What do one of the world’s first supermodels, a U.S. Secretary of State, and a New York Times best-selling author have in common? They all have roots in Jamaica! We Jamaicans can be found in all corners of the world—and these natives are making their country proud!
1. Malcolm Gladwell – Author
Journalist Malcolm Gladwell has written five New York Times Best Sellers, including The Tipping Point. Born in England and raised in Canada, his mother (a psychotherapist and accomplished author in her own right ) was born in Jamaica. In his 1998 Washington Post article, “Lost in the Middle,” Gladwell explores his Jamaican roots and his experience growing up across racial and cultural divides.
2. Naomi Campbell – Supermodel
Naomi Campbell, one of the world’s original supermodels, is proud of her Jamaican roots. Though she was born and raised in London, her mother is Jamaican-born. Campbell dominated the runways in the early 1980’s, and continues to remain a force in the world of fashion today—commanding the runways with models half her age. Much respect to Ms. Campbell!
This stunner is a regular here at Island Outpost, and Campbell never minds sharing the experience with a friend or two!
3. Patrick Ewing – Former NBA Athlete
Retired New York Knicks NBA player (and Hall of Famer) Patrick Ewing was born in Kingston, and lived on the island until he was 12 years old. Ewing was a member of the US Olympic “Dream Team,” winning gold medals in basketball in 1984 and 1992.
4. Sanya Richards-Ross – Track and Field Star
She’s a track and field athlete who dominated the 2012 Summer Olympics (competing for the United States), winning gold in the 400 meters. And she’s Jamaican. We wonder where she gets that speed from. Answer: Jamaica!
5. Colin Powell – U.S. Secretary of State
Colin Powell was the first African American appointed as the U.S. Secretary of State, serving under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005. Powell was also the first African-American to serve on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Born in New York City in 1937, Powell was raised by his Jamaican parents who immigrated to the States years earlier.
6. Al Roker – Television Host
Al Roker is a beloved American television personality on the Today Show. Roker has captured the attention of millions every day with his infectious personality. We’re guessing that has something to do with the fact that he was raised by Caribbean parents—a Jamaican mother, and a Bahamian father!
7. Harry Belafonte – Singer, Songwriter and Social Activist
“Day-O! Daylight come and me wanna go home.” Harry Belafonte sang these now-famous lyrics in his classic 1956 hit “The Banana Boat Song.” Belafonte’s accent gave away his Jamaican heritage, but did you know he was actually born in NYC? He did live in Jamaica from ages eight to thirteen.
8. Sean Kingston – Singer
Okay, this one likely isn’t a surprise to anyone who heard Sean Kingston’s super catchy tune “Beautiful Girls.” Kingston attended high school in Ochie, and grew up around music: His grandfather was Jack Ruby, a popular producer and sound system operator.