Growing up in an interracial family of show-biz parents in vibrant New York City during the '70s, future rockstar Lenny Kravitz learned a lot from his family and friends about race, relationships and never giving up on his dreams. Out of all his life lessons, however, Kravitz says that one continues to stand apart from the rest, decades later.
As he told "Oprah's Master Class" in a candid interview, Kravitz's maternal grandfather had a big hand in raising him. What Kravitz admired most about his grandfather, he says, is that even when the man reached his twilight years, he could never be described as rigid or set in his ways.
"Although he was a grandfather and an older gentleman and somebody who'd been through life, he was always open to new ideas and new ways of thinking," Kravitz says.
As someone with a lifetime's worth of experiences under his belt, Kravitz's grandfather had much to teach as well, and his genuine sense of openness was reflected in the guidance he offered his grandson.
"He would say... 'Let me show you how I did it. These were my steps; if you find a better way, show me,'" Kravitz recalls. "He wasn't the kind of older person that was like, 'This is the way it is and that's it and that's final, because I'm older and I say so.'"
Rather, Kravitz's grandfather quite enjoyed being around people with youthful energy and fresh perspectives. "He always hung around young people, and always liked to hear new ideas," Kravitz says. "He wanted you to challenge him."
This doesn't mean that Kravitz grew up in a home without expectations or rules, he clarifies. It just meant that the freedom to explore and wonder was never far out of reach.
"Although I had to take certain steps and I had to be disciplined... I was also told that I could find my own way," Kravitz says. "That's a beautiful balance of discipline, being raised [and] having responsibilities but, at the same time, be yourself."
"Oprah's Master Class" returns for its fifth season on Sunday, Oct. 25, at 8 p.m. ET. Upcoming masters include Ellen DeGeneres, Robert Duvall, Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson, Smokey Robinson, Jeff Bridges, James Taylor and Patti LaBelle.
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