|Photo by Arnold Gatilao (cc 2.0)|
I have to admit that before last night I had no idea who Rashida Jones was. The biographical profile at the beginning cleared things up when they proclaimed her the daughter of Quincy Jones.
Rashida was probably the most natural and relaxed celebrity to-date that they have featured on WDYTYA. I find that both funny and ironic considering that all the guests are celebrities who are used to being in front of a camera and the public eye. I have always been astounded at how uncomfortable some of the celebrities have been.
In addition, Rashida was one of the most genuine of the guests. Perhaps it's her youth that makes her more open to the experience than some of the others. Rashida struck me as a very down-to-earth, intelligent and an interested adventurer on this family history quest. I'm not a big fan of celebrities, yet Rashida checked her celebrity status at the door and went on this journey as a daughter and granddaughter seeking to uncover the mysteries in her family history.
At one point Rashida said "It's a miracle that I even exist." I don't think she was exaggerating or overstating. Her background is quite unique. On her father's side she comes from enslaved African Americans. On the other, Latvian Jews, most of whom were killed by the Nazis at Rumbula during World War II. If her great grandfather hadn't been the one family member to leave Latvia for the United Kingdom in the late 1800s she wouldn't be here today.
The end of the episode showed Rashida and her mother, Peggy Lipton, visiting the memorial site of the Rumbula massacre, the place where 24,000 Latvian Jews were killed. I thought it was a genuinely heart-felt moment for the two as they were overcome with the emotion of what had happened there. I appreciated when they said that perhaps their branch of the family survived so that could remember and provide testament to those of their family who didn't make it. I admit that even I needed a hanky at this point.
I hope that Who Do You Think You Are will continue on for another season. They have highlighted the importance of family history and reminded all of us of critical moments in U.S. and world history.
Photo credit: photo by Arnold Gatilao and used under the creative commons license