20 of Our Favorite Celebrities From Mississippi

Oprah

Mississippi is a state in the southeastern region of the United States. The state’s name comes from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, and the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi (“Great River”). Before becoming a state, this territory was settled by many Native American tribes such as Chehaw, Houma, Creek, and Chickasaw. Today, Mississippi is the 32nd most populated state in the US, with almost 2 million people. The population of Mississippi is quite diverse, including African Americans, White Americans, and Latinos or Hispanics (1%). However, Mississippians mainly claim to be White Americans, perhaps because being “White” is seen as the norm. The population of Mississippi is quite concentrated in certain cities, which are also among the oldest in the US. For example, almost half of all Mississippians live in Jackson, it’s capital. Other notable cities include Gulfport and Biloxi on the coast, Clarksdale in the Delta region, Hattiesburg, and Meridian in the southern part of the state. The state has produced a lot of famous people throughout its history, from presidents to authors, actors, and musicians. There are so many that it can become quite hard to remember them all. Some of these celebrities have impacted the state of Mississippi, while others have changed the whole world with their work. Here are 20 of Our Favorite Celebrities From Mississippi:

20. Jennifer Adcock (Actress, Model, and Beaty Pageant Titleholder)

Jennifer Adcock (born 1980) is an American actress, model, and beauty pageant titleholder crowned Miss Mississippi 2002 and Miss Mississippi USA 2005. She also competed in the Miss America 2003 pageant, where she placed among the ten finalists. Her acting career includes roles in “The Halifax Explosion” and “Nightmare in Canada.”

19. Jamaa Fanaka (American Writer and Film Director)

Jamaa Fanaka (1942–2012) was an American writer and film director born in Jackson, Mississippi, the US. He was an African-American artist and filmmaker. Their films were often about the black experience in America, touching on racism, poverty, drugs, crime, sex work, gang culture, and other social ills. His results have been compared to Oscar Micheaux and Melvin Van Peebles. Fanaka was an important voice that emerged during the blaxploitation era of the 1970s.

18. Kristi Addis (American beauty pageant titleholder)

Kristi Addis (born 1971) is an American beauty pageant titleholder who has crowned Miss Teen USA in 1987 and later became a television presenter and interior designer. She is the daughter of Dan and Ellen Finkelman, who died in 2017. Addis grew up in Jackson, Mississippi, and currently lives in Florida. She graduated from Belhaven College with a degree in broadcast journalism before moving to New York City, where she worked as an actress on both TV and stage. As a beauty pageant titleholder, she could travel and represent the USA abroad.

17. Susan Akin (American Beauty Queen)

Susan Akin (born 1965) is an American beauty queen crowned Miss Mississippi in 1985 and later became a television presenter for Atlantic City Casinos. She competed in the Miss America 1986 pageant, where she won a preliminary swimsuit award and was a Top 10 semi-finalist for the Quality of Life Award. She also placed in the top 15 on Million Dollar Password, an American television game show.

16. Simbi Khali (American Actress and Singer)

Simbi Khali (born 1982) is an American actress, voice actress, singer, songwriter, rapper, and author. She is best known for her role as Nina Campbell on the NBC sitcom 3rd Rock from the Sun. She also played the mother of Shug in The Color Purple on Broadway. She is one of the first African-American women to win an Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program.

15. Asya Branch (Mississippi Beauty Queen)

Asya Branch (born 1998) is an American model who won Miss Mississippi USA 2018 and Miss Mississippi Teen USA 2016, becoming the first to win both titles. The branch is a native of Booneville, Mississippi, and plans on going back to college after her year as Miss USA has come to a close to getting a degree in broadcast journalism. She attends the University of Mississippi, where she studies psychology to help others struggling with depression or anxiety one day.

14. Rod Brasfield (American Comedian)

Rod Brasfield (1910–1958) was an American comedian and radio personality who appeared on the Grand Ole Opry from 1947 to 1958. He also starred in several Westerns and frequently toured with Minnie Pearl as part of her act during his later years. Rod Brasfield was highly successful, and because of this, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1987. Born Williamard Hite in Smithville, Mississippi, he started radio singing before appearing in films for Republic Pictures. As a comedian, he sang in a “singing cowboy” style. His comic catchphrase was “Nice boobies”

13. William Faulkner (Novelist)

William Faulkner (1897-1962) was a novelist whose novels married social criticism with psychological analysis to produce some of the 20th century’s finest literature. He received Pulitzer Prizes for his first novel, The Sound and the Fury, in 1929 and his third novel, As I Lay Dying, in 1930. Other books include Light in August, Absalom, Absalom & other novels that were not as well-received by critics. He also wrote a novel called Mosquitoes that was published posthumously in 1980.

12. Jimmy Boyd (Singer and Actor)

Jimmy Boyd (1939–2009) was a singer and actor from McComb, Mississippi. He is best known for being the first artist to have a #1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 when he reached the top of the chart with “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” in 1952 at age 12. He later became an actor, had a handful of film roles, and appeared on his television show, and several Broadway plays.

11. James Earl Jones (Actor)

James Earl Jones (1931–) is an American actor whose career spans more than 60 years of television, stage, and film. He won Tony Awards for his roles in The Great White Hope on Broadway in 1968 and Fences on Broadway in 1987. His voice acting includes Darth Vader in Star Wars films released by George Lucas in the 1970s and 1980s. He also has starred in several movie roles, including The Hunt for Red October, Field of Dreams, Coming to America, The Sandlot, and Driving Miss Daisy.

10. Tammy Wynette (singer)

Tammy Wynette (1942-1998) was an American country music singer known for the songs “Stand By Your Man” and “D-I-V-O-R-C-E.” One of country music’s most successful female vocalists, charting nearly fifty singles on the Billboard Country Chart. The publication named her the “most outstanding woman in country music” and one of the “100 people who shaped southern culture.” She recorded duets with George Jones, Charlie Rich, and Willie Nelson.

9. Rick Ross (American rapper and former correctional officer)

William Leonard Roberts II (known professionally as Rick Ross) (1976-) is an American rapper and entrepreneur from Clarksville, Mississippi. He was first signed to Def Jam in 2005 by Jay-Z before signing with Slip-n-Slide Records. In 2008 he founded the record label Maybach Music Group. His music has been influenced by rappers from the 1990s, including Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls. Today, he is one of the most successful rappers in the industry. To many, Rick Ross is “the boss,” and the music mogul is often referred to as such.

8. Brandy Norwood (singer and actress)

Brandy Rayana Norwood (known professionally as Brandy) (1979-) was born in McComb, Mississippi, and raised in Carson, California. She signed with Atlantic Records while still a teen and released her debut album Sweet Baby which went double-platinum. After that, she starred on the UPN sitcom “Moesha” for six seasons. Her acting career has continued with movies like Cinderella, The House That Screamed, and others. She is also well-known for her hit albums Never Say Never (1998) and Afrodisiac (2004).

7. Brett Favre (American football quarterback)

Brett Lorenzo Favre (born October 10, 1969, in Gulfport, Mississippi) is a former NFL quarterback who started playing in 1991. He played for 20 seasons with four teams: Atlanta Falcons (1991-1992), Green Bay Packers (1992-2007), New York Jets (2008), and Minnesota Vikings (2009–2010). During his 31-year career, he set several NFL records, including most passing touchdowns, pass interceptions, and consecutive starts by a player. Brett Favre announced his retirement from the NFL on March 4, 2008, and was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame in 2016.

6. Jimmy Buffett (singer, songwriter, and businessman)

Jimmy Buffett (born December 25, 1946) is an American singer-songwriter known for his hit songs like “Margaritaville” and “Come Monday.” He has released over thirty albums throughout his career. His albums were and still are successful, achieving double-platinum status in the US for his album “Coconut Telegraph” and receiving RIAA certifications on all of them since 1978’s “A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean.” His music is popular across several generations with hit singles like “Cheeseburger in Paradise” and “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes.”

5. Robin René Roberts (TV Anchor)

Robin René Roberts (born November 23, 1960) is an American television broadcaster. She has worked for ESPN and ABC News, where she served as the co-anchor of Good Morning America and host of ABC’s coverage of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. In 2013, she became the first female African-American to lead a national morning show as co-anchor of Good Morning America. She is also the first openly gay woman to host a network’s Sunday morning talk show and the first female ABC News television personality to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

4. Oprah Winfrey (talk show host, actress, and producer)

Oprah Gail Winfrey (born January 29, 1954) is an American television host, media mogul, and philanthropist. She is best known for her talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, the highest-rated program in history. Oprah Winfrey has built a media and business empire around her popular talk show for 25 years. Dubbed the “Queen of All Media,” she has been ranked the richest African-American of the 20th century, the most outstanding black philanthropist in American history, and was once the world’s only black billionaire. According to some assessments, she is also the most influential woman in the world.

3. Archie Manning (American Football Quarterback)

On April 19, 1949, Archie Manning was born in Drew, Mississippi. The New Orleans Saints drafted Archie with the 2nd overall pick of the 1971 NFL Draft. He played for 14 seasons and had a record of 89-103-7, including a 1979 NFC championship. He had a career completion percentage of 55.5 and threw for 23,911 yards. Archie is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2021.

2. Morgan Freeman (Academy Award Winner)

On June 1, 1937, Morgan Freeman was born in Memphis, Tennessee but grew up in Clarksdale and Charleston, Mississippi. He has been nominated for 8 Academy Awards and has won once. He is also a producer and director who has received many awards. Morgan’s most notable films include Driving Miss Daisy, which he directed and starred in, The Shawshank Redemption, Invictus, and Million Dollar Baby. Freeman has been acting, producing, directing, and even narrating for the best part of his life. He has a long list of movies and has been in some of the most successful movies over the past few decades.

1. Elvis Presley (Musician)

On January 8, 1935, Elvis Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi. He is arguably one of the most successful musicians of all time. He is a Grammy Hall of Fame inductee and a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee. Elvis is one of the biggest stars in the world who has sold more than 500 million records worldwide. He was one of the first artists to have a television special that featured only him. Elvis Presley is also often referred to as “The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll” or simply “The King.”

Conclusion

There are many celebrities from Mississippi. They range from TV anchors and musicians to football players and actors. The two most notable celebrities from Mississippi reflect the whole spectrum: Oprah Winfrey and Elvis Presley. Together they have achieved great things in their lives and have done well for the world. They are both positive icons that everyone should look up to.

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