This article originally appeared on Kveller.
Rain Pryor Vane, who relocated to Baltimore from Los Angeles in 2006, has never lived in the shadow of her famous father, the late comedian Richard Pryor.
A singer, actress, author and comedian, Pryor Vane has carved a space of her own in the entertainment industry. But Pryor Vane, who is Jewish, recently announced she is dipping her toes into another pool: politics.
On her 50th birthday, July 16, Pryor Vane, who lives in Northeast Baltimore, shared with her Facebook followers that she officially registered to run for the Baltimore City Council in the 3rd District. Her goal is to unseat Baltimore County Councilman Ryan Dorsey, who was elected in 2016.
What prompted Pryor Vane’s pivot to politics? Her 11-year-old daughter, Lotus. Displeased with how school officials handled bullying at her daughter’s school, Pryor Vane decided to do something about it.
“I’m listening to the people who have lived here for generation after generation,” she said. “We need to keep them here and invite new people to come and stay in our community.”
Here are 15 fairly fascinating facts that you should know about this Rain Pryor Vane.
1. Yes, her dad is the pioneering comic and star of such films as “Stir Crazy,” “The Wiz” and “Lady Sings the Blues.” (He died in 2005 at age 65.) But her mother is Shelley Bonus, a former Jewish go-go dancer turned astronomer(!). Her parents married just four years after the infamous Supreme Court case of Loving v. Virginia, which protected interracial marriages. So when Pryor Vane, a product of an interracial marriage, was born in the tense political climate, she was confronted by a great deal of racism. “I’m a product of this thing that everyone was against,” she said on “Oprah.”
2. Her parents’ marriage was short-lived. They divorced when Pryor Vane was six months old. Despite her father’s fame, Pryor Vane, who lived with her mother and was largely raised with the help of her maternal bubbie and zayde, said she essentially had “a normal life.”
3. In her book, “Jokes My Father Never Taught Me,” Pryor Vane wrote that her maternal family urged her mother to put her up for adoption as opposed to raising her “in a world that wasn’t ready for biracial children.” But Bonus thought that Rain’s birth would change America and did not heed her parents’ advice.
4. Growing up as a biracial child, Pryor Vane was rejected by both the African-American and Jewish kids in her life. In an essay, Rain wrote: “Many things were brought to fruition: the coarse and kink and ‘bigness’ of my hair, the olive-toned skin, the ‘you need to get your black back’ (as if it went somewhere), the ‘you’re not Jewish because Josh (the hot white boy) only dates Jewish girls,’ to the culmination of it all: ‘N*****.’”
5. It wasn’t until she created the one-woman show “Fried Chicken and Latkes” that she resolved her difficult childhood as a black Jew. Rain wrote that the boy who called her the n-word attended one of the performances and “immediately afterwards, with tears in his eyes, approached me and said, ‘We need to have coffee. Obviously we have a lot to talk about.’”
6. Here’s a great line from her solo show: “I’m black and Jewish, which means I’m proud, but yet I feel so guilty for it!”
7. After his daughter attempted suicide for the second time when she was 16, Richard Pryor gave Pryor Vane a sports car and encouraged her to drive it home. There was just one problem: She didn’t have a driver’s license.
8. Pryor Vane owns a small business. Raindrop Confections is a gourmet bakery serving “portrait and whimsical cookies using royal icing.” Each sweet treat is handcrafted by Pryor Vane, who credits her Jewish grandma, Bunny, for teaching her how to cook and bake. Family legend is that Grandma Bunny only shared family recipes with Pryor Vane, “leaving her aunt and mother clueless as to what really went into making the brisket.”
9. As for her own Jewish observance, Pryor Vane describes herself as “a black Jew who lights Shabbat candles and observes the holidays and the yahrzeits of her father and grandfather,”The Times of Israel reports. Both her Jewish side and her father’s African mystic traditions are important to her: “I think spirituality is a very private and individual experience, and I think that combination with my Judaism makes me who I am.”
10. Pryor Vane detailed her father’s ‘sexcapades’ in her book, writing that there were “so many hookers coming in and out” of Richard Pryor’s house that it was just deemed as normal. One time, she overheard a few sex workers complain that Pryor had yet to pay them. Already a budding comic at age 8, Pryor Vane told her father at Thanksgiving dinner, “Daddy, the whores need to be paid.”
11. Like her father, Pryor Vane has married a few times. Unlike her father — who had seven children with six different women — she only has the one daughter. Pryor Vane went through a series of miscarriages before giving birth to Lotus Marie, who she shares with her second ex-husband, Yale Partlow. In 2018, Pryor Vane married her third and current husband, Dave Vane.
12. Pryor Vane moved to Baltimore to raise Lotus: “I wanted a life outside of Hollywood. A life that I created on my terms. Sure, I could have stayed, I had a financially prosperous career in entertainment. But I wanted something more meaningful and real.”
13. In 2008, Pryor Vane played the role of Sarah Palin’s makeup artist in “Game Change,” a movie about the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee. “Sarah Palin is going to be so ticked off to see that her makeup artist is being played by a black Jewish girl,” Pryor Vane said. “I pass for a white girl. Now that’s acting.”
14. On top of being a mother, wife, author and actress, Pryor Vane is a successful singer, motivational speaker and playwright. She made her television debut in 1989 as T.J. on “Head of the Class” — the character was based on several characters she performed at her audition — and has performed jazz to sold-out shows since 1993.
15. Pryor Vane was named the Strand Theatre’s artistic director in 2012, and made it her mission to elevate women: “The voice of the woman is kind of lost in the theater world, which is still very male-dominated.”
This article was provided by the JTA international news agency and wire service. Members of the Jmore editorial team contributed to this story.