Before the Black Panther documentary airs on PBS Tuesday at 9 p.m., a new episode of Finding Your Roots featuring Sean “Diddy” Combs and LL Cool J premieres at 8, with both rappers discovering they have ancestors who were living in the U.S. before the Emancipation Proclamation — but were not enslaved.
“Your ancestor was not a slave, he was free,” the show’s host, Dr. Henry Louis Gates, tells an incredulous Diddy, referring to his third great-grandfather who was free, despite living in the “slave state” of Maryland.
That ancestor’s parents (Diddy’s fourth great-grandparents, also born in Maryland) were also free at some point before 1865, but Dr. Gates was not able to determine how they became free.
“Make no mistake about it man, this wasn’t typical of the Black experience,” Gates tells the mogul.
Meanwhile, LL learns that his great-great-grandparents were also free. However, they were born in northern states (Ohio and Pennsylvania) where slavery had been abolished years before…
As you can see, both rappers felt a little guilt over having free ancestors when more than 90 percent of African Americans did not.
What are your thoughts?