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June is a busy month: There’s Pride Month, Black Music Month and Caribbean-American Heritage Month! During this month, we get to recognize the significant impact of Caribbean people on the history and culture of the United States.
As a woman who grew up in an English, Spanish and French-speaking household, my upbringing was just as eclectic as one would think. From a young age, I learned the art of code-switching, language blending (what I call combining two or more languages together) and what it meant to celebrate one’s history while simultaneously working for a better future.
Dancing to SOCA beats while filling my belly with soup joumou and red snapper is STILL how I prefer to spend my days, but knowing that you’re holding onto small pockets of culture through music, food and life experiences is something that nobody can ever take away.
As of 2018, there were almost 13.2 million Caribbean Americans in the US, comprised of people from Puerto Rico, Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, Belize, Bahamas, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Barbados.
So of course, sak pasé, my loves! Qué lo qué, everyone?!
Anywho, we wanted to spotlight different celebrities in the fashion and beauty space who you may have not known were Caribbean (or of Caribbean descent). There are SO many more we could add to this list, but this is just to get you started.
Rihanna is an award-winning singer, actress, and entrepreneur. Of course, she’s also the founder of Fenty Beauty!
2. Azede Jean-Pierre
Azede Jean-Pierre is a Haitian-born fashion designer who debuted her line in 2012. Michelle Obama and Solange Knowles have even been spotted in her dresses.
3. Naomi Campbell
Naomi Campbell is a supermodel, actress and businesswoman known for international success as a model and activism work for Black people in the fashion industry.
4. Carly Cushnie
Carly Cushnie is a luxury fashion designer and both the co-founder of Cushnie Et Ochs and founder of Cushnie. The Cushnie Collection is worn by influential women including Michelle Obama, Beyoncé, Gal Gadot, Lupita Nyong’o, Ava Duvernay, Jessica Biel, Jennifer Lopez, Ashley Graham and Padma Lakshmi, among many others.
5. Paola Mathé
Paola Mathé is a creative director, photographer and founder of Fanm Djanm, a headwrap collection and popular lifestyle brand.
6. Nicki Minaj
Nicki Minaj is a Trinidadian-born rapper, singer, songwriter, actress, and model. Minaj is cited as one of the most influential female rap artists of all time, where she’s received numerous accolades including six American Music Awards, 11 BET Awards, four MTV Video Music Awards, four Billboard Music Awards and two Billboard Women in Music Awards.
7. Tamu McPherson
Tamu McPherson is the founder of All The Pretty Birds and is a Jamaican-born, Milan-residing fashion editor who has most recently called for more luxury brands to partner with Black creators.
8. Kerby Jean-Raymond
Kerby Jean-Raymond is a Haitian-American designer and founder of Pyer Moss, a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund winner that also critiques and analyzes race in America.
9. Rajni Jacques
Rajni Jacques is a creative director, stylist and the current fashion director for Teen Vogue.
10. Garcelle Beauvais
Garcelle Beauvais is a Haitian–American actress, reality television personality, author and former fashion model. She is best known for her role as Francesca “Fancy” Monroe on The WB television sitcom, “The Jamie Foxx Show.”
11. Kerry Washington
Kerry Washington is an American actress, producer and director. She gained wide public recognition for starring as Olivia Pope in the ABC drama series “Scandal.”
12. Rosario Dawson
13. Zoe Saldana
Zoe Saldana is a Puerto Rican-Dominican actress best known for her roles in major films such as “Avatar,” and Gamora in the Marvel series.
14. Tatyana Ali
Tatyana Ali is an American actress and singer (of Panamanian and Indo-Trinidadian descent) best known for her role as Ashley Banks on the NBC sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”
15. Nia Long
Nia Long is an American actress best known for her roles in shows like “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and “Empire,” as well as films “Boyz n the Hood,” “Friday,” “The Best Man,” and “Love Jones.”
16. Naomie Harris
Naomie Harris is a British actress best known for her movies “28 Days Later,” “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.” She was also appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2017 New Year Honours for services to drama.
If you liked this post, you should meet the Caribbean star spearheading a new era of Soca music.
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