Zoe Kravitz Did Not Identify As Black As A Child

Mike TuttleLife

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Zoe Kravitz comes from really good stock. As the daughter of Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet, she was bound to be gorgeous. Lenny Kravitz himself was the son of actress Roxie Roker, so Zoe is a third generation star.

Zoe Kravitz has been careful to make her won way in the business. Her roles in Insurgent, The Road Within, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Dope have solidified her personal claim as a legitimate force.

Commenting recently about her upbringing in a home with two superstars, Zoe revealed that things were actually very grounded.

“We had a chef, but it was never like, ‘This is the way the world works, Zoe,’” she explains. “I knew we were very lucky, and my dad raised me in an old-school way. His mom was from the Bahamas, and it was about manners and making the bed. It’s that old black shit, really—like, you get smacked if you talk the wrong way. It was about having respect for your elders and being thankful for what we had. He wanted to make sure I had chores, and not because we didn’t have a housekeeper, but because of the principle of the thing.”

At some point, Zoe was bound to learn that her parents were famous.

“When ‘Fly Away’ and ‘American Woman’ came out, I remember asking my cousin, ‘Is my dad really famous?’” Zoe said. “There would be this reaction to him. My mom was more low-key. I was conscious of the height of her fame. Later, I came to understand culturally what she meant.”

Zoe's revelation about her mother started when Lisa Bonet pulled out VHS copies of The Cosby Show.

Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet are both half-black, half-Jewish. Zoe Kravitz caused a bit of a stir when she admitted that she did not initially identify as being black. She was one of few black kids in her school.

“I’m just as white as y’all,” she would tell her white clssmates. “I identified with white culture, and I wanted to fit in. I didn’t identify with black culture, like, I didn’t like Tyler Perry movies, and I wasn’t into hip-hop music. I liked Neil Young.”

She later realized that what she saw on TV was not all there was to black culture.

“Black culture is so much deeper than that,” she says now, “but unfortunately that is what’s fed through the media. That’s what people see. That’s what I saw. But then I got older and listened to A Tribe Called Quest and watched films with Sidney Poitier, and heard Billie Holiday and Nina Simone. I had to un-brainwash myself. It’s my mission, especially as an actress.”

Mike Tuttle
Writer. Google+ Writer for WebProNews.