WASHINGTON, DC (April 2012) – By now many may have seen PBS’s dynamic new program Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., which premiered in late March. But most may not know that African Ancestry, Inc. (www.africanancestry.com), a small, minority business enterprise based in Washington, D.C., is a force helping media powerhouses deliver ground-breaking genealogy programming. Starting with African American Lives 1 and 2 nearly a decade ago, African Ancestry has played a major role on NBC’s Who Do You Think You Are?; CNN’s Black in America series; Faces of America and most recently, Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
“The rise of reality shows has been great in many ways, but it has also been not so great in many ways, especially in exposing the undesirable side of human behavior,” said Gina Paige, president of African Ancestry. “The work we’ve done with shows like Finding Your Roots is positively changing the way people see themselves and the way they interact with their families. This is the reality I want to see in my people and our communities.”
Airing each Sunday through May 20, Finding Your Roots is the latest series from renowned cultural critic Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and is purposed to utilize genealogy and genetics to explore the fascinating dynamics of race, family and identity in today’s America. In collaboration with leading genealogists, world-renown research and historical societies as well as ancestry experts, Finding Your Roots seeks to satisfy the basic drive to discover who we are and where we come from by focusing on 25 celebrity guests featured of all races in the 10-part series. Specializing in African lineage tracing, African Ancestry picks up where the show’s paper trail ends by using DNA to geographically assess the African country of origin for each African-American guest featured including Samuel L. Jackson, John Legend, Branford Marsalis, Condoleezza Rice, Cory Booker, Geoffrey Canada, Ruth Simmons, John Lewis and Wanda Sykes.
Approaching its 10-year anniversary, African Ancestry was formed by one of the country’s few African-American scientists, Dr. Rick Kittles and African-American entrepreneur Gina Paige, who together single-handedly pioneered DNA-based ancestry tracing for people of African descent across the world. Employing its largest collection of indigenous African DNA, African Ancestry helps people of African descent discover where they come from in Africa through a proprietary DNA matching analysis lead by Dr. Kittles. While the industry has grown since its 2003 launch, African Ancestry’s African DNA database remains the largest and most comprehensive ever collected making its lineage matching the most accurate and reliable in the marketplace according to the company.
“I never imagined that my passion for African history and the movements of its people throughout the world would have one day manifested in a much-needed consumer product among African-Americans,” said Kittles, whose years of research on genetic variation in African peoples led to the founding of African Ancestry as well as dozens of published works and advancements in field of human genetics and genetic anthropology.
Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. airs at 8 p.m. on Sundays on PBS. Visit www.pbs.org/wnet/finding-your-roots for a complete schedule or to see highlights of previously aired shows.