“I Got Some Indian In Me”: 9 Celebs Who Want You To Know They’re More Than Just Black

November 19, 2012  |  
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Adriana M. Barraza / WENN

As a genealogy buff, I’m fascinated by the composite of different races within blacks of African descent. Apparently, I’m not alone. Some of us love to let others know that we are more than just black. This almost goes hand in hand with people that love to tell others that their curls aren’t as tight as the rest of ours because they claim to be mixed with something. Yeah, whatever. But there is something to be said about being proud of one’s origin. Knowing where we came from is an integral part of knowing who we are. Unfortunately, many of us don’t know our genetic makeup due to lack of historically relevant data, money (for genealogical testing), or interest in knowing our backgrounds. Maybe if more of us did, we too could be like these nine celebs that are proud (some maybe too proud at times) of their diverse lineage.

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Lil’ Kim

This petite powerhouse rapper states that she is of African and Native American descent. I’m actually a little shocked that she admitted to having any African ancestry considering that she has spent years trying to look like an Asian woman trapped in a black girl’s body, and the fact that she has that penchant for plastic surgeries, and her ever-changing skin tone. I wouldn’t be surprised if she comes forward and says has family in Europe and Asia considering her radically transforming appearance.

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Ne-Yo

Ne-Yo’s eyes are a dead giveaway that he’s working with an Asian background. His mother is black and Chinese. But I didn’t bat an eye when I heard him reveal this information, considering this is the same person that caught a lot of heat for saying that “all the prettiest kids are light-skinned anyway.” To be fair, he went on “The Tyra Banks Show” and stated that “he had a slight weakness for chocolate women,” but regardless of whom he’s checking for romantically or what he deems the right look on little ones, I think we can all learn from his f00t-in-the-mouth moment that these opinions are best kept to your damn self.

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Beyoncé

Queen Bey’s infamous L’Oréal ad made it known that she is African American, Native American, and French.  Even though she constantly rocks blonde hair and her skin appears lighter and lighter (which she may or may not have anything to do with), Bey still seems to be the embodiment of a proud, beautiful, black woman. She listed that she was African American first and foremost, campaigned for our first black president, and she frequently attends black events (which believe it or not, says a lot about her willingness to associate with the black community), so the shade she received was a bit over the top.

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Nicki Minaj

This Barbie doll loving rapper turned television star is of Indian and Afro-Trinidadian background and was born outside of Trinidad and Tobago. I didn’t know the Barbie doll look was hot in the islands. I’m not sure it’s even hot in America. It doesn’t matter if it is or if it isn’t though since Nicki can pull off just about anything. Some try to argue that the goal of her look is to disassociate herself from looking black, but I disagree. She goes for shock value and being different comes with the territory if you’re going to last in the industry. Her skills, unique look, and controversial rhymes got her a spot on “American idol,” and a Pepsi endorsement. Go on girl!

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Naomi Campbell

This leggy, British-born supermodel is of Chinese and Jamaican background. The repeated reports of physical abuse by her towards her personal assistant, two maids, and the staff at her former agency, Elite, makes me wonder if she ever tried to practice some of the passive religions of her ancestors such as Christianity, Buddhism, or Daoism. But anyway, her diverse background has been widely discussed since she put the “super” in supermodel years ago.

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Montel Williams

The former talk show titan is ¼ Caucasian. His mother is bi-racial, which he talked about on an episode of his talk show. I wonder if his background played a large role in his life considering that he married enough white women to give Quincy Jones a run for his money. Either way, Williams has been very open about his background over the years.

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Tyson Beckford

Tyson has been open about his background, saying that he is Afro-Jamaican, Panamanian, and of Chinese descent. His runway swag, sweet smile, and unique look are what made him a household name in the ’90s. His star power may have dwindled a bit in recent years, but I’m sure he isn’t concerned since he has his gorgeous, live-in Lithuanian girlfriend to focus on.

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James Earl Jones

This deep-voiced actor is of African, Irish, and Native American ancestry. And according to the Huffington Post, while he’s been open about his diverse background since stepping in the spotlight, when he was younger, he was taught not to be so vocal about it. In fact, he’s even come out to talk about how he dealt with a racist grandmother who tried to teach him to be hostile to white people and others:

I’d go to school with white kids and Indian kids. I knew they weren’t the devils that she said they were. I had to start thinking for myself, and I had to start understanding the extent to which she was right too. But I can now live in the shoes of racists. When I hear about racists, I know exactly what they’re feeling. I said ‘I’m gonna allow myself to feel that, just for the hell of it.’ So I know what they’re going through.

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Jennifer Williams

While watching an episode of one of my guilty pleasures, “Basketball Wives,” Jenn decided to come out and say that her hair came from her white grandmother. Okay, so can she explain where the contacts came from though? Contacts and hair aside (seriously, I’ll never understand the necessity of colored contacts) though, Jenn is a classic case of beauty and brains. The 5’10” reality star graduated from college with honors, is principal shareholder of Flirty Girl Fitness, and founder of Project Save The World. Do your thing, lady.

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