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Guess Who? 2017-12-20T19:57:28-05:00

Deep Roots

Something that is far too often overlooked in today’s society is just how well represented the caribbean is across all manner of television, film, music and sports. Some of the most well respected, most famous, and often most brilliant individuals have either direct, or indirect, roots that tie right back to the Caribbean.

Sidney Poitier

  • Sidney Poitier was born in the Bahamas

  • Poitier was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1974

     

  • On August 12, 2009, Poitier was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States’ highest civilian honor, by President Barack Obama

  • In 1964, Poitier became the first Bahamian and first black actor to win an Academy Award for Best Actor

  • In 2016, he was awarded the BAFTA Fellowship for outstanding lifetime achievement in film

  • From 1997 to 2007, he served as the non-resident Bahamian ambassador to Japan

But that’s only the beginning. This will be updated often, revealing what we expect to be quite a few surprises. But before pressing on, have a good hard look at the master at work. It isn’t difficult to see why Sidney Poitier is a living legend.

Sidney Poitier

  • Sidney Poitier was born in the Bahamas

  • Poitier was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1974

     

  • On August 12, 2009, Poitier was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States’ highest civilian honor, by President Barack Obama

  • In 1964, Poitier became the first Bahamian and first black actor to win an Academy Award for Best Actor

  • In 2016, he was awarded the BAFTA Fellowship for outstanding lifetime achievement in film

  • From 1997 to 2007, he served as the non-resident Bahamian ambassador to Japan

But that’s only the beginning. This will be updated often, revealing what we expect to be quite a few surprises. But before pressing on, have a good hard look at the master at work. It isn’t difficult to see why Sidney Poitier is a living legend.

Kamala Harris’ passionate speech on the Senate floor that played a key role in getting Republican Lawmakers to resist pressure, follow their conscience and vote down a bill that would completely undo President Obama’s healthcare law that has led to the highest number of insured Americans in history.

Melanie Fiona

Recording Artist

(Daughter of Guyanese immigrant parents)

Robyn ‘Rihanna’ Fenty

Singer, Songwriter, Philanthropist, Businesswoman

(Born in Saint Michael, Barbados)

Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty Line has taken the cosmetics industry by storm.

Nicki Minaj

Rapper, Singer, Songwriter, Model

(Born in Saint James, Trinidad and Tobago)

Beyoncè

Singer, Songwriter, dancer, and actress

(Her father is Bahamian)

Destra Garcia

Soca Artist, Singer

(She’s Trinidadian)

Shurwayne Winchester

International Soca star

(Born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago)

Sports

Caribbean Sports Legends

DWIGHT YORKE (Soccer, Trinidad & Tobago)
Dwight YorkeThere have been many talented soccer players from the Caribbean, including Allan “Skill” Cole of Jamaica and Trinidad’s Russell Latapy and Stern John, but none is as accomplished as Yorke. Nicknamed “The Smiling Assassin” for his jovial demeanor, Yorke’s international career – mostly in the English Premier League – lasted 20 years, as he scored 73 goals for Aston Villa and 48 for Manchester United. He also played for Blackburn Rovers, Birmingham City, Sydney FC and Sunderland. Yorke was capped 72 official times for his home country and helped lead Trinidad & Tobago to a berth in the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

EMILE GRIFFITH (Boxing, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands)
Emile GriffithGriffith fought as a welterweight and middleweight from 1959 to 1977, compiling a record of 85 wins, 24 losses, 2 draws and 1 no contest. He is most remembered for a 1962 bout against Benny “The Kid” Paret, who died 10 days after a savage beating from Griffith. Although Griffith fought for 15 more years, friends said he was never the same, and Griffith admitted he was not as aggressive with opponents because he feared killing another fighter in the ring. Julian Jackson, also of St. Thomas, also enjoyed a stellar boxing career, but Griffith gets my nod.

MERLENE OTTEY (Track and field, Jamaica)
Merlene OtteyOne could argue that Ottey probably shouldn’t be in the Top 10 because she never won Olympic gold. “The Bronze Queen” could defeat opponents with ease on the normal track circuit, but when it came to big events, she would often disappoint. Nonetheless, Ottey’s legend remains secure. She won gold in the 200 meters twice at the World Championships (1993 and 1995). She later stopped competing for Jamaica and moved to Slovenia. In 2012, at age 52, she anchored the Slovenia 4×100 relay team at the European Athletics Championships. Now 54, she remains in great physical shape and is still not officially retired.

SIR VIVIAN RICHARDS (Cricket, Antigua)
Sir Vivian Richards The “Master Blaster” is considered one of the most feared batsmen in cricket history. Determined and aggressive, he demoralized bowlers around the world and is synonymous with the dominance of West Indies cricket in the late 1970s and 1980s, once scoring a Test century off just 56 deliveries. He helped West Indies win World Cups in 1975 and 1979 and is the most successful captain in team history. His country has lauded him with many accolades, including naming Antigua’s cricket stadium after him.

DONALD QUARRIE (Track and field, Jamaica)
Donald QuarrieQuarrie was 0.02 seconds from pulling off a sprint double in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. He won gold in the 200 meters, but was nipped by Trinidad’s Hasely Crawford in the 100 meters. He was plagued by injuries early in his career but was dominant when healthy. From 1970 to 1978, Quarrie won a combined nine gold medals in the Commonwealth and Pan American Games. A statue of Quarrie was erected outside Jamaica’s National Stadium, and a high school in Kingston bears his name.

SHELLY-ANN FRASER-PRYCE (Track and field, Jamaica)
Shelly Ann Fraser-PryceFraser-Pryce is the anti-Merlene Ottey. Only 5 feet tall, she comes up big in big races. Still in her prime at age 27, Fraser-Pryce is the two-time defending Olympic champion in the 100 meters (she and former U.S. sprinter Wyomia Tyus are the only women to win the 100 in consecutive Olympics), and she also has five golds in the World Championships (including relays). She has adeptly taken the mantle from Veronica Campbell-Brown as Jamaica’s top female sprinter and has excelled against top competition from the United States, Europe and even her fellow countrywomen. And the best may be still to come.

BRIAN LARA (Cricket, Trinidad & Tobago)
Brian LaraLara holds several marks that may never be matched. For one, he is the only batsman to score 100, 200, 300, 400 and 500 in first-class cricket. Arguably the most entertaining batsman in West Indies history, Lara took the torch from Viv Richards and carried the burden as the Windies fell from the top of the world rankings in the 1990s and 2000s. He was a nightmare for opposing bowlers and captains, who knew that, once in form, Lara could change the course of any match.

TIM DUNCAN (Basketball, St. Croix, Virgin Islands)
Tim DuncanDuncan actually wanted to be an Olympic swimmer, but Hurricane Hugo put an end to those plans when it destroyed the only Olympic-sized swimming pool in St. Croix in 1989. Duncan then turned to basketball, and was awkward at first. But he earned a scholarship to Wake Forest University and worked on his game. In 1997 he was drafted by the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs. Duncan retired in 2016, and is widely considered the best power forward in NBA history. His last bookmark on his legacy was in 2014, when he led the Spurs to their fifth championship since he joined the team.

SIR GARFIELD SOBERS (Cricket, Barbados)
Sir Garfield SobersSobers is simply the best cricket player in the history of the West Indies and is considered by many experts the best all-rounder in cricket history. He was equally adept at batting, bowling and fielding and was considered a cricket genius during his career from 1952 to 1974. He scored 365 runs in a Test match in 1958 (a mark later broken by Lara) and once hit six sixes in an over in a first-class match. He was knighted in 1975 for his services to cricket. He also excelled at golf as further proof of his athletic prowess.

USAIN BOLT (Track and field, Jamaica)
Usain BoltBolt is the most dominant sprinter in history, surpassing Jesse Owens and Carl Lewis. At age 27, his accomplishments are mind-boggling: Six Olympic gold medals, eight World Championship gold medals (it would likely be nine had he not false-started in the 100 final in Daegu in 2011). His impact internationally has been immeasurable, and he has avoided the dreaded drug rumors that have ruined other sprinters. Bolt would go on to claim an unprecedented ‘triple triple’ at the 2016 Rio Olympics, where he won gold in the 100m, 200m and the 4x100m relay.

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