Who is Kazembe Ajamu?
Although being known as the father of the movie star Zendaya, Kazembe Ajamu is also a successful businessman and manager in his own right. Standing tall at 6ft 2ins (1.88m) and weighing about 170lbs (77kgs), Samuel David Coleman was born in Oakland, California USA in the 1960s, but keeps details of his life such as his birthday private.
Family & Education
In a video for Immigrant Heritage Month, Kazembe shared with fans that he’d taken a DNA test to discover his roots. His father’s side of the family comes from Macedonia and Iceland, with his maternal family being Nigerian.
The CEO seems to have been brought up in a stable household with both parents present and a few siblings, although their identities remain a mystery to the general public. Furthering his studies at college, Zendaya’s father graduated and went on to become a grade-school teacher.
Kazembe met his future wife Claire Stoermer in the early 1990s. It’s believed but not confirmed that the couple met at work, as Claire was also a schoolteacher for many years. Claire was born on 24th March 1964, in the USA, and is of Caucasian descent. On 1st September 1996, Kazembe and Claire became proud parents to their last child Zendaya, and settled down permanently in Oakland.
Over the years, Zendaya has credited her parents for her success, and thanked them for molding her into who she is today. In a Teen Vogue interview, the starlet confessed that she was inspired by her mother’s work as a teacher. Despite landing a role in “Shake It Up” and having to go to Los Angeles, Zendaya still saw her mother every week. Fans of the celebrity were surprised to learn in 2017 that Zendaya, 20 years old at the time, was still living with her parents. However, the actress told Ellen DeGeneres that they all respected each other’s space, and had healthy boundaries. However, in March of the same year, the A-lister spread her wings and purchased a lavish $1.4 million home in L.A.
Moving on from her career in education for bigger and better things, Claire became an entrepreneur and launched her own jewelry line, Kizzmet Jewelry. Zendaya was fully supportive of her mother’s venture and often modelled the customized jewelry pieces on the brand’s Instagram account. The small business specializes in protective stones such as Shangaan amethysts and Botswana agate. In 2016, news outlets including TMZ broke the unexpected news that Claire had filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences as the cause. At the time, Zendaya was a rising star following her work on Disney shows and her blossoming musical career; however, the news didn’t gain much traction.
To this day, Claire and Kazembe maintain a positive relationship for the sake of their daughter. The other Coleman-Stoermer siblings are Austin, Katianna, Annabella, Julien, and Kaylee. All five of them are doing their own thing these days, and have long since started their own families, making Zendaya a proud aunt of many. The actress also cites her older sisters as an influence, saying: “I look up to my big sister and realize the influence she’s had on me and making me a better person”.
Part of Zendaya’s success today is due to the time and effort Kazembe invested into managing her career. Active in the industry since 2009, some of the celebrity’s first jobs were modelling gigs for Old Navy and Macy’s and work as a back-up dancer for a Sears campaign starring Selena Gomez.
In November of the same year, Zendaya auditioned for a role in “Shake It Up” by performing “Leave Me Alone” by Michael Jackson, so later being cast as Rocky Blue. The premiere of “Shake It Up” on 7th November 2010 took Zendaya’s career to another level, as the show became Disney Channel’s second highest-rated premiere of all times, with 6.2 million viewers. Mere months later, Kazembe helped his daughter branch out into music, with the release of the promotional independent single “Swag It Out”. In June 2011, she released “Watch Me”, peaking at #86 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. Zendaya’s 2012 discography includes “Fashion Is My Kryptonite”, “Same Heart”, and “Made in Japan”, with all three songs being part of the soundtrack for “Live 2 Dance”.
With her fanbase multiplying at a dizzying rate, it’s little surprise that the actress was signed to Hollywood Records in September of the same year. The starlet’s self-titled album was released on 17th September 2013 and did moderately well. Other career achievements include her first film role in the Disney Channel Original Movie production “Frenemies”, her performance at the Teen Music Festival, and her participation as the youngest contestant ever at the time, in “Dancing with The Stars”. Despite working with seasoned musicians such as Timbaland and Chris Brown, in 2016 Zendaya’s focus turned to acting, and her father was officially confirmed as being her manager.
Transitioning into more adult roles and leaving Disney behind, the talented thespian made her feature film debut in “Spider-Man: Homecoming”, which premiered in July 2017. Making the controversial decision to wear no make-up to her screen test, or during filming, Zendaya also put her own spin on the role of Michelle, leading to a critically acclaimed performance. Mere months later, millions of viewers fell in love with Zendaya as she depicted a trapeze artist in “The Greatest Showman”, and enjoyed a taboo on-screen romance with Zac Efron. The Hollywood Reporter and other respected outlets praised Zendaya for her acting skills, with the film becoming the third-highest grossing live-action musical in history.
These days, Zendaya’s best role is considered to be her portrayal of Rue in “Euphoria”, a gritty coming-of-age series which touches sensitive topics, including, but not limited to, sex, substance abuse, and unhealed trauma. The actress also worked as an executive producer on season two.
Thanks to his business acumen and frugal lifestyle, Kazembe’s net worth is estimated at over $5 million as of early 2022. Meanwhile, his daughter Zendaya is worth three times more, thanks to her lucrative acting roles and endorsements.