty Images

Actress Garcelle Beauvais was born in Haiti. "When I first came to the U.S. I didn't speak English, so I couldn't go to school right away," she told InStye. "I didn't even know I could become an actress, yet here I am."

10 of 21

"Stranger In My House" singer Tamia is originally from Ontario, Canada.

11 of 21 Getty Images

Estelle was born and raised in London, England to a Senegalese mother and Grenadan father.

12 of 21 Getty Images

Fugees frontman Wyclef Jean came to us from Haiti. He moved to New Jersey with his family when he was a teenager. 

13 of 21 Getty Images

Before playing American heroes in Selma, Lincoln and The Butler, David Oyelowo was living his life in Oxford, England. His parents are Nigerian.

14 of 21 Getty Images

Seal was born in London, England where he began to pursue his musical career.

15 of 21 Getty Images

Boris Kodjoe was born in Vienna, Austria and raised in Germany to a Ghanaian father and German mom.

16 of 21 Getty Images

Lenny Kravitz was born in the Manhattan, New York, but his father, NBC News TV producer Sy Kravtiz, is of Ukranian-Jewish descent. What are the odds! 

17 of 21 Getty Images

Rapper Tyga, who was born in Compton, California said that he loves eating Asian food because he's half Vietnamese and half Jamaican. 

18 of 21 Getty Images

It's no secret that Drake is a proud Canadian. He boasts of his Toronto upbringing throughout his album Nothing Was The Same

19 of 21 Getty Images

Video vixen and Blood, Sweat, and Heels star Melyssa Ford is another neighbor from the North. She was born and raised in Toronto where she attended York University and studied forensic psychology.

20 of 21 Getty Images

ESSENCE Fest alum Melanie Fiona was born and raised in Toronto, Canada where she performed in nightclubs with fellow Torontonian, Drake.

21 of 21 David M. Benett/Getty Images

Ebanks was born in the Cayman Islands.