Nas Discovers His Third Great Grandmother: Pocahontas

Like Erykah Badu before him, Nas inks up his time slot on PBS’ television series, Finding Your Roots, in which the New York born artist traces back his family lineage far beyond the reaches of his own personal discoveries.

The host of the show and Harvard professor, Dr. Henry Louis Gates, was recently featured in another video with Nas discussing the importance of Hip-Hop in relation to the entrepreneurial lessons it withholds while Harvard opened the Hip-Hop centered educational platform aptly titled The Nasir Jones Fellowship.

When Dr. Gates and Nas met up on this occasion, there were far more surprises in store for the New York born artist than there were during his time in Boston. After looking at a bill of sale from 1859 that sold Nasir’s third great grandmother, Pocahontas, to a Southern slaveholder, Nas was at first infuriated. Allowing himself to take a moment to step back and soak in the magnitude of this significant piece of his own personal history, Nas said,

“I thought I would never know anything about my family past my grandparents, and I was willing to just accept that because I had no way of finding out.

“So when I saw the bill of sale, I had to stop and deal with that for a moment. This is a sale of a human being. This was business here in this country.”

For those who are thinking it, no, his long lost grandmother is not the same woman who guided Lewis & Clark on their Westward expansion, but Nas is curious to find out who exactly Pocahontas was and who else she may be connected via DNA testing. That feat within itself has proven to be a hardship all on its own.

“We have had white people say no way,” Gates said before half jokingly following with, “They’re afraid Nas is going to sue them.”

The possibility of Nas being related to white families of former slaveholders leaves many people to distrust the process, as one can assume that the stain of acquiring the label of a former slave holding family could prove disastrous.

Whether or not Nas is able to discover more about his family remains to be seen, but we may hear more about his ancestors in a facet that necessitates a Pete Rock instrumental. When asked if he will use any of this new information in his upcoming music, Nas responded,

“It will probably happen on its own… I cannot disappoint these ancestors now. I have to represent.”

Be sure to catch the full episode between Nas and Dr. Henry Louis Gates in Finding Your Roots after the show’s Season 2 debut, September 23.

Source: N.Y. Daily News

Related: Ice Cube, Nas, Snoop & More Speak on the History of N.W.A. (Video)