Sanaa Lathan

Birth Name: Sanaa McCoy Lathan

Place of Birth: New York City, New York, U.S.

Date of Birth: September 19, 1971

Ethnicity: African-American

Sanaa Lathan is an American actress. She is known for starring in the movies Blade (1998), Brown Sugar (2002), and Alien vs. Predator (2004). Her father, Stan Lathan, is a producer and director. Her mother, Eleanor McCoy (Eleanor Leslie McCoy), performed on Broadway. Her brother is DJ Tendaji Lathan.

Sanaa’s parents are both African-American. Her first name, Sanaa, means “work of art” in Swahili.

Some websites state that she has Native American ancestry. It is not clear if this ancestry has been verified/documented.

Sanaa’s paternal grandfather was Stanley Edward Lathan (the son of William E. Lathan and Addie).

Sanaa’s paternal grandmother was Julia Elizabeth Dunston (the daughter of Charles Dallas Dunston, Sr. and Lillian Pauline Muldrow). Lillian was the daughter of Phillip Muldrow and Rebecca E. Turner.

Sanaa’s maternal grandfather was Wesley Brice McCoy (the son of Wesley Duncan/Deer McCoy and Perses Helen Brice). Sanaa’s great-grandfather Wesley was the son of Duncan McCoy and Rosetta Nash. Perses was the daughter of John D. Brice and Paul.

Sources: Sanaa’s paternal grandfather, Stanley Edward Lathan, on the 1920 U.S. Census –

Sanaa’s paternal grandmother, Julia Elizabeth Dunston, on the 1920 U.S. Census –

Sanaa’s paternal great-grandparents, Charles Dallas Dunston and Lillian Pauline Muldrow, on the 1910 U.S. Census –

Sanaa’s maternal grandfather, Wesley Brice McCoy, on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Obituary of Sanaa’s maternal grandfather, Wesley Brice McCoy –

Helga Esteb /


Curious about ethnicity

134 Responses

  1. diamond says:

    Omfg. This is really anonnying she does look just black shes brown skinned, full lips and her hair is like an afro she shows her real hair in love && basketball. its crazy to me how ppl and herself are saying shes mixed if you compare Keri hilson to sanaa lathan who looks more mixed clearly Keri but Keri just say shes black. ppl on here saying her features are blah blah blah c’mon now what are black features black ppl have alot of different features dont put blacks all in one category. If she’s native who in her family was and what tribe celebs forget to say that alot. There is so many black girls walking around looking like her its crazy. and a lot of black ppl say there mixed with native and alot of black ppl are mixed so what she isnt any different.

    • Gemini says:

      When we see someone who’s black and beautiful and they/we try to claim admixture then black people argue that they are black/african american and that they’re no different and that they look black(in other words, typical black person). But when a person of another race says someone looks like a typical black person, people attempt to argue that people don’t know what a typical black person looks like. Black people make up your minds and stop arguing for the sake of arguing, this is getting a little ridiculous.

      • Amber Berg says:

        Why dont you let black women be who they are, we are beautiful and proud to be black- we aint white women- we are black women get over it- I see you leaving all these comments under beautiful black womens pages trying to make them seem like something else- she said she is black, so what’s your argument now?

      • LO says:

        It’s not that we can’t “make up our minds”, we just get tired of others taking the “black” out of “beauty”. We take offense when someone of another race describes another as a typical black person, because we are so used to that meaning something unattractive. We need others to know that a “typical” black person’s looks run the gamut.

    • Gemini says:

      Btw I agree with you, she is American Black just like the rest of us. I hate that people think black and beautiful shouldn’t be used in the same sentence unless “is not” is between them.

      • Amber Berg says:

        I dont believe your a black women by all the comments you make trying to bring us down and dimminish us!

        • Gemini says:

          You always seem to have some juvenile comment to anything I write here. You’re correct, I’m not a black “women” I’m a black man! Why would I try to bring down and diminish my own people? I just know BS when I see it.
          In response to your other comment reading is fundamental, I am tired that black people(at least the ones I’ve met and ones on this site)are always pissing and moaning about people saying someone looks like a typical black person then turning around and saying Sanaa Lathan, Beyonce,Keri Hilson etc all look like typical black women/people while accusing then of insinuating that they’re only pretty because of such and such admixture…make up your minds. Is there a “typical black” or not? Personally: No there isn’t, we all look far too different and come in too many different shades for one to look like the other. Just like Europeans and Asians.
          Read my comments carefully then respond.

          • Amber Berg says:

            So far you ared the only one I heard do that, other people seem to take pride in black beauty, and claiming our own, except for you Gemini, go get yoself a real white woman and call it a night! lol

          • Gemini says:

            Then its obvious you haven’t been here long, stay up kid.

  2. Tsetse Duncan says:

    Sanaa Lathan is of African American and Native American descent. This fact is on Wikipedia and it is quite evident from the texture of her natural hair(She wore it natural on the movie “Something New”). I’m South African. Most of us are pure black and I can tell quite easily when someone is multiracial. It isn’t a bad thing to be of mixed ancestry, and I resent how these people are forced to embrace one side and denounce the other. Referring to Sanaa as simply African American and not accounting for her Indian ancestry is reminiscent of the One Drop Rule, which states that if a person has one drop of black blood in them, they are black. This is really offensive to me, as a fully black man. It implies that my race is filthy and that anybody who has even a trace of it is spoiled, ruined in a sense. Most African Americans are multiracial, mainly because they are the minority. They should acknowledge that fact and be proud of it instead of enforcing a racist concept coined by the segregative regime to make us feel ashamed of our blackness. Aluta Continua

    • Fuzzybear says:

      To Mr.Duncan

      I believe you have that backward,usually it’s the other side of their ethnicity that denounces them.There are many out there who would tell you how it’s their other side of their heritage that want even speak to them.Also calling someone African American is not denying anything.Unlike you who most likely knows his heritage,most AA’s can’t say that.So the term fits,it African or black which is usually the only obvious part,and the unknown(whether your white,native,asian or all this).So being called AA really has nothing to do with the ODR.Being called(n$%^&^%)by a white person or other,when your almost as bright as they are,now that’s the ODR.Now growing up,I never heard of this rule.There was no fixed color around me,it ran the range,and everyone was happy to call themselves AA,no matter what they looked like.Now most AA’s who know their background do take pride in what they are.If you go to the what’s my ethnicity part of the site,you’ll see that,they’re more than happy to tell you.So you might want to leave AA’s alone,there other places,and I’m not give names,that could use your wisdom

    • angela says:

      Sanaa, like many AA women, has a perm. She did not wear her natural hair in ‘Something New’.

  3. simple question says:

    imma ask as SIMPLE question…why wen a BEAUTIFUL black woman enters the entertainment industry everybody is quick to say she is mixed with something else? i see an earlier post sayin sanaa lathan is definately not full black…please define what a black person look like? is black supposed to be ugly? because from the way yall talk yall seem to think black = UGLY…please stop the madness…they are some BEAUTIFUL BLACK WOMEN on this earth n as a black woman who identifies myself as a black woman it really is heart breaking when people are denyin my beauty…really

  4. Michael says:

    Yo she did do an interview and she has recent Native ancestry…it is pretty easy to see.

  5. ethnic says:

    thanks Sean, which interview link is that?

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