Birth Name: Yara Sayeh Shahidi
Place of Birth: Minneapolis, Hennepin, Minnesota, United States
Date of Birth: February 10, 2000
*African-American [including Ghanaian] (mother)
Yara Shahidi is an American actress, model, and activist.
Her brother is actor and model Sayeed Shahidi. Yara is the daughter of Afshin Alexander Shahidi, a photographer, and Keri Shahidi (born Keri Jamelda Salter), an actress. Her father is Iranian. Her mother is African-American. A picture of Yara’s parents can be seen here. Yara’s mother has said that the name Yara Sayeh Shahidi is Farsi for “Someone who is close to your heart.”
Yara has said:
We’re Choctaw Native American and African-American—our family originated in Ghana, and then there’s a portion of our family that’s the descendants of Vikings.
Yara’s mention of Vikings is referring to the fact that the Jones family of her maternal grandmother, through DNA testing, was found to descend patrilineally from Scandinavian ancestors (possibly over 1000 years ago). It is not clear if Yara’s Native American ancestry has been verified/documented.
Yara is a first cousin, once removed, of musician and entrepreneur Nas. She has said, “My momma grew up with him. He got his genealogy done at Harvard and Henry Louis Gates Jr. did his entire family background. I was a flower girl at his wedding.”
Yara’s paternal grandmother is named Forough Emami.
Yara’s maternal grandfather is Kwame Samuel Salter (the son of Samuel Leon Salter and Reva Daniels). Yara’s great-grandfather Samuel was the son of The Rev. Moses Washington Salter and Maria Moore. Reva was the daughter of William Daniels and Gracie Marie Cobb/Cobbs.
Yara’s maternal grandmother is Connie Sue Jones (the daughter of Charles Rufus “Charlie” Jones II and Ella Mae Jones). Charles was the son of Charlie/Charles Rufus Jones and Rose/Rosa Johnson. Ella was the daughter of Charlie S. Jones and Latisha Jackson.
Obituary of Yara’s maternal great-grandmother, Reva (Daniels) Salter – http://www.legacy.com
Death records of Yara’s maternal great-grandparents, Charles Rufus “Charlie” Jones II and Ella Mae Jones – https://www.findagrave.com
Genealogy of Yara’s maternal great-grandfather, Charles Rufus “Charlie” Jones II (focusing on his father’s side) – https://www.geni.com