Happy Cinco De Mayo! Celebs You Didn’t Know Are Mexican
For many Mexican Americans living here in the U.S., Cinco de Mayo is a day to commemorate their Mexican pride and heritage. While many of us who aren’t Mexican join in on the celebration, here’s a list of celebs that you may not have known that are actually Mexican, either by ethnicity or nationality.
Taboo from Black Eyed Peas
As one fourth of the super group Black Eyed Peas, rapper Taboo has become an international superstar. Born to a Mexican American father and a Native American mother in Los Angeles, Taboo, real name Jaime Gomez, joined the group to replace one of its members. Black Eyed Peas went through a couple name changes and singer Fergie was brought in as the fourth member in time for their third album. Taboo began working on a solo album in 2008 but has said it will take some time to get his solo career off of the ground.
She may be better known for who she’s romantically involved with than for being a singer, but Cassie emerged on the music scene with her hit song “Me & U,” which was written and produced by then boyfriend Ryan Leslie. Born to a Filipino father and a mother of African American, Mexican and West Indian descent, her career may have floundered but her personal life has never been better. For years, it was no secret that Cassie was dating Sean “Diddy” Combs but now the couple openly shares their relationship with each other on their social networking sites.
Stacey Dash has been in the entertainment industry for a long time but she sure doesn’t look like it. Part Barbadian, Mexican and African American, Dash got her start on television in the mid 80’s. While she had a notable appearance in the Shawn and Marlon Wayans comedy Mo’ Money, it was her role as the self-centered, Beverly Hills spoiled, rich high school kid, Dionne, in the 1995 film Clueless that was her major break. The film spawned a television show of the same name and Dash reprised her role as Dionne Davenport for three seasons.
Rapper KiD CuDi was born and raised in Ohio but he moved to Brooklyn to live with his uncle to pursue a career in music. Born to a Black mother and a father who was both Black and Mexican, CuDi, real name Scott Mescudi, was just 11 years old when his father passed away from cancer. This had a huge impact on his personality and then his music. Working at the BAPE clothing store, his life would forever change after he forgot to take the anti-theft device off of a young Kanye West’s jacket. Being evicted from his uncle’s place inspired his hit song “Day ‘n’ Nite.”
Marques Houston got his first taste of stardom and fame at a young age. He was one-third of the R&B boy band Immature, which was formed in 1992 (later changing its name to IMx). The group also appeared in several movies together before Houston left the group to pursue a solo career. As an actor, Houston may be best known as Roger Evans from the sitcom “Sister, Sister.” His most recent album was released last summer. Houston’s mother, who was Mexican American, passed away from lymphoma in 1997.
Lupita Nyong’o was actually born in Mexico City, Mexico to Kenyan parents. Following Luo tradition to name a child after the events of the day, her parents named her Lupita, a diminutive of Guadalupe. Nyong’o’s father was a visiting lecturer at a prestigious college in Mexico City at the time of her birth and she returned to Kenya with the rest of her family before she turned a year old. After graduating from Hampshire College, the 31-year old completed her master’s degree from the Yale School of Drama before snagging her first feature film in Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave. Her first major role earned her an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.
Funny man Louis C.K. has been in the entertainment business for decades but in the last few years, he has seen his popularity reach an all time high. The 46-year-old comedian was born in Washington D.C. but lived in Mexico City with his family until the age of seven. C.K.’s father was born in Mexico and much of the family on his father’s side still resides there. C.K.’s first language was Spanish and he still retains his Mexican citizenship. The fourth season of his hit show “Louie” begins later this month.
Stacy Ann “Fergie” Ferguson
The Black Eyed Peas went through a couple name changes and a switch up in its line-up before finding the winning formula with its four current members. Rapper Taboo isn’t the only one in the super group that is of Mexican descent. In addition to being part Irish, Scottish, English and Native American, 39-year-old married mom of one, Fergie, is also part Mexican, from her great-grandmother. Fergie released her debut solo album in 2006 and after taking some time off to start a family, she is slated to release a follow up album later this year.
Although she has music in her blood, Nicole Richie has never released an album. Part, African, Mexican, Creole and Spanish, Richie’s biological father played percussion for numerous artists including Mariah Carey, Lionel Richie and Tina Turner. Hr aunt is famed percussionist Sheila E. When she was just three years old, her parents sent her to live with Lionel Richie and his then wife because they could no longer afford to financially provide for her. The socialite turned businesswoman is now a married mother of two.
She may be small in stature but she certainly stood out as part of the cast of ABC’s hit show “Desperate Housewives.” Eva Longoria was born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas to Mexican American parents. After winning the title of Miss Corpus Christi, USA in 1998, Longoria headed to Los Angeles. She was a regular on the soap opera “Young & the Restless” for two years before getting her big break as Gabrielle Solis on “Desperate Housewives.” Longoria partnered with the show’s creator for his next hit and is now one of the executive producers of Lifetime’s ”Devious Maids.”
Despite having her own career, Shar Jackson is perhaps more known by those who read the gossip mags than people who watched her on television. For six years, Jackson played the best friend to Brandi’s Moesha on the hit sitcom of the same name. Born in Boston to a Black mother of Native American descent, Jackson’s father was Spanish, both Puerto Rican and Mexican. She ended up in the headlines after the father of her two young children, back-up dancer Kevin Federline, left her for pop singer Britney Spears. Jackson reprised her role as Niecy for the spin-off show “The Parkers” but she only appeared on the show for two episodes before the part went to Countess Vaughn.
He came up short during his run for the highest office in the land in large part because a lot of people thought he couldn’t identify with the average citizen. Even though he was born here in the U.S., Romney’s father was actually born across the border in a Mormon colony in Chihuahua, Mexico. After a successful and profitable career in the private sector, Romney was the governor of Massachusetts for four years before deciding to run for president. Since his loss, Romney has kept a low profile.
From a young age, singer Miguel always knew he’d be an entertainer. At five years old, Miguel, who was born to a Mexican father and Black mother, wanted to be a dancer but by the time he became a teenager, the California native was writing and performing his own songs. He recorded his debut album “All I Want Is You” but it wasn’t released until two years later. Miguel is currently working on his third album with legendary producer DJ Premier.
A relative unknown, Esperanza Spalding became a household name after winning the 2011 Grammy for Best New Artist, beating out Justin Bieber and Drake while simultaneously making history by becoming the first jazz artist to win that award. Born to a Black father and a mother of Mexican descent, the 29-year-old has admitted she does not know her exact ethnic make up. “My mom had me late and grew up in a culture where diversity wasn’t exciting, like it is now,” she said. “Her family didn’t make a big effort to embrace and pass on their inherited lineage stories.” Trying to make up for lost time, Spalding has always had an interest in music from other cultures and even sings some songs in Portuguese.
Kat Von D
Kat Von D is a world famous tattoo artist who was featured on the reality show “L.A. Ink” but few know that the 32-year-old television personality was actually born in Mexico. Her missionary parents moved Kat Von D and her family to Colton, CA when she was just four years old. Crediting her grandmother for her inspiration in music and art as well as the Latino culture in L.A., Von D got her first tattoo at the tender age of 14 and quit high school two years later to follow her dream of becoming a tattoo artist. Von D began dating fellow reality star Jesse James in 2010 and was even engaged to Sandra Bullock’s ex-husband for six months before they split up.