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Vanessa Williams shares picture of her parents on their wedding day

Claudine Varela
Nov 08, 2018
09:38 A.M.
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Vanessa pays tribute to her parents sharing a photo of them on their wedding day and showing proof of where she came from. The actress has often been hounded by questions regarding her lineage due to her unusual African American features.

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Vanessa Williams shows proof of her African-American lineage sharing a photo of her parents on their wedding day. 

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CONTROVERSIAL DNA

Vanessa’s lineage has been the subject of controversy in the past. Though she identifies herself as an African American, many questioned it due to the fact that she was born with light skin, straight hair and blue eyes.

Born to African American parents’ Milton and Helen Williams, both music teachers of African and European descent, Vanessa’s ethnicity would often be Googled out of curiosity over her surprising features. When she won the title of Miss America in 1983 and was hailed as the first African American to land the prestigious honor, she was deemed as not black enough to earn the accolade. 

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A black and white photo of Vanessa’s parents which she recently shared shows that indeed her parents are African American, though, like her, they have fairly white skin. This is because upon doing a DNA analysis on herself, Vanessa revealed in 2013 that she’s a combination of genes from Ghana, the British Isles, Cameroon, Finland, Southern Europe, Togo, Benin, Senegal and Portugal. Her parents are classified as Black because, during America’s slave past, people who have at least one drop of Black blood were already deemed as one.

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STANDING BY HER HERITAGE

Though many questioned her descent, Vanessa remains steadfast in identifying herself with African Americans. It’s ironic considering she’s being condemned for not looking black when in her youth she would often be bullied and called the N-word. 

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A TRIBUTE TO HER ROOTS

That hasn’t kept her from soaring to great heights in her career, thanks to the support of her parents. They knew at her young age that she was interested in the arts so they providing her the proper training. During a 2012 interview with her mother promoting their book “You Have No Idea: A Famous Daughter, Her No-Nonsense Mother and How They Survived Pageants, Hollywood, Love, Loss (And Each Other),” Vanessa shed light on this topic. 

“I danced my entire life. I was a musician. I acted and went to musical theater. The preparation is what gave me the skills that gave me longevity in this career. Follow your dreams, but it's also nice to have a family that supports your dreams instead of saying ‘get a real job’."

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Today, Vanessa is proud of who she is and where she came from as evident in her recent post. She thanked a friend for helping her unearth a photo from her parents’ wedding day and share it with the world. 

In the photo she posted, newlyweds Milton and Helen are toasting glasses with their wedding cake in the foreground. Vanessa captioned it, 

“Thanks @thenovogratz for allowing me to show the start of #ouramericanfamily My dad & mom in 1960 facing staggering times ahead. #Buffalo.”

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SISTERLY LOVE

Vanessa's parents are not the only people in her family she paid tribute to recently. On November 2, she shared a childhood photo with her actor-brother Chris Williams to commemorate his birthday. The sepia image revealed the siblings' closeness being the only children of their parents. The former beauty queen simply captioned the photo "Happy Birthday My Brother" but added a heart emoji at the end. 

Vanessa Williams is a shining example of a loving daughter and sister who recognizes and appreciates where she came from and why she's who she is today. 

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