So let’s see. We’ve done Barbadian folks, Haitian folks, Jamaican folks, Trinidadian folks and more, so what’s missing? The Bahamas of course! Many of our favorite actors and performers rep the country very hard, and some even own property there or represent as ambassadors. We’ve looked up a few and thought you’d like to know which black folks are Bahamian and how they’re tied to the country. Shall we proceed?
The child of a black Bahamian father and a white American mother, the “Breaker High” and “Girlfriends” star was born in Miami of all places, however, the actress was raised in Nassau. Coincidentally, it was her mother who moved the family to the Bahamas when she was a child, and it was for work purposes. During her time there, she even garnered a scholarship to the Nassau Civic Ballet Company when she was only three years old (uh, what was I doing at the age of three…?). Of course, since she and her family moved back to the US when she was eight, White has been back to the Bahamas on many different occasions. She even went with Caribbean Living a couple years ago and they documented her trip.
The son of “The Jeffersons” actress Roxie Roker, Kravitz’s grandfather was a Bahamian-born man by the name of Albert Roker. Kravitz even built a house and recording studio in Eleuthera as a chance to be in the Bahamas more often. To this day he still records music and takes breaks in the country, a place he finds to be relaxing and satisfying: “I have a big house in Paris, which fulfills the city side of me with the ballet, opera, museums, great food and fashion. But I’ll tell you, living in the Bahamas is far more satisfying. My day-to-day decisions are, like, “What kind of fish do I want for dinner?”
That’s SIR Sidney Poitier to you (*winks*).
The legendary actor is the son of Bahamian parents, and though he was born in Miami (and raised there for three months as he struggled as premature baby), he was primarily raised in the Bahamas. He lived on Cat Island with his family until he was 10, and then they moved to Nassau. It wasn’t until his late teen years that the actor was sent back to Miami to live with family, and inevitably wound up moving to America to work and make it. Since doing so (making it that is), Poitier has been appointed the ambassador of the Bahamas to Japan, as well as the ambassador for the Bahamas to UNESCO. Seems like he’s holding things down just fine!
Michael K. Williams
OMAR! The man we all love from his days playing the intelligent yet grimy stick-up man on “The Wire” was born to an Afro-Bahamian mother and African American father in Brooklyn, NY. Though the acclaimed actor hasn’t talked about visiting the country, he seems to be very proud of his Bahamian roots. Rick Fox shouted him out for Bahamian Independence Day via Twitter and they had a cute exchange about the Junkanoo Parade in Nassau.
The man who made the song you live by every Friday is a Nassau-born Bahamian brother. Who knew!? The singer and dancer began performing at nightclubs in the Bahamas when he was but a young lad at the ripe age of 13 before moving to the US, getting with the band Kinky Fox as the lead singer and later recording “Just Got Paid.” Today, Kemp often performs in the Bahamas and was even there a few months back to help present a new stadium.
Everyone’s favorite weatherman…or at least, the only weatherman a majority of people know by name, is actually the son of a Jamaican mother and a Bahamian father. In case you were wondering, Al Roker is the cousin of Roxie Roker, Lenny Kravitz’s late mother. Anywho, Roker reps the Bahamas pretty hard too, as he took the Food Network along with him to the Bahamas to film “Al Roker’s Bahamian Reunion Special.” In the special, he went back to learn more about his grandparents, and to also fish for…fish in Nassau and Exuma. He even had a cookbook that offered up a recipe for the much loved Bahamian dessert, guava duff.
The self-proclaimed “Baddest B***h” is of Bahamian descent (she’s also of Dominican descent on her father’s side), which probably explains her connection to Miami of all places. I know you’ve noticed the trend. Her mother is Afro-Bahamian, and she even told Necole Bitchie that she spent many weekends with her family traveling to the Bahamas. She also has shouted the country out in her lyrics: “I’m in Bahamas drinking Nuvo straight.”
A Canadian actor with a Bahamian father and an Italian Canadian mother, Rick Fox was born in Toronto but moved with his family to the Bahamas when he was but a wee young’n (a three year old that is). The very delicious actor attended school in Nassau and was a star on the high school basketball team at Kingsway Academy. I haven’t noticed any type of accent (hey, I guess it’s been too long since he’s been back in the states), but Fox has spoken many times about his years in the Bahamas, and how he initially was made to feel like an outsider in The United States:
“Growing up in the Bahamas, race was not an issue as it was a mixed country. As a result, I consider myself of mixed heritage. But here in the States, I saw how important it was for people to define themselves as part of a specific group. I felt like an outsider in that respect.”
“DAMN, DAMN, DAMN!!!”
Sorry, but I always think of her dropping that glass bowl in the kitchen on “Good Times” after James Evans died when I think of Esther Rolle. Anyway, the actress was born in Miami (Florida seems to be the hot spot for Bahamian children) to parents from the Bahamas. She was the 10th child out of a whopping 18. Her parents migrated from the island of Exuma to Pompano Beach, Florida.
Shoooooot, I’ve had a thing for Calvin Lockhart since I saw him in Let’s Do It Again with Sidney Poitier and Bill Cosby, and now that I realize he was born in the Bahamas, I see why I like him so much! Lockhart lived there until he was 18, which is when he moved to New York City to start a career in film. After a long and successful career, Lockhart returned to the Bahamas in the ’90s and was a director there for the Freeport Players Guild. He died in Nassau (he was born in Nassau too), and in his honor, his wife and son created a scholarship fund to help Bahamian students interested in acting and working in film behind the scenes get their feet off the ground.