Old School Americana & Nostalgia


Who Are Lenny Kravitz’s Parents? All About Roxie Roker and Sy Kravitz

Who Are Lenny Kravitz’s Parents? All About Roxie Roker and Sy Kravitz

Lenny Kravitz has been pouring his heart into his music for many years and he gives his parents some credit for it. It should be noted that Kravitz’s parents, Roxie Roker and Sy Kravitz, came from the world of show business. Different areas and paths, but their involvement in the business might have rubbed off on Lenny Kravitz.

Over the years, Lenny has not made it a secret that he’s more connected with his mom. The same could be said for millions of people who tuned in to see Roker on The Jeffersons. She played Helen Willis, who was in an interracial marriage on the sitcom with Franklin Cover, who played Tom Willis. Roker had some real-life experience with interracial marriages as Sy Kravitz was white.

Roker’s additional roles included Roots, The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Murder, She Wrote, and Punky Brewster. She was born in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, to Albert Roker and her mother. Albert was a Bahamian immigrant and her mom was born in Georgia. Roxie Roker went to Howard University, graduating with honors as a drama major. Roker also went to the Shakespeare Institute at Stratford-Upon-Avon.

Lenny Kravitz’s Parents Met At NBC

Fans of The Jeffersons get to enjoy Roxie’s work in the Norman Lear sitcom. So does Kravitz, who gets a chance to see his mom on TV as well. Sadly, Roker died from breast cancer in 1995. She was 66 years old.

As for Sy Kravitz, he worked as a journalist-producer at NBC. Kravitz was a Green Beret for the Army in the Korean War, and he remained in the Army Reserve when he came back home. Sy’s parents were Joe and Jean Kravitz, who lived in a Russian-Jewish neighborhood.

In his memoir Let Love Rule, Lenny Kravitz wrote about his father, “He loves music, especially jazz and theater. He has his artistic side, but it’s overpowered by order and discipline.”

Lenny’s parents met at NBC when Roker worked as an assistant to an NBC boss, according to People. In Kravitz’s memoir, Roker was leery of her growing relationship with Kravitz. He’d been married previously and was not close to his two daughters from that marriage. Roker encouraged Kravtiz to get close to them.

Ultimately, Kravitz, despite the disappointment from his parents, married Roker in 1962.

In another NBC-related tidbit, longtime NBC weatherman Al Roker is the second cousin, once removed, from Roxie. Kravitz and Roker discovered this connection during a 2011 appearance on Today.

Kravitz can look lovingly at how much Roxie and Sy encouraged his love of music. His parents did share a love of Aretha Franklin, Curtis Mayfield, and Gladys Knight. In his memoir, Kravitz recalled Sy taking him to a Jackson 5 concert at Madison Square Garden. Hearing Michael Jackson’s young voice affected him deeply.

Musician Left Home When He Was 15

But the relationship between father and son was strained. So much so that Lenny left home when he was 15 years old. And his parents’ relationship also deteriorated. Strains were put on it by Sy’s affairs, which affected Roker deeply. When Roxie heard about Sy using her money from acting to help support his mistress from Lenny, that was the final straw. Lenny flew down to the Bahamas, where Roker was staying, and told her. Their divorce was finalized in 1985.

As was noted earlier, Roker died from breast cancer in 1995. This, too, deeply touched Lenny, an affirmed mama’s boy, to his heart.

What about Sy? He died in 2005 from leukemia at 80 years old. Yet there is a bright spot in the father-son relationship. They spent time mending their fences, especially during Sy’s last month alive. In a 2011 interview with Piers Morgan, Lenny said he believed that Sy had a “spiritual awakening” while on his deathbed. That time together led Lenny to write A Long and Sad Goodbye.

Ultimately, Kravitz himself moved down to the Bahamas, where he lives, works, and takes visitors on tours of the islands.