VINTAGE JENNIFER BEALS 'FLASHDANCE' INTERVIEW - 1983
Is Jennifer Beals Black? 70,000 Google Her Ethnicity, Nationality & Parents Race Background
ETHNICITY IN AMERICA is changing fast, as people of multi-racial ancestry, such as actress Jennifer Beals, continue to flourish. But how will they navigate traditional color lines? By Ben Arogundade. [Apr.10.2016]
AESTHETICALLY, SHE HAS much in common with Mariah Carey, Rosario Dawson, Paula Patton and Alicia Keys — other celebrities of mixed or biracial ancestry who could pass for a range of ethnicities and nationalities. Hollywood actress and former model, Jennifer Beals, star of the films Flashdance, The Book Of Eli, and the hit TV show The L-Word (2004), was born on the south side of Chicago, Illinois on December 19, 1963. Her parents were from different ethnic and professional backgrounds — her mother, ex-schoolteacher Jeanne Anderson, is of Irish American ancestry, while her late father, Alfred Beals, was an African American grocery store owner. He died when Beals was nine.
JENNIFER BEALS - BIRACIAL OUTSIDER
The 52-year-old actress grew up in a predominantly African American neighbourhood, where she was cruelly teased about her biracial heritage by local children, who called her “Whitey”, on account of her light skin tone. It was experiences like this that turned her into a loner — a feeling that she was later able to harness and channel into her acting. Of her role in the TV show The L-Word, she said, “Because I’m biracial, I’ve always lived sort of on the outside. The idea of being ‘the other’ in society is not foreign to me.”
BEALS & RACE & GOOGLE
Beals' biracial ethnicity is a major curiosity online, where thousands of fans type search queries about her heritage, nationality and her mother and father's racial background, into their Google browsers. The search giant — who record and publish monthly Internet search figures on all subjects — report that approximately 500 people Google the term, “Jennifer Beals ethnicity” each month, while a further 1,120 search terms relating to Jennifer Beals family, nationality and parents race. The total number of queries about her background adds up to over 70,000 per year.
BLURRED ETHNICITY HELPS AND HINDERS
While Beals' ethnicity and racially ambiguous beauty may have awarded her a diverse range of film roles over the years — she played a Latina in In The Soup (1992) and a white Brit in Mrs Parker and the Vicious Circle (1994) — like many other light-skinned African American actresses and models of her generation, she has often been passed over for more overtly “black” roles. “People say that I don’t look black enough,” she told Vibe.
But today, these traditional racial colour lines are blurring fast. Beals belongs to the growing group of Americans (led by Barack Obama) of racially mixed ethnicity — seven million, according to the 2000 census. “I think that America is going to have to wake up and realize that the dominant face of this country is not white,” said Beals. “It’s many things...The whole country is changing, and the whole idea of race has got to change.”
THE PLACE OF RACE: Is Hollywood film and television star Jennifer Beals black? What is her exact ethnicity, nationality and parents racial background? These are just some of the 70,000 queries Internet users Google about the celebrity actor each year.
Beauty History & Culture by Ben Arogundade, Author of 'Black Beauty'.
MORE ABOUT CELEBRITIES OF COLOUR
LIFE AND WORK: Hollywood actress Jennifer Beals' as a young schoolgirl, complete with braces on her teeth; Beals' parents are of mixed ethnicity and nationality. Her mother Jeanne, is of Irish American ancestry, while her late father Alfred was African American; Jennifer Beals and her mother attend the 'Flashdance' movie premier, 1983; Beals poses nude with the cast from the television show, 'The L Word'.
*JENNIFER BEALS ETHNICITY ACCORDING TO GOOGLE SEARCH
The number of people worldwide who Google the question, “Is Jennifer Beals biracial?” each month.
The number of people worldwide who Google the question, “Is Jennifer Beals black?” each month.
The number of people worldwide who Google Jennifer Beals family, nationality and parents race each month.
*All figures for “Jennifer Beals Ethnicity According to Google Search”, supplied by Google. Stats include global totals for laptop and desktop computers and mobile devices.