Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr., whose PBS specials have included African American Lives and Faces of America has helped shed a light on the fascinating ethnic backgrounds of many different people. And now Gates is delving into the background of prominent figures and celebs, a la Who Do You Think You Are?, in the new 10-part PBS series Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr., And it turns out sometimes celebs find some shocking info – like the fact that longtime spouses Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon are actually cousins! WHAT!?
"They are indeed distant cousins. So talk about six degrees of separation, right?" says Gates.
Holy kissin’ cousins, Batman! I feel like we are watching a very special episode of Law & Order: SVU, where Mariska Hargitay has to tell the young, smitten lovers that they are actually brother and sister – thereby destroying them in the process and causing them to kill themselves in dismay. I wonder how Kevin and Kyra are feeling after they have discovered their familiar bond?! Is Kevin sleeping on the couch? Has Kyra scrubbed her body raw with lofaahs dipped in comet? Are they now considering a migration from Hollywood to Arkansas, where this kind of “keeping it in the family” is as common practice as Wal-Mart weddings? Can the twosome ever look at each other the same way, now that they know they are related!?
In the early 2000s, Gates was able to use the new advances in DNA technology to dive into his research. He originally worked on African-American history, but now Gates has expanded his testing into a vast array of cultures and people. In the series, he researches a number of notable personalities to discover their history. In the series, other than find out about kissing cousins Kyra and Kevin, Harry Connick Jr. finds out that fifth great-grandfather turns out to have been a privateer fighting in the American Revolution. While Branford Marsalis discovers that descends from a German who arrived in New Orleans in 1851, and who fathered a child with a Mertay Valentine, a free black woman.
Gates said that he hopes people will discover how close everyone really is. "I want ... Americans [to] realize how united we are as a people. ... There's so much animosity ... and one of the things that I want the series to do is to show that, deep down, we are all Americans. We've been sleeping together from the very beginning of the country."
I mean that's all fine and dandy Dr. Gates, but at the end of the day -- Kevin and Krya ARE COUSINS! Maybe we all should have known something like this would happen ever since the days of everyone’s favorite car game "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon." Apparently, everyone really is related to Kevin Bacon – even his wife!
Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., airs Sundays beginning March 25.
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- Kyra Sedgwick
- Kevin Bacon
- African American Lives