Actress Vanessa Williams Traces Roots Using Mail-Order DNA Test

February 18, 2013  |  
Credit: Helga Esteb / Shutterstock

From Black Voices

The project that first sequenced a human genome in 2000 took 15 years and cost about $3 billion.

Now it takes six to eight weeks and costs as little as $100. Takers include actress Vanessa Williams, who has a long interest in tracing her family history.

“I’ve got blue eyes, my brother also has light eyes, and everyone says, ‘Well, what are you? You’re mixed with something. What is it?’” Williams told The Huffington Post. “My parents are black … but I was a bit defensive, because I don’t know, all of my relatives look like me. And we know as much as we can.”

Two years ago, Williams found herself choking back tears as she traced her family history during the second season of NBC’s now-defunct series, “Who Do You Think You Are?”


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  • anon

    She’s 44% European

    • anon

      Nearly half white, but we go on about how black someone still is, because they come from all black parents, grandparents, yet look nothing like the original SSA ancestors.

      Why they have nearly the same blood quantum (in terms of black vs. non-black ratio) as any biracial or mixed race identified person.

      race classification is on some bullshit.

  • anon

    She already did this on one of Gate’s shows. But there was an article online, which was scrubbed from the web about 4-5 years ago, that went into detail about her affluent mixed race family of New York/New Jersey. It stated that she has white relatives. One of her ancestors was a decorated military serviceman. I wonder why, it seems, she’s trying to hid that.

    On the Gates show, she was linked to other prominent blacks in history, recorded as negro in historical documents.

    It’s fishy that the article was scrubbed from the web and this current publicity that there is, indeed, a history of white social heritage in her family.

    Paint’s a totally different picture than the scrubbed article offered, which was published by a one of the local libraries/literary societies in the region where she’s originally from.

    • anon

      ok, never mind, read the entire article.

  • Nikki

    I thought she’s said that both of her parents are biracial (Welsh & Native American).

  • bluekissess

    I’ve always wanted to do this.

    • MLS2698

      Yes, me too. But I don’t like having my DNA out there while not knowing where it will end up. I won’t even lick envelopes. Yes, I know we leave it at the doctors office, etc, but something just feels odd about mailing my DNA.