Ray J and Sasha Banks are two celebrities who have made a name for themselves in different fields of entertainment. Ray J is a singer, actor, and reality TV star, best known for his hit song “Sexy Can I” and his appearances on shows like Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood and Brandy & Ray J: A Family Business. Sasha Banks is a professional wrestler, currently signed to New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) under the ring name Mercedes Moné, where she is a former IWGP Women’s Champion. She is also known for her time in WWE, where she performed under the ring name Sasha Banks and won several championships, including the Raw Women’s Championship, the SmackDown Women’s Championship, and the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship.
But did you know that these two stars are actually related? Yes, you read that right. Ray J and Sasha Banks are cousins, and not just any cousins, but first cousins. How is that possible, you may wonder? Well, let’s take a look at their family tree and find out.
The Snoop Dogg Connection
The key to understanding the relation between Ray J and Sasha Banks is none other than the legendary rapper Snoop Dogg. Snoop Dogg, whose real name is Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr., is the first cousin of both Ray J and Sasha Banks. How so? Well, let’s start with Ray J.
Ray J’s full name is William Ray Norwood Jr., and he was born on January 17, 1981, in McComb, Mississippi. His parents are Willie Norwood and Sonja Bates-Norwood. Willie Norwood is a gospel singer and songwriter, who also worked as a vocal coach for several artists, including Brandy, Ray J’s older sister. Sonja Bates-Norwood is a former district manager for H&R Block.
Willie Norwood has a sister named Vernell Varnado, who is the mother of Snoop Dogg. Vernell Varnado was born on December 13, 1950, in Magnolia, Mississippi. She married Calvin Cordozar Broadus Sr., Snoop Dogg’s father, in 1969, but they divorced in 1975. Vernell Varnado raised Snoop Dogg as a single mother in Long Beach, California.
This means that Willie Norwood and Vernell Varnado are siblings, making their children, Ray J and Snoop Dogg, first cousins. But what about Sasha Banks?
Sasha Banks’ real name is Mercedes Justine Kaestner-Varnado, and she was born on January 26, 1992, in Fairfield, California. Her parents are Reo Kaestner and Judith Varnado. Reo Kaestner is an American of German descent, who worked as a carpenter. Judith Varnado is an African-American woman from Louisiana.
Judith Varnado has a brother named Calvin Cordozar Broadus Sr., who is the father of Snoop Dogg. Calvin Cordozar Broadus Sr. was born on November 27, 1948, in Magnolia, Mississippi. He married Vernell Varnado in 1969, but they divorced in 1975. He later remarried another woman named Beverly Tate.
This means that Judith Varnado and Calvin Cordozar Broadus Sr. are siblings, making their children, Sasha Banks and Snoop Dogg, first cousins as well.
The Family Bond
Ray J and Sasha Banks are not only related by blood, but also by their passion for entertainment. Both of them have expressed their admiration and support for each other on various occasions.
For example, in 2016, when Sasha Banks won the Raw Women’s Championship for the first time at SummerSlam , Ray J congratulated her on Twitter , writing: “Congrats to my cousin @SashaBanksWWE on winning the #WomensChampionship at #SummerSlam #LegitBoss #Family.”
Similarly, in 2019, when Ray J released his new album Emerald City , Sasha Banks praised him on Instagram , writing: “My cousin @rayj just dropped his new album #EmeraldCity go check it out now!!! So proud of you cuz!!!”
Ray J and Sasha Banks are not the only famous relatives of Snoop Dogg. The rapper also has other cousins in the entertainment industry, such as singer Brandy Norwood , rapper Daz Dillinger , and singer Nate Dogg , who passed away in 2011.
Snoop Dogg has also collaborated with some of his cousins on various projects. For instance, he rapped on the remix of Sasha Banks’ WWE entrance theme “Sky’s the Limit” in 2020. He also appeared in one of Brandy’s music videos and featured her on his song “Special.” He also formed a group called “213” with Nate Dogg and Warren G in the 1990s.
Snoop Dogg, Ray J, and Sasha Banks are examples of how talent runs in the family. They have proven that they are not only cousins, but also stars in their own right.