Rapper presented with a bill of sale for his third great grandmother
Rapper Nas got emotional after learning of his ancestry on US TV show Finding Your Roots.
The PBS show, which helps celebrities learn more about their ancestry, made history in its most recent episode by tracing Nas’ lineage back through five generations to his enslaved ancestors. In a statement to the Television Critics Associated earlier this year, the show’s host Henry Louis Gates said this is the first time they’ve been able to do this with any African American.
In the episode, Nas is presented with historical documents and photographs of his ancesters, including an 1859 bill of sale for his third great grandmother named Pocohantas. It is revealed she was purchased for $830 at the age of 15.
A shocked and pained-looking Nas calls it “a receipt for a human being” and adds: “They paid $830 for my great-great-great-grandma? I got more than that in my pocket right now. This is painful. To see that – that hurts.”
Later, when he learns more about the slave owner, the rapper comments that he’s considering buying the land the man owned.
Gates said of the revelation: “It was eerie. It moved me to tear up to think of a human being. It’s one thing to say our ancestors were all slaves, but to see the bill of sale where two people are bargaining for someone who happens to be your blood ancestor, that’s heavy.”
It has been 20 years since Nas released his famed debut album ‘Illmatic’, which he has been performing in it is entirety while on tour. A new documentary called Nas: Time Is Illmatic, celebrating the hip hop icon’s career, was released earlier this month.