Biracial Celebrities Who Proudly Claim Black
Black Is Beautiful
Taye Diggs raised a debate last week when he said he fears he soon will be seen as Black when his son is “mixed.” In reality, being “mixed” is consistent with the African-American experience, from Frederick Douglass to our president. Check out celebs who have different race parents but identify as Black for a variety of reasons.
The R&B singer, who is both Black and Italian American, admits she was teased for being biracial. “There was a time in my life when I wasn’t popular and accepted by kids in school. I was made fun of with braces and kinky hair, and being from a multicultural family,” she said. Now, Mya seems perfectly comfortable in her skin.
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The multi-platinum Grammy Award winner has a white parent, but has never strayed away from identifying as a Black woman. Faith, who has been outspoken about Black issues, performed J. Cole’s “Be Free” on Black Girls Rock in remembrance of Michael Brown’s death.
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The singer got some flack back in 2012 for declining an invitation to sing at Black Girls Rock!, but she later tweeted, “I don’t [sic] not know what I’m mixed with, nor have I tried to find out. I was raised in Oakland. My mother is a Black woman HOWEVER I do not know my father. Nor really [care] to know!”
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The singer and actor, who’s African, Bahamian and Jewish, embraces all of his roots. “If you have a drop of Black blood, they put the Black stamp on you,” he said. Kravitz has written about experiencing racial discrimination as a Black man, especially in the song “Mr. Cab Driver.” You can guess what the song is about.
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The Grammy Award winner has a white parent and a Black parent, but knows she is not seen as “biracial.” The songwriter told The Guardian in 2001, “My mixed-race background made me a broad person, able to relate to different cultures. But any woman of color, even a mixed color, is seen as Black in America. So that’s how I regard myself.”
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The Roc Nation artist has a Caucasian mother but admits he relates more to his Black roots, “I never felt white. I don’t know what that feels like. I can identify. But never have I felt like I’m one of them. Not that I wanted to, or tried to, but it just was what it was. I identify more with what I look like, because that’s how I got treated.”
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The ballet dancer became the first African-American woman to be promoted to principal dancer in American Ballet Theatre’s 75-year history — an honor she’s very proud of. In the September 2015 issue of Essence magazine, Copeland said, “It’s easy for someone who isn’t Black or other or who has never experienced racism to dismiss what I’m saying…it’s easier for them to say, ‘Why do you focus so much on that? You’re a beautiful dancer.’ But the reason I’m here and I have this voice is because I’m Black.’”
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The actress is not a fan of the term biracial, and has often been quoted as identifying as Black. She once said, “I find [the term biracial] offensive. It’s a way for people to separate themselves from African-Americans…a way of saying, ‘I’m better than that.’ I’m Black because that’s the way the world sees me.” Well said, Paula!
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The Real Husbands of Hollywood actor, whose mother is German and father is from Ghana, told BET.com, “When I walk the earth, I walk the earth as a Black man. That’s what I’m being perceived as, that’s what I look like and that’s what I feel like.”
The Empire star — along with his famous siblings — has quite the multiracial background: his father was Jewish from Russia and Poland and his mother is of African, Native American and northern European descent. But as far as Smollett is concerned, he is in a unique position to raise awareness on issues important to the Black community. “If millions of people are listening, shouldn’t you speak on the subjects that make the world a little bit better?” he said.
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The most successful female solo artist in Britain, Sade didn’t think about her racial identity until she came to America. “I noticed the reactions when I first came over here,” she said. “London was a really multi-racial city…It’s incredible how comfortable people are with race there.”
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The first Black president of the United States is a part of history, and despite paying homage to his white mother, he fully embraces his racial identity as Black. He even confirmed that he has always chosen to check “Black, African-American, etc.,” in any formal documents.
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The “Hotline Bling” rapper was raised Jewish and Black, but has never insisted on being labeled “mixed.” The Canadian comes from a different perspective versus someone who is raised in America, but he is definitely rooted in Black culture.
The reggae icon was born in Jamaica to a Black mother and a white father. Marley was an avid activist on Pan-Africanism, which is the ideology that encourages the solidarity of Africans worldwide. He used his music as a platform to sing his desires of the people of the African diaspora to unite against those who have oppressed them.
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