In a fantastic profile of Maya Rudolph in the New York Times Magazine, the actress shares about her childhood growing up in a “mixed” family: her dad, Richard Rudolph, was Jewish, and her mom, Minnie Riperton, was Black.
Rudolph recalls, “When I was a kid, and people would come up to me or stare at me because of my mom, I didn’t like it. I really didn’t like it. I used to think, Oh, they’re staring at my hair, because it’s so big and ugly. Because I didn’t realize people were just staring at my mother, like, ‘Wow, that’s her daughter!’ I didn’t know; I was a kid. And kids always personalize things.”
She remembers being obsessed with Lisa Bonet, another Black Jewish woman, because of their “shared racial background.”
After her mom died of breast cancer before Rudolph’s 7th birthday, her dad became her primary caretaker. As Caity Weaver (the author of the profile) writes, “Rudolph’s father — in her words, a ‘pretty adorable Jew’ — did not know how to do his daughter’s hair after his wife’s death.”
There’s so much wrapped up in this sentence, but can’t you just picture a 7-year-old Maya Rudolph and her “adorable” Jewish dad trying to figure out her hair? Your heart breaks a little, right?
Be sure to read the rest of the profile here.