Big Sean‘s grandmother Mildred Virginia Leonard, was born in Detroit and she was one of the first African-American female captains in the U.S. Army and she later became one of the few black female police officers in the city of Detroit.
He revealed his grandmother's accomplishments during a 2015 interview with NY Post saying “All my life, I grew up hearing about the things she had done.” He dedicated his song “One Man Can Change the World” off his album 2015 album Dark Sky Paradise to his grandmother Mildred V. Leonard. At a listening session, he cried saying “She deserved that song.”
Big Sean's grandmother passed away in December 2014 and he made an Instagram post with the caption: “My grandma passed away a couple days ago. I haven't said anything to anyone because honestly I feel like she's still here. I definitely can feel her consciousness. Im having a hard time accepting her death, but I must acknowledge my grandma's life, a true hero. She was a black female Captain in World War 2 (one of the 1st), got her degree at West Virginia State University, and her Masters degree at U of M. After school she became a police officer in Detroit, which at the time was very rare for women to be officers in Detroit. Then she became a caring teacher and counselor. She was the best grandma anyone could ever ask for. From the Sunday Dinners, home cooked meals, and how special she made us feel on our birthdays by baking us the cakes we loved most. She put her heart and more into anything she was involved in. She gave as much as she could to her family and the world! She completely made something out of nothing. When I was growing up, there were people interviewing my grandma about her life because she's done and seen so many amazing things. She supported me so much in every aspect and part of my life, even when I went against what was becoming traditional in our family, and didn't go to college to pursue music. She made a better life for me and the rest of my family, and I will forever be grateful I got to know and be loved by such an amazing woman! I'm so proud of her. She was truly a treasure to this world and everyone she came in contact with. She's the reason why I'm so passionate about giving back. Her spirit will live through her family. We miss and love u so much Grandma!“