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*ALICIA KEYS ETHNICITY AND PARENTS ACCORDING TO GOOGLE SEARCH

40

The number of people worldwide who Google the question, “Is Alicia Keys mixed race?” each month.

400

The number of people worldwide who Google the question, “Who is Alicia Keys father?” each month.

260

The number of people worldwide who Google the question, “Is Alicia Keys black or white?” each month.

4,400

The number of people worldwide who Google Alicia Keys' mother Teresa Augello's name 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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WATCH: Music Star Alicia Keys Interview On Her Ancestry & Family Background

Alicia Keys Parents Ethnicity: White Mother, Black Father
- “My Mixed Race Background Made Me A Broad Person.”

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ALICIA KEYS GREW UP IN A ROUGH NEW YORK NEIGHBOURHOOD 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, Teresa Augello, a former paralegal and part-time actress, is of Italian, Scottish and Irish background.

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. Augello was Keys' powerhouse and inspiration, working as a paralegal 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 changed her name from Augello to reflect her musical instrument of choice — 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.

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.”

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 our new century.

The book BLACK BEAUTY by Ben Arogundade is out now.

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

BIOGRAPHY OF A STAR: Music celebrity Alicia Keys family background and ethnicity is mixed. Her parents, Teresa Augello 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.

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