The most famous celebrities hailing from the Detroit area

Detroit takes a special pride in cultivating and developing talented folks who later make it on a national and international level. We sing their praises as they advance through their careers and continue to create quality movies, music, art, and comedy. Here's a list of some of the most notable celebs from the Detroit area who have made an impact all around the world.

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Aaliyah 
Rightfully given the title of the Princess of R&B, Aaliyah Dana Haughton, better known by her stage name, Aaliyah, was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., but was raised in Detroit.  She sang alongside Gladys Knight at the age of 10, and two years later would go on to sign with Jive Records. Her debut album Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number was her big break at age 15. She then graduated from Detroit High School for the Fine and Performing Arts in 1997. Her smooth R&B tracks produced by legendary musicians Timberland and Missy Elliot, and accompanied by sensual and hip-hop inspired choreography, solidified Aaliyah’s position as one of the most influential artists of the ‘90s. With hits such as “One in a Million,” “At Your Best,” “Rock the Boat,” “Try Again,” “We Need a Resolution,” and more, Aaliyah has generated an estimated 24 to 32 million albums worldwide. On August 25, 2001, the singer lost her life after a fatal plane crash at the age of 22.
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Aaliyah

Rightfully given the title of the Princess of R&B, Aaliyah Dana Haughton, better known by her stage name, Aaliyah, was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., but was raised in Detroit.  She sang alongside Gladys Knight at the age of 10, and two years later would go on to sign with Jive Records. Her debut album Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number was her big break at age 15. She then graduated from Detroit High School for the Fine and Performing Arts in 1997. Her smooth R&B tracks produced by legendary musicians Timberland and Missy Elliot, and accompanied by sensual and hip-hop inspired choreography, solidified Aaliyah’s position as one of the most influential artists of the ‘90s. With hits such as “One in a Million,” “At Your Best,” “Rock the Boat,” “Try Again,” “We Need a Resolution,” and more, Aaliyah has generated an estimated 24 to 32 million albums worldwide. On August 25, 2001, the singer lost her life after a fatal plane crash at the age of 22.

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Anita Baker 
Just an hour outside of Detroit was where of one of soul music’s most prized voices, Anita Baker, was born. After being abandoned by her mother at the age of 2, Baker moved from Toledo, Ohio, to Detroit, where she was raised by a foster family. In 1982 she signed with Otis Smith’s label, Beverly Glenn, and would go on to release her debut album Songstress — but it wasn’t until 1986 when she became a major hit from her album Rapture under Elektra Records, which sold 6 million copies worldwide. She birthed sweet and soulful hits “Just Because,” “Giving You the Best I Got,” “Sweet Love,” “Angel,” and “I Apologize,” just to name a few . Baker also won eight Grammy Awards throughout her career. 
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Anita Baker

Just an hour outside of Detroit was where of one of soul music’s most prized voices, Anita Baker, was born. After being abandoned by her mother at the age of 2, Baker moved from Toledo, Ohio, to Detroit, where she was raised by a foster family. In 1982 she signed with Otis Smith’s label, Beverly Glenn, and would go on to release her debut album Songstress — but it wasn’t until 1986 when she became a major hit from her album Rapture under Elektra Records, which sold 6 million copies worldwide. She birthed sweet and soulful hits “Just Because,” “Giving You the Best I Got,” “Sweet Love,” “Angel,” and “I Apologize,” just to name a few . Baker also won eight Grammy Awards throughout her career.

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Big Sean 
Big Sean’s first major step into the world of hip-hop was being discovered by Kanye West, after freestyling for the established rapper at Detroit’s 102.7 studios in 2005. Two years later, he signed with West’s label GOOD MUSIC. In 2008 he went under contract with Def Jam Records, and he’s been with Jay Z’s Roc Nation since 2014. Big Sean does philanthropy work with the Sean Anderson Foundation, sold over 15 million records, had three albums certified platinum, and received five Grammy nominations, clearly makes him one of the biggest artists out of Detroit.
Jamie Lamor Thompson / Shutterstock

Big Sean

Big Sean’s first major step into the world of hip-hop was being discovered by Kanye West, after freestyling for the established rapper at Detroit’s 102.7 studios in 2005. Two years later, he signed with West’s label GOOD MUSIC. In 2008 he went under contract with Def Jam Records, and he’s been with Jay Z’s Roc Nation since 2014. Big Sean does philanthropy work with the Sean Anderson Foundation, sold over 15 million records, had three albums certified platinum, and received five Grammy nominations, clearly makes him one of the biggest artists out of Detroit.

Jamie Lamor Thompson / Shutterstock
Dej Loaf 
You might not want to try this Detroit rapper. In 2014, Dej Loaf, whose real name is Deja Trimble, gained fame after she dropped her track “Try Me,” which peaked at No. 45 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. She has since gone on to sign to Columbia Records, release a second mixtape, and open for Nicki Minaj on the Pinkprint Tour. 
Photo via   Screengrab / YouTube

Dej Loaf

You might not want to try this Detroit rapper. In 2014, Dej Loaf, whose real name is Deja Trimble, gained fame after she dropped her track “Try Me,” which peaked at No. 45 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. She has since gone on to sign to Columbia Records, release a second mixtape, and open for Nicki Minaj on the Pinkprint Tour.

Photo via   Screengrab / YouTube
J.K. Simmons 
J.K. Simmons has starred in five of director Sam Raimi’s films, including the Marvel favorite Spider-Man as J. Jonah Jameson, For the Love of the Game and The Gift. The Oscar award-winner originally wanted to be a singer, and studied at the University of Montana in hopes of becoming a composer. He even has a few Broadway credits under his belt for his roles in Peter Pan and Guys and Dolls.  
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J.K. Simmons

J.K. Simmons has starred in five of director Sam Raimi’s films, including the Marvel favorite Spider-Man as J. Jonah Jameson, For the Love of the Game and The Gift. The Oscar award-winner originally wanted to be a singer, and studied at the University of Montana in hopes of becoming a composer. He even has a few Broadway credits under his belt for his roles in Peter Pan and Guys and Dolls. 

SD Mack / Shutterstock
Diana Ross 
Known as the lead singer of Detroit’s 1960s mega girl group, The Supremes, Diana Ross became a breakout solo star with her signature glam looks and soul/pop hits. She’s sung on timeless tunes like “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “Reach Out and Touch,” “Endless Love,” and “Coming Out.” Ross has also dipped into the acting world, starring in Lady Sings the Blues, Mahogany, The Wiz, and Double Platinum. To this day, Diana Ross is iconic, and her legacy includes over 70 hit singles, two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, over 100 million records sold, and a Grammys Lifetime Achievement Award.  
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Diana Ross

Known as the lead singer of Detroit’s 1960s mega girl group, The Supremes, Diana Ross became a breakout solo star with her signature glam looks and soul/pop hits. She’s sung on timeless tunes like “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “Reach Out and Touch,” “Endless Love,” and “Coming Out.” Ross has also dipped into the acting world, starring in Lady Sings the Blues, Mahogany, The Wiz, and Double Platinum. To this day, Diana Ross is iconic, and her legacy includes over 70 hit singles, two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, over 100 million records sold, and a Grammys Lifetime Achievement Award. 

Tinseltown / Shutterstock
Eminem 
Considered one of the greatest rappers of all time, the 15-time Grammy award-winning recording artist has a truly inspiring story. The rapper dropped out of school in the ninth grade and pursued a career in rap through freestyle battles and radio appearances, and after being taken under the wing of notable east coast producer Dr. Dre, Eminem’s career soared. He created the hit tracks “Lose Yourself,” “Stan,” “My Name Is,”  “The Real Slim Shady,” “Cleaning Out My Closet,” “When I’m Gone,” and more.  
Photo via  Screengrab / YouTube
Jack White 
Jack White is an instrumental genius, and served as the lead singer and guitarist of Grammy award-winning band The White Stripes. White has also had his fair share of film roles, and is a member of the Library of Congress’ National Recording Preservation Foundation. In 2016, he was revealed as one of the four featured artists on Beyonce’s culturally moving sixth studio album, Lemonade, for the rock-inspired track “Don’t Hurt Yourself.” Also, here’s a fun fact; Jack White has never owned a cell phone. 
MPH PHOTOS / Shutterstock

Jack White

Jack White is an instrumental genius, and served as the lead singer and guitarist of Grammy award-winning band The White Stripes. White has also had his fair share of film roles, and is a member of the Library of Congress’ National Recording Preservation Foundation. In 2016, he was revealed as one of the four featured artists on Beyonce’s culturally moving sixth studio album, Lemonade, for the rock-inspired track “Don’t Hurt Yourself.” Also, here’s a fun fact; Jack White has never owned a cell phone.

MPH PHOTOS / Shutterstock
John Witherspoon 
Is it Friday Yet? Actor and comedian John Witherspoon is best-known for his role in the Friday film franchise, created by rapper Ice Cube. 
Photo via  Screengrab / YouTube
Kash Doll 
From humble beginnings of trying to provide for her family to being one of this generation’s most admired female rappers, Arkeisha “Kash Doll” Knight makes Detroit’s music roster look even better with her fierce confidence and undeniable pen game. She’s collabed with Lil Wayne, Dreezy, 2 Chainz, and Iggy Azalea, and in 2017, Detroiter Big Sean on his single “So Good.” Kash Doll’s own single “For Everybody” gained her the attention of a wave of music listeners, pulling in over 10 million views on YouTube and becoming a crowd favorite. 
Photo via  Screengrab / YouTube