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Is Felicia from ‘Big Brother’ really related to Denzel Washington? The claim, investigated

The truth behind 'Big Brother 25' housemate Felicia Cannon's rumored family ties to two-time Academy Award-winner Denzel Washington.

Photo via CBS

Denzel Washington is an icon of American cinema who won the Best Actor Academy Award twice for his performances in Training Day and American Gangster, respectively. However, he has recently been in the headlines due to speculation that Felicia Cannon, a houseguest on Big Brother 25, is his sibling. The rumors started with Felicia’s rival, stay-at-home dad Cameron Hardin’s absurd insistence that she bears a striking resemblance to the Hollywood star. A deep dive into the histories of Denzel and Felicia reveals the truth of the matter.

Who is Denzel Washington?

Denzel Washington in 'Training Day,' 'Malcolm X,' and 'Fences'
Photos via Warner Bros. Pictures/Paramount Pictures

Denzel Washington has been a towering figure in the film industry as an actor, producer, and director for four decades. In addition to his Academy Award-winning performances, he is known for films like Training DayPhiladelphia, and The Hurricane. His contributions to the performing arts saw him honored with the prestigious Cecil B. DeMille Award.

Early in his career, he considered becoming a preacher. He also pursued a career in journalism before his rise to Hollywood fame. Today, the star quietly attends religious service at the West Angeles Church of God in Christ in L.A.

Washington received his first Academy Award nomination in 1989 for playing Private Trip in Glory. He teamed up with Spike Lee in 1990 to star in Mo’ Better Blues. Their creative collaborations would produce landmark films – including Malcolm X and He Got Game.

Washington was born in Mount Vernon, New York, to Lennis and the Reverend Denzel H. Washington Sr. He has two siblings: older sister Lorice and younger brother David. His family also fostered Douglas and Vanessa Smith. After his parents’ divorce, his father married Leola E. Washington. No children were born in Denzel Senior’s second marriage.

Who is Felicia Cannon?

Photo via CBS

At 63 years old, Cannon is the first woman over 60 to compete for the $750,000 grand prize on Big Brother 25. The petite powerhouse enlisted in the U.S. Air Force at 22, where she served as a Security Police Officer for almost six years and a Contracting Officer until her retirement in 2002. 

After her retirement, the proud veteran worked as a procurement analyst at the Government Services Agency. She proved that age is nothing but a number when she earned her bachelor’s degree at 45 and a master’s degree a decade later. She shared how she met her husband — Dwayne Cannon — on Instagram

“The Air Force is where I came into my true self, I learned my strengths and my weaknesses, overcame fears, experienced new things, traveled the globe, and stumbled into a career that has afforded me the life I enjoy now. Most importantly I met Dwayne.”

At 60, she embarked on a successful career as a real estate agent and formed Team Cannon with Dwayne at Berkshire Hathaway Home Services in Georgia. The couple are also parents to a 24-year-old son – Ja’ir.

A glaring clue about the nature of Felicia’s relationship with Denzel Washington emerged in the second episode of Big Brother 25 when she revealed that the Hollywood star is the only man she would leave her husband for. Clearly, Cannon is not a close blood relative of the Fences star.

Denzel Washington’s siblings

Denzel Washington has one biological sister — Lorice Washington, Ph.D. — a Pentecostal Minister in Virginia. His big sister prefers to keep a low profile, devoting her time to evangelism and travel.

According to Net Ministries Network, Dr. Washington studied psychology and theology at Briarcliff College. She is the author of a privately published book titled The Anointing: Prayer, Fasting, and the Spirit-Filled Diet, which features a foreword penned by her famous brother.

David Washington, the younger sibling of Denzel Washington, has also chosen a life away from the spotlight. While his older brother’s name is often in newspaper headlines, David cherishes his privacy. Details of his personal and professional life remain elusive. Their mother’s obituary is one of the few public records that mentions David and confirms his status as the biological brother of the film star.

Is Felicia Denzel Washington’s sister?

After pouring through numerous public records, we can confirm that Felicia Cannon is not Denzel Washington’s sister. While they share several admirable character traits — especially courage, determination, and industry — there is no evidence they are related.

Cameron’s claims of a resemblance between Felicia and Denzel seemed odd for many reasons. Their features share no similarities. Cannon is doe-eyed with dimples and a slightly convex nose, while Washington has almond-shaped eyes and a straight, button nose. In a broader historical context, Cameron’s remarks about Felicia’s appearance echo portrayals of African-American women that distort traditional gender norms. The phenomenon is noticeable in popular culture when male actors perpetuate unhealthy stereotypes of Black maternal figures, such as Eddie Murphy (Norbit, The Nutty Professor), Martin Lawrence (Big Momma’s House), and Tyler Perry (Madea). It’s difficult to say what Cameron’s intention was when he made the comment, but there is something unbecoming about comparing a woman’s appearance to a man, even if he was People’s Sexiest Man Alive in 1996. 

About the author

Manya Seisay

Manya is a Contributing Writer for We Got This Covered, who explores diverse topics, including entertainment, gaming, and new technologies.