“I gotta give it to my parents — I’m really lucky to have the parents that I have,” Zendaya gushed to Ellen DeGeneres in 2016. “They just have always instilled in me those core values that I think I have to carry me through everything. I give it up to them. I give it up to my family.” Zendaya is the daughter of Claire Stoermer and Kazembe Ajamu Coleman. Both Claire and Kazembe are from very different backgrounds — Claire is German and Kazembe is African — but they’ve instilled their values in Zendaya over the years. “My mother’s proud of where she’s from and her history and her past, and same with my dad,” Zendaya once said. “I have roots in Africa. Like, I am from Africa, as well as from Germany, and I am very proud of that.”
Zendaya grew up with her parents in Oakland, California. She is the only child of Claire and Kazembe, although she has five half-siblings from her father’s previous marriage. That makes Zendaya the youngest of six children in total. Claire and Kazembe didn’t marry until 2008 when Zendaya was 12 years old. However, Claire filed for divorce just eight years later in 2016. The divorce seemed to be amicable, though. When the breakup news broke, Zendaya tweeted about how the split actually occurred quite a while beforehand. “My parents ain’t been together for a long time,” she tweeted. “Y’all didn’t know cause we private + they still homies.”
Claire and Kazembe certainly have a lot to be proud of as Zendaya’s career and star power have risen over the years. She is now an Emmy Award winner and has starred in various Blockbuster films, as well as the hit HBO series, Euphoria. She’s certainly come a long way from her Disney days, and her proud parents are still by her side! Here’s everything to know about them:
Zendaya’s Mom Is Claire Stoermer
Zendaya’s mom, Claire Stoermer, is a teacher who worked at inner-city schools in Oakland, California, where Zendaya grew up. As a child, Zendaya was inspired by what she saw her mother doing. “My mom went above and beyond, working constantly to open her students’ eyes to an education that could lift them far beyond their current circumstances,” she told Teen Vogue in 2016. “She would introduce them to the arts, guide them through the language of Shakespeare, and show them the wonders of nature outside city life — all things that they wouldn’t have experienced otherwise. Watching her was magical; it instilled within me a true appreciation of and devotion to the importance of education.”
Claire was so dedicated to her work as a teacher, that she stayed behind in Oakland when Zendaya moved to Los Angeles to start working on her Disney Channel series, Shake It Up, in 2010. “Me and my dad live in L.A. but my mom is a teacher so she couldn’t quit and move out with us :(,” Zendaya tweeted in 2011. “But I [see] her like every other week!”
Growing up, Zendaya wasn’t only inspiring by her mother’s work, but also how she presented herself to the world. “My mom didn’t wear makeup,” she told Vanity Fair in 2019. “I don’t think she knew that, to me, that was empowering that she didn’t care.” However, Zendaya was still able to develop a love for fashion and beauty anyway. “I would go to my grandma’s house and she would have all the good makeup,” she recalled. “I got to see how women are able to navigate within the spaces of beauty and [see that] it’s self-defined — it’s equally beautiful, however you choose to do it.”
Claire also has her own jewelry line called Kizzmet Jewelry, and her daughter is extremely supportive of the venture. Not only does Zendaya wear pieces from the collection from time to time, she also publicly raved over the line on social media. “So my mom’s a dope ass jewelry designer/maker and also slays my line,” Zendaya tweeted in 2016. She also once gushed on her website that Claire makes the “sickest jewelry” and revealed that she knows “so much about the meaning of the stones and customizes each piece.” The Kizzmet Instagram page is updated fairly frequently, and asks fans to private message for inquiries about custom pieces.
A lot of Zendaya’s fans also follow her mom on Instagram. Claire’s Instagram handle is @Claire_Maree64, and she has nearly 90,000 followers. Most of her photos are of her dogs, but she also posts about how proud she is of her daughter quite often. “I wish I could be with you on your birthday, but such is the life of a busy woman,” Claire gushed about Zendaya on the star’s birthday in 2021. “Just know that I am with you always and I love you forever, always and more. Happy birthday my sweet beautiful child!”
Zendaya’s Dad Is Kazembe Ajamu Coleman
Zendaya’s father was born Samuel David Coleman, but he changed his name to Kazembe Ajamu after connecting to his Nigerian roots. Like Claire, Kazembe was also a teacher while Zendaya was growing up. When her career took off, though, he switched gears and began working as her manager. Kazembe was by his daughter’s side for a lot of her early career, accompanying her to set, red carpet events and more.
As stated above, Kazmebe has five other children from his previous marriage. His two sons are named Austin Stoermer Coleman and Julien Stoermer Coleman, while his daughters are Katianna Stoermer Coleman, Anabella Stoermer Coleman and Kaylee Stoermer Coleman. These siblings are much older than Zendaya, and they all already have kids of their own, which means Kazembe has several grandchildren. In fact, two of his children had kids of their own before Zendaya was even born!
It’s no secret that Kazembe is incredibly supportive of Zendaya and her career, and she’s admittedly grateful. “Thank you for your unconditional love, your unwavering strength, your protection and your wisdom, even when I think I know everything,” she wrote on Instagram for Father’s Day in 2016. “I’m so thankful to have you as a father.” Even when Zendaya has been the subject of wild Internet rumors, he’s had her back. When there was speculation that she was dating Odell Beckham Jr. in 2016, Kazembe told TMZ, “He actually was a perfect gentleman. He was polite. He was courteous. He was respectful in every way. I absolutely commend that young man.”
While Kazembe and Claire clearly always have Zendaya’s back, she’s also not afraid to stick up for them, too. In 2015, she clapped back at a Twitter troll who called her mom and dad “ugly” after a photo of them surfaced online. “While you’re so concerned about what my parents look like, please know that these are the two most selfless people in the world,” Zendaya wrote. “They have chosen to spend their entire life not worried about trivial things, such as looks and insulting people’s parents on Twitter, but instead became educators who have dedicated their lives to teaching, cultivating and filling young, shallow minds. It’s one of the most important, underpaid jobs that we have. So please, log out, go to school, hug a teacher, read a textbook…and while you’re at it, go look in the mirror and know that you, too, are beautiful because such hateful things only stem from internal struggles. Bless you.”.