When it comes to show business families, few — if any — have had an impact on the pop culture zeitgeist as the Wayans family.
The Wayans family is an American show business family that has been delighting audiences for generations. Originally coming to prominence in the late 1980s, today’s members are comprised of a diverse group of comedians, actors and actresses, comedy writers, and script doctors.
But none of their careers would be possible without the groundbreaking work of the original five trailblazers in the family.
The ten original Wayans family members are brothers Dwayne, Keenen, Damon, Shawn, and Marlon; and sisters Kim, Elvira, Diedre, Vonnie, and Nadia.
Of the ten “first generation” children, only five — Keenen, Damon, Kim, Shawn, and Marlon — went into the entertainment industry. But even the five “first generation” children that didn’t go into the entertainment industry were influenced by their more famous siblings, so much so that some of their children followed in their aunt — and uncles’ — footsteps, so to speak.
Keenan Ivory Wayans is at the core of this legacy: he was the first to venture into show business and subsequently built an empire for his siblings — and future generations — to build upon. Keenan Ivory Wayans’ hard work created a lasting empire that has grossed more than $1 billion at the box office and has created an overall net worth of more than $300 million for the family empire, as AfroTech previously reported.
Today, many of the family’s next generation is making their own way in show business, as well. Let’s take a look at how they’re carrying on a show business legacy.
Editorial note: This is not a definitive list of all “next generation” Wayans. If the children in the “next generation” were underage or otherwise kept a private profile, they were not included in this list to respect their privacy. This list is only meant to celebrate the Wayans family members that pursue a career in entertainment and maintain a public profile.
Keenen Wayans Jr.
Son of: As his name indicates, Keenen Ivory Wayans
What he does: Keenen Wayans Jr. seems to be interested in continuing the family tradition of comedy. Although he keeps his Instagram page private, he bills himself as an “artist, comedian, animator, and dreamer.” He also has an online store where he sells his creations.
Daughter of: Keenen Ivory Wayans
What she does: Nala Wayans first began making headlines in 2017 when she and fellow “In Living Color” legacy child Corrine Foxx (daughter of Jamie Foxx) made their modeling debut during New York Fashion Week. The two ladies walked the catwalk for designer Sherri Hill. Shortly thereafter, Nala signed a modeling contract and even co-hosted a show with her friend Jordyn Woods.
Daughter of: Keenen Ivory Wayans
What she does: Set to graduate the prestigious Stanford University in 2023, Bella Wayans is also an artist in her own right. Her preferred medium appears to be black-and-white photography.
Son of: Diedre Wayans
What he does: Craig followed his uncles and aunt into Hollywood and got his start with a bit part in “Don’t Be A Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood.” Since then, according to his IMDb, he’s moved behind the scenes as a writer and producer. His most recent credit was as a supervising producer for the Tracy Morgan comedy vehicle, “The Last O.G.”
Damon Wayans Jr.
Son of: As his name indicates, Damon Wayans
What he does: Like his father, Damon Wayans Jr. is a comedian in his own right. But he’s also known for his impressive roster of voiceover work, including in such films as “Big Hero 6” and on television shows like “Bob’s Burgers.”
Cara Mia Wayans
Daughter of: Damon Wayans
What she does: Even though she has a few bit parts as an actress under her belt, Cara Mia Wayans has a passion for visual arts, according to her Instagram page. She also recently became a mother to her first son, whom she named Damon Ivory (after her father and her uncle).
Son of: Damon Wayans
What he does: Like his father, Michael Wayans is an actor who has appeared on such shows as “My Wife and Kids,” and in such films as “Blankman,” according to his IMDb page.
Damien Dante Wayans
Son of: Elvira Wayans
What he does: Damien Dante Wayans is the most diverse performer in the second generation of Wayans. He’s an actor, writer, producer, and director who has appeared in “New York Undercover” and “NYPD Blue” in addition to his extensive comedy career. Damien has also formed a company called Second Generation Entertainment with his cousin, Craig Wayans.
Daughter of: Elvira Wayans
What she does: A comedian and actress in her own right, Chaunté Wayans uses the power of social media to spread her comedy routine. She has a devoted Twitch and Instagram following, and she frequently hosts comedy specials to showcase up-and-coming comedy talent.
Shawn Howell Wayans
Son of: Marlon Wayans
What he does: Named after his uncle Shawn — who was the closest in age to his father, the “baby” of the first generation of Wayans — Shawn Howell Wayans was a very accomplished basketball star in his high school years, and seems to be interested in pursuing that as a career. He also has his own clothing company called Rage in Paradise.