Mandela Van Peebles

Van Peebles in 2017, photo by kathclick/

Birth Name: Mandela Mali Van Peebles

Place of Birth: Los Angeles, California, United States

Date of Birth: June 4, 1994

Ethnicity: African-American (about half), along with Italian, Greek, German, and English

Mandela Van Peebles is an American rapper, actor, and producer. He has appeared in the films Baadasssss!, We the Party, USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage, and Jigsaw (2017), and on television’s Roots (2016) and Reginald the Vampire.

He is the son of actress Lisa Vitello and director and actor Mario Van Peebles, and the grandson of filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles.

Mandela’s father is the son of an African-American father, and a white mother of German and English descent. Mandela’s mother appears to be the daughter of a white father, with Italian and Greek ancestry, and a black mother. A picture of Mandela’s maternal grandparents can be seen here.

Mandela was named after activist and politician Nelson Mandela.

Mandela’s father has said of his own background:

We did our DNA and just found out West Africa, some German, French, British, Spanish and Portuguese.

Mandela’s paternal grandfather was Melvin Van Peebles (the son of Marion Peebles and Edwin Griffin), an actor, filmmaker, playwright, novelist, and composer. Melvin was born in Illinois, and was African-American. He was also known as Brer Soul and Block.

Mandela’s paternal grandmother is actress and photographer Maria Marx (the daughter of Fritz Morstein Marx, known as F. M. Marx, and of Barbara Spackman). Maria was born in Massachusetts. Fritz was born in Hamburg, Germany, the son of Ludwig Morstein August Marx and Amanda Plumhof. He moved to the U.S. in 1933, because of the rise of the Nazis, and was a political and administrative scientist. Barbara was born in Pennsylvania, the daughter of Henry Spencer Spackman and Jennie Fryer Spencer.

Mandela’s maternal grandfather is John Vitello (the son of Clement Vitello and Maria Kriticos).

A DNA test whose results Mandela’s sister Maya displayed on Twitter stated that their genetic ancestry is:

*56.4% European
*41.4% Sub-Saharan African
——–*38.0% West African
——–*1.9% Central & South African
——–*1.5% Broadly Sub-Saharan African
*1.4% Middle Eastern & North African
*0.5% Unassigned
*0.3% East Asian & Native American

Van Peebles’ father and brother Marley in 2013, photo by Prphotos

Sources: Mandela’s father writes about his upbringing –

Birth record of Mandela’s paternal grandfather, Melvin Van Peebles –

Genealogy of and biographical information on Mandela’s paternal great-grandfather, Fritz Morstein Marx –

12 Responses

  1. bablah says:

    Mandela’s maternal grandfather is John Vitello (the son of Clement Vitello and Maria Kriticos).

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