Do you have a celebrity lookalike? I have a couple whose names have popped up time and time again over the years during those rare moments when people associate my face with someone in the limelight. Who are they?
Well, first, there is Chaka Khan. In fact, just last night, I was told by several people that I look like a "young Chaka Khan," so much so that I should book a trip to L.A. if I ever hear they're filming a movie based on her life story. Here's an image of Miss Chaka from WAY back in the day.
Even when trying to look at her objectively, I must say that I understand why some people think I look like her. In fact, I have had moments when I thought the same thing, without provocation.
My other lesser known celeb twin is Cedella Marley, one of reggae legend Bob Marley's daughters. She's now a clothing designer and recording artist in her own right (even after being part of the Melody Makers). Here's a snapshot of her.
When I look at myself and when I hear other people tell me I look like either of these women or someone else entirely, I think about my ancestry - and my ancestors. I mull over the many genes and DNA strands that have come together to create the individual I see in the mirror. When I see Nigerians (especially since I learned that my ancestral paternal line hearkens back to the Yoruba of Nigeria), many of whom I have noticed have narrow, almond-shaped eyes, I wonder if that's where mine came from. But also knowing that I have some Native American contributions flowing through my gene pool, I also wonder if that characteristic may come from them. I have the same hypothesis about my rather prominent cheekbones. I wonder who - or which people - gave me what. I wonder who these people were, what they endured, how they measured success in life, if they were content or happy, even amid the challenges and assaults on their humanity that they doubtless encountered.
I think ... damn ... I must be among the strongest of the strong, from a spiritual and historical perspective, as I represent those who descended from millennia of existing civilizations before being stolen via the western shores of The Continent, and who survived months in inhumane conditions, among the urine, feces, bodily fluids, vomit, disease and stench of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, who endured being "seasoned" (made to appear healthy once on shore) and who dealt with being stripped away from all people and things familiar in the process of being sold and moved - no telling how many times - as commerce. Moreover, I am the descendant of those who, after being bondswomen and bondsmen, lived through another 100 years of de facto racism, wholly supported and maintained by these United States.
Oh, and if I go down the Native American line, I am even that much stronger.
While I am sure the 15 percent of European genes that science says I have in my veins must somehow present themselves, I tend to minimize and negate those potential qualities unconsciously. It's like, yo, that's not even on my radar, son. :-)
Anyway, who do you look like? What do you see when you look in the mirror? For you, is it just visual, or does it produce a visceral response in your spirit and mind?