By Michael Kinney
In the four seasons years that the show “Finding Your Roots” has been on the air, it has featured many celebrities. From the likes of Samuel Jackson to Kevin Bacon to Chris Rock, they have all allowed host Professor Henry Louis Gates to take them back in time and look at where they come from and how that has affected their current lives.
“For more than a decade, renowned Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. has helped to expand America’s sense of itself, stimulating a national conversation about identity with humor, wisdom, and compassion,” according to PBS.org. “Professor Gates has explored the ancestry of dozens of influential people from diverse backgrounds, taking millions of viewers deep into the past to reveal the connections that bind us all.”
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Carmelo Anthony will be the latest to have his family lineage traced back, and he is extremely excited about it.
“I’ve been waiting for that for a long time,” Anthony said.
Anthony’s episode will premier Tuesday, Nov. 14 on PBS at 7 p.m. The name of the episode is “Children of The Revolution” and will also feature actress Lupita Nyong’o and political strategist Ana Navarro.
According to the show’s trailer, the trio “investigate the political choices of their fathers, discovering a sometimes unexpected heritage as they trace their ancestry further back. “
For Anthony, whose father died when he was 2 years old, discovering where he comes from was an emotional journey for him.
“It was tough. It was tough. It was tough,” Anthony said.
Anthony’s discoveries took him places that men of color in the United States are unable to go.
“I was able to go back five generations in my family, like five, on my mom’s side,” Anthony said. “On my Spanish side, I went back maybe four or five generations, too. That’s impossible. Like, it was impossible.”
“Finding Your Roots” has a history of exploring some dark secrets that families tried to keep hidden, such as owning slaves or being related to criminals. But they also highlight more positive moments that took place.
In a recent interview on the “Fan Theory” podcast, Gates talked about what he wants to get out of each episode.
“The main thing that I do or try to do is make people realize that you’re not responsible for your ancestors. Guilt is not inheritable,” Gates said on the podcast. “Whatever they did, it’s just an historical fact. You don’t have to feel guilty about that. You don’t have to apologize for that. You certainly can comment on it, but I’m not here to horrify you, right? All of these stories are fascinating.”
Anthony is one of the only athletes ever to be featured on “Finding Your Roots.” Being on the show hit him deep in many different ways.
“You know, I’m a little bit like a historian,” Anthony said. “I was like already digging deep into that on my own. Especially on my father’s side, my Puerto Rican side. So. I’ve been trying to put all of that together then really start to understand, like, my make-up.”
Anthony, who is the son of a Puerto Rican father and African American mother, said learning about his roots also allowed him to learn more about himself.
“Yeah, it gave me a better sense of who I really am as a person,” Anthony said.
Michael Kinney is a Freelance Content Writer with Eyeamtruth.com