Melina Matsoukas

Matsoukas in 2017, photo by Joe Seer/

Birth Name: Melina E. Matsoukas

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

Date of Birth: January 14, 1981

*25% Greek
*25% Ashkenazi Jewish
*25% African-Jamaican
*25% African-Cuban

Melina Matsoukas is an American music video, film, commercial, and television director.

Melina is the daughter of Diana-Elena and David Matsoukas. Her father is of one half Greek and one half Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry. Her mother was born in Cuba, and has been described as an “Afro-Cuban of Jamaican descent.” Melina was raised in New York and New Jersey.

Melina has stated:

I grew up in the Bronx until I was about ten, and then we moved to New Jersey. I grew up in a very multicultural family. My mother is Afro-Cuban and Jamaican, and my father is Greek and Jewish. I felt the influences from all the different cultures — the stories, the ideas. And my parents are both communists and activists, so they’ve always been all about equality and doing something important with your life. I always wanted to do something big, I just didn’t know how I would go about changing the world.

She has also said:

[I was raised in] a wondrous collision of culture… My parents raised me to create change. They are Communist believers, so they don’t believe in organized religion, but we believe very much in culture and in food – Greek food, Cuban food, soul food, Jamaican food, all on one plate.

Melinda’s paternal grandfather was Nicholas/Nick John Matsoukas (the son of John Matsoukas and Euthemia Krytharas). Nick was born in Messinia, Peloponnisos, Greece.

Melinda’s paternal grandmother is Frances Vera Slavinsky (the daughter of Joseph Slavinsky and Lena). Frances was born in Rhode Island. Joseph was born in Massachusetts, to Russian Jewish parents. Lena was born in Rhode Island, to Russian Jewish parents.

Melina’s maternal grandfather was named Carlos Abraham Foster. Carlos was born in Oriente Province, Cuba, to parents from Jamaica.

Melina’s maternal grandmother was Cuban.


Marriage record of Melina’s parents –

Melina’s paternal grandfather, Nicholas/Nick John Matsoukas, on the 1920 U.S. Census –

Death announcement of Melina’s paternal grandfather, Nicholas/Nick John Matsoukas –

Melina’s paternal grandmother, Frances Vera Slavinsky, on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Obituary of Melina’s maternal grandfather, Carlos Abraham Foster –

3 Responses

  1. andrew says:

    That surname makes me think to Jason Mantzoukas, who knows if he may be part Jewish too. He has such an unbelievable phenotype for an ethnic Greek, even if he would be Cypriot, Pontic Greek, or Greek Jewish as well.

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