So, @mommyfactor asked me to write about what I thought about Black History Month as it relates to raising Caribbean American children, and I did - here. Along comes Caribbean American Heritage Month, and I find that I am scrambling to find ways to help my kids understand how truly special they are to be of African American and Caribbean descent.
Living in DC, there are a few events that I plan to attend, as well as a family festival in nearby Prince Georges County. DC Carnival is at the end of the month, and I don't want them to only think of their heritage as being one great big party - and that's it. My son attends CAFE (Cultural Academy for Excellence), where he learns to play steel drums. My other two kids will join him this summer. They love Trinidadian food and music, but there is so much more to Caribbean culture than roti, saltfish, and soca.
The artists and beats that are coming out in the mainstream pop music culture have distinctly Caribbean backgrounds, but even though they are international and American superstars, I don't necessarily want my young sons and daughter identifying with them. So - who else have we got?
I went to wikipedia, and searched for a list, and this is what I found. I am still in the B's - working on the list. Check back all month for updates. Who knew that it was this extensive! Maybe if there is one that is of particular interest to you or your kids, you can make researching and writing about them a short project. People like David Paterson (legally blind governor of New York and his father, Basil Paterson (a pretty impressive guy on his own) whose mother was Jamaican, and father was from the Grenadines.
Tahj Mowry, Actor
Tamera Mowry, Actress
Tia Mowry, Actress
Shakara Ledard, Model
Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson, mixed-martial artist
Persia White, actress and singer
Esther Rolle, actress
Roxie Roker, actress
Al Roker, meteorologist and television personality
Sidney Poitier, actor
Lenny Kravitz, musician
J. Rosamond Johnson, musician, composer and performer
James Weldon Johnson, author, composer and educator
Wendy Coakley-Thompson, writer
Dennis M. Walcott, Deputy Mayor for Education and Community Development in New York City, New York
Lloyd Sealy, First African American NYPD officer to command a police precinct and patrol borough
Bret Schundler, former Mayor of Jersey City, NJ
Thomas Jones, former Civil Court judge and Civil Rights activist in Brooklyn, New York
Sylvia O. Hinds-Radix, New York State Supreme Court Judge
Eric Holder, Attorney General of the United States
Adrian Fenty, former Mayor of Washington, District of Columbia
Shirley Chisholm, Congresswoman
Paule Marshall, novelist
Agymah Kamau, novelist
Obadele Thompson, Athlete
Sam Seale, American football
Ramon Harewood, American football
Robert Bailey, American football
Arnold Josiah Ford, Rabbi
Lamman Rucker, Actor
Mari Morrow, Actress
Omar Gooding, Actor
Cuba Gooding Jr, Actor
Megan Good, Actress
Gwyneth Paltrow, actress and singer (yes, her too...)
Arturo Tappin, Musician
Lord Burgess, songwriter
L.L. Cool J, musician
Ryan Leslie, musician; producer
Doug E. Fresh, hip hop musician
Cuba Gooding Sr, Singer
Grandmaster Flash, hip hop music ian and DJ
Afrika Bambaataa, Musician
Gwen Ifill, American journalist, and television newscaster
Dr Vilma Scantlebury, the world’s first black, female organ transplant surgeon
Gail Brathwaite, the chief operating officer of one of Connecticut’s largest banks
Lisa Gabrielle Tucker, singer, musical theater and television actress, finalist on the fifth season of American Idol
Milt Palacio, professional basketball player
Marion Jones-Thompson, former world champion track and field athlete, professional basketball player in the WNBA
Noel Felix, professional basketball player
Zelma I. Edgell(Zee Edgell), writer
Avery August, Scientist and Professor of Immunology at The Pennsylvania State University
Michael Douglas, actor (yep, THAT Michael Douglas.)
Diana Love Dill (Diana Douglas or Diana Douglas Darrid), actress
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