A story had been passed down through several generations that the land we lived on was owned by the Hoover family.My grandfather told me that this powerful man, Edgar, was his second cousin, and was passing for white.His childhood neighbor writer Gore Vidal famously quoted, “It was always said in my family and around the city that Hoover was mulatto.And that he came from a family that passed.”“In the late 1950’s, I was a young girl growing up in rural Mc Comb, Mississippi.He is probably most famous for being the co-founder of the pioneering hip-hop record label, Def Jam.Russell co-founded Def Jam with NYU student and future music impresario (with Rick Rubin).Her mother, Claire Marie (Stoermer), who is white, has German, Irish, English, and Scottish ancestry.Her name, “Zendaya”, comes from the word “Tendai”/”Tendayi”, which means “to give thanks” in Shona, a South Western African language common in Zimbabwe and southern Zambia.
In addition to his music empire, Russell Simmons is owner and operator of three clothing lines that he also founded.
Marian was the daughter of Alois Henry Peir and Kathyrn Gertrude Leahy/Leady.
Zendaya’s maternal grandmother was Daphne Carol Whitelaw (the daughter of Douglas William Walker Whitelaw and Thelma Ray Kelly). Douglas was the son of Harry Tulloch Whitelaw and Agnes Drummond.
Her act later “inspired” cartoonist Max Fleischer to create the character Betty Boop and Esther tried to win the rights back to her character until the day she died.
Image Source: Hitler’s Jewish ancestry isn’t the strangest twist in racial history. Edgar Hoover — the man who plagued the black liberation movement from Marcus Garvey to the Black Panther Party — was known by his peers as a passing black man.