The popular PBS television show, Finding Your Roots, uncovered interesting family history for hip-hop artist and actor, LL Cool J. Rather than shocking the star with the truth that his mother was adopted at birth, the production company contacted LL Cool J privately over the phone to share the news. His mother, Ondrea Griffith, took the news well. She shared on the show that her parents “had their reasons” for not making the adoption known. And LL Cool J also harbors no ill feelings. After the divorce of his parents, his grandparents took them in. They “embraced me, they built me up. They made me believe in myself,” he says on the show.

This episode of Finding Your Roots (Season 3, Episode 7) was aired on February 16, 2016, and included many more details about LL Cool J’s history. He found that his roots included some dramatic violence, freedom from slavery, and even a boxing champion.

More and more adoptees are turning to DNA testing to find clues about their pasts.  One clue leads to another and much is discovered for those highlighted on the show as well as individuals who do their own sleuthing.