Saweetie’s link to her family is evident in the name she chose as her rap name. Born Diamonte Qiava Valentin Harper, Saweetie adopted her stage name from a pet name her grandmother used to call her. “People just started calling me Saweetie because they thought it was my real name, and I just let it stick,” Saweetie told Access.
The Icy Girl has developed in leaps and bounds since her breakthrough hit Icy Girl. Despite having familial connections that would have made her musical rise easier, Saweetie opted to do it alone. Let’s find out more about Saweetie’s parents and family.
Saweetie’s dad played football for San Jose State
Saweetie comes from an athletic family. Her grandfather played football for the San Francisco 49ers while her father Johnny Harper played in San Jose State. Saweetie inherited her father’s football skills, but her grandmother forbade her from playing. Instead, Saweetie excelled in track and volleyball, and almost competed professionally.
Eventually, Saweetie got to play football as a quarterback for the Powder League. Saweetie’s parents gave birth to her when they were both teens, and they weren’t around much for the early part of her childhood. She was mostly raised by her grandparents and several uncles and aunts. She told The Line of Best Fit:
“I grew up in the Bay Area but finished high school in Sacramento, which is why I claim both. I feel like they both shaped me into the woman I am today. Growing up, it was so much fun because I have a really big family. I was an only child eleven years ago, like Eleven, so my brothers and sisters were like cousins. I’m half Asian and half black, so there was a huge cultural difference.”
Saweetie was born when her mom was 17 years old
Saweetie’s Asian roots originated from her Filipino-Chinese mother, Trinidad Valentine. Trinidad was a fox video of musicians like L.L. Cool J, and she helped foster Saweetie’s love of poetry and music. Saweetie’s parents have played music for R&B stars like Tevin Campbell, Delfonics, and The Isley Brothers.
Musical influences at home aided Saweetie’s poetic skills, but she fell in love with rap when she heard J. Cole’s music. Saweetie’s parents didn’t give her much while she was growing up, which is the inspiration behind her desire to become as successful as she can be. She told The Line of Best Fit:
“My mom was 17 when she gave birth to me, so my parents always worked, and my grandmother took care of me. My mom and dad are both from big families too—nine from my dad and seven from my mom’s side. We weren’t wealthy, or at least I know I didn’t, Which is why it’s so good to make all that money because I couldn’t buy what I wanted.”
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Saweetie’s family offered to support her career but Saweetie chose to go it alone
Saweetie took her family by surprise when she gave up on My Type. Saweetie revealed during an episode of Desus and Mero: “[Family members] were kind of upset with me, because they heard ‘My Type’ and they were like, ‘We didn’t know you were playing music.”
The Saweetie family offered their support but wanted to do it independently. “We see you, and if you need our help, please let us know,” Saweetie said to her.
“So I appreciate the support, but for me, I’ve always been self-motivated. So instead of asking for help, I just wanted to see if I could do it on my own.”
Saweetie’s most famous relative is her cousin, actor Gabrielle Union. Gabrielle is a regular commenter on Saweetie’s Instagram posts. Saweetie told Access she wishes she had the same privacy that Union had when she made such headway so many years ago:
“I love when you compare [Union] to the industry I’m in right now when it breaks in and the difference is just – for one person, they had more privacy. Sometimes I feel like I was born in a different time period because I love my privacy and wish I could have lived in that time – When people were already respecting people’s space.”