Race is a complicated social construct of course, and Hollywood has been home to plenty of people who are biracial over the years. Skin color doesn’t translate into race or ethnicity, though, so some celebrities look like they may be white while they actually have a partly black heritage. Melanin is like that. A few of these celebrities are pretty pale, while others have more pigment in their skin—and as such, they don’t have to deal with the pain of bad sunburns.
MadameNoire.com points out that while some stars may look white, they are “in fact mixed—and for all intents and purposes, black.”
Yup, this famous guitarist is actually biracial. Slash was born in 1965 to a black mother and a white father, and they didn’t name him Slash, of course. His birth certificate reads Saul Hudson. He’s currently working on his solo career after selling over 100 million records worldwide with Guns N’ Roses.
9. Troian Bellisario Of Pretty Little Liars
Troian Bellisario plays the ultra-white, waspy Spencer Hastings on Freeform’s Pretty Little Liars. Her fair skin and dark hair point to an Italian or perhaps a Greek descent, right? Wrong. In real life, her mother has an African and Creole family lineage. Her father is Italian and Serbian.
8. Maya Rudolph
Maya looks like she’s definitely mixed, but it might be tough to figure out just what she’s made up of. Her father, Dick, is Ashkenazi Jewish; her mother, soul singer Minnie Riperton, was African American. Maya’s multiracial appearance has helped her with a wide range of roles and impersonations on Saturday Night Live.
7. Blake Griffin
Blake’s father, Tommy Griffin, is Haitian and African American. He was also an athlete and played track and basketball at Northwestern Oklahoma State. Blake’s mother is red-haired and Caucasian.
(Side note: If you’re a Blake Griffin fan, make sure you check out his guest appearance on Broad City. It’s great.)
6. Mariah Carey
This classic diva counts her bestselling music career among the greatest of all time. She’s got beautiful olive skin and that might cover up the fact that she’s biracial—her father is black.
“My mother is Irish, my father is black and Venezuelan, and me—I’m tan, I guess,” she’s said.
5. Jennifer Beals
This Flashdance superstar is actually biracial! Her father, Alfred Beales, is black. Jennifer was born in Chicago and she grew up on its South Side.
“It was very odd to have somebody who was white coming into the South Side neighborhood,” she told the Chicago Sun-Times back in 2011.
4. Carol Channing
Carol Channing was born in 1921 and grew up in a very different era of race and politics in American history. She wrote in her 2002 autobiography that her mother told her about her half-black father when she was 16… just a small bit of information that was never on the record.
3. Rosario Dawson
Rosario Dawson has been cast in African American and Latina roles, so it might be tough to discern her heritage simply from her appearance or career. Her mother has a Puerto Rican and Afro-Cuban heritage, and Rosario also has an Irish and Native American heritage. Quite an awesome blend!
2. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
It’s pretty easy to see that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has a multiracial lineage, but it might be hard to take a guess at it. His father is African and his mother is Samoan. They raised their son well—he’s enjoyed a highly profitable wrestling and acting career and has a net worth of $150 million.
1. Rashida Jones, Daughter Of A Star
Rashida’s roles in comedies and dramas have earned her quite a name for herself, but it shouldn’t come as a suprise—the legendary Quincy Jones is actually her father! Her mother is Peggy Lipton, also a successful actress who starred in television series including Twin Peaks and Mod Squad.