Forest Whitaker

39th Annual AFI Life Achievement Award Honoring Morgan Freeman - Arrivals

Whitaker in 2011, photo by PrPhotos

Birth Name: Forest Steven Whitaker

Place of Birth: Longview, Gregg, Texas, U.S.

Date of Birth: July 15, 1961

Ethnicity: African-American

Forest Whitaker is an American actor, director, and producer. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor for The Last King of Scotland (2006). He has also starred in Bird, Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, The Butler, Platoon, and many other films, both dramatic and comedic.

He is the son of Laura Francis (Smith) and Forest Whitaker, Jr. His brothers are actors Kenn Whitaker and Damon Whitaker. Forest has four children, and is married to actress Keisha Nash.

Forest’s paternal grandfather was Forest Elmer Whitaker (the son of Tyler Whitaker and Ida Baxter). Forest’s grandfather Forest was born in Texas. Tyler was the son of Albert Whitaker and Frances/Francis. Ida was the daughter of Henderson Palmer Baxter and Mary Weaver.

Forest’s paternal grandmother was Vallie Ree Hughes (the daughter of Edmond/Edmand Hughes and Sulteena/Sallenna Halton). Vallie was born in Texas. Edmond was the son of Edmond Hughes and Eliza Gene. Sulteena was the daughter of Bon Halton and Dena Hutchings.

Forest’s genetic tests have indicated that he has Igbo and Akan ancestry. He was given the title of Nwannedinambar of Nkwerre, “brother in a foreign land,” when he visited Nigeria.

Sources: Genealogy of Forest Whitaker (focusing on his father’s side) –

Forest’s paternal grandfather, Forest Elmer Whitaker, on the 1920 U.S. Census –

Forest’s paternal grandmother, Vallie Ree Hughes, on the 1920 U.S. Census –

Death record of Forest’s paternal great-grandmother, Sulteena/Sallenna (Halton) Hughes –


Curious about ethnicity

6 Responses

  1. cwm85 says:

    Well my guess was wrong but his ancestry is from west Africa as most people with African descent are from who live in america. The Igbo are primarily in Nigeria some 32 million. And Akan people are located in President Obama’s father’s country in Ghana. Interesting african mix. I not sure what his surname is from but he’s probably 20 or less European.

  2. cwm85 says:

    He should go on Louis Gates Jr show and find out what part of Africa and tribe he’s from. I’m guessing cameroon… I know someone who is from cameroon who favors Whitaker.

  3. fuzzybear44 says:

    good actor

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.