Did You Know That Nick Cannon's Great-Grandmother Is A Groundbreaking Community Leader & Activist?
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Did You Know That Nick Cannon's Great-Grandmother Is A Groundbreaking Community Leader & Activist?

Nick Cannon has come a long way from being a child star.

The actor-turned-rapper-turned-mogul — who got his start on the hit Nickelodeon show “All That” (a show which also first graced us with the talents of Kel Mitchell and Kenan Thompson) — has certainly made a name for himself in the entertainment industry.

Recently, AfroTech reported that he opened up a Wild N’Out-themed sports bar in San Diego, CA. He also recently wiped out the student debts of HBCU students, completed Nipsey Hussle’s Dr. Sebi documentary, and even went back to school to earn his degree after he became famous.

But, as he recently told AfroTech, it’s all just a part of a hard day’s work.

“When I was in high school, I was looking up to guys like Diddy who could diversify and market himself. We see what he’s done and the opportunities he’s created and made for so many of us. Every time I looked up, as much as I knew I wanted to entertain, I was always wanting to be a guy that was kinda moving the pieces behind the scenes,” he said.

It’s no wonder, then, that Nick Cannon has amassed a $30 million net worth. 

There’s one person, however, that has his heart more than anyone else on this Earth: his great-grandmother, Corinne Cannon, who was a groundbreaking community leader and activist.

Let’s take a look at her history — and how her famous great-grandson picked up her best traits.

Editorial note: The net worth listed in this piece is a speculative estimate drawn from a variety of online sources.

Who is Corinne Cannon?

WCNC reports that Corinne Cannon is the matriarch of the Cannon family. Born in 1920, Corinne Cannon overcame racism, sexism, and abject poverty to become a groundbreaking leader in the Civil Rights Movement. She was even featured in a book called “Legendary Locals of Cabarrus County,” written by Michael Eury.

The First Black Female Mill Employee

It perhaps goes without saying that North Carolina in the 1960s was not a welcoming place for a Black woman. But Corinne Cannon didn’t care. According to The Independent Times, she marched right into Cannon Mills — a fabric manufacturing plant — to get a job in production.

Needless to say, she wasn’t exactly welcomed with open arms.

“Piercing glares of disapproval were often accompanied by whispered remarks or vocal taunts,” reported the outlet. “A white supervisor recommended that Cannon turn the other cheek and not respond but privately report abusive whites. Cannon Mills’ plants were segregated when she joined the workforce, including the restrooms, but Mrs. Cannon was soon followed by more women of color and later, black men in management positions.”

Today, Corinne Cannon lectures all over North Carolina, regaling listeners with stories of the Civil Rights era.

An HBCU Graduate

In addition to being a Civil Rights leader and a groundbreaking textile mill employee, Nick Cannon’s great-grandmother was a graduate of a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) called Barber-Scotia College, according to Z100. 

Founded in 1867, Barber-Scotia College was initially designed to help Black women get careers that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to get — namely, in education and social work. But, as time went on, it became a prominent HBCU in Concord, NC.

While it’s unclear what degree Corinne Cannon graduated with, what’s clear is that she has a hustle and an entrepreneurial spirit — traits she passed down to her famous great-grandson.