50 Cent's family history is traced back for generations in a new documentary. And it turns out his great-grandfather was a $5 bill! Kidding, kidding. Origins of Me, which aired this week on VH1, actually chronicled the journey of the rapper (real name: Curtis Jackson) down South to trace his roots, much like The Root's Henry Louis Gates Jr. did in his PBS series.
As film producer David Kemp explains in a Vanity Fair piece about the project, he started with 50 Cent's childhood in Queens, N.Y., and followed the family history back to Edgefield, S.C., where 50's maternal ancestors came from.
Among the interesting facts uncovered: One of 50's great-great-great-grandmothers, a slave named Jane Jenkins, was owned by a well-regarded citizen of Edgefield named R.G.M. Dunovant, a Confederate general during the Civil War.
AOL Black Voices reports that when Kemp recalls how producers tried to explore the connection between 50 Cent's childhood as a "drug-dealing roughneck" and the scars of slavery, the rapper adamantly disagreed. "I don't necessarily see a connection between stuff that happened 200 years ago in Edgefield and stuff that happened to me on the south side of Jamaica, Queens," he said. "Some people just choose to be bad."
We're sure his ancestors would be thrilled with that decision.
Origins of Me airs again tonight (Wednesday, May 25) at 11:30 p.m. ET/PT on VH1.
Read more at AOL Black Voices.
In other news: Colleges Come to Terms With Slave-Owning Pasts.