Alicia Keys

Keys in 2007, stocklight /

Birth Name: Alicia Augello-Cook

Place of Birth: Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S.

Date of Birth: January 25, 1980/1981

*African-American (father)
*Italian/Sicilian (maternal grandfather)
*English, Irish, Scottish (maternal grandmother)

Alicia Keys is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and record producer.

Alicia’s father, Craig Cook, is African-American, and Alicia’s mother, Terri (Augello), is caucasian. Alicia’s maternal grandfather was of Italian/Sicilian descent, while Alicia’s maternal grandmother was of English, Irish, and Scottish ancestry, with several of her family lines leading back to Connecticut of the 1600s. Alicia is married to hip hop recording artist and record producer Swizz Beatz, with whom she has two children.

Alicia has stated that as she grew up in New York she never had to experience feeling “not Black enough” or “not White enough”. However, she became comfortable with her biracial heritage as it allows her to relate to different cultures. She has said, “A lot of people believe I’m part Jamaican, though I’m not. I’m definitely black and Italian and a little Irish or Scottish.”

Alicia’s paternal grandfather is named Michael Cook.

Alicia’s maternal grandfather was Joseph Lawrence Augello (the son of Michelangelo/Michael Angelo Augello and Mary Carmen Zaffina). Joseph was born in Pennsylvania, to Italian parents. Alicia’s great-grandfather Michael was from Sciacca, Province of Agrigento, Sicily. Alicia’s great-grandmother Mary was the daughter of Giuseppe Zaffina and Rosa Scardamaglia, from Nicastro and Sambiase, now Lamezia Terme, Province of Catanzaro, Calabria.

Alicia’s maternal grandmother was Donna Jean Smith (the daughter of Thad T. Smith and Irma Margaret Heald). Donna was born in Michigan. Thad was the son of Henry Harrison Smith and Mary S. Jordan. Irma was the daughter of George Webster Heald and Margaret Ruxton. Alicia’s grandmother Donna’s ancestry was largely English, with many roots in New England, going back to the 1600s, and some ancestors who lived in Canada. She also had Irish and Scottish ancestry.

Keys with husband Swizz Beatz in 2010, Debby Wong /

Sources: Genealogy of Alicia Keys –

Genealogies of Alicia Keys (focusing on her mother’s side) –

Genealogy of Alicia’s mother (focusing on her own mother’s side) –

Notations about Alicia’s Italian background –

Alicia’s maternal grandfather, Joseph Lawrence Augello, on 1940 U.S. Census –

Passenger record of Alicia’s maternal great-great-grandfather, Giuseppe Zaffina –

Passenger record of Alicia’s maternal great-great-grandmother, Rosa Scardamaglia –

Obituary of Alicia’s maternal grandmother, Donna Jean (Smith) Augello –


Curious about ethnicity

264 Responses

  1. Capricious says:

    Looks like a typical Algerian.

  2. abbracci says:

    She looks just Black to me. I never thought she was mixed.

  3. andrew says:

    Michael Angelo Augello was from Sciacca, Province of Agrigento, Sicily.


    Mary Carmen Zaffina was the daughter of Giuseppe Zaffina and Rosa Scardamaglia, from Nicastro and Sambiase (now Lamezia Terme, Province of Catanzaro, Calabria)

  4. neiltennant says:

    this is the picture (19/08/2015) where she looks the mixed girl from next door

    its not nice to see that all of the famous ”black” celebrities who are famous are at least mixed

    thats not so nice for those pure african americans

    wherever i see in hollywood HALLE BERRY, BEYONCE etc, who play alibi- blacks in movies and in the media

    all mixed

    • midori29 says:

      ALL African Americans are mixed, all of them, even the super dark ones. So it does not matter.

      • midori29 says:

        I do not consider Beyonce mixed, only people with parents of two different races are mixed to me. Most African Americans and Carribeans have Beyonces background. I am unsure why its hard to understand for some people that ALL black people were mixed during the slavery and rape in America and the Carribean.

  5. xoxo says:

    She looks like a biracial Amber Heard.

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