20 Celebrities Who Look White But Are Actually Part Black

FUN FACTS January 4, 2018 By Hugo

After analyzing a person's race and features, you can often hazard a guess as to what region they are from. For instance, Scandinavians are known for their fairer skin complexion; Native Americans often possess high-rise cheekbones and the Scottish and Irish are thought to make up a significant percentage of the world's redheads. 

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Of course, going on generalizations isn't the best way to determine another's heritage, and we've probably been guilty of presuming that certain celebrities just happen to be white because of their lighter skin complexion when in reality their heritage is much more varied.

Here are 20 interesting examples. 

1. Derek Jeter

One of baseball's finest shortstops enjoyed a stellar 20-year career with the New York Yankees, and he has long competed with A-Rod for the unofficial accolade of being the best player to represent the New York outfit since the turn of the millennial. Unlike A-rod, however, Jeter's race was often misunderstood due to his fair skin. 

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Technically mixed race, his mother, Debbie, is white and his father Sanderson, black. 

2. Kris Humphries

Kris Humphries' career as a pro baller seemed to stall after his much-publicised divorce from the reality star, Kim Kardashian, but when he was in his prime, and when more people actually knew he was, most were surprised whenever they learned of his heritage.

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Easily mistaken for being white, the Atlanta Hawks player is actually mixed race.

3. Gabrielle Reece

This volleyball star has a pretty fair complexion so few would even guess her late father was Afro-Trinidadian.

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Reece, who has also landed an array of modeling and TV gigs, was only 5-years-old when her father passed away after being involved in a plane crash.

4. Pete Wentz

Pete Wentz is the frontman for every white suburban teen's favorite pop-rock band, Fall Out Boy. Interestingly, however, his grandfather was black.

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What's more, his grandfather served as ambassador to Sierra Leone, which is pretty awesome and we doubt many hardcore Fall Out Boy fans knew that.

5. Wentworth Miller

Wentworth Miller made headlines across the world when he came out as gay, and his courage and bravery to finally be himself was commended by the whole of Hollywood, yet many people continue to mistake the Prison Break star's race.

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Though born in England to a white mother, his dad is actually black. Oddly enough, Miller landed one of his first acting gigs in the movie, The Human Stain where he played a black man successfully passing for a white man.

6. Vin Diesel

Sharing similar features to Miller, the XXX star and one of the main protagonists in the Fast and Furious franchise is also mixed race despite appearing pale at times.

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Born to a white mother, Vin Diesel's father, whom he never met, was black.

7. Slash

Everyone's favorite leading guitarist is the definition of an idiosyncratic rock star because of how unpredictable and downright cool he is so it seems only fitting that he can boast a diverse heritage as well.

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Yes, whilst most mistake him for being yet another middle-aged white rocker, Slash is actually the son of a black British mother, who was a British costume designer for the likes of David Bowie.

8. Troian Bellisario 

If you've ever seen Pretty Liars, you'll know Troian's character, a WASP, and leader of the group Spencer Hastings. is as white as they come but as is the case in life, appearances can be deceiving. 

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In fact, the beautiful actress is another fair skinned actor in Hollywood often mistaken for being white because she is actually the daughter of Deborah Pratt who is of African and Creole descent.

9. Mariah Carey

The pop diva and global megastar admitted that she sees herself as black rather than white despite clearly having a Caucasian appearance thanks to the genes of her Irish mother.

Shutterstock/ Denis Makarenko

That being said, the We Belong Together hitmaker's father was an Afro-Venezuelan immigrant, and Carey has credited her ethnically diverse upbringing in New York as a reason for her not identifying as white.

10. Carol Channing

Carol Channing has long been many theater goer's favorite Broadway actresses, with her effervescent personality winning her countless plaudits and it was her fun-loving persona that probably helped boost sales when she released her best-selling autobiography.

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In it, she admitted that her father was a light-skinned black man.

11. Maya Rudolph

The Bridesmaids star has a skin complexion that is golden and prepossessing, but many still seem to think she's white!

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Rudolph, who is also a brilliant comedian, has mixed heritage, with her R&B singer mother, Minnie Riperton, black, and father, Richard Rudolph, white.

12. Blake Griffin

The L.A. Clippers player is one of America's finest basketball talents, and though he has struggled to forge his way into the national team due to the continued success of the likes of Westbrook and James, Griffin is nonetheless viewed by fans and his contemporaries as of the NBA's best players.

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But is he white, black, or mixed race? That's a question that's become synonymous with Griffin so let's us clear this question up once and for all: He was born and raised in Oklahoma to a Caucasian mother, and an Afro-Haitian father, hence his golden skin tone.

13. Adriana Lima

Adriana Lima is the definition of physical perfection which isn't really surprising considering she's a Victoria's Secret model.

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With that in mind, perhaps her success as a runway model can be attributed to her exotic ethnicity, which includes African, West Indian, Japanese and Portuguese heritage, technically making the Brazilian mixed race.

14. Soledad O'Brien

Soledad O'Brien is somewhat of an apt host for CNN's Black in America series because while you may not know it, she is of mixed race heritage.

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Her mother is black Latina, while her father is white Australian.

15. Jessica Szohr  

The Gossip Girl actress has more than just one nationality despite appearing white.

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Indeed, Szohr has both white and black ancestry, which explains her beautiful complexion. 

16. Cash Warren

The producer and husband of Jessica Alba (A.KA- The Luckiest Man In The World) looks white, but you should never judge a book by its cover!

Shutterstock/ Rena Schild

Yes, Cash Warren, which is a brilliant name, has a black father who is the Hill Street Blues actor, Michael Warren.

17. Meghan Markle

Prince Hary's latest squeeze and the star of the crime drama Suits often gets confused for being caucasian because of her pale and freckly complexion.

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But she is technically mixed, with her mother being African-American while her father is Dutch/Irish.

18. Ross Barkley 

Known in his home country for being one of European soccer's brightest prospects, the Everton and England midfielder may not be known to anyone who isn't an avid fan of soccer, so with that said, you probably have no idea that he's part black.


The Premier League star's grandfather is Nigerian, which made Ross eligible for their national team before he committed to his country of birth.

19. Nicole Richie 

The star of the reality TV series, 'The Simple Life', which saw her go around America doing 'regular' jobs with her best pal, Paris Hilton, made her look like a typical, spoilt brat steeped in white privilege.


However, being the biological daughter of Peter Michael Escovedo, she has Afro-Mexican and Latino blood though was adopted by Lionel Richie when her father was a backup singer during one of his tours.

20. Darnell Martin

The first African-American woman to direct a movie for a major motion picture studio was Darnell Martin.

Wikimedia Commons

Though her skin can often appear light in certain photos, she is of mixed race origin; being the daughter of a white mother and black father. 

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