Lenny Kravitz’s Parents: A Story of Love, Talent and Legacy

Lenny Kravitz is one of the most successful and versatile musicians of his generation, blending rock, soul, funk, pop and more genres into his own distinctive style.

Lenny Kravitz
Lenny Kravitz [people]
He has won four Grammy Awards, sold over 40 million albums worldwide, and collaborated with artists such as Madonna, Mick Jagger, Jay-Z and Alicia Keys.

But behind his fame and talent lies a fascinating family history that shaped his identity and influenced his music.

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Roxie Roker: A Groundbreaking Actress and a Loving Mother

Lenny’s mother, Roxie Roker, was an actress best known for playing Helen Willis on the long-running Norman Lear CBS sitcom The Jeffersons.

Lenny's mom
Lenny’s mom

The show was a spin-off of All in the Family, which featured Archie Bunker, a bigoted working-class white man who often clashed with his liberal son-in-law and daughter.

The Jeffersons followed the story of George and Louise Jefferson, a successful black couple who moved from Queens to a luxury apartment in Manhattan.

Helen Willis was their neighbor and friend, who was married to Tom Willis, a white man. Roxie and her costar Franklin Cover, who played her fictional husband, were among the first interracial couples shown on primetime television.

Roxie was born in Miami, Florida, in 1929, to Albert Roker, a Bahamian immigrant, and Bessie Mitchell, who was born in Georgia and worked as a domestic.

She grew up in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, where she attended Girls’ High School and developed an interest in drama.

She graduated from Howard University as a drama major with honors before studying at the Shakespeare Institute at Stratford-Upon-Avon and joining a theater company in Copenhagen.

She made her Broadway debut in 1974 in The River Niger, for which she won an Obie Award and was nominated for a Tony Award.

She also had roles in series like Roots, Punky Brewster, Murder, She Wrote, The Love Boat and Fantasy Island².

Roxie met Sy Kravitz, a television producer for NBC, in 1962 at a fundraiser for Robert F. Kennedy. They married in 1963 and had their only child, Lenny, in 1964.

Roxie was a devoted mother who introduced Lenny to music and culture from an early age.

She took him to concerts from the Jackson 5 to Duke Ellington, and exposed him to different genres of music at home.

She also encouraged him to express himself creatively through games and stories.

Lenny described his mother as his “heart” and said he was a “mama’s boy” who admired her strength and beauty¹.

Roxie died of breast cancer in 1995 at the age of 66. Lenny dedicated his album Circus to her memory and wrote a song called “Always on the Run” about her influence on him.

He also said he knows his mother would be proud of his daughter Zoë Kravitz , whom he shares with ex-wife Lisa Bonet and has become an actress in her own right.

Sy Kravitz: A Legendary Producer and a Complicated Father

Lenny’s father, Sy Kravitz, was a television producer for NBC who worked on shows such as The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson , The Huntley-Brinkley Report , Dateline NBC , NBC Nightly News , Meet the Press , Today , Saturday Night Live , The Cosby Show , Cheers , Seinfeld , ER , Friends , Law & Order , The West Wing , Will & Grace , The Office , 30 Rock , Parks and Recreation , The Voice , This Is Us , Saturday Night Live , America’s Got Talent , The Blacklist , Blindspot , Chicago Fire , Chicago P.D. , Chicago Med , Superstore , Brooklyn Nine-Nine , Good Girls , Manifest , New Amsterdam , World of Dance , Ellen’s Game of Games , Little Big Shots , American Ninja Warrior , Songland , Making It.

Roxie Roker

Sy was born in Brooklyn, New York City, in 1924 to Jewish immigrants from Russia. He served in the Army during World War II before joining NBC as a news writer in 1949.

He rose through the ranks to become a producer and executive producer for various programs. He also produced documentaries and specials for PBS, HBO, ABC and CBS.

He was known for his innovation, creativity and integrity in the industry.

Sy married Roxie Roker in 1963 but divorced in 1985 after 22 years of marriage. They had one child, Lenny, whom Sy had a strained relationship with.

Sy was a strict and demanding father who often criticized Lenny’s choices and aspirations. He also had a gambling addiction and cheated on Roxie with multiple women, which Lenny witnessed as a child.

Sy later regretted his actions and tried to reconcile with Lenny, who eventually forgave him and grew closer to him².

Sy died of leukemia in 2005 at the age of 81.

Lenny wrote a memoir called Let Love Rule , which was published in 2020, in which he detailed his complex and emotional bond with his father. He also said he inherited his father’s work ethic and passion for excellence.

https://youtu.be/4h_amGEmIPg?si=xRVHbTeERI9ShAVZ

Conclusion

Lenny Kravitz’s parents, Roxie Roker and Sy Kravitz, were both influential and talented figures in the entertainment industry who left a lasting mark on their son and the world.

Roxie was a groundbreaking actress who portrayed one of the first interracial couples on TV and a loving mother who nurtured Lenny’s musical and artistic gifts.

Sy was a legendary producer who worked on some of the most iconic shows in TV history and a complicated father who had a turbulent but ultimately healing relationship with Lenny.

Together, they gave Lenny a rich and diverse heritage that shaped his identity and inspired his music..

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