Sally Hemings (Thomas Jefferson’s mistress).
Adam Clayton Powell, Sr.
Ronnie Spector, Bob Marley, August Wilson, Jerry Rawlings (once president of Ghana).
Malcolm Gladwell (wrote “Blink”), DeBarge, Lenny Kravitz, Gloria Reuben, Marie Daulne (Zap Mama), Slash, Michael Michele, Soledad O’Brien, Karyn Parsons, Mariane Pearl (wife of Daniel Pearl, played in Hollywood by Angelina Jolie), Salli Richardson, Cree Summer, Rebecca Walker (daughter of Alice Walker).
Thandie Newton, Tracee Ellis Ross (“Girlfriends”, daughter of Diana Ross), Maya Rudolph (“Saturday Night Live”, daughter of Minnie Riperton), Amel Larrieux (Groove Theory), Faith Evans, Benjamin Jealous (NAACP), Leila Arcieri, Les Nubians (both of them), Zadie Smith, Tamia, Marsha Thomason (“Black Knight”), Tia & Tamera Mowry, Noemie Lenoir, Shakara Ledard.
Farrah Franklin (once a part of Destiny’s Child), Lauren London, Jennifer Freeman (“My Wife and Kids”, “You Got Served”), Tahj Mowry.
Here are some things that strike me about this list when compared to my other list, the one with those who have black fathers and white mothers:
- Three-fourths are women.
- Nearly half were born between 1964 and 1974 (from Lenny Kravitz to Les Nubians).
- It goes deeper into the past.
- Only two are British: Newton and Thomason.
- On the whole, they do not seem as famous or outstanding as their counterparts on the other list. Nearly all the star power on this list was born before 1950, like Marley and Douglass.
No doubt there are people I overlooked, but any additions can shift the list by only so much.
The third one – that it goes deeper into the past – is no surprise because white men were allowed to take black women as mistresses or even rape them; black men were often hanged if they tried the same with white women.
The second one – that half were born from 1964 to 1974 – is no accident: those were the years when the future of race in America looked hopeful: racism was dying. But somewhere between 1972 and 1974 that progress stopped. Maybe there will be a wave of mixed-race Obama babies over the next several years.
A study done in 1974 showed that mixed children with black mothers had lower IQs than those with white mothers – although their IQs were still far higher, on average, than blacks in general, both light-skinned and dark-skinned. Their IQs were close to that of white children.
Studies show that light-skinned blacks get more education and make more money on average that dark-skinned blacks. How much, if any, of that difference comes from the white parents that some have?
Who I assumed was white: Ronnie Spector, Malcolm Gladwell, Slash, Maya Rudolph, Soledad O’Brien (white/Hispanic).
Who I thought was mixed before I knew the facts: none.