VINTAGE PROFILE ABOUT ALICIA KEYS' GROWING UP

Alicia Keys Ethnicity, Nationality & Parents Racial Background: 276,000 Ask Google

ALICIA KEYS was raised by her mother in a rough part of New York, amongst people of different ethnicities and nationalities. Rather than alienating her, it made her into who she is today. By Ben Arogundade.

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SHE BEGAN HER CAREER on The Cosby Show at the age of four, and since then she has never looked back. Music star Alicia Auguello Cook, better known as Alicia Keys, was born on January 25, 1981 in Manhattan, New York City. She is of mixed ancestry and ethnicity. Her father, Craig Cook, is a former flight attendant of African American and Jamaican extraction, while her mother, Terria Joseph, (formerly Teresa Augello), is an actress and former paralegal, who is of Italian, Scottish and Irish heritage. She recently appeared alongside her daughter in the hit TV drama, Empire.

FAMILY BACKGROUND
An only child, Keys' parents separated when she was two, after which she was raised by her mother in a one-bedroomed apartment in Hell’s Kitchen — at the time a tough neighbourhood on the west side of the city. Terria was Alicia's powerhouse and inspiration, working at a legal firm until midnight most nights, and then heading back to work after just five hours sleep and an early session at the gym.

ETHNIC DIVERSITY IN THE HOOD
During her teenage years, in between music lessons, Keys — who appears as one of the judges on the television talent show The Voice — used to hang out with friends in Harlem, immersing herself in its racially diverse demographic of African Americans, whites, Asians, Dominicans and Hispanics. “I felt I could talk to all of them,” she told The Guardian. “My mixed-race background made me a broad person, able to relate to different cultures.”

MIXED RACE OR BLACK?
While growing up, Keys — who duetted with rapper Jay-Z on the hit, “New York” — managed to avoid much of the race prejudice experienced by other celebrities of mixed parentage. “Thank God I never had to go through that in regards to, ‘You're not black enough, you're not white enough,’ the whole kind of white-black-mixture thing,” she recalled.

GOOGLE ON ALICIA'S ETHNICITY, NATIONALITY, PARENTS
Despite her mixed race background and ancestry, like many African Americans, she self-identifies as “black”. “Any woman of colour, even a mixed colour, is seen as black in America,” she confirmed. “So that's how I regard myself.” Many of her fans around the world wonder about her ethnicity, nationality, and her mother and father's racial heritage, turning to Google for answers. The search giant, which records statistics for Internet searches, reveals that 900 people per month Google the phrase, “Alicia keys ethnicity”, while 2,900 search “Alicia keys mother”. The total number of search queries about her background adds up to approximately 276,000 per year.

Keys' life experiences as a child growing up in urban America in the 1980s are similar to the history and background of other bi-racial stars such as Jennifer Beals, Mariah Carey and Halle Berry, all of whom have also navigated the furrow between their black and white ancestry. The biographies of these celebrities have become crucial reference points for America's new generation of young bi-racials seeking answers to questions about identity.

Simultaneously, Alicia Keys' hair, and choice of hairstyles, may also be read as a modern metaphor for her mixed race ancestry. Sometimes her hair is curly or cornrowed, suggesting a link to her African heritage, while at other periods she sports straight hairstyles, acknowledging her European ancestry. Both ethnicities are expressed through hair choice, in a new kind of positive hair politics for these modern times.

Ben Arogundade's book, 'Black Beauty', is out now.

BIOGRAPHY OF A STAR: Recording artist Alicia Keys family background and ethnicity is mixed. Her parents, Terria Joseph and Craig Cook, are of African American, Italian, Scottish and Irish ancestry. Her mixed race background, far from rendering her with identity issues, has made her into a broader person, able to relate to people of all cultures and ethnicities.

Ben Arogundade Author

Beauty History & Culture by Ben Arogundade, Author of 'Black Beauty'.

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WE ARE FAMILY: Music celebrity Alicia Keys' parents are of mixed ethnicity and nationality. Her mother, (Terria Joseph) Teresa Augello, (pictured above) is of Italian, Scottish and Irish ancestry, while her father, Craig Cook, is of African American and Jamaican ancestry.

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*ALICIA KEYS ETHNICITY AND PARENTS ACCORDING TO GOOGLE SEARCH

900

The number of people worldwide who Google the phrase, “Alicia Keys ethnicity” each month.

2,400

The number of people worldwide who Google the phrase, “Alicia Keys parents” each month.

5,400

The number of people worldwide who Google Alicia Keys' mother, Terria Joseph, each month.

*All figures for “Alicia Keys Ethnicity And Parents According to Google Search”, supplied by Google. Stats include global totals for laptop and desktop computers and mobile devices.

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biracial-black-hollywood-celebrity-actress-jennifer-beals-picture-photo music-celebrity-beyonce-knowles-ethnicity-picture-photo1 Ben Arogundade Author