Thanks to Henry Louis Gates Jr., and PBS, Nas, Angela Bassett, and Ben Jealous, have found their roots. Turns out, Nas is a descendant of Vikings, on his dad’s side. He was very happy to find out the breakdown of his 84%African heritage, and surprised about the Viking lineage. DNA is amazing. Who we are never leaves us. Like a secret lying within waiting to be revealed. How exciting!
Angela Bassett has a 77% pan-African heritage, as well as 20% European and 3% Asian. While, Ben Jealous is almost completely European. No big surprise there, after all, his father is white. What was surprising was finding out that one of his great-grandfathers owned slaves. The slaves were his wife and three children. He was black, and did it to protect them. Then he wrote a declaration of freedom for them, a year before all enslaved Americans were federally freed. If you have the time, watch the story below. What an amazing and awesome account of American history. One of thousands that we will never know about.
The more I watch Mr. Gates’ specials, the more I want to find out about my own ancestry. I’m assuming I’m like 95% Sub-Saharan African, and like 4% European (if even that much, you know, because of slavery) and perhaps sliver of Native American (because my paternal side told me so). But knowing the actual story of my family, and finding out the particulars of who the people were that owned them would be amazing. It would answer a lot of questions. My family’s been in America since the 1600s, but I don’t know anything about their personal history. What a feeling a wholeness one must have when they find out. I want that feeling!
Nas mentioned that he’s thinking about buying the land where his family was enslaved. I’ve been thinking about that for some time. When I was seven, and unable to appreciate what I was seeing, my family went to the house in South Carolina, where my ancestors worked. It was a huge, white house, with a lily shaped pool, and a lot of land, in a swampy area. It is my dream to buy that house, if it’s still there. I wouldn’t want to live in it, but I want to own it.
Click the pic below to see the full episode below, which is available for streaming from now until 11/28/14.
Enjoy, and thanks for reading!