Debbie allen & phylicia rashad were born in houston, texas, to orthodontist andrew arthur allen sr. (a black louisiana creole from lobdell, la who died in 1984), and african american vivian (née ayers) allen, a poet (spice of dawns and other books) and museum art director. as a child, them and their older brother andrew lived in mexico. they also have another brother, hugh allen (a real estate banker in north carolina). their mother decided to live in mexico to give the allen children a brief experience of not having to endure the chronic racism and segregation that was typical of texas during the 1950s. phylicia and debbie are fluent in spanish and they learned while living in mexico. they graduated from howard university magna c*m laude. phylicia received a bachelor of fine arts degree. she later taught drama at howard. debbie graduated in 1971 with a bfa in classical greek literature, speech, and theater from howard university. debbie used her experiences from attending historically black college howard to inform her production and direction of the tv show a different world. rashad's first marriage, in 1972, was to dentist william lancelot bowles, jr. they had one son, william lancelot bowles iii, who was born the following year. the marriage ended in 1975. rashad then married victor willis who she met in 1978. their divorce was finalized in 1982.
she then married former nfl wide receiver and sportscaster ahmad rashād on december 14, 1985. it was a third marriage for both of them and she took his last name. they were married after he proposed to her during a pregame show for a nationally televised thanksgiving day football game between the new york jets and the detroit lions on november 28, 1985. their daughter, condola phyleia rashād, was born on december 11, 1986 in new york. the couple divorced in early 2001. allen is married to former nba player norm nixon, and they have three children: dancer vivian nichole nixon, basketball player norman ellard nixon jr. , and devaughn nixon.
#creolebelleorganics #neworleans #creole #cajun #neworleans #neworleanshistory #southernbelle #louisiana #phyliciarashad #debbieallen