Some of the most well-known celebrities in the public eye are actually of African heritage. It’s always a very interesting discovery. Below are some celebrities with African heritage that might surprise you:
Once termed the “spiritual love child of D’Angelo and Sade” by Rolling Stone, Goapele Mohlabane is a singer-songwriter who refuses to put herself in a box. Goapele’s mother is Jewish American; she gets her African heritage from her father’s side. Her father is a former South African political activist who was exiled from his country during the apartheid regime. She credits her parents with helping her develop her varied music tastes. Goapele’s latest album, Break of Dawn, is a bit of a departure from her past themes. This new project is sensuous and provocative; yet, it maintains the essence that is Goapele. This artiste is a true original.
British sensation, Estelle, was actually born Estelle Fanta Swaray to a Senegalese mother and a Grenadian father in a large family of eight children and other extended family members. Growing up in a strict religious family, she wasn’t allowed to listen to secular music, listening to mostly gospel and African traditional music. Her later introduction to hip hop would come through her uncle, and she would be influenced by that sound. The singer/songwriter/rapper/producer made her American debut with her chart-topping single, “American Boy” for which she won a Grammy and several other awards. Her latest album, All of Me, was released in the US in February and in the UK in March.
Gabourey “Gabby” Sidibe made the world sit up and listen when she blew everyone away with her deeply touching and truly incredible portrayal of the character, “Precious” in the movie, Precious, based on the award-winning book, Push, written by Sapphire. Since then, the actress with an African-American mother and a Senegalese father has been very entertaining with her talent, spunk and charm. Last seen on the movie screens as part of the cast of the movie, Tower Heist, Sidibe is currently starring in Showtime’s The Big C.