Yara Shahidi was first introduced to the world on the TV show Black-ish before starring in her own spinoff, Grown-ish. The young actor has made a name for herself in the entertainment industry. It turns out that talent runs in the family, as she’s not the only famous person among her relatives.
Yara Shahidi is a successful actor
Shahidi first got her start in the entertainment world when she was just six years old. She appeared in various commercials and promotional materials for brands like McDonald’s, Ralph Lauren, Target, GapKids, Disney, and Guess Kids.
Her first on-screen role was in the hit series Entourage, while her first film appearance was opposite Eddie Murphy in the 2009 film Imagine That.
She played a young Olivia Pope on the hit TV series Scandal, as well as guest roles on shows like Wizards of Waverly Place, Family Guy, and The Fosters. And starting in 2014, she landed her role as oldest sister Zoey Johnson on the smash comedy series Black-ish.
Yara Shahidi is related to Nas
Shahidi isn’t the only person in her family with a famous name. Her cousin is none other than legendary New York rapper Nas.
Shahidi has spoken in the past about her love for her older cousin and all the lessons she’s taught him. She sang his praises in a speech at the 2016 Revolt Music Conference.
“We’re here to honor Nas, who I get to call Big Cuzzo,” she said lovingly. “The man who I talk to about James Baldwin, who’s been there very step of the way to celebrate and support my goals and aspirations. Who visits me on the set of my show Black-ish and shocked the writers every time because he’s Nas. You legitimately can feel his presence when he walks into a room.”
She went on to highlight all the ways that Nas has succeeded in life. “In his free time, he happens to be a world-renowned wordsmith, a visionary, an emcee, a rapper, a venture capitalist, a producer, a writer. He is the quintessential Renaissance man,” she said. “I have always felt his impact and the influence of his music in my life.
“Nasir is half-man, half-amazing,” she concluded. “I love you, Cuzzo.”
Nas changed hip-hop in the early 1990s
After New York’s domination of the hip-hop scene in the 1980s, the West Coast became an increasingly powerful force in the world of hip-hop in the early ’90s, thanks in part to rappers like Tupac Shakur.
In 1994, New York began to take back the crown, and Nas played a pivotal role in that: he released his debut album Illmatic in April of that year. The album is regarded by many to be one of the best rap albums of all time. Later that year, The Notorious B.I.G. would release his own debut album, Ready to Die, and show that New York really is the birthplace of hip-hop and the epicenter of culture.