BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — When Nas became the first rapper invited to trace his family tree through the PBS series “Finding Your Roots,” he welcomed the opportunity.
But it hit him hard when he saw 1859 documentation of an ancestor being sold as a slave, he said during a panel discussion Wednesday.
“First I was enraged when I looked at the bill of sale,” Nas said. “I was like, that guy that owned property owes me some cash. My people made him really wealthy, so maybe I should find his family and talk.”
The unearthed information made him think about his ancestors’ contribution to America, he said, “and now I’m on a mission to find out more.”
His family’s story is among those told on season two of Finding Your Roots, hosted by Harvard University scholar, author and filmmaker Henry Louis Gates Jr. and debuting Sept. 23.
The 10-part series that traces celebrities’ ancestry will focus on, among others, Ben Affleck, Jessica Alba, Tina Fey, Sting, Stephen King, Billie Jean King, Derek Jeter and chef Ming Tsai.