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August 11, 2020 12:18 pm

Nick Cannon Claims Sephardic Jewish Family Roots, Says Great-Grandfather Was Rabbi

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Nick Cannon. Photo: Reuters / Mario Anzuoni / File.

American media personality Nick Cannon revealed that he was Jewish on his mother’s side during an appearance on Monday on the American Jewish Committee’s online program “AJC Advocacy Anywhere.”

“The Masked Singer” host apologized last month for voicing antisemitic conspiracy theories in the June 30 episode of his podcast “Cannon’s Class,” after he initially refused to back down from his comments that caused an uproar in the Jewish community.

In a conversation with Rabbi Noam Marans on the AJC program, Cannon said his mother had been calling him “every single day” since the controversy erupted to share information about their family history.

“My great-grandfather was a Spanish rabbi,” Cannon asserted. “He’s a Sephardic Jewish man. So, as much heat as I’ve been catching from the public and the outside, this hit home for my family in a real way because I come from a Black and Jewish family on my mother’s side.”

The 39-year-old, who is pursuing a PhD in Theology and Divinity at Howard University School of Divinity, said he had not wanted to publicly share information about his Jewish heritage earlier so that it would not seem like he was trying to find “an excuse” for his offensive remarks.

At the start of his hour-long conversation with Rabbi Marans, Cannon remarked, “I must first say, I’m sorry.” He then compared the predicament he was in regarding his antisemitic comments to when his kids, whom he shares with singer Mariah Carey, go outside and “throw rocks.”

“When a rock hits someone, the first thing you do is say ‘I apologize’ … and then we’ll deal with why you were throwing rocks,” Cannon explained. “My words hurt people.”

He added, “A lot of people may have been upset that I apologized, but I feel like that’s what someone of true character is actually supposed to do when they hurt someone. Now, let’s get through this process of truth and reconciliation.”

Cannon said his “goal” was to “break down the walls and barriers amongst communities and bring us closer together. It truly is time to get rid of all of the things that divide us and utilize this moment.”

Watch the AJC program below:

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