Empire’s Grace Gealey, Anika Calhoun, belongs to a family tree with very strong roots. Grace Gealey’s bio begins in Butler, PA where she was born on July 26, 1984.
Grace Gealey’s parents are both deaf. This has made raising the awareness about the Deaf culture a major cause for Gealey. The star has used her fame to advocate for the deaf community.
Gealey learned sign language before she learned how to walk. Her father was born with hearing loss. Gealey has described the lack of compassion people have treated her parents with due to the disability.
Grace Gealey has referred to her mother, Cheryl McCoy Gealey, as the lynchpin of her life. Gealey’s mother is Afro-Caribbean and the family moved to the Cayman Islands, Cheryl McCoy Gealey’s native home, when Grace was 2-years-old. Grace says that one of her mother’s lessons was sacrifice and she explains that her mother’s “work ethic has permanently infused my spirit.”
Cheryl McCoy Gealey is the eldest child of Harry and Theoline McCoy. She lost her hearing when she was just 2-years-old, after battling pneumonia. Gealey’s mother has explained that she encouraged Grace to focus on God, follow her heart and go forward.
Education was instilled in Grace at an early age. Her grandparents, Harry and Theoline McCoy took education very seriously. Grace’s grandfather’s aunt, Flora Robinson, was the first female teacher in the Cayman Islands.
Empire’s Grace Gealey received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of South Florida in Tampa and later attended the University of California, Irvine.