How Ya Going? 9 of Our Favorite Celebs Of Trinidadian Descent (There’s Some Surprises!)
We’ve covered many people of a wide variety of backgrounds on our site, but it has come to my attention lately that yes, everyone and their mommas…and their momma’s mommas, are of Trinidadian descent. From reality TV stars, to musicians, actors, famous bloggers and more, there are many folks that are American and of Trinidadian descent, or who were born and bred on the island. We thought we would showcase a few folks, and while not everyone is literally a “favorite” of ours, we thought we’d show love anyway. Be ready to click!
Everyone’s favorite annoying yet voluptuous TV neighbor from “227,” Jackée Harry has been making a name for herself as an actress since her early days of acting on stage and since her first TV role on the show, “Another World” in the early ’80s. But out of all the things we know about her, including that her ex-husband has a whip-worthy mane of hair, did you know that Harry was of Trinidadian descent? Born Jacqueline Yvonne Harry, her mother is straight from Trinidad and her father was African American. Now that you know, spread the word…
Mr. Malco is too cute! The actor caught our attention in The 40-Year-Old Virgin, but caught everyone else’s eye in Think Like A Man, and he actually got his start in the industry as a rapper. Malco formed a group called R.M.G. (later changed to College Boyz), and even dropped a single called “Victim of the Ghetto” and an album that charted. Before all that of course, Malco was born in Brooklyn, with his parents coming from Trinidad. He even has extended relatives from Venezuela.
She’s said it many a time, but if you missed the memo, actress Nia Long is actually Afro-Trinidadian, as her mother, Talita, is from the island. While pregnant, Long could actually be seen with her family in Trinidad, snapping photos in Port-of-Spain and visiting extended family. Her favorite things about visiting Trinidad? As she told The Trinidad Express: “We enjoyed lots of real coconut ice cream every evening from St James, and of course I love curry, so I had rotis every day! The food from Clyde’s Kitchen was amazing, so as you say here: I ate my belly full!”
Though he played the Bel-Air bred gold-spoon-in-the-mouth Carlton Banks on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” Ribeiro once said that people were always surprised to know that both of the actor’s parents are from Trinidad and Tobago. His grandfather is even the late famous calypso singer and composer, Roaring Lion (aka, Rafael de Leon).
And speaking of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” Karyn Parsons, who played Hilary Banks on the same show, is also an American of Trinidadian descent. Her mother is a black Trinidadian while her father is a white French-Canadian fella. I wonder if she and Ribeiro got together and discussed the realities of growing up with Trini parents. A small world indeed…
Patrice Grell Yursik, aka, AfroBella
Aside from knowing a lot about hair and beauty, Patrice Grell Yursik, the creator of the popular blog, Afrobella.com, knows a great deal about Trinidad. Why? Well, because the blogger was born and raised there of course! In an interview with Islandistas.com, Yursik spoke about the things she misses most about Trinidad (especially now that she lives in Chicago–known for bitter cold winters):
“I miss the food, the music, and the diversity of Trini culture. I miss the melting pot. I miss standing with a bake and shark in my hand at that big table of condiments, while hearing the crash of the waves off Maracas Bay. I miss Trini Christmas and my family’s Old Year’s Night party. I miss Sunday lunch and the rituals of home.”
Just a quick history lesson for you if you weren’t aware. The late black activist and former leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), born Kwame Ture, was actually born and raised for most of his childhood in Trinidad. Port-of-Spain to be specific. He eventually moved to Harlem at the age of 11 to reunite with his parents, but before he could, Carmichael actually got his education at the well-known Tranquility School.
The Female Rappers:
Must be something in the water! One of the first female rappers to rep Trinidad hard, Foxy Brown is the daughter of two Trinidadian parents. Her father was allegedly both Trini and Asian, actually. Since she’s came out in the ’90s, Inga Marchand has expressed her love for the island (“My parents are from Trinidad. I’m Trinidadian. I’m West Indian. That is the music I grew up on…I am the only Trini chick that can kick yard s**t.”), even wanting to be a youth ambassador for Trinidad: “I’ve forged many political alliances and I’m well-versed, articulate and educated. Beyond just having a vast amount of music industry experience, I am a staunch believer in being the voice for our young Trinidadian people.” Well, alright.
Onika Minaj is actually one of the few ladies from the rap “elite” who was born in Trinidad, Saint James to be specific, which is a suburb in Port-of-Spain. At the age of five, Minaj’s mother (who was already in the U.S. at the time), came back to visit and took Minaj back to Queens with her. As she’s grown up and been in the spotlight, Minaj has showed love to Trinidad, performing there, featuring the island in her MTV special, “My Time Now,” and even filming her most recent video there, “Pound the Alarm.”
The first lady of Wiz Khalifa’s Taylor Gang crew, yes Monroe is Trini. Or to be specific, she’s half Ethiopian, and half Trinidadian. Though she was born in Ethiopia, her father is Trinidadian, and she was raised in Washington, D.C.
As K. Michelle pointed out on the reality show “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta,” Redd doesn’t have a Wikipedia page, so all the details on her life have to be scraped from a few different places. But what we do know is that Redd was born in NYC but raised with her West Indian family in Trinidad. She goes for the pop, hip-hop and reggae sound with her music, and you can even catch her trying to spit a taste of her own version of the Trini rap sound on the show.
A point guard for the New York Knicks, Bibby has been making a name for himself in the league since ’98, and had some of his best years while playing for the Sacramento Kings alongside Chris Webber (even getting to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2002 with the team). Bibby was born to a mother from Trinidad and Tobago and an African American father (former NBA player, Henry Bibby).
And of course, how could we forget Heather Headley? The singer and Tony-Award winning theater actress was born and raised in Trinidad until her teenage years when she moved to Indiana. Before then, she was said to be inspired by the calypso and soca music of her land. “Trinidad is where I learned to sing and to appreciate music. One of the beautiful things about home is that there’s so much music.” She has returned to Trinidad to perform, and is looked at as a huge star to the people.
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