Actress Karyn Parsons with her children Lana and Nico

04/21/2008 at 08:38 PM ET

Karynkids Former The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air actress Karyn Parsons, 39, is now a busy mom to daughter Lana, 4, and son Nico, 1. Karyn grew up listening to Black history stories that her mother told her when she was filming the Fresh Prince and decided that the stories would be perfect for a children’s book. After Karyn married director Alexandre Rockwell in 2003 she developed her ideas more fully.

I was thinking about my own responsibilities as a parent that were coming up, and teaching my daughter about her heritage.

In 2004 Karyn started the production company Sweet Blackberry, and has written and produced two animated films that are available on DVD. The stories are a fun and educational way for children to learn about history, as Karyn explained.

…especially about Black Americans who we don’t hear about so much. If young people get interested early, it’s something that will stay with them for a lifetime.

Source: Ebony, May 2008 issue

Thanks to CBB reader Brenda.

FILED UNDER: Babies , Kids , News

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Showing 72 comments

jaQ on

i just read in karyn’s blog ( that nicolai was born april 11, 2007, so that would put him at 1 year, now. 🙂
i had no idea she had children, and they are simply gorgeous!! i really like this woman. 🙂

lizzielui on

Awwwwww Hillary is a mommy!! Love IT!

chris on

Her kids are so cute! I didn’t know she had kids either.

Janna on

It’s so nice to see an update on Karyn. I haven’t heard anything about her since the Fresh Prince days. Congrats to her and her family.

Sabrina on

This does not bother me, but I think that her daughter may be albino. Her eyes are very blue and skin/hair very white. Just wondering.

hOTGAL48 on



HardCandy on

Sabrina that is the first thing I thought when I saw her too. She looks like an albino girl that I used to go to school with, still pretty though.

jasmine on

Aww she looks the same!

Fleur de lys on

Karyn’s husband is white. Karyn is very fair. Her daughter is not albino. African Americans come in all colors. It’s great that her children will be aware of their history-from both sides of the family.

Elizabeth on

I don’t know that I would jump to the conclusion that she’s albino. Lana’s dad is white, and I have a friend with the exact same situation, and her daughter is just as blonde haired, blue eyed and fair skinned as Lana. Lana may be albino, but my friend’s daughter just picked up all of her daddy’s genes and none of here mama’s (but she did get her mom’s dimples and face shape). Her other two kids are dark with crazy curly hair and their mama’s big brown eyes, so… you never know what the case is, but it’s not always that the child is albino.

Lily on

I loved her in the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air!

Her kids are beautiful!!.

Her husband being white, and Karyn( her father white/mother is black). Chances are that her one of her children would look caucasian.

tish on

Not that it matters but I do believe her daughter to be albino. Elizabeth what do you mean by “crazy curly hair” exactly?

Even though her husband is Caucasian, I don’t believe that to be a skin tone that is picked up by her daughter from her father. The blue eyes and blonde hair and very pale skin complexion seems to be signs that she may in fact be albino. Even though she is a child of mixed race she has the same characteristics of both Black and Caucasian albinos.

Miss155 on

she is clearly albino

sheba on

How is she clearly albino? Have any of you met Karyn or Lana? Has Karyn told you Lana is has albinism? Do you have a child who has albinism and therefore you are an expert? Next people will be saying Garcelle’s twins have albinism.

I see a cute little girl, a cute little boy, and an actress I think is very funny. It’s in poor taste to comment on someone’s skin color. When will people ever learn this lesson.

Gena on

Who cares if the girl is Albino? Please tell me why we are talking about someone skin tone? The girl as beautiful. and her son is too cute. I wish there will be a reuion of Fresh Prince.

hey doesn’t she have kids from another marriage? Also is there a pic of her husband?

Cassandra on

I’m not entirely convinced Lana is albino, but she does have some of the characteristics. But she looks just like her Momma, and is so adorable with her pose! 😛

I love the little guys red hair, he is gonna be a looker, like he is now. 😀

Fleur de lys on

Racial make up is always a big issue. Look up Victoria Rowell from Y&R and look at her daughter. Being blond and blue eyes and African American does not make one albino. Albinism is categorized as a lack of pigment in skin, hair and eyes leaving their eyes with a reddish iris. Not blue. This beautiful child is going to go through enough being bi-racial, lacking many of the physical features of African Americans, for people to assume she is albino is an additional sigma.

emay on

She is not “clearly albino”. Karyn is biracial herself so her daughter would be 3/4 Caucasian. Which means she would look more Caucasian than African-American. If anyone has ever seen Victoria Rowell’s daughter Maya, she was just as fair, blonde-haired and blue-eyed as Karyn’s little girl and she was not albino. Genes are a funny thing. Wasn’t there just a lengthy discussion that got pretty heated on this board regarding Garcelle Beauvais’ twins? People should know mixed race children come in all colors.

Liza on

My mom has albinism and is very involved in the albinism community. I’ve seen so many people with albinism, and she could have it, but if her dad is caucasian, she could just be very fair. She doesnt seem to have any eye problems, because you can tell usually in the eyes, no matter the race, because more often then not a person with albinism has very low vision. My mom is blind, she has extremely low vision and does have an identifying cane.

All I know is that the kids are ADORABLE and her daughter is a spitting image.. imo!

LOL on

The little is girl is NOT albino. She is the product of her mixed mother and white father. Even Black albino’s are wayyyyyy paler than that little girl. Google “Black albinos” and see what real Black albino’s look like.

rachel on

omg I love that jimi hendrix shirt the little one is wearing. adorable kids…and I was also happy to see a “hillary” update.

lilith on

If Lana, whom almost everybody assumes to be albino, would be sitting next to a Gwyneth-Paltrow lookalike nobody would be thinking that she is albino. Lana tilts her her head back in the photo, nearer to the lights of the camera, that is, beside the contrast to her mother’s skin, why her skin looks so fair.

Philippa on

personally i think people here are a bit harsh with their judgement.
first of all i think that picture is far too small to tell whether she’s albino or not. and second of all, how would you feel if complete strangers would pass judgement on your daughter like that?!

Kim on

It will never cease to amaze me that colour is still important to people in this day and age!!

It’s sad that people still need to speculate. Can’t we just appreciate the photo for what it is, a clearly devoted mother and her two beautiful children.

miss thang on

As far as her kid being Albino-if you look at the picture her son also has Blue eyes. And as far as her daughter, her daughter’s eyelashes are dark as well as her eye brows. If she was albino, more than likely all of the hairs on her would be really bright blonde. These kids are georgous nevertheless.

Bethany on

I am a biracial person with green eyes and very fair skin and this little girl looks pale but not Albino. She does have a bit of coloring, especially on her feet, Albinos don’t have any. Like me, she looks mostly like her dad and I too think the lighting in the studio and the tilt of her head (very diva!) affected the shading of her face. Anyway those children are beautiful so lets leave it at that.

dbloon88 on

Karyn Parson is bi-racial and she married a caucasian man so it wouldnt be out of the realm of normal for her to have a fair skinned blue eyed daughter. Victoria Rowell of Y&R is biracial and married a white man and her daughter is fair-haired and fair-skinned, particularly when she was a young girl.

Sara on

She hasn’t aged a minute since the Fresh Prince days … beautiful!

J-Lin on

The kids are beautiful!

It seems everytime biracial children are shown, a conversation about skin color begins. At one point will we be able to move past that. African Americans come in all shades and colors. Because of our history in the United States, bloodlines have been mixed over several generations. According to the census bureau, over 10,000 people a year go from being classified as African American to white. So you never know what secrets are hidden in your family tree that can play into the genetics of your children.

fay on

i think it’s wonderful that karyn is teaching her mixed race children about their african american heritage. i find that so often when people have mixed race children they don’t teach them the phenomenal-ness of all of their heritages…

i think it’s really dope and really refreshing for karyn to teach her daughter who is going to reap the benefits of being a white woman in the United States of America, how awesome black women are, and how much they have contributed to society…

* and just for u idealists who don’t think that girls will sometimes (want to) pass based on the way they’re treated vs the way they’ve seen their mother’s treated… check out the movie imitation of life… it’s old, but it’s definitely still relevent…

Sarita on

Why are some people so afraid of a comment about skin colour? Commenting on skin colour does not mean passing judgement. Nothing negative was said, but immediately the “no skin colour comment allowed” brigade got upset.

Hea on

Wow, I bet $1000 that all of you discussing her skin color and race like it was even remotely important are americans. I don’t know of any other country (except some african perhaps) in this world where the color of a persons skin is so important to know. Register to an american forum online and be sure, they will need you to state age, hair color and RACE. They just call it ethnicity because it sounds better but what they want to know is if you’re asian, black or white and so on. I think it’s silly.

She is a pretty girl. He is a pretty boy. Their mother hardly looks a day older than she did in 1991. Period.

Jaimi on

My sister is black, her husband is white and her two youngest children are the same complexion as Lana and have blonde hair and green eyes. Her two oldest children are darker skinned and have dark hair. So stop making assumptions.

miss thang on

Fay–I loved Imitation of Life!! And Sarita, I am sure you are right. Here in America, race is a major issue and it is being shown widely with our upcoming presidential election. OY!

finnaryn on

Hea, Thank you for basically saying all Americans are idiots! Your comments on Americans are just as bad as you think the comments on the little girl’s skin are.

That said, I can agree with you that both children are adorable, regardless of skin color.

melanie on

yea i dont think her daughter is albino african american and my daughters father is white..both of my girls have green eyes and my youngest has blonde hair..its different but when you mix races you never know what u get lol!

melanie on

p.s. has anyone seen ben harpers kids with laura dern?? they’re pretty much white ..lana is in the same boat

J-Lin on

Hea – You’re so right. I’m American and race is an obsession of this country. I just finished reading an excellent book on the subject ” ne Drop” and it’s amazing how many people’s lives are warped by trying to fit into the categories of White, Black, or Other. Karyn is bi-racial, but most would call her an African-American woman. Her husband is white. I’m sure her children will have many questions in the future, as many bi-racial children do, on where they fit in the scheme of things because of America’s obsession with color will force them to make a choice.

Finnaryn – Hea’s observation isn’t wrong, it’s very relevant to why America’s relations are horrible with other countries by trying to relate everything to the American way of thinking. Until we come to grips with the reality of how our country is percieved, we will never be able to repair the damage of this current administration.

Cheryl on

I am not one to usually make comments but I have to respond to some of the comments about skin colour and how it should not be discussed. I do not believe that it should be discussed because the parents nor the children of biracial or non-biracial children can really determine what their children will look like and although we are not saying the items to them personally. It is offensive if you are the person to whom they are directed. I am black, my husband is white. I am darked skinned but my daughter is extremely fair. She is often puzzled when people ask her where is her mom and she is standing beside me or say to me wow, she looks nothing like you. While these comments are innocent it is hard to explain to a child. So yes, we should be careful when making comments about a mixed race or for that matter any child’s looks compared to their parents. For example, Billy Joel’s daugter. I think that her comments were posted once about people making comments to her about not looking like her mother and they have the same skin colour.

Sheba on

I’m part of the no comment on skin color bragade because of the stupid, assinine comments I here from people, mainly White people (from my perspective), where they see a child, A CHILD, who is of mixed race, and say stuff like…wow, she’s soooooooooooooooooooooo light…are you the babysitter…where did you adopt him from…………she looks so exotic (like that’s a compliment), oh I can add this to the list………………she must have albinism…I’m sure the parents on here with mixed race children can add to the list. Can you believe these people actually says this to a child’s face or right in earshot. I saw a cute very pale, red-headed little boy in Tompkins Square Park. What would I look like, a Black woman, going up to his mother and saying…wow, he’s sooooooooooo White, you and his father must not tan very well. I hope you put a lot of sunscreen on him as he’s sooooooooooooooooo light….wow you have an olive complexion is he adopted? Plain and simple it’s rude. Some comments and questions are meant to be kept to yourself.

Roise on

Whoa, “Hilary” has kids?!?! I didn’t even know she was married!

I’m glad to see this update though, because I hadn’t heard anything about Karyn since she left Fresh Prince and I thought she was a really sweet person in interviews.

Jen DC on

I don’t think there is anything wrong in discussing race or racial issues – it should be less of a taboo! The reason we, as Americans, are struggling so much with unconscious racism is this very lack of discussion – and eventual understanding – between the various races. At least, that’s how *I*, as a black American, feel about it.

I think both Lana and Nico are quite beautiful (as most little children are), and Karyn looks marvelous for 39.

As an aside, most African Americans in this country are of “mixed heritage,” and the other racial influences are usually Caucasian or Native American, or both. I have white great-grandparents on both sides of my family, as well as Cherokee Indian heritage. I think much of the discomfort in discussing it arises from the fact that as descendents of slaves, most Americans realize that being of mixed heritage is not something that was entered into by choice, but rather the function of African Americans being “owned” and raped by one’s “owner.”

But fast forward 145 years later (post-Emancipation Proclamation), and these are relationships willingly entered into. Inside the black community, there is still the discussion taking place about whether this is something that is desirable.

To Hea: Nearly every culture of color has a very similar issue – whether it is better/worse to be light/dark… Only in homogenic communities, where everyone has (nearly) the exact same genetic background is this not an issue.

Jen on

How is she “clearly” an albino?

I guess I’m part of the no comment on skin colour brigade as well Sheba.

I’ve had people come up to me and my sisters (we are all biracial) when we were younger and they’ve made nasty, ridiculous comments, etc. Apparently, we all have different dads because we are three different skin tones and have varying ethnic features. My youngest sis is very fair with blonde hair and blue eyes and her teacher once told her IN FRONT OF THE CLASS that our dad (who is black, mom is white) was probably not blood related since genetically she is too pale to be black. What kind of teacher is that?? He attempted to teach the class about albinos since she was, in his eyes, a perfect example. She was in elementary school and tried to explain to the guy that biracial people come in all shapes and colors and such and the guy didn’t see things that way. I remember my mother went on the rampage after my sister came home in tears.

Even my future mother-in-law makes sad comments. She brags to her friends about having an ethnic woman in her family and soon she can show off a little black baby to everyone, and how great it would be to have a black baby in her family, etc. Give me a break. I guess in her own way she means to be cute or something, but it got the the point that my guy had to sit with her and explain that it bothered him and me to hear her worrying more about the race of her grandchild than just a healthy happy baby.

Erica on

1) Karyn looks great, her kids are beautiful.
2) Black people come in all shades; that said, I do think the person initially asking if Lana was albino was doing so innocently.
3) As long as it’s done civilly I don’t get why people would want to ban any and all race discussions on CBB. Sometimes people have genuine questions relating to this (for example, I was really curious to know what Brooke Burke’s background was because she and her kids are so unusually beautiful.)

HardCandy on

I knew this was going to start after Sabrina’s comments which were completely harmless. No one knows if Lana is albino or not only her parents do. What I don’t like is the attack on albinoism so what albino people can’t be beautiful? The fact is most bi-racial/multi-racial people look that way, rarely is it that a child comes out looking like only one of their parents, so I don’t know why people are attacking other posters for observing this. Laura Dern’s daughter looks bi-racial, Hedi Klum’s sons look bi-racial, Iman’s daughter looks bi-racial, Kimora’s daughters look multi-racial and they are the norm. You know what I find funny is that if someone had said wow her daughter is so dark (if that was the case) this post would not have gotten so many comments because we tend to know that darker genes tend to dominate also because dark features are not seen as appealing as light features.

I also find it funny when people comment about race around the world and how race is not an issue anywhere but America, that is almost hilarious. Visiting a country and living there are two different things. Tell that to the women in India and Africa that spend hundreds of dollars a year buying dangerous skin bleaching creams to look more European, tell that to the white supremacist groups in Germany, England, Russia and all over Europe. I would love to hear their take on race in their countries.

Jen on

After reading what Erica said, to be fair, I was bothered more by the “she is clearly an albino comment” than the people who were curious about it. That person probably doesn’t know for sure if Lana is or is not and it bothered me that they were matter of fact about something they aren’t sure about.

At least you all here are keeping the topic pleasant. I was reading about Karyn and Lana on another site (not even a gossip site) and there was a ton of talk from fellow African Americans not wanting to accept her because she it too light, and how her daddy ruined her because he is white. It was sad to read that garbage.

NicoleMarie on

I read that Karyn’s father is white. So I think that since Lana’s grandfather and father is white…it seems she may have had a stronger chance to have light skin.

fay on

the reason we have so many issues w/ race in this country is because its so taboo…

when i was in africa, my cousin called me fat and fair skinned. i was like WHAT!!!

FAT is not a put down in her culture, it’s a adjective… i learned not to be offended… if you are a parent of a biracial child, you are doing you child a disservice by not explaining to them their heritage, and how they will be met in public…

much like my (light skinned/ multi racial) mother taught her (dark skinned) daughter about the differences between our skin… why her’s was the way it was and why mine is the way it is… she prepared me to go out into the world and understand that people would never believe she was my mother… she raised me to understand that people can sometimes be ignorant (whether by choice or out of real ignorance) and she taught me how to educate them…

everyone wanting to shoo shoo the issue under the rug, it’s really stupid and petty… its real… people wanna know… EYE wanna know… it’s not wrong to want to know about people… and my mother always taught me that if you want to know something, you ask… and as long as there is no malice (which i don’t see in this conversation) there’s no problem… really… LIGHTEN UP people…. (hahahahahaha, i made a funny)

& i hate the use of fair as a description of skin color… if being light is fair… is being dark unfair?

Sabrina on

My earlier comment regarding the POSSIBLE albinism of Lana was not an assumption, but rather a curiosity; to be honest, I only WONDERED in case if Karyn had perhaps discussed it, and furthermore regardless if you daughter has (or does not have) albinism ,I was curious about learning about albinism.
I too see two gorgeous kids, and it has NOTHING to do with whether I think that Lana has albinism or not.

fay on

i got sidetracked by my own thoughts… the point i was trying to make w/ the FAT example is that sometimes light or dark doesn’t mean good or bad… it means light or dark… and that’s it… it’s not an insult… it’s an adjective… and that’s it… lol

Sabrina on

One more comment: I apologize to anybody thinking my comment was offensive. Perhaps the way I put my comment seemed like an assumption regarding albinism, but let me make it clear that I am only interested/curious about what albinism is — but from now on I will not make comments about any curiosities so I don’t start a debate that is misinterpreted, because that was not my intention.

Sabrina on

This may be redundant at this point, but I thought I’d post a link to the website of “The National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentatiion”.
For those of use who are simply CURIOUS and wanting to LEARN about the topic, the link has great accurate information.

chris on

I don’t think she’s albino but if she is, who cares? It’s amazing that most of the comments are about the color of a child’s skin. Both of her children are adorable and Karyn looks great! And what a wonderful way to teach children abut their history and culture.

Erica on


I can definitely understand why you were bothered by someone stating assumptions/opinions as fact. And I agree with you, it’s good to see that for the most part the discussion here has been pleasant. It’s so unfortunate to hear that people on other sites have spoken so badly about Karyn or her kids, though. That’s part of the reason why I think CBB is the gold standard for blogs–there’s a good balance between moderation and allowing dissenting opinions!

finnaryn on

Erica, I agree. This has been a fairly civil conversation, though I was a little hurt by Hea’s American comment. But J-Lin did make me think about it more. I do think that there are many Americans who can and do give the rest of us a bad name. I also wondered if Lana had albinism because while I know that many African American children do have fair skin (like my nieces with blue eyes and light brown hair and a toddler in my mommies group with green eyes and red hair), Lana seems especially fair and much like other children I have seen who I know have albinism.

But as I said in my post earlier. Dark, fair or polka-dot, I think both kids are very cute.

Shannon on

I have to agree with numerous others…Karyn hasn’t aged a day since Fresh Prince. She looks fantastic.

jen on

Color, favorite, labor. NOT colour, favourite, and labour!!! Just something that bothers me is the way those things are spelled wrong by some.

Sarah on

That is how it is spelled in the UK, Canada, Australia, etc.

CelebBabyLover on

Sarah- Good point! I also want to add that “colour” “labour”, “favourite”, are actually how most of Europe spells “color”, “labor”, and “favorite” (in the non-English speaking European countries, most of the people who know English use “British English” rather than “American English”). In otherwords, those of us in the U.S. are actually in the minority when it comes to how we spell the afore-mentioned words. 🙂

I also want to point out that those three words aren’t the only ones Europeans, Canadians, and Australians spell differently than Americans do. The word “theater” for example, is usually spelled “theatre” in those countries. Not to mention “gray” which is usually spelled “grey” in those countries (even some Americans choose to spell that word the latter way).

Sarita on

Jen, you might want to think before trying to act as spell check for the rest of us.

To answer someone elses question; yes, racism is very much alive in Europe. I don’t know if it is worse than it is in the US. I do know that Americans tend to overreact to anything that they see as racism even if it has nothing to do with it. Saying a child looks exotic is not racist, neither is pointing out how white or black someone is.

becky on

Her kids are so adorable, but I think if CBB checks the IPM’S on the person making the comments about the girl’s physical appearance, they will discover that this person does this quite often with biracial children. She has a coy little agenda to advance; and by the way, Sabrina and Hardcandy are not white. I know, I and a few of my friends are very familiar with this woman’s modus operandi. CBB has to be very careful and guard against these kinds of trolls who wish to turn this beautiful blog into their own personal podium.

mommyof2 on

Wow jen, you really made yourself out to be a fool. Or should i put yorself?

Rebecca on

My 6 month old is named Lana, what a fantastic name for such a lovely girl! After I had Lana I found out her name means “fair”, and my Lana is very fair skinned. Perfect name for Karyn’s daughter, she’s just gorgeous, as is little Nico (I could just eat him up he’s so cute! Those chubby cheeks just scream to be pinched)

dutchmom on

This discussion is ridiculous. Lana is not bi-racial, she is 3/4 WHITE! White father and a bi-racial mother. Now, my BI-RACIAL daughter has fair skin and blue eyes. So why can’t Lana, who is 3/4 white and 1/4 black, not be that fair? Why does she have to be Albino? Please think before you post such ignorant remarks.

over_the_moon on

Lana is not Albino. Albino’s have pink eyes. Pink, b/c you see the blood vessels due to no pigment in the iris (‘blue, brown, green’ etc. part of eye).


Even though Lana is very fair and has blond hair, she has very prominent Afro features.
If I saw her on the streets I’d tell you she’s black right away. The boy also.

She isn’t albino either.

As for Ben Harper’s kids, the boy looks white but even with him you can still tell. And the girl is very fair, but you can also tell by watching her hair.

Being that African American is the minority group hair and because of the struggles and history of Afro-Americans, it is very important for these kids to know their history in order to understand themselves.

I commend Karyn and she has a beautiful family.

FC on

Lana looks a lot like Karyn, and Nico must be a mix. 🙂 I didn’t even know she had two, let alone had one last year sometime.They’re adorable…♥

Tricia on

I agree that sometimes people assume that black person whether mix or not can have a child with very fair skin. Mariah Carey amd Wentworth Miller think they are white. My grandmother is very dark skin and grandfather was mixed so her grandkids have varieties of skin color and eye color. My skin is like Alex Rodriguez and hair is sandy brown my brother was darker like our father however his daughter has sandy blonde hair and fair skin.

maracuya on

If I’m not mistaken isn’t Victoria Rowell’s daughter adopted?

H'Starrh on

Lana Is Not Albino, If She Were Her Hair Would Not Be So Blonde And She Would Be Alot Paler. She’s A Beautiful Child And Since She Is 3/4 Caucasion You Would Expect Her To Be Fairer Than The Average Mixed Race, Its Just The Case That She Took More Pigment From Her Dads Side As He Is Caucasion Than Her Mum.

Sam on

Karyn also has two other children with her first husband, she does not have custody of these two children , Does anyone know why?

Ebony on

Sorry Rebecca Dear, but Lana means wool. It’s Latin and it means wool in Latin, Spanish and Portuguese. I would think a more accurate description would be “soft” as opposed to “fair”.