Segments in this Video

Lee Daniels (03:54)


Daniels explains how his family inspired his work on "Empire"; his abusive father was killed when he was 15. Daniels' mother used a suburban address, allowing him access to better schooling; he learned to function between black and white communities.

Rebecca Hall (04:10)

Hall’s parents are Sir Peter Hall, the Royal Shakespeare Company’s founder, and opera star Maria Louise Ewing; Hall grew up in London. Her mother was Detroit born, and indicated her father was not white. After reading “Passing,” Hall adapted it for film.

Hall: Discovering Racial Identity (09:52)

Hall’s mother did not look traditionally English. A newspaper article describes her maternal grandfather as a Dakota Sioux musician; official documents reveal he made inconsistent claims regarding ethnicity. A 1910 census lists his family as Mulatto; claiming another race allowed escape from intense African American racism.

Daniels: Discovering Scandal and Slavery (09:43)

Daniels’ grandfather helped raise him. A 1930 census reveals he grew up with his mother, his aunt, and her husband Rufus Hunter. DNA testing reveals Hunter fathered children with both women. Zadock Daniel’s will and slave schedule reveal he owned his great-great-grandfather, Novel Daniel.

Hall: Descended From Free Blacks (09:44)

Hall’s great-grandfather was freed from slavery at age seven. He became a prominent African American, working for the United States Treasury. DNA testing shows his father was white. Hall's fourth great-grandfather, Bazabeel Norman, served in the Revolutionary War and was compensated for service with a land grant.

Daniels: Scandal and Free Ancestors (08:57)

Daniels’ great-grandfather killed his great-grandmother. Leaving a hospital for the criminally insane after six years, he returned home, prospered, and repaired family relationships. An 1850 census lists Daniels' third great-grandparents’ names. They moved to Philadelphia, the center for America’s free black population.

Family Tree and DNA Conclusions (02:57)

Hall finds she is nine percent African American; she reflects on sharing her family’s heritage with her mother. Daniels discovers he is 30% European and related to Mia Farrow.

Credits: Hidden in the Genes (00:16)

Credits: Hidden in the Genes

For additional digital leasing and purchase options contact a media consultant at 800-257-5126
(press option 3) or

Episode 1: Hidden in the Genes (Finding Your Roots, Season 8)

Part of the Series : Finding Your Roots, Season 8
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Henry Louis Gates uses DNA detective work to solve deep family mysteries for actor Rebecca Hall and producer/director Lee Daniels—uncovering close relatives whose names they had never heard before and revealing new aspects of their own identities. Along the way, Gates takes a nuanced look at the history of “passing”--shedding light on our nation’s complex racial past.

Length: 53 minutes

Item#: BVL278636

Copyright date: ©2022

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video, Dealer and Publisher customers.