Rosalie Rock raised 10 children and fostered many others
In a 2012 interview with WPDE News, Rose shared her top parenting advice. But before she let the public in on her child-rearing wisdom, she wanted to get one thing straight.
“Who am I? I’m Rose Rock. What does that mean?” she said. “Okay, you know my claim to fame is being Chris Rock’s mom, but I am so much more than that. I am so over everyone calling me Chris Rock’s mom."
Given her résumé, it is easy to understand why. In addition to being the famous comedian’s mom, Rose has mothered nine other kids (in her words, "seven birthed children and three given children"). She has also worked as an educator, social worker, motivational speaker and more.
Here is everything to know about Chris Rock's mother, Rose Rock.
She is from South Carolina
When Chris was a child, Rose and Chris' father, Julius, moved their family from South Carolina to Brooklyn.
Currently, Rose lives in Georgetown County, South Carolina.
She has fostered over 17 children
Through the years, Rock has fostered 17 children.
“People kept asking me over and over, ‘How did you raise that many children?’ " she told Today in 2008. “Or they tell me, ‘I listened when you talked to your kids about the work ethic.’ "
She doesn’t consider Chris her most successful child
All of Rose's kids are "very, very, very successful," she told WPDE News.
“Chris is the one you see but not necessarily the most successful one. But, he is the one who is in, you know, the media," she told the outlet.
For Rose, success is measured not by fame or wealth but by strength of character.
“I knew Chris would be famous,” she told Today. “I just thought it would be because of his writing. Inside him he has a book, maybe even a Pulitzer. I raised [my children] to be great. Great doesn’t mean to be movie stars or artists. Great means to be wonderful people.”
She has had multiple careers
For 17 years, Rose worked as an educator. She taught at and owned a preschool and day care center in New York and South Carolina.
“Being a teacher was what I was supposed to do,” she told Today.
Rose used her experiences in school to influence her methods in the classroom.
“I grew up in a time where teachers weren’t really taught to care about kids,” she explained. “Back then, Black kids were favored if you were light-skinned, had long hair and dressed well. I had the light skin and the long hair, but not the clothes.”
Rose continued: "When I became a teacher I said I was going to like all the dirty children. Every day I made sure to always have a shopping bag with soap and extra clothes so I could catch that kid at the door.”
Beyond teaching, her careers have included author, motivational speaker and radio host.
She is "old school" when it comes to parenting advice
Rose's book, Mama Rock Rules: Ten Lessons for Raising Ten Successful Children, offers her philosophy about parenting.
"My mom taught me to always keep moving forward,” Chris' brother, Jordan Rock, a fellow comedian and actor, told The Sun News. “She said, ‘If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you’re (doggone) right.’ ”
Chris wrote the foreword for his mother's book. When asked how his mother managed 10 children plus fostering, he said (per Rose, in an interview with NPR), “with a lot of love, a lot of rules, and a big belt.”
Rose lived firmly by the philosophy that she was her kids' mother, not their friend, and demanded their respect.
“We had a work chart, and we told them: ‘We are members of a family, and we live in a home we love. So, the upkeep of this house is everybody’s responsibility,’ ’’ she told The Sun News. “Each child had a job — he or she would vacuum, iron or whatever. My children did their chores Monday through Saturday. On Sunday, they were off like Jesus.”
She is a grandmother
In addition to being a mother, Rose is also a grandmother. The number of grandchildren is unknown, but among them are Chris' daughters, Lola and Zahra.
In 2020, Chris and one of his daughters decided to get similar tattoos.
"First tattoo for King @chrisrock and his wonderful daughter," New York City tattoo shop Bang Bang Tattoo wrote on Instagram.
Chris' tattoo of a Basquiat crown was placed right on his right shoulder, and his daughter (it isn't clear if it was Lola or Zahra in the photo) decided on a dinosaur with a matching crown in the same place.
She defended Rock after the 2022 Oscars
Like many others, Rose weighed in on the slap at the 2022 Oscars.
“When he slapped Chris, he slapped all of us,” she said in an interview with WIS News. “He really slapped me. Because when you hurt my child, you hurt me.”
Not only was Rose disappointed in Will Smith’s actions, but she was also disappointed in his apologies.
“His people wrote up a piece saying I apologize to Chris Rock, but something like that is personal, you reach out,” she explained later in the interview.
Smith apologized again in a video — and this time, he mentioned Rose.
"I saw an interview that his mother did," he said in the clip. "That's one of the things about that moment I didn't realize, I wasn't thinking, but how many people got hurt in that moment."
Smith continued: "So I want to apologize to Chris' mother; I want to apologize to Chris' family, specifically Tony Rock [Chris' younger brother]. We had a great relationship. Tony Rock was my man. This is probably irreparable."
Being a mother is one of the joys of her life
In case Rose left any doubt, motherhood — despite its hardships — has been a source of joy for her.
“If I could turn back the clock, I would be back at 619 Decatur Street, cooking in the kitchen while the kids sit at the table doing their homework,” she told Today. “That was the best time of my life.”
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