Afro-Asian, or Blasian, refers to a person of mixed Black African and East Asian ancestry.
West Asia and Africa
Ethiopian conquerors entered South Arabia
in the 2nd and 4th centuries. By 532 AD they had invaded and settled in Yemen
. After the settlement, many more Africans came to South Arabia as slaves; men were usually traded as the women were kept as servants or concubines for the Arab leaders. Mixed-race
children of Ethiopian
descent were considered more valuable in South Arabia. Two such children became Princes of the Abbassids
. Meanwhile, the Arabian army, known as the Sabaens, settled in Ethiopia. The empire of Axum
was founded by the descendants of the Sabeans and native Ethiopians. In Iraq
-speaking Africans were called Zanj
. The large number of Zanj slaves working in harsh conditions in Iraq lead to the famous Zanj Rebellion
over a period of fifteen years (869-883 AD). African rebels occupied many of Iraq's cities forcing Arabs to flee to African nations such as Kenya
, and Tanzania
. Today someone of African and Arab descent is considered Afro-Arab
A former slave by the name of Najah seized power in the 10th century and established the Banu Najah dynasty, the first royal Afro-Asian family.
As early as 1100 AD, African slaves
were brought to India
by Arab merchants in medieval times from the Bantu-speaking parts of eastern Africa. These Africans became known as Siddi
or Habshi, Arabic
word meaning Black African
. Many Siddi's received prominent positions where they were able to foster many social reforms. Today, intermarriage has diminished the Siddi population in India. An individual of Indian and African ancestry is considered an Indo-African. In South Asia
there are over 15,000 individuals who identify as Afro-Asian.
In 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed and Chinese workers who chose to stay in the U.S. could no longer be with their wives who stayed behind in China. Because White Americans looked at Chinese labor workers as stealing employment, they were harassed and discriminated against. Many Chinese men settled in black communities and in turn married black women.
Tiger Woods, a famous golf player, is of white, Chinese, Native American, Thai, and black descent; his father being half African American heritage and his mother being half Thai heritage. R&B singer Amerie is another famous Afro-Asian American, with her father being black and her mother Korean. Hines Ward, an NFL football player, is also an Afro-Asian. He currently plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
As of the census of 2000, there were 106,782 Afro-Asian individuals in the United States.
The West Indies
In the 1860s, Chinese immigrants were imported for labor and trade. It became increasingly common for a Chinese man to marry a black woman since the number of black women outnumbered that of Chinese women. According to the 1946 Census, 12,394 Chinese were located between Jamaica and Trinidad. 5,515 of those who lived in Jamaica were Chinese Jamaican and another 3,673 were Chinese-Trinidadians living in Trinidad.
In Guyana and Haiti, there is also a very small percentage within the minority who are of Asian descent.
Haitian painter Edouard Wah was born to a Chinese father and Haitian mother. Grace Jones is also part Chinese.
has a large mixed-race
population, which constitutes for around 1.4% of the population (or some 850,000 people). The largest sub groups by far are mixed Whites and Black, and mixed Whites and Asians. However there are over 70,000 UK citizens that are mixed race and do not fit the above descriptions, a significant percentage of these are Afro-Asian. Famous Afro-Asian Britons include Naomi Campbell
, David Jordan
. See British Mixed-Race
for more information.
Afro-Asians in the entertainment industry
Many Afro-Asians individuals have become successful in the entertainment industry, especially in the United States
and the United Kingdom
. These musicians, designers, and athletes include Apl.de.ap
, Tyson Beckford
, Naomi Campbell
, Tiger Woods
, Foxy Brown
, Hines Ward
, Amerie Rogers
, Diana King
and Tasha Reid
. Other notable Afro-Asians include Joe Bataan
, Misa Hilton
, Stacey McKenzie
, Rae Dawn Chong
, Sachio Kinugasa
, Michael Takahashi
, Peter Westbrook
, Sheila Hudson
, Johnnie Morton
, and Chad Morton
Afro-Asians are also gaining prominence in fashion: Kimora Lee Simmons, now retired from full-time modeling, was among the first well-known Afro-Asian models; Angela Chao Roberson was the first of black/Asian mixture to be a contestant in the Los Angeles Miss Chinatown pageant. Rising supermodel Chanel Iman is of Korean and African-American ancestry. According to King magazine, constructed by the opinions of their readers, Afro-Asian models such as Tomika Skanes and La'Shontae Heckard are becoming the next most desired models next to that of the Victoria's Secret angels.