Yara Shahidi’s parents, Keri Shahadi and Afshin Shahidi, and her brothers, Sayeed Shahidi and Ehsan Shahidi, are all in the entertainment industry, too
Yara Shahidi comes from a family of fellow performers and creatives.
The Grown-ish actress was raised by her mother, actress Keri Shahidi, and her father, photographer and filmmaker Afshin Shahidi. Her two younger brothers, Sayeed and Ehsan, are also actors and active on social media. And the entertainment gene runs in the extended family, too; the acclaimed rapper Nas is Keri's cousin.
The talented family has worked together on several occasions — Yara and Keri have their own production company, 7th Sun Productions, and Sayeed guest-starred on Black-ish — but the Shahidis also really just enjoy each other's company. In May 2020, Keri and Yara shared with Vogue that they enjoy discussing philosophers, reading books like The Alchemist and exercising together in their downtime.
During an April 2017 Glamour interview, Keri noted that she and Afshin's different cultures play a role in how tight-knit her family is. "We're so involved in one another's lives," she said. "It may look like helicopter parenting, but in Black culture and Iranian culture, that interconnectedness is deeply important."
So who is the Shahidi family? Here's everything to know about Keri Shahidi, Afshin Shahidi, Sayeed Shahidi and Ehsan Shahidi and their relationship with the Grown-ish star and Harvard graduate.
Yara and Keri have a production company called 7th Sun Productions
In July 2020, Yara and Keri announced their new production company, 7th Sun Productions. "We are eager to tell more stories, continue expanding the media landscape alongside our peers and to keep the door open for other creatives," Keri wrote on Instagram at the time. Per Deadline's announcement, the mother-daughter duo's intention for 7th Sun is "to pursue projects that touch upon themes of history, heritage, culture and joy." Yara has her own Facebook Watch series produced by 7th Sun called Yara's Day Off, where she gets to know her celebrity friends a little better.
Before her career in production, Keri was also an actress. She's appeared in various commercials, the 2005 sitcom American Dad! and the 2009 series In The Motherhood. Yara's mother currently has 295,000 Instagram followers and shares a mix of family life documentation, blog-style posts and professional updates.
Afshin immigrated to the United States from Iran when he was a child
When Afshin was just 7 years old, he immigrated to the United States from Iran without knowing a word of English. These days, he uses social media to celebrate his Iranian identity and to speak out about the ongoing civil rights movement in his home country. "The women of Iran need us to keep pushing," he wrote on Instagram in October 2022. "We need talent, brands and all platforms to realise that this is not protest, this is a civil right movement, a revolution and gender apartheid history happening right now."
On March 21, the filmmaker celebrated the Persian New Year with a festive and thoughtful post. "Nowruz Mobarek," Afshin said in his caption. "As we celebrate the new year with family and close friends, we think about the innocent lives lost and pray for a better year ahead."
Sayeed and Ehsan are also actors
Yara's younger brothers, Sayeed and Ehsan, both share her passion for entertaining. Sayeed has appeared in prominent shows like Black-ish, Switched at Birth, Uncle Buck, Desperate Housewives and more. He also has over 180,000 followers on Instagram, where he posts lots of photos of himself with his family.
Ehsan used his acting chops to play O.J. Simpon's son, Justin, in three episodes of The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story in 2016. When he's not working, Ehsan frequently shares videos of him and his siblings having fun on TikTok.
Afshin used to work for Prince
Afshin is a photographer and filmmaker, and he's worked on a variety of notable projects, including the 2020 documentary With Drawn Arms and the 2007 film The Man From Earth. When he was first starting out, he worked as a camera assistant for legendary singer-songwriter Prince, per San Francisco Art Exchange. Their various professional collaborations led to a successful working relationship and an enduring friendship. Yara's father went on to photograph Prince at concerts, take candids of the singer and snapshots at the musician's famous 3121 parties. He also published a book of Prince photographs, Prince: A Private View, in 2017.
During a November 2017 interview with TIME, Yara discussed how Prince and his relationship with her father affected the family. Afshin's experience with the musician set an example for her own "creative experiences, work relationships and personal relationships," she explained. The photographer added, "It was about not seeing limitations."
The family visited the White House together
When Yara was tapped to co-host the Sixth Science Fair of the Obama Administration in April 2016, her family joined her at the White House for the event. "My family and I were so extremely honored to meet President and Mrs. Obama," Yara captioned a Facebook photo of her family posing with Barack Obama and Michelle Obama. "They exemplify focus, determination and persistence." She also shared a funny photo of her younger brother Ehsan dabbing in front of the White House.
They're related to rapper Nas
Multi-platinum recording artist Nas is Keri's cousin, and the Shahidi family has a close relationship with the rapper. In November 2022, Yara had Nas as a guest on Yara's Day Off, and they talked about the Grammys, education, UFOs, his music, his dreams of writing books and building hotels and more. Her brother Sayeed and Nas' daughter Destiny Jones also joined in on the episode's mocktails and games.
Yara opened up about her relation with the rapper during an interview on The White Guy Talk Show. "I think what was always weird to me is realizing that he was famous," she said. "I mean in my head, I was like, 'He's a great rapper.' I didn't know that a lot of people listen to him."
Yara and her brothers influence each other's styles
During the 2017 Glamour interview, Yara revealed that she and her brothers inspire each other when it comes to fashion sense. "I've learned a lot from Sayeed," she shared. "Our style is very similar. He has a swagger that I love, but where I would wear jeans and a T-shirt, Sayeed adds a chain or a bomber jacket." The Black-ish star added, "A lot of Ehsan's clothes are things I wore, but he puts his own remix on it."
Keri and Yara teach each other and know a lot about each other
Keri and Yara deeply admire each other and have a very close relationship. During the Glamour interview, Keri described Yara as "otherworldly," and Yara called her mother a "renaissance woman." According to the activist, Keri taught her "confidence in all situations."
Yara told her mother during the interview, "You've always been that example of just how to own your space." Keri noted that she's learned from her daughter, too. "The most important lesson I've learned from Yara would be graciousness — consistent graciousness," she shared.
In May 2018, the duo played Jimmy Fallon's Mother-Daughter Challenge on The Tonight Show, and they nailed it. Yara correctly answered that Keri says "homegirl" more than anything else, and Keri knew that Yara would choose Frank Ocean's Blonde if she could only take one album to a desert island.
The family is super supportive of each other
Yara opened up about her family's bond and expressed her gratitude for them during an interview with WGN-TV. "I'm grateful I have my mother as a business partner and to have a family that prioritizes being there on every step of each other's journey," she said.
The actress continued, "They were on set with me the first time I got a TV role, the first movie role, and so everything has always been a family experience. And I'm grateful to have a family and chosen family that's able to and willing to go on that ride with me 'cause I would not be able to do it without them."
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