Jordin SparksAnyone who thinks rationally knows that being a human being far exceeds ethnic heritage, although we live in a society that would have us think otherwise. 

Actually, it’s a  worldwide problem that has caused all kinds of grief.

But the truth is, you can change many things about your life but your heritage is totally out of your control. Ditto for height, sexuality, aptitude, skin tone,  innate skills, etc.

That is why, to my way of thinking, there is no particular reason for swelling up with “pride” because you are Black, White, Asian, Middle Eastern, Irish, Hispanic, gay, straight and on it goes.

These are not choices. They just are what they are.

HOWEVER, that said, it is still interesting how racial “flavors” can be. In many instances people of mixed heritage do not actually look as though they are. They just look like lighter-skinned Black people or whatever the case may be.

Luther Vandross once said in one of his songs that “you can’t tell love what to do.” Well, you can’t tell genes and chromosomes what to do either.

And people far more often than not use the word “biracial,” when, in fact, “multiracial” in most cases would be a better choice of terms. Reason being, how many people are “pure” anything? But we will stick with “biracial” for the sake of this story.

All this came to mind because of “Marley,” the highly praised documentary on Bob Marley that is currently being shown at the Main Art theater. One would never think that the late reggae icon had a White father. (Marley was somewhat lighter than most Jamaicans.)

The assumption is that Black genes are, for whatever reason, basically dominant.

But that is certainly not true in all cases. One example is the famed guitarist Slash (real name: Saul Hudson) from the hard rock band Guns N’ Roses. Born in England, his father is White and his mother is Black. I didn’t know that until fairly recently. 

VIN DIESEL is another whose appearance belies his Black/White reality. However, the actor, who specializes in action films, describes himself as “definitely a person of color.”

One of the top female vocal groups of the 1960s was the Ronettes, led by the still-popular Ronnie Spector. She basically looks Hispanic, but in actuality she is from a Puerto Rican mother/African-American father union.

And then there’s Maya Rudolph. There is a tendency to think of her as White, as much for her TV work (“Saturday Night Live”), her films (“Bridesmaids”) and the company she keeps. However, as perhaps most people know, she is the daughter of late African-American songstress Minnie Riperton and her husband, Richard Rudolph, a Ashkenazai Jew.

(Now there’s a word I had never heard before — Ashkenazai. They descended from medieval Jewish communities in Germany.)

Jordin Sparks, who was the winner in season 6 of “American Idol,” is enjoying a career that keeps moving forward. She will star in the soon-to-be-released film “Sparkle.” Detroit’s own Lonette McKee was a star in the original version. Like McKee, Spearks’ mother is White and her father is Black.

Paula Patton, the pretty and talented actress who always seems to have a movie out currently or set for release soon, has an African-American mother and a German-American father. (And the rainbow continues as Patton is married to White R&B singer Robin Thicke.)

THE LIST OF Black celebrities who are of mixed parentage, but do not really look as if they are, is a lengthy one.

Lenny Kravitz, the multi-talented rock-based singer-musician-songwriter, is the son of Black actress Roxie Roker, best remembered as Helen Willis on the long-running sitcom “The Jeffersons,” and Sy Kravitz, of Russian-Jewish descent.

El DeBarge and the other DeBarges, including Chico, is the offspring of a Black mother and a French-Canadian father. (There were 10 kids in the family from Grand Rapids and Detroit!)

Many people have been listening to Faith Evans’ music for years, but few are aware of the fact that her father is White. The same is true of actress Salli Richardson.

OF COURSE, the whole world is aware of the fact that historic President Barack Obama is a product of a biracial union, his mother being White and his father an African. However, nothing about him looks biracial. 

Actress Tracee Ellis Ross has an African American mother (you know who she is!) and a Jewish father, as does her sister. The father of her two half brothers was Norwegian.

The legendary Eartha Kitt’s father was White (Dutch or German, reports vary) and her mother African-American and Native American. Sadly, it was from a forced-sex encounter.

The iconic Etta James, who made her transition recently, often claimed that her father was Rudolph Wanderone, better known as the famous professional pool player Minnesota Fats, but that was never proven.

Halle Berry obviously got “the best of both worlds,” so to speak. Recognized worldwide as one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood, Berry is from a Black/White union.

Film director/actor Mario Van Peebles was born in Mexico to often controversial screenplay writer, film director and playwright Melvin Van Peebles. It was an African-Amrican/German relationship.

As was stated near the onset of this story, the intent was not to make an “issue” of mixed relationships, but, rather, to put the spotlight on some of the more interesting aspects of them.

And also as stated, being a human being, with its inherent and vast potential, trumps race every time, and that’s a good thing.

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