Ancestry companies like 23 & Me and Ancestry.com have been helping people trace their roots for years now. Celebrities have been cashing in on the craze as well and revealing interesting results about their lineage. Snoop Dogg and Charles Barkley used these programs to engage in a “black off” and discover who had deeper roots in Africa. How many others have used the technology to figure out where their families are from?
Oprah Winfrey was one of many who participated in the CBS special “African American Lives,” where she allowed them to trace her roots. They discovered that the television mogul was from a bloodline that connected to the Kpelle people in West Africa. Their tribes have since become part of the Liberia and Guinea nations. In her discovery, Winfrey was found to also have 8% Native American DNA and 3% East Asian DNA. “When it happened to me, it was absolutely empowering to know the journey of my entire family,” Winfrey said during the documentary.
When Pharrell Williams did his ancestry search with AncestryDNA, he was able to find out his family’s origin. As part of the series Finding Your Roots, Pharrell discovered his roots went back to Liberia as well but that he also had connections to Native American tribes on the border of North Carolina and Virginia. Queen Latifah participated in the same documentary as Pharrell and discovered that her ancestors were free African Americans who alluded slavery in the 1700s.
Tiffany Haddish discovered she was Jewish-Ethiopian and Eritrean during her quest for ancestry information. This allowed her to connect with her father and his country. Haddish has also heavily explored her Jewish background and even named her 2019 Netflix stand-up Black Mitzvah. In it, she heavily discussed the results of her ancestry search and how it impacted her life. In 2022 she also visited Eritrea to meet with the village her family was from. She shared the emotional experience with her followers, calling it her “soul’s home.” “I am so happy to be welcomed by my Grandfather’s village so warmly. I Love my People,” Haddish wrote in another post.
George Lopez used ancestry technology to stage a “black off” between Charles Barkley and Snoop Dogg. During his time hosting Lopez Tonight, he helped Charles confirm that he was 75% African. “Take that Snoop Dogg,” he said in a Wrestlmania-inspired clip. While interviewing Snoop Dogg, Lopez says, “I know you think you’re blacker than Barkley. Everybody thinks you are, right!?” Snoop answered, “I think they do.”
Lopez then began reading through Snoop Dogg’s results, confirming that the rapper has no East Asian in his bloodline but is 23% Native American. “You are 6% European,” Lopez read while the crowd laughed. “The moment we’ve all been waiting for, Snoop Dogg, you are 71% sub-Saharan African.” Snoop quipped that he needed a revote. Charles Barkley sent in a video of himself wearing a hat that read “blacker.” He also called Snoop Dogg “whitey.” George Lopez then gifted Snoop a bag full of things “white people would like,” which included a Snoop Dogg CD. “Cause White people love Snoop,” George joked.
One of the most interesting discoveries came from Regina King. During an episode of ‘Finding Your Roots’ the actress learned her grandfather was living a double life. According to Regina her father was a mysterious man. However, the actress did not know her grandfather was not around part of her father’s childhood. Census records from 1940 revealed Regina King’s grandfather had two separate families in two different cities. The discovery allowed the actress to finally understand why her grandmother was always sad when she was growing up.