Serj Tankian

Rock on the Range 2008 - Day 1

Tankian in 2008, photo by

Place of Birth: Beirut, Lebanon

Date of Birth: August 21, 1967

Ethnicity: Armenian

Serj Tankian is an American musician, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, poet, and political activist. He is the lead vocalist of the metal band System of a Down, formed in 1994 by four Armenian-American friends. Daron Malakian is also a member of the band.

Serj was born in Beirut, Lebanon, to ethnic Armenian parents. At five, he moved with them to Los Angeles, California. In his youth, he attended bilingual Rose and Alex Pilibos Armenian School. Serj is married to Armenian-born Angela Madatyan, with whom he has a son. Angela is from Vanadzor.

His grandfather was an Armenian Genocide survivor. His family is from Dörtyol, Kayseri, Tokat, and Urfa, all now in Turkey.

17 Responses

  1. Dar says:

    Tag “Armenian-Lebanese” and “Lebanese” since the tags exist.

  2. jonasbttencourt says:

    Is he white for americans?

    • passingtime85 says:

      Depends on who you ask, people that don’t pay attention probably would, people that do, would call him middle eastern, west asian, MENA etc. Most people don’t really pay attention to gradations of race/ethnicity.

    • Oaken05 says:

      Yes. They are literally caucasian people. They are definitely still seen as “ethnic” (i.e. non-Anglo), but very much still white and Christian having rather successfully assimilated into the more predominantly Anglo-dominated culture.

    • jonasbttencourt says:

      yeah you are right im not really white, im afro-arab-semitic-elf-unicorn just like everyone else but you, Mr. Real European from Europe


  3. Thenabster says:

    All of his grandparents came from Turkey…

  4. Thenabster says:

    He does look Middle Eastern

    • George25 says:

      Yes, because Armenians are really Middle Easterner

    • Ziza says:

      Because Armenians are substantially Middle Eastern-mixed.

      He could also pass as Italian.

      • andrew says:

        Italian? Nah

        • Ziza says:

          I guess you haven’t been to Sicily. Guys with his phenotype are dime a dozen there.

          • cellardoor says:

            I must have been to the wrong Sicily then, this phenotype is extremely rare “even” in Sicily. Not 100% impossible to find I guess but still remarkably far from being “common”. Most sicilians are plain southern european looking, some with a heavy tan (what a surprise, right?) some with skin as light as an european skin can get and those who do have certain features that many northern americans would describe as “Middle eastern looking” still get often called names/racial slurs eeven in sicilian schools (shameful, I agree). I could talk about my blonde/blue eyed sicilian friends but honestly, do I really need to in 2021? Of course, we all know how imaginative (some) non-italian people get when describing italians/sicilians, this site is full of comments that state how southern italians and sicilians are basically more black than sub-saharian africans and “nobody can deny this ’cause, ya know… the moors…” Lol Sicily had a few rulers who were “Moors” for a few decades half a millenium ago”.. XDXD How I wish my country’s education system would have allowed me to be this ignorant! Usually, if a southern italian has strong MENA features it is most likely the case he/she has a “recent” ancestor from that region. Plus many sicilians will swear they feel closer to middle eastern cultures/countries than to other european ones -or even Italy for that matter- but that changes nothing. The way I see it, to “pass” as an italian, whatever that means, you only need one thing, an italian PASSPORT. Cheers. ;)

          • Ziza says:

            With all due respect, you’re in denial if you think his phenotype is in any way “rare” in southern Italy.

            No, not all southern Italians (or SE Europeans) look like that. And no, southern Italians are not “black”. But it is a fact that a very significant number, maybe even most, have a similar appearance to Caucasians (like Serj Tankian) and Western Asians. Sicily itself is heavily Western Asian influenced.

            Northern Italy is a different story.

          • Ziza says:

            I’m Syrian with Armenian ancestry, for what it’s worth. Most Sicilians could easily be mistaken for “local” in Syria. Cheers.

          • andrew says:


            Troll detected.

            Are you the same nutcase woman living in Australia who has spammed multiple platforms about these topics?

            I made this profile and I can say Tankian appearence is very atypical/rare anywhere in Southern Europe. After all he is Armenian so there is not much to debat. Get back to your slum.

          • Ziza says:

            I’m from Canada.

            Your response is both ignorant and abusive.

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