18 Famous Black People You Didn’t Know Were Black

Written by Julia Austin

It’s not easy to access photos of famous black people from centuries ago, but on top of that, many individuals who looked ethnically ambiguous during the time of segregation would not lay claim to their black roots. For these and other reasons, there are plenty of people of note throughout history—even today—who, much to the public’s surprise and sometimes their own, are part black. Here’s a list plucked from HowStuffWorks and Styleblazer of famous people you didn’t know were black.

Jennifer Beals

“Just a steel town girl on a Saturday night…” goes the “Flashdance” soundtrack. Ms. Beals–still fit and beautiful as she was in her immortalized role in the 1983 hit film–is of mixed race. Born in Chicago’s rough-and-tumble South Side, Beals’ father is African-American and her mother Irish-American. Beals claims she felt that she “always lived sort of on the outside,” being “on the other side of society.” The first time she was able to express this dichotomy was in the film “Devil in a Blue Dress,” playing a bi-racial woman who attempts to pass as white.

Actress Jennifer Beals poses at the premiere of “Before I Fall” during the 2017 Sundance Film Festival on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017, in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Danny Moloshok/Invision/AP)

Sources: wikipedia.com, huffingtonpost.com, theybf.com

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