The Following is a list of some Famous and Notable People of Guyanese Heritage:


Leona Lewis

Leona Lewis

Multi-Platinum Selling Music Artist

Lewis was born on April 3, 1985 in the London Borough of Islington , to Aural Josiah "Joe" Lewis, a youth worker from Guyana of Black African descent and Maria Lewis, a British social worker of Welsh , Italian and Irish descent.

She rose to fame as the winner of the third series of The X Factor , and became the first female winner of the show. Lewis has gone on to become a multi-platinum selling artist and three time Grammy Award nominee.

Her debut single "Moment Like This" went on to become the fastest selling UK single after it was downloaded over 50,000 times within thirty minutes of its release. In November 2008, she set a UK record for the fastest selling download-only release of the Snow Patrol cover of "Run" which sold 69,244 copies in two days.

Her second single, "Bleeding Love" was released worldwide and reached over thirty number one positions in charts around the world and the biggest selling single of 2008. 

Above is the music video "Bleeding Love" (2007) by Leona Lewis.

Check out her website: leonalewismusic.co.uk

Rihanna photo taken by Terry Richardson for Rolling Stone Magazine


Multi-Platinum Grammy Award Winning Music Artist

Rihanna was born Robyn Rihanna Fenty on February 20, 1988 to a Barbadian/Irish father (Ronald Fenty) and a Guyanese mother (Monica Braithwaite) in the Parish of St. Michael, Barbados.

Rihanna has sold over 25 million albums, 60 million digital singles worldwide and has had number-one singles in 35 countries.

She is the highest-selling digital artist in US history, sold over 47,571,000 singles as of 2012. She has achieved eleven number-one singles on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the youngest solo artist to achieve that feat. Rihanna has sold 7.3 million albums in the United States.

Rihanna won 5 Grammy Awards, 18 Billboard Music Awards, 5 American Music Awards and 2 BRIT Awards.

Above is the music video "We Found Love" (2011) by Rihanna featuring Calvin Harris.

Check out her website: rihannanow.com



Platinum Selling Music Artist / Songwriter

Anjulie was born Anjulie Persaud in 1983 to Indo-Guyanese parents in Oakville, Ontario, Canada.

Her unreleased singles, "Rain", "Crazy That Way", and "The Heat" have been featured on the MTV television series The Hills and "Addicted2Me" on The City. The single "Boom" has been featured on ABC's Eastwick, The CW's Melrose Place, The Vampire Diaries,and Canada's Next Top Model.

Anjulie wrote the single "Don't Call Me Baby" by Canadian recording artist Kreesha Turner which reached number eight on Billboard's Canadian Hot 100 in 2008 and number one on the US Billboard Hot Dance/Club Play Chart.

She co-wrote the single "I Want You" with its performer Fefe Dobson. "I Want You" has appeared on various projects ranging from promos for TV shows to promos for films to even a version recorded in Simlish for the PC game The Sims 3: World Adventures. Anjulie's music is featured in the 2009 movie/musical Fame. She wrote and performed "Big Things" which plays during the opening scene of the film.

In 2011, Brand New B***h was certified as a platinum digital download in Canada for over 80,000 units sold, and was nominated for Dance Recording of the Year at the 2012 Juno Awards.

Above is the music video "Brand New B*tch" (2011) by Anjulie.

Check out her website: anjuliemusic.com



Rapper, Producer and co-founder of Capitol Music

Karl Amani Wailoo was born on March 6, 1978 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada to Guyanese parents. He is the co-founder of Capitol Hill Music, and lead singer of the hip-hop/R&B group Big Black Lincoln. He is also a member of Redman's Gilla House collective.

In 1994, his first track was titled "Still Caught Up", which earned a nomination for Best Rap Recording at the 1996 Juno Awards. He was also nominated for another Juno of the same award in 2000 for "Money or Love". In 2001, Saukrates produced the track "Uh-Huh" for Redman's Malpractice album, and appeared on a track called "Enjoy Da Ride". He also did a track called "Fine Line" for the soundtrack to Method Man and Redman's How High movie. In 2002, Saukrates teamed up with fellow Canadian producer Agile from BrassMunk to produce the track "Heaven", for Nas' album God's Son, which featured Jully Black.

He appears on two tracks of Redman's album Red Gone Wild, released in March 2007.

On November 19, 2006, he performed "Promiscuous" with Nelly Furtado at halftime show of the Canadian Football League's 94th Grey Cup. Two days later, Saukrates beat-boxed during her performance of "Say It Right" at the 2006 American Music Awards in Los Angeles. On February 23, 2007, he appeared on the daytime drama One Life to Live with Furtado, performing "Promiscuous".

Saukrates also toured with Furtado on her Get Loose Tour, as a percussionist, backing vocalist and supporting act.

Above is the music video "Say I" (2011) by Saukrates featuring OB O'Brien.

Eddy Grant

Eddy Grant

Platinum Selling Music Artist

Born in Plaisance, Guyana, on March 5, 1948, the young Edmond Montague Grant grew up on the sound of his homeland, tan singing, an Indo-Caribbean vocal style whose roots lay in south Asia and are the backbone of modern chutney.

Then in 1960, the Grant family emigrated to England, taking up residence in the working-class Stoke Newington area of London. The young teen's musical horizons swiftly expanded, embracing R&B, blues, and rock that percolated across his new island home. He first made his name in the 1970s as lead singer of The Equals.

His later solo hits include the anti-apartheid song, "Gimme Hope Jo'anna", "Electric Avenue", and "I Don't Wanna Dance", which went to #1 in the UK charts. "Electric Avenue" sold over a million copies in 1983 and was a UK Top Ten hit again in 2001 as a remix.

Above is the music video "Electric Avenue" (1982) by Eddy Grant.

Check out his website: eddygrant.com

Deborah Cox

Deborah Cox

Platinum Selling Music Artist / Actress

Deborah was born on January 7, 1974 in Toronto, Canada to Guyanese parents with strong musical roots. She began singing for TV commercials at age 12, also entering various talent shows with her mother's help.

Her 1999 smash hit “Nobody’s Supposed to be Here” was the longest-running number one single in the history of Billboard magazine's R&B charts. She got into the music industry as a backup vocalist for Céline Dion, and after signing to Arista Records, released her self-titled debut album in 1994.

The album made her a rising star, and set the stage for 1998's One Wish. The first single from that album, “Nobody’s Supposed to be Here”, spent a record 14 weeks atop the Billboard R&B charts. On February 17, 2004, Cox made her Broadway debut in the Elton John-Tim Rice musical Aida. Her third album, The Morning After, was released in November, 2002.

Above is the music video "Who Do You Love" (1996) by Deborah Cox.

Check out her website: deborahcox.com

Maestro Fresh Wes

Maestro Fresh Wes

Pioneering Platinum Selling Music Artist / Actor

Wesley Williams was born on March 31, 1968 in Toronto, Canada to Guyanese parents. His pioneering status and outstanding acheivements have led him to being referred to as the "Godfather of Canadian Hip Hop". In 1989 he became the first Canadian rapper to have a Top 40 hit, "Let Your Backbone Slide". "Let Your Backbone Slide" was the best-selling Canadian hip-hop single of all time and the only certified gold single in Canadian hip hop history until 2008. Maestro's debut album, 'Symphony in Effect' (1989), remains one of the top selling Canadian hip hop albums of all time selling 190,000 units.

Maestro was inducted into the Scarborough Walk of Fame in 2006 and holds the following awards and distinctions: two Juno Awards, 12 Juno nominations, four MuchMusic Video Awards, first Canadian rap artist to go gold (album & single), first Canadian hip hop single to go gold, platinum album - Best Selling Hip Hop Artist in Canadian History, UMAC Pioneer Award - 1998, 2002 Harry Jerome Award for Excellence in Arts, 2003 REEL World Film Festival Trailblazer Award.

Above is the music video "Let Your Backbone Slide" (1989) by Maestro Fresh Wes.

Check out his website: maestroweswilliams.com

Dave Baksh

Dave Baksh

Juno Award Winning Musician

Dave Nizaam Baksh was born on July 26, 1980 in Ajax, Ontario, Canada to West Indian-Canadian immigrants from Guyana. He is the former lead guitarist in the Canadian punk rock band Sum 41, and has since become a singer/guitarist in his own heavy metal/reggae project Brown Brigade. He currently plays guitar for Organ Thieves.

Baksh joined Sum 41 as the third member, after Deryck Whibley and Steve Jocz formed the band in the summer of 1996. In addition to being the lead guitarist, Baksh also provided back up-vocals.

Above is the music video "In Too Deep" (2001) by Sum 41.

Check out his band's website: organthieves.com

Phil Lynott photo taken by Harry Potts, courtesy of metal-rules.com

Phil Lynott

Iconic Rock Music Artist

Philip Parris "Phil" Lynott was born on August 20, 1949 in Staffordshire, England. His mother, Philomena Lynott is Irish and his father, Cecil Parris is Afro-Guyanese from Georgetown, Guyana. Phil is a singer and musician who is best known for being the founding member, principal songwriter, lead vocalist and bassist of the Irish rock band Thin Lizzy.

Growing up in Dublin in the 1960s, Lynott fronted several bands as a lead vocalist, most notably Skid Row alongside Gary Moore, before learning the bass guitar and forming Thin Lizzy in 1969. After initial success with Whiskey in the Jar, the band found strong commercial success in the mid-1970s with hits such as "The Boys are Back in Town", "Jailbreak" and "Waiting for an Alibi", and became a popular live attraction due to the combination of Lynott's vocal and songwriting skills and the use of dual lead guitars. Towards the end of the 1970s, Lynott also embarked upon a solo career, published two books of poetry, and after Thin Lizzy disbanded, he assembled and fronted the band Grand Slam, of which he was the leader until it folded in 1985.

Life-size bronzed statue of Phil Lynott was unveiled in Dublin photo courtesy of independent.ie
Above is a picture of the life-size bronze statue that was erected of Phil Lynott on Harry Street in Dublin in 2005.

Sol Raye

Sol Raye


Sol Raye was born Neville Marshall-Corbin in Christianburg, Guyana in 1934. He was a Guyanese cabaret singer, composer and recording artist who moved to England in the 1960s and originally studied acting, performing with the English Stage Company.

His singing style was reflective of Nat 'King' Cole. A nine-time winner of the Brit TV talent contest "Opportunity Knocks," he recorded such popular songs as "Mona Lisa," "How Sweet It Is," and "Come Home Love." He performed several cabaret tributes to Nat Cole and also produced and directed the 1985 TV tribute to Cole entitled "A Nightingale Sang." He was the opening act for such performers as The Supremes and Eartha Kitt. His younger brother, Robert Corbin, is the Leader of the Peoples National Congress Reform (PNCR), the Main Opposition political party, in Guyana.

Above is a video of "If We Were Free" (1972) by Sol Raye.

Ken Snakehip Johnson

Ken "Snakehips" Johnson


Kenrick Reginald Huymans Johnson was born in British Guiana on September 10, 1914. At the age of 15, Johnson's parents sent him to Britain, where he attended Sir William Borlase's Grammar School before studying medicine at Edinburgh University. Having gained an interest in dance, he sought lessons from American choreographer, Buddy Bradley. It was in dance work that he earned his nickname, 'Snakehips', from his "fluid and flexible style". Johnson was invited to lead Leslie Thompson's band, before going on to start his own, called Ken Johnson and his Rhythm Swingers (later renamed The West Indian Orchestra), which played jazz and swing music.

The band had a residency at the London nightclub Café de Paris. Ken Snakehips Johnson was Britain's first black swing bandleader.

Above is a video of "Oh Daddy!" (1935) by Ken "Snakehips" Johnson.

Frank Holder photo taken by Brian O'Connor, courtesy of allaboutjazz.com

Frank Holder

Jazz Musician

Frank Holder was born in 1925 in Georgetown, Guyana. He is a jazz singer and percussionist.

He was a member of the Montreux band and played with Joe Harriott. In 1972, he was honored as one of the winners of the Castlebar Song Contest, for the folk ballad, "Song for Jenny", composed by Sheila Roberts.

Holder played at the 100 Club in London, owned by the Feldman brothers. Holder recalls, "At Feldman's, a black man would be accepted when you couldn't appear at clubs like the Mayfair or Embassy. Black guys like Coleridge Goode and Ray Ellington were welcome, and all that mattered to Robert and Monty Feldman was that you were a musician." Holder served in the Royal Air Force. He is the cousin of actor/musician Ram John Holder.

Check out his album Interpretations or download it from iTunes.

R.B. Greaves

R.B. Greaves

Music Artist

Ronald Bertram Aloysius "R. B." Greaves III was born on November 28, 1943 on a U.S. Army Air Forces base at Georgetown, Guyana.

He was an American singer who had chart success in 1969 with the pop single "Take A Letter, Maria" . A number two hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, this single sold one million copies, and it earned gold record certification from the Recording Industry Association of America. Greaves also had a Top 40 pop hit one year later with "(There's) Always Something There to Remind Me".

A nephew of Sam Cooke, he grew up on a Seminole Indian reservation in the United States, but he moved to England in 1963. Greaves had built a career both in the Caribbean and in the UK, where he performed under the name Sonny Childe with his group The TNTs. His debut recording "Take a Letter, Maria", released under the name R.B. Greaves, had been recorded by both Tom Jones and Stevie Wonder before the author recorded it himself at the insistence of the president of Atlantic Records, Ahmet Ertegn, who produced it. The song is the story of a man who had learned of his wife's infidelity the night before, and then dictates a letter of separation to Maria, his secretary. This song has a distinct Latino flavor, complete with a mariachi-style horn section.

The record stayed in the Billboard chart for 15 weeks in the United States, selling a million copies. It received gold record certification from the R.I.A.A. on December 11, 1969. By 1970, sales of this song totalled 2.5 million.

Melanie Fiona

Melanie Fiona

Grammy Award & Juno Award Winning Musician

Melanie Fiona Hallim was born on July 4, 1983 in Toronto, Canada to Guyanese parents.

Fiona was featured on Reggae Gold 2008 with "Somebody Come Get Me". Her debut single, "Give It to Me Right" peaked at number 20 on the Canadian Hot 100 chart and number 41 on the UK Singles Chart. Her second single, "It Kills Me" became her breakout song on the Billboard Hot 100 were it cracked the Top 50. The song earned Fiona a Grammy Award nomination for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. "The Bridge" also earned her a NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding New Artist.

Melanie won a total of 2 Grammy Awards, 1 Juno Award, 1 Soul Train Award and 1 Eska Music Award.

Above is a video of 4 AM" (2011) by Melanie Fiona.

Check out her website: melaniefiona.com

Eon Sinclair photo taken by Renaud Philippe at Festival d't de Qubec Scne Molson Dry du parc

Eon Sinclair


Eon Sinclair was born in 1981 in Toronto, Canada to Guyanese parents - he is the bassist for the Canadian rock group Bedouin Soundclash.

In 2005, Bedouin Soundclash's "Sounding a Mosaic" reached No.1 on the BBC 6 Music charts. "When The Night Feels My Song" was the No.2 most played track on Canadian radio and also appeared in a 2006 T-Mobile in the UK. Their song, "12:59 Lullaby" was featured in episode of Grey's Anatomy.

In 2008, the band won "Pop Album of the Year" Juno Award.

The song, "Gyasi Went Home" is about one of Sinclair's visit to Guyana. The video for the song was also shot in Guyana. The Caribbean influence on this band is evident in a variety of songs done by Bedouin Soundclash.

Above is a video of "Gyasi Went Home' (2008) by Bedouin Soundclash - Filmed in Guyana.

Check out his band's website: bedouinsoundclash.com

Maiko Watson photo taken by Bahia Watson

Maiko Watson


Maiko Watson was born on April 29, 1981 in Georgetown, Guyana.

She began writing songs over instrumental music at age twelve. She earned her first moment in the spotlight while still in her teens, beating out over four thousand young women to become a member of Sugar Jones, a girl group spawned from reality TV show "Popstars". Sugar Jones debut album went platinum and had two top ten singles on the Canadian Charts.

Her music has continued to spread steadily across the globe, being featured on a number of blogs throughout North America, the UK, France, and has been widely downloaded via torrent. Highlights included being featured on BET's Soul Session, The Paul Miller Soul Show on BBC and CBC, as well as placing songs on MuchMusic's Degrassi and the UK-based Soul Unsigned: The 2010 Summer Session compilation.

Check out her website: maikowatson.com

Alyson Cambridge photo taken by Enrique Vega / alysoncambridge.com

Alyson Cambridge

Opera Singer / Actress

Alyson Cambridge was born in 1980 in Washington, D.C to a Guyanese father and Danish-American mother.

She is an American operatic soprano. Alyson attended school in Cambridge and Oberlin and studied at the Curtis Institute of Music. In 2003, she won the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, which gained her entrance into the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. In 2004 she made her Met debut as Frasquita in Georges Bizet's Carmen. She has since appeared in several roles with that company, including Giannetta in L'elisir d'amore, a Flower Maiden in Parsifal, Karolka in Jenufa, Crobyle in Thaïs, and Bianca in La Rondine.

In the 2009-2010 season she portrayed Musetta in La bohme at the Portland Opera, Clara in Porgy and Bess at the Washington National Opera, and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni with Opera Cleveland.

She's a brand ambassador for contemporary designer Monika Chiang and iconic jeweler Chopard.

Check out her website: alysoncambridge.com

Mz.Fontaine photo taken by Sonic MoO

Mz. Fontaine

Rap Artist

Naomi Romeo was born in June 1978 in Guyana. She moved to London, England in 1992. She is the "UK's first out lesbian rapper."

From the tender age of five, my mother, who also enjoyed singing, took me to every choir rehearsal she attended," she says. "As a result my love for music and performing grew and I began singing at choir exhibitions. She moved to London when she was twelve became a member of her Catholic school Being on stage and seeing a vast number of people enjoying my performance...inspired me to begin song writing. Fontaine continued singing throughout high school, then received certificates in Sound Engineering and Teaching from the Institute of Music and Technology in London.

Mz. Fontaine has performed internationally with many accolades such as: Stonewall 2007 Entertainer Of The Year nomination, Headlining performer at the "PARADISO" Amsterdam for World Aids Day and being made a Patron of London Pride Festival, alongside Elton John and Rhona Cameron.

Natural Black

Natural Black

Reggae Artist

Mortimer Softley was born in Georgetown, Guyana on March 16, 1975.

He moved to Jamaica in 1995 to pursue his dream of being a reggae singer. In Guyana, he was nicknamed Black and White because of his love for dressing in that colour code. In Jamaica the musicians he hung around would rename him Natural Black. On his arrival into the island he worked as a welder and coffee picker while recording in his spare time for various producers. He made the rounds voicing for the likes of Anthony Red Rose, Gordon Lee, Jack Scorpio, Freddie McGregor and Beres Hammond.

In 2000, he met Roger Grant, a young producer just starting his label Organic Records. This association resulted in two singles, "With Feeling" and "Bad Mind" which captured the audiences attention and brought him his first taste of success. Both songs charted followed by In The Streetz' "Never Leave You Lonely" which peaked at number three on the Star charts.

Natural Black tours extensively and has performed to sold out audiences in Switzerland, Germany, Holland, Austria, France, Italy and Slovenia. He has performed on most of the major Reggae shows and festivals such as Uppsala Reggae Festival, Reggae Sumfest, Sting, Rebel Salute, East Fest and others. P.G. Music's Marlon McCubbin produced his 1995 album Far From Reality.

Simone Denny

Simone Denny

Juno Award Winning Music Artist / Vocalist

Simone Denny was born in Toronto, Ontario. She is of Guyanese heritage.

As a teenager she developed a following in local bands and as a studio session singer. She landed the role of "Mama" in a Canadian production of "Mama, I Want to Sing!" In 1993, Denny joined with DJ/producer Chris Sheppard and the group BKS. The group had several hits including 1996's "Astroplane," which claimed a Juno Award and a MuchMusic Video Awards in the same year.

Sheppard and Denny joined up again in 1997 to form the group Love Inc. Their eponymous debut album went platinum, spawning several hits including "Broken Bones," which peaked in the top ten on the Canadian pop charts, reached #1 on the dance charts, and won a Juno and two Much Music Awards, as well as "Youre A Superstar," which became a #1 dance song domestically, and in Australia and Spain. For co-writing the song "Who Do You Love," Simone earned a SOCAN Music Songwriter's Award. She toured with Love Inc. in Canada and Europe. Love Inc.'s second and last CD, "Into the Night," was released in 2001. The techno-pop single "Here Comes the Sunshine" topped the Canadian dance charts, reached #3 in digital sales, and received a Juno and a Much Music Award.

At the end of 2002 and into 2003, Love Inc.'s "Youre A Superstar" and "Broken Bones" were discovered the United Kingdom and Ireland. Both singles reached the top ten on radio play and dance charts.

In 2004 Denny recorded the theme for the television show, "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy." "All Things (Just Keep Getting Better)" was released by Widelife featuring Simone Denny. This song reached #5 on Billboards Hot Dance Club Play listing and #7 on Billboards Hot Dance Airplay chart, and earned her another Juno award. As an independent solo artist, Denny released "Clich" in 2004, which reached #2 on Billboards Dance Chart.

Shaya Hansen

Shaya Hansen

Music Artist

Shaya was born Marianna Hansen on February 17, 1983 in Denmark to a Danish father and a multiracial Guyanese mother of Greenlandic and Indian descent.

Shaya is one of the most well known pop performers in Greece. Her career started when she took part in the Pop Stars TV show. The result of this participation was the creation of the music band Hi5. The girl band released 2 albums and 3 singles in collaboration with Warner Music, they performed all around Greece and their concerts were sold out.

After Hi-5 split up, Shaya began a solo career, appearing live in various venues. In 2008, Shaya and Greek singer Kostas Martakis were chosen to record a Greek-language version of Right Here, Right Now from the soundtrack of the Disney film High School Musical 3: Senior Year. The cover was titled "Mikroi Theoi" (Little Gods) and was released as a single from the Greek edition of the film's soundtrack; a music video followed with Martakis and Shaya molded together with scenes from the film. The music video was included as a bonus feature on the Greek edition of the film's home video release. Walt Disney Records, via its international distribution partner EMI, commissioned several local market, foreign language versions of songs from the entire High School Musical series, although "Mikroi Theoi" was the only Greek version song.

In 2009, Shaya teamed up with Greek hip-hop group Stavento to release the duet "Prin Se Gnoriso" (Before I Meet You), which garnered them a nomination and win for Best Video-Clip Hip-Hop at the 2009 MAD Video Music Awards. Later that year in 2009, Shaya also teamed up with rapper Stereo Mike to release the duet "Esi Kai Ego" (You and I), while she was also part of the Amita Motion Tour 2009.

Check out her website: facebook.com/shayahansen1

Red Cafe

Red Cafe

Rap Artist

Red Café was born Jermaine Denny, on September 19, 1976 in Brooklyn, New York to Guyanese parents. He is a rap artist that is signed to Akon's Konvict Muzik, Diddy's Bad Boy Records and Ciroc Entertainment and DJ Clue's Desert Storm label.

He was signed by Arista in 2003, by Capitol (Hoo-Bangin' Records) in 2005, by Universal (Konvict Muzik) in 2006, and then Interscope (Konvict Musik) in 2007, but released no albums. His song All Night Long was included on the 2005 Coach Carter soundtrack. He has also ghostwritten for many popular rappers over the years. As an underground rapper, his work is not internationally recognized, though he has been rapping on the circuit since the late 1990s.

He released a mixtape with DJ Envy, The Co-Op, in 2007. Remy Ma was featured on the album. Red Cafe made an original song, "Stick'm" for the game Grand Theft Auto IV. In 2009 he played Primo, the freestyle battle rapper, in the 2009 Biggie Smalls biopic Notorious.



Hip-Hop Artist

P. Reign was born Raynford Humphrey, on January 8, 1986 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada to Guyanese parents. He is a hip-hop artist that is signed to Drake's October's Very Own, Reps-Up Records and parent distributor Warner Bros. Records.

P. Reign released his debut single in 2008 entitled, "You Know I'm Fly", which topped the PunchMuch Canadian interactive music channel. His follow-up singles are "Money in My Pocket" (2009) and "In My Hood" (2010), produced by T-Minus.

Reign toured with Drake on his Away from Home Tour across North America. Reign performed as an opening act and hype man. To date, P. Reign shared the stage with Keri Hilson, T-Pain, Rick Ross, Flo Rida, Jazmine Sullivan and Waka Flocka.

In 2013, he signed a deal with Drake's record label October's Very Own and Warner Bros. Records.

Although P. Reign was born in Montreal, he grew up in the Kingston-Galloway neighbourhood in the West Hill section of Scarborough in Toronto.


Sean Patrick Thomas

Sean Patrick Thomas


Sean Patrick Thomas was born on December 17, 1970 in Wilmington, Delaware to Guyanese parents (Carlton and Cheryl Thomas). He originally went to the University of Virginia to study to be a lawyer. He ultimately got his Master's degree in drama from New York University at the Tisch School of the Arts in 1995. Thomas is best known for his role in the movie Save the Last Dance and Barbershop. He was a cast member on The District, a recurring character on Reaper, Lie To Me and Ringer.

Sean Patrick Thomas in Save The Last Dance
Above is a pic taken from Save The Last Dance (2001). From left to right: Julia Stiles and Sean Patrick Thomas.

Godfrey Cambridge

Godfrey Cambridge

Actor and Comedian

Godfrey MacArthur Cambridge was born in New York City on February 26, 1933 to Guyanese parents, Sarah and Alexander Cambridge.

Alongside Bill Cosby, Dick Gregory, and Nipsey Russell, he was acclaimed by Time magazine in 1965 as "one of the country's four most celebrated Negro comedians."

In 1949 he received a four-year scholarship to study medicine at Hofstra College, which he attended for three years before dropping out to pursue a career in acting.

In 1962, Cambridge was nominated for a Tony Award as part of the cast of Purlie Victorious. His memorable film roles include: Watermelon Man, The President's Anaylst, Cotton Comes to Harlem, Friday Foster and Beware! The Blob.

In addition to acting, Cambridge had major success as a stand-up comedian. By 1965 he was earning "as much as $4,000 a week headlining venues such as San Francisco's 'hungry i' and Hollywood's 'Crescendo'.' He appeared on The Tonight Show. Cambridge reached his largest television audience in a series of comical commercials for Jockey underwear.

Above is one of the infamous commercials for Final Touch.

Derek Luke

Derek Luke

Critically Acclaimed Actor

Derek was born in Jersey City, New Jersey on April 24, 1974. He won the Independent Spirit Award for his big-screen debut performance in the 2002 film Antwone Fisher, directed and produced by Denzel Washington.

He is the son of pianist, Marjorie Dixon and Guyanese native Maurice Luke, a former actor. He has two brothers, Daniel and Maurice. He is a graduate of Linden High School in Linden, New Jersey.

Luke played one of the four male leads in Spike Lee's 2008 war film Miracle at St. Anna, replacing Wesley Snipes, who had to leave the film due to his highly-publicized tax problems. Luke played a small part as a nurse in the 1999 episode "White Collar" of the sitcom The King of Queens, and appeared on on the NBC show Trauma. He played one of the group members of Mayhem in the Moesha episode "Mayhem at the Jam Esp' (March 19, 2001). He plays Alicia Keys' love interest in her music video for "Teenage Love Affair". He played singer Monica's love interest in the her music video for "So Gone". Luke played Sean 'Puffy' Combs in the 2009 film Notorious, and James 'Boobie' Miles in the 2004 film Friday Night Lights. Luke played, Gabe Jones, a member of the Howling Commandos in Captain America: The First Avenger. In June 2011, Luke also began starring in the TNT original medical drama series HawthoRNe as Miles Bourdet, an assistant surgeon from Chicago. From February to April 2013, Luke played the character of "Gregory" in the F/X series The Americans.

Derek Luke as Gabe Jones in Captain America (2011) photo courtesy of marvel.com

Above is a picture of from the movie, Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) - from left to right: Kenneth Choi, Chris Evans, Neal McDonough, Bruno Ricci, Sebastian Stan, JJ Feild and Derek Luke.

Marc Gomes

Marc Gomes


Born in in Georgetown, Guyana on March 12, 1965. He moved to Toronto at the age of eleven where he attended both high school and university. He graduated from The Ryerson Theatre School and began to work on the stage playing the lead in several productions including “Edmon,” “A Slow Dance On the Killing Ground,” “The Gayden Cronicles,” and the North American premiere of famed Polish writer Ryszard Kapuscinski’s “The Emperor.” He later moved to Los Angeles where he has gone on to star in numerous television series and movies. His series credits include “The Crow: Stairway to Heaven,” “Lightning Force” and “E.N.G.” Gomes has also directed several plays and recently wrote and directed a short film “Stir Crazy".

Check out his website: mgstudiola.com

Ram John Holder

Ram John Holder

Actor / Musician

Born in Guyana in 1934, he began his performing career as a folk singer in New York. In 1962 he came to London and worked with Pearl Connor's Negro Theatre Workshop initially as a musician, and later as an actor. His theatre career saw him perform on the major stages in London such as the Royal National Theatre, the Donmar Warehouse and Bristol Old Vic.

Holder played the role of Porkpie in the situation comedy Desmond's, which was written by Trix Worrell, and broadcast on Channel 4 from 1989 until 1994. He later had his own short-lived spin-off series Porkpie. Holder has appeared in several television productions and joined the cast of EastEnders in late September 2006, playing Cedric Lucas. Holder is a talented musician, who has recorded a number of albums; Black London Blues (1969), Bootleg Blues (1971), You Simply Are... (1975) and Ram Blues & Soul. He has also released various singles and contributed to soundtracks for film and television, including three songs for the film adaptation of Take a Girl Like You. He is the cousin of jazz musician Frank Holder.

Above is a clip from his spinoff television show, "Porkpie".

Norman Beaton photo courtesy of channel4.com

Norman Beaton

Actor / Musician

Norman Lugard Beaton was born in Georgetown, Guyana on October 31, 1934. Beaton taught School and played with the calypso band The Four Bees before leaving Guyana for London in 1960. He then landed a job as a teacher in Liverpool, becoming the first black teacher to be employed by the Liverpool Education Authority. Beaton would soon become frustrated with his job as a teacher and began writing plays, his first play the musical Jack of Spades centered on the doomed relationship between a black man and a white woman. The moderate success gave Beaton enough confidence to give up teaching to concentrate on the theater. In the early seventies, Beaton began to perform in plays in London's West End, in 1970 he played the role of Ariel Shakespeare's The Tempest, which he described in his autobiography as "the most important role of my acting career." In 1975, he helped to establish the Black Theatre of Brixton. In 1976, Beaton broke into television in the series The Fosters, however it was his 6 year run (starting in 1988) on Desmonds as the title character that would become his most well known. In 1991 he appeared as a guest on the Bill Cosby show, he also appeared in several movies including The Mighty Quinn (1989).

Above is a clip from the television show, "Desmond's".

Guy Wellman

Guy Wellman


Guy Wellman was born in Guyana, South America on January 29, 1971 and raised in Newark, Delaware. After serving honorably in the United States Navy, Guy attended the University of Delaware, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in Sociology. Guy has had a lifelong interest in acting and film that was furthered with his graduation from John Robert Powers Modeling Agency and encouraged when he enrolled in a college level drama course. Guy began his professional acting career on stage in the 2008 production of "Broadway Santa" with the Delaware Children's Theater. Since then, Guy has gone on to appear in an industrial film and other local theater productions. Guy makes his motion picture debut in "Browncoats: Redemption" as Dr. Cameron Alan.

Sean Weathers

Sean Weathers

Filmmaker / Director / Actor

Sean Weathers was born on January 14, 1980 in Jonestown, Guyana.

Sean Weathers is a formidable underground film director, producer, writer, editor and actor living in Brooklyn, New York. Sean Weathers is a diehard guerrilla film maker who possesses an encyclopedic knowledge of film. Quentin Tarantino once referred to Sean as the "King of guerrilla film making." Sean is a descendent of Crispus Attucks, the first man to die during the Boston Massacre which led directly to the American Revolutionary War in 1776. Sean Weather lives in New York City and is the co-founder of Full Circle Filmworks.

Sean has been involved in the following films: "House of the Damned" (1996), "They All Must Die!" (1998), "Lust For Vengeance" (2001), Dememted" (2003), "The Unfinished Works of Sean Weathers" (2004) and "Hookers in Revolt" (2006)

Check out his website: fullcirclefilmworks.com

Cy Grant photo courtesy of bbc.co.uk

Cy Grant

Actor / Singer

Cy was born on November 8, 1919 in Beterverwagting, Guyana.

He was an actor, singer and writer who in the 1950's became the First black person to appear regularly on British television. Following service in the Royal Air Force during World War II, he worked as an actor and singer.

He collaborated with John Mapondera to set up the Drum Arts Centre in London in the 1974, which was considered a landmark in the development of black theatre. He was appointed director of Concord Multicultural Festivals in the early 1980s.

His screen, recording and writing credits are too many to mention as his career spanned over 60 years.

Above is a clip from a television special on the BBC.

Robert Adams

Robert Adams


Robert Adams was born in 1906 in Georgetown, Guyana. He was a British actor os stage and screen. He was the founder and director of the Negro Repertory Arts Theatre, one of the first professional Black theatre companies in Britain.

In Guyana, Robert worked as a teacher and actor before coming to England in 1934 to try and make it as a professional actor. In London, he worked as a labourer and became a champion wrestler before breaking into acting in 1935.

An early role was in the 1936 play, "Toussaint L'Ouverture", acting alongside Paul Robeson. Robert went on to star in filmes with Robeson and he took the lead in a television adaptation of "The Emperor Jones". The BBC version was transmitted live from Alexandra Palace on May 11, 1938 and Adams became the first black actor to play a leading dramatic role on British Television.

William Austin

William Austin


William Austin was born on June 12, 1884 on a sugar plantation in Georgetown, Guyana.

On the death of his father he was brought to England to complete his education. He later filled a business post in Shanghai and on being sent to San Francisco by the company he worked for, he decided to stay in America and take up acting on the stage and later in films. He appeared in many American films and serials between the 1920s and the 1940s, though the vast majority of his roles were small and uncredited. He was the brother of actor Albert Austin.

Of the numerous silent films Austin appeared in, he is best remembered as the sidekick friend of Clara Bow in Bow's best known film, 'It' (1927). He supported Laurel and Hardy in two of their films, Duck Soup and County Hospital.

Mr. Austin's portrayal in the 1943 Batman serial of Batman's butler Alfred is the iconic portrayal still used in the comics. Previous to being played by Mr. Austin, the character was fat and had no facial hair. Performed by Mr. Austin, the character was thin with a moustache. Shortly after the serial was released, Alfred in the comics was changed to match the look of the serial.

Clara Bow and William Austin in a scene from IT, 1927
Above is a picture from "IT" (1927) - Left to right: Clara Box and William Austin.

Tommy Eytle

Tommy Eytle

Actor & Musician

Tommy Daniel Hicks Eytle was born on July 16, 1927 in Georgetown, Guyana.

Eytle's career began in the 1950s. He initially found success playing African and Caribbean music with his calypso band. He continued to perform musically until the mid-1990s. He had many roles on television, radio, film and stage, but he was most famous for playing the role of Jules Tavernier in the BBC soap opera EastEnders from 1990 to 1997.

Eytle appeared in films such as Naked Fury (1959), The Criminal (1960) and The Hi-Jackers (1963) and on television in programmes such as The Big Pride (ITV, 1961), a psychological drama about a prison breakout in Guyana written by Jan Carew and Sylvia Wynter. Other credits included Danger Man (1965); The Spies (1966); Adam Adamant Lives! (1966); The Saint (1967); The Troubleshooters (1970); Never Say Die (1970); Quiller (1975); Rumpole of the Bailey (1983); Johnny Jarvis (1983) and Casualty (1987) and Bob's Weekend (1996), among others.


Dawnn Lewis

Dawnn Lewis

Actress / Musician

Born on August 13, 1961 in Brooklyn, New York to Guyanese parents. Dawnn is best known for her roles on sitcoms such as "A Different World" and "Hangin' with Mr. Cooper".

She co-wrote the theme song to "A Different World" and appeared for the first five of six seasons as "Jaleesa Vinson-Taylor". Dawnn left the show to appear in "Hangin' with Mr. Cooper" and performed the theme song for Season 1. Since then, she has appeared in numerous TV series (including Futurama and LaBarbara) sitcoms and has done voice over work.

Dawnn Lewis on A Different World
Above is a picture from "A Different World" - Left to right: Marisa Tomei, Dawnn Lewis and Lisa Bonet.

Flora Zeta Cheong-Leen photo taken by Sean Lee Davies for Hong Kong Tatler Magazine

Flora Cheong-Leen

Actress / Ballerina / Fashion Designer

Flora Zeta Zhang Elizabeth Tian Ai Cheong-Leen was born in Hong Kong to a Chinese mother and Guyanese Father on November 20, 1959. Flora graduated from The Royal Ballet in the UK and at the Paris Opera in France. She starred as the lead actress in movies such as: "Life After Life", "Duel to the Death", "Chasing Girl" and "Return of the Deadly Blade".

After her brief career as an actress, she went on to create award winning costumes and manage and host over 50 television productions with Asia TV, Shanghai TV and Oriental TV. She also worked as an image director for Nina Ricci, French Vogue and Vidal Sassoon.

In 2007, Flora won The World Outstanding Chinese Award. In 2001, she won The French Chamber of Commerce Award of "Women of the 21st Century".

CCH Pounder photo courtesy of tv.sky.com

Carol Christine Hilaria Pounder

Emmy Nominated Actress

Born on Christmas Day in 1952 in Georgetown, Guyana she was raised on a sugar cane plantation. Her parents moved to the States while she was still a young girl, but she and her sister were sent to a convent boarding school in England where they were introduced to art and the classics. Following high school graduation she arrived in New York and studied at Ithaca College, where her acting talents were discovered.

Her preference for a warmer climate led to her move to Hollywood in the late 70s. CCH's prominence came with television. Usually cast as a confident, strong-minded professional, she is known for her understated intensity and earned an Emmy nomination for her stint on the hospital drama "ER" (1994). From 2002 to 2008, she starred as Detective Claudette Wyms in the FX Networks police drama The Shield. In 2009, she starred as Mo'at in James Cameron's film Avatar. She currently appears in a recurring role as Irene Fredric on the TV series Warehouse 13.

Jessica Caesar

Jessica Angelique Caesar


Jessica was born on April 20, 1986 in Rockledge, Florida to a Guyanese mother and Antiguan father. Jessica has acted in Stage Theatre, Commercials, Television, and Film in the Orlando area. Jessica moved to Los Angeles, California and has appeared in tv shows such as: "The Suite Life on Deck", "This Indie Thing", "America's Most Wanted" and "Youthful Daze".

Carmen Munroe photo taken in 1971, courtesy of NBC Television

Carmen Munroe


Born in Berbice, Guyana in 1932. Since the early 1950s she has been a resident of the UK. She made her West End stage debut in 1962 and has since played an instrumental role in the development of black British theatre and representation on small screen. She has had high-profile roles on television in The Fosters (1976-77), Mixed Blessings (1978-80) both on ITV and on stage in Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun, Alice Childress's Trouble in Mind and James Baldwin's The Amen Corner. She is however best known for her role as Shirley, the wife of eponymous barber Desmond Ambrose, played by Norman Beaton, in the British TV sitcom Desmond's (1989 to 1994). She was awarded the O.B.E. (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2007 Queen Elizabeth's Birthday Honors List for her services to drama.

Rhona Fox photo courtesy of rhonafox.com

Rhona Fox


Rhona Fox is an Indian-American actress. Born on November 2, 1979 in Guyana, South America, Fox was raised in Nassau, Bahamas, where her parents, who are teachers, moved to secure a better life for her and her two older brothers. After graduating high school at 16, she journeyed to New York on a summer vacation and the rest was destiny. The infinite potential of the city that never sleeps captivated the grab-life-by-the-horns teenager. Majoring in Communication there, the Big Apple remained home and work for many years. Fox spent the first seven years of her career as a producer at ABC and FOX affiliates before becoming editor of a national magazine. Ultimately, she parlayed her extensive professional experience into launching her own public relations firm in the heart of Manhattan. She also develops independent projects for her own production company, Fox Star Films.

Vanessa Lee Chester

Vanessa Lee Chester


Vanessa Lee Chester was born on July 2, 1984 in Hollywood, California to Guyanese parents. She is most notably known for her roles as Kelly in Steven Spielberg's The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997), and as Becky in Alfonso Cuarón's A Little Princess (1995). Chester later worked mostly in television, most notably appearing in Malcolm in the Middle and The West Wing. She was nominated for a Saturn Award, Image Award, Young Artist Award and won the Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a Feature Film Supporting Young Actress.

Melinda Shankar photo taken by Michael Evoy

Melinda Shankar


Melinda Leanna Shankar was born on February 18, 1992 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada to Guyanese parents. She started her acting career at age 10 appearing in TV commercials, print ads and some theatre work.

Melinda made her starring mark in 2008 in the 8th season of Degrassi as Alli Bhandari, a confident young women in high school, which she continues to play. She also stars in a television series on YTV called "How To Be Indie". She co-starred in a Disney Channel Original Movie, 'Harriet the Spy' as Janie Gibbs alongside with Aislinn Paul, who plays Clare Edwards on Degrassi and Disney Channel's Jennifer Stone. She played the lead role, Reshma, in a 2011 indie-film, entitled 'Festival of Lights'.

Shundell Prasad

Shundell Prasad

Writer / Director / Producer

Shundell is an American Film Director and Screenwriter, of Indo-Guyanese heritage.

Her most recent film, 'The Festival of Lights', tells the story of a Guyanese family's migration to America and stars Canadian TV Star Melinda Shankar (Degrassi:The Next Generation), Aidan Quinn and Jimi Mistry. Shundell's first documentary film, 'Once More Removed - A Journey Back to India' has screened theatrically in New York, Toronto and Atlanta; the film has also been invited by various governments for screenings worldwide, including London, Delhi, Calcutta, Hyderabad, Port Louis (Mauritius), Port of Spain (Trinidad & Tobago) and Georgetown (Guyana).

'Once More Removed' aired on India's Star TV. Shundell's second documentary film, 'Unholy Matrimony: Escape From Forced Marriage' was shot in Islamabad, the North West Frontier Province, Pakistan and Pakistani Kashmir. Shundell has worked for many media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, CNN and the Emmy Award winning show, The Amazing Race. Shundell is a graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, where she majored in Film and TV Production. She began her career at HBO's highly acclaimed documentary division in New York.

View her projects here: shundellprasad.com and vimeo.com/shundell.


Asha Blake photo courtesy of goldenheartmedia.com

Asha Blake

Multiple Emmy Award Winning News Anchor / TV Journalist

Asha Blake was born on August 20, 1961 in Guyana. She is an Emmy award-winning journalist who anchored KTLA-TV News @ 1PM with Frank Buckley in Los Angeles. She previously was the anchor of the 9PM news on Denver's CW affiliate, KWGN-TV before leaving KWGN in 2007 to return to Los Angeles. She is the daughter of an educator and a teacher. Asha grew up in Toronto, Canada and later in Minnesota, USA where she received a Bachelors Degree from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism.

A five-time Emmy award winner, Asha has served as a solo anchor for national network news programs, hosted syndicated daytime programming, and co-hosted a national talk show for NBC and ABC. Over the course of a successful 20-year career in television journalism, Asha conducted thousands of live interviews, covered numerous high-profile court cases, and served as a medical reporter early in her career.

Asha co-hosted the NBC national news program Later Today and ABCs World News Now, World News this Morning, and Good Morning America Sunday, in addition to reporting for ABCs World News Tonight with Peter Jennings. Ashas coverage of breaking world events has put her in front of a number of world leaders, including Desmond Tutu, Bill Clinton, Jesse Jackson, Rosa Parks, Al Gore, as well as celebrities such as Jay Leno, Jude Law and Denzel Washington.

In 2010, Asha launched her powerhouse media company, Goldenheart Media, Headquartered in Los Angeles, California.

Check out her website: goldenheartmedia.com

Maureen Bunyan photo courtesy of thebsucommcon.com

Maureen Bunyan

Lead Co-Anchor at WJLA-TV / TV Journalist

Born in Aruba to a Guyanese father and Aruban mother. Maureen is the lead co-anchor at WJLA-TV in Washington, D.C. She is the founder and board member of IWMF (International Women's Media Foundation), a founder of the National Association of Black Journalists and President of Maureen Bunyan Communications, Inc.

She was inducted into the "Hall of Fame" of the Washington Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, inducted into the "Silver Circle" of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) and the Broadcast Pioneers Club of Washington.

In 1992, Maureen was named "Washingtonian of the Year".

Kojo Nnamdi

Kojo Nnamdi

Political Broadcaster / Radio Journalist

Kojo Nnamdi was on born Rex Orville Montague Paul in Guyana on January 8, 1945. He is the host of The Kojo Nnamdi Show, and The Politics Hour on WAMU, and the Evening Exchange broadcast on WHUT-TV.Nnamdi hosts The Politics Hour, which covers topics related to political issues and events in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, including surrounding Maryland and Virginia regions. Before January 2008, the show was titled The D.C. Politics Hour and focused solely on the D.C.-area political scene.

He emigrated to the United States in 1967 to attend college and explore the civil rights movement. He began his broadcast career in 1973 at WHUR-FM, as news editor. He has hosted WHUT-TV's public affairs show Evening Exchange since 1985, and he worked as a news editor and director before that.

Nnamdi described his name change to The Washington Examiner in a December 2005 profile: "It was the 1960s and everyone had a radio identity so I picked Kojo Nnamdi. Kojo means born on a Monday. Nnamdi Azikiwe is the father of Nigerian independence." Kojo is an Akan name for the people in Ghana, and Nnamdi is an Igbo name. Nnamdi's legal name remains Kojo Nnamdi.


Senator John L. Sampson photo courtesy of nysenate.gov

Senator John L. Sampson

New York State Senator

Senator John Llewllyn Sampson, Leader of the Democratic Conference was born in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, to American and Guyanese parents in 1965.

Senator Sampson was elected to the New York State Senate in 1996. He represents the 19th Senatorial District which encompasses Canarsie, East Flatbush, Parts of Brownsville, Crown Heights, East New York, portions of Old Mill Basin, Spring Creek Towers, and parts of Midwood and Kensington in Brooklyn.

At the age of two, he moved to the Brownsville/East Flatbush section of Brooklyn with his family, where he grew up. Senator Sampson was educated in New York City's Public School 233, and in 1983 he graduated from Tilden High School in Brooklyn. John received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in 1987 from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. While in college, he was employed as a paralegal for the Corporation Counsel of the City of New York.

In acknowledgment of his many achievements, John has been recognized by the Office of President, Borough of Brooklyn, City of New York, and is the recipient of numerous awards from many organizations, including: The Legal Aid Society; The Kings County Housing Court Bar Association; 100 Women for Justice; Metropolitan Jewish Health System; the Mid-Bedford Lions; the Greater New York Business League; the Outstanding Young American Award; and the Congressional Legal Service Award. The Senator is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Albany Law School. He is a former member of the Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center Board of Trustees, and is currently a member of the Brooklyn Bar Association and other distinguished legal organizations.

Senator Sampson has the distinction of being the First African American to serve as the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He has also served as Chair of the Senate Ethics Committee and the Senate Administrative Regulations Review Commission.

Dr. Walter Rodney

Dr. Walter Rodney

Historian / Political Activist

Walter Rodney was born in Guyana on March 23, 1942. He was a prominent Guyanese historian, political activist and preeminent scholar, who was assassinated in Guyana in 1980.

Born into a working-class family, Rodney was a very bright student, attending Queen's College in Guyana, where he became a champion debater and athlete, and then attending university on a scholarship at the University College of the West Indies (UCWI) in Jamaica, graduating in 1963 with a first in History, thereby winning the Faculty of Arts prize.

Rodney earned a PhD in African History in 1966 at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, England at the age of 24. His dissertation, which focussed on the slave trade on the Upper Guinea Coast, was published by the Oxford University Press in 1970 under the title History of the Upper Guinea Coast: 1545-1800 and was widely acclaimed for its originality in challenging the conventional wisdom on the topic.

Rodney traveled widely and became very well known around the world as an activist, scholar and formidable orator. He taught at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania during the period, 1966-1967 and later in Jamaica at his alma mater - UWI Mona. Rodney was sharply critical of the middle class for its role in the post-independence Caribbean. He was also a strong critic of capitalism and argued for a socialist development template.

Rodney's most influential book was his magnum opus, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, published in 1972. In it he described an Africa that had been consciously exploited by European imperialists, leading directly to the modern underdevelopment of most of the continent. The book became enormously influential as well as controversial.

Valerie Amos photo courtesy of un.org

Valerie Amos, The Right Honourable Baroness Amos


The Baroness Amos was born on March 13, 1954 in Georgetown, Guyana. She is a British Labour Party politician and life peer, formerly serving as Leader of the House of Lords and Lord President of the Council. When she was appointed Secretary of State for International Development on 12 May 2003, following the resignation of Clare Short, she became the first black woman to sit in the Cabinet of the United Kingdom.

After working in Equal Opportunities, Training and Management Services in local government in the London boroughs of Lambeth, Camden and Hackney, Amos became Chief Executive of the Equal Opportunities Commission 1989-94. In 1995 Amos co-founded Amos Fraser Bernard and was an adviser to the South African government on public service reform, human rights and employment equity.

She left the cabinet when Gordon Brown became Prime Minister. She was then nominated to become the European Union special representative to the African Union by Gordon Brown. However after an independent selection process, Belgian diplomat Koen Vervaeke was chosen to represent the EU in Addis Ababa. In 2007, Baroness Amos was voted the "Most Influential Black Woman in the UK" by the New Nation newspaper.

She was awarded an Honorary Professorship at Thames Valley University in 1995 in recognition of her work on equality and social justice. On 1 July 2010, Amos received an honorary Doctorate of the University from the University of Stirling in recognition of her "outstanding service to our society and her role as a model of leadership and success for women today."She was also awarded honorary degrees of Doctor of Laws from the University of Warwick in 2000 and the University of Leicester in 2006. At the University of Birmingham Guild of Students (where she studied), one of the committee rooms is named "The Amos Room" after her, in acknowledgement of her services to society.

Bernie Grant photo courtesy of movinghere.org.uk

Bernie Grant


Bernard Alexander Montgomery Grant was born in Georgetown, British Guiana on February 17, 1944. He was British politician who, with Paul Boateng and Diane Abbott, was one of the first persons of African descent to win election to the House of Commons.

He was Labour member of Parliament for Tottenham. He took up the British government's offer to let people from colonies move to the UK to do blue-collar work, in 1963. In the mid-1960s he was for a period a member of the Socialist Labour League. He quickly became a trade union official, and moved into politics, becoming a Labour councillor in the London Borough of Haringey in 1978.

When the Conservative government introduced "rate capping", Bernie Grant led the fight against it in the borough. This split the local Labour party, but through this split Grant became the Borough of Haringey leader in 1985. Bernie Grant was praised from the heights of the Establishment, from Cabinet ministers and Scotland Yard to political associates and black community leaders, and Prime Minister Tony Blair described Grant as "an inspiration to Black British communities everywhere".

Local campaign against traffic at Mt Pleasant Road, Tottenham in 1986 photo courtesy of berniegrantarchive.org.uk
Above is a picture of a local campaign against traffic at Mt Pleasant Road, Tottenham, c.1986

Trevor Phillips photo courtesy of telegraph.co.uk

Trevor Phillips, OBE


Mark Trevor Phillips, was born on December 31, 1953 to a seamstress and a British Railways clerk who emigrated to London, England from Guyana. He is a British broadcaster, politician and civil servant. He chairs the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and is a former television executive and presenter.

In 1978, Philips was elected the President of the National Union of Students, the first Black person to attain that position. During the 1980's and 1990's he worked as a television journalist in London. From the lower rung of London Weekend Television (LWT), Phillips rose to become head of productions and the head of his own production company, Peppers Productions.

He was elected to the London Assembly in 2000 and was its chair, but stood down in 2003 when appointed to chair the Commission for Racial Equality. In 2006, he was named as Chair of the Commission for Equalities and Human Rights.

Hilton Cheong-Leen photo courtesy of hk.asiatatler.com

Hilton Cheong-Leen


Hilton Cheong-Leen was born on August 6. 1922 in Georgetown, Guyana. He is the chairman and the founder of the Hong Kong Civic Association, which he founded in 1954. He was first elected as a member of the Civic Association to the Urban Council of Hong Kong on April 1, 1957 and also Vice-Chairman of the Council. He was later appointed to the Legislative Council in 1973 and indirectly elected in 1985.

He was the first elected member to ever serve in the Legislative Council. He served in the Urban Council until 1991. Hilton was instrumental in pushing for nine years of compulsory schooling.

His daughter is Flora Cheong-Leen.

David Lammy photo courtesy of dailymail.co.uk

David Lammy


David Lindon Lammy was born on July 19, 1972 to Guyanese parents in Tottenham, North London, England. He has been a Member of Parliament for Tottenham since 2000.

At the age of 11, David was awarded an Inner London Education Authority choral scholarship to The King's School, Peterborough. He then studied Law at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London obtaining a first class degree.

David became the first Black Briton to study a Master's in Law at Harvard Law School in 1997 and is a member of Lincoln's Inn having been Called to the Bar of England and Wales in 1994. David returned to England and stood as a Labour candidate for the newly created Greater London Assembly, securing a position as the GLA member with a portfolio for Culture and Arts. Following the sad death of Tottenham's longstanding MP Bernie Grant, David was elected as Labour MP for Tottenham at the age of 27 in June 2000.

David Lammy meets with US Senator Barack Obama photo courtesy of davidlammy.co.uk
Above is a picture of US Senator Barack Obama meeting with David Lammy (2005)

Check out his website: davidlammy.co.uk

Lord Herman Ouseley photo courtesy of guardian.co.uk

Lord Herman Ouseley, Baron Ouseley


Lord Ouseley was born in Guyana in 1945, and came to England when he was 11. He is a British parliamentarian, who has run public authorities, including local councils and is an adviser and reviewer of public services organisations.

He was a local government officer between 1963-1993, working at Chief Officer level; was chair and chief executive in the Commission for Racial Equality from 1993-2000. When Lord Ouseley became the Chief Executive of the London Borough of Lambeth and the former Inner London Education Authority, he was the first black person to hold that position in office.

Lord Ouseley has twelve honorary degrees from the University of Edinburgh, Sheffield Hallam, Bradford, Leicester, Leeds Met., Warwick, Oxford Brookes, Greenwich, Southbank, London Metropolitan, North East London and Brighton. He was knighted in 1997 for his services to local government and community relations and was made a life peer as Baron Ouseley, of Peckham Rye in the London Borough of Southwark on June 26, 2001.

The Luckhoos

Political Family Dynasty

The Luckhoo family is a dynasty of politicians and lawyers that acheived the highest of honours in office and diplomatic status. It starts in 1866, when 7 year old Moses Luckhoo left India as an indentured worker to Guyana. When Moses grew up, he married Elizabeth Saywack and they had 8 children. One of the 8 children was Edward Alfred Luckhoo, who was the first Indian solicitor of Guyana and Mayor of New Amsterdam, Guyana. Edward married Evelyn Maude Mungal-Singh and had the following 2 famous sons:

Sir Edward Victor Luckhoo

Sir Edward Victor Luckhoo, was born on May 24, 1912 in New Amsterdam, Guyana. He was the Governor General of Guyana from 1966 to 1969 and became its Acting President upon independance. he was knighted on January 1, 1970.

Sir Lionel Alfred Luckhoo

Sir Lionel Alfred Luckhoo was born on March 14, 1914 in New Amsterdam, Guyana. He was a politician, diplomat and well-known lawyer, famed for his 245 consecutive defences in murder cases. He was educated at Queen's College in Georgetown, Guyana and then went on to study medicine at St. Thomas' Hospital in England. He shifted over to legal studies and was called to the English Bar in the Middle Temple in 1940. He maintained his private legal practice from 1940-1985, and became a Queen's Counsel in 1954. His reputation earned him an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records(1990) where he is dubbed the "World's Most Successful Lawyer".

In addition to his legal practice, Lionel also had a political career. He was the head of four trade unions and served in the Legislative Council of Guyana. He was involved in the negotiations for independance for both Guyana and Barbados, he was appointed High Commissioner for Guyana and Barbados in Britain and was the Ambassador for both countries. From 1967-1970 he served as joint ambassador for Guyana and Barbados in France, Germany and the Netherlands. Lionel received the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in 1962, and was made a knight bachelor in 1977, and received the KCMG (Knights Commader of St Michael and St George) in 1969.

Sir Lionel Luckhoo Knighted by The Queen - 1969 photo courtesy of hawaiichristiansonline.com
Above is a picture of Sir Lionel Luckhoo being knighted by Queen Elizabeth II - c.1969

Shridath Ramphal

Shridath Ramphal


Sir Shridath Surendranth "Sonny" Ramphal was born on October 3, 1928 in New Amsterdam, Guyana. He is a barrister, politician and international civil servant. He was independant Guyana's first Attorney General, and later Minister of Foreign Affairs and Justice. As Secretary General of the Commonweatlh, he played a prominent part in supporting the struggle for freedom in Southern Africa and in promoting alternative views of global economic issues, more favourale to the needs of developing countries and the world's poor.

Sir Sonny became an exceptional contributor to world negotiations, serving on the independent and international commissions by bodies such as the United Nations to study some of the issues facing the world community.

Alongside former Swedish Prime Minister, Ingvar Carlsson, he co-chaired of the Commission on Global Governance, which reported on issues of international development, international security, globalization and global governance. Sir Sonny was made an Honorary Fellow of Royal Society of Arts in May 2006. He is a Vice-President of the Royal Commonwealth Society.

The Shridath Ramphal Centre for International Trade Law, Policy & Services is located at The University of the West Indies (Barbados) that aims to be the functional mechanism within the Caribbean region, building trade and trade-related legal, institutional and negotiating capacity, with a focus on increasing the regions competitiveness in the international trading arena.

Check out the school's website: shridathramphalcentre.org

Mel King photo courtesy of bostonherald.com

Mel King

Politician / Educator / Activist / Writer

Melvin H. King was born in 1928 in Boston, Massachusetts to a Guyanese mother and a Bajan father.

King has been active across the landscape of neighborhoods and politics of Boston for over fifty-five years, while also being an educator, youth worker, social activist, community organizer and developer, elected politician, author, and an Adjunct Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He is responsible for creating community programs and institutions for low-income people in Boston. He is the founder and current director of the South End Technology Center.

He graduated from Boston Technical High School in 1946 and from Claflin College in Orangeburg, South Carolina in 1950 with a B.S. degree in mathematics. In 1951, he received his M.A. degree in education from Boston State College and then taught math, first at Boston Trade High School and at his alma mater, Boston Technical High School.

In 1970, King created the Community Fellows Program (CFP) in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT. He served as an Adjunct Professor of Urban Studies and Planning and director of the Community Fellows Program for twenty-five years until 1996. CFP, a nine-month long program brought community organizers and leaders from across America to reflect, research and study urban community politics, economics, social life, education, housing and media.

In 1973, he was elected as a State Representative for the 9th Suffolk District and served in the Massachusetts Legislature until 1982. In 1983, when incumbent Kevin White's withdrawal from contention after 16 years in office made the race wide open, Mel King went from obscure radical to serious contender for Mayor of Boston. Despite Boston's historical scars of racism, Mel King's grassroots activism culminated in political momentum that nearly defeated the favorite, Raymond Flynn. Aside from securing the African American vote, King would have needed 30% of the white vote, which was almost accomplished. Flynn, an Irish-Catholic with roots in the gritty "Southie"(South Boston) area, would take the election despite a landmark showing by King. Even with the defeat, the election and national attention was a historical turning point in the participation of African Americans in politics and urban policy.

Upon his retirement from MIT, King established the South End Technology Center to provide computer training for low-income people.

Check out his book: Chain of Change: Struggles for Black Community Development

Shirley Chisholm photo taken by Richard Drew (AP) courtesy of npr.org

Shirley Chisholm

Pioneering Politician

Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm was born on November 30, 1924 in Brooklyn, New York to immigrant parents. Her mother, Ruby Seale was from Christ Church, Barbados, and her father, Charles Christopher St. Hill, was from Guyana.

Shirley was a Congresswoman, representing New York State's 12th Congressional District for seven terms from 1969 to 1983. In 1968, she became the FIRST black woman elected to Congress. On January 25, 1972, she became the first major-party black candidate for President of the United States and the first woman to run for the Democratic presidential nomination. She received 152 first-ballot votes at the 1972 Democratic National Convention.

From 1977 to 1981, during the 95th and 96th Congress, Chisholm was elected to a position in the House Democratic Leadership, as Secretary of the House of Democratic Caucus. Throughout her tenure in Congress, Chisholm worked to improve opportunities for inner-city residents. She was a vocal opponent of the draft and supported spending increases for education, health care and social services, and reductions in military spending. In 1970, she authored a child care bill. The bill passed the House and the Senate, but was vetoed by President Richard Nixon, who called it "the Sovietization of American children".

In 1975, Shirley Chisholm was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree by Smith College. In 1993, Chisholm was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame. In 2002, scholar Molefi Kete Asante listed Shirley Chisholm on his list of 100 Greatest African Americans.

In February 2005, Chisholm '72 - Unbought & Unbossed , a documentary film, aired on U.S public television. It chronicled Chisholm's 1972 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. It was directed and produced by independent, African-American filmmaker Shola Lynch. The film was featured at the Sundance Film Festival in 2004. On April 9, 2006, the film was announced as a winner of a Peabody Award.

Shirley Chisholm at the 1972 Democratic Convention photo courtesy of fineartamerica.com

Above is a picture of the 1972 Democratic Convention where Shirley Chisholm made a bid for a US Presidential nomination.


Darren Collison photo courtesy of Getty Images

Darren Collison

Professional Basketball Player

Darren Michael Collison was born in Rancho Cucamonga, California on August 23, 1987 to Guyanese parents, Dennis Collison and June Griffith - who were both elite track and field athletes for Guyana.

Collison currently plays for the Dallas Mavericks of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He earned NBA All-Rookie Team honors in his first season in the NBA with the New Orleans Hornets.

Collison played four seasons of college basketball for the UCLA Bruins. He earned All-Pac-10 conference honors three times, and won the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award his senior year as the top college player 6 feet (1.8 m) and under. He was drafted by the Hornets in the first round with the 21st overall pick of the 2009 NBA Draft. Collison also played for the Indiana Pacers.

Collison was widely considered to be one of the top point guard prospects in the 2009 NBA Draft coming out of UCLA. He was selected in the first round with the 21st overall by the New Orleans Hornets.

During the 2009-2010 season, Collison handed out a Hornets rookie-record 18 assists and scored 17 points on January 30, 2010 when New Orleans ended Memphis's 11-game home winning streak with a 113–111 overtime victory. Later on March 8, 2010, Collison broke his own record with a Hornets rookie-record 20 assists (along with 16 points) in a 135–131 victory over the Golden State Warriors. In a game against the Indiana Pacers on February 19, 2010, Collison became only the second rookie of the 2009-2010 season to get a triple-double with 18 points, 13 rebounds, and 12 assists. He finished 4th in the NBA Rookie of the Year voting and averaged 18.8 points and 9.1 assists, but had four turnovers a contest as a starter in his first NBA season.

Rawle Marshall photo courtesy of nba.com

Rawle Marshall

Professional Basketball Player

Rawle Junior Kalomo Marshall was born in Georgetown, Guyana on February 2, 1982.

He currently plays small forward for BC Astana of the Kazakh National League. He is a 6 ft 7 in and 190 lb.

Marshall spent his college freshman season at Ball State University, but then moved to Oakland University for his final three collegiate seasons. He was named Mid-Continent Conference's Newcomer of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year during his sophomore season in 200203. During his senior season in 200405, he helped Oakland win its first Mid-Continent Conference title. Marshall was named Most Valuable Player of the tournament. His stats during his three years with Oakland were 18.6 points per game, 6.3 rebounds per game, 2.2 steals per game and 1.1 blocks per game. He also became Oakland University's all-time leader in blocked shots in 90 games played.

On July 23, 2006, Marshall was traded to the Indiana Pacers. He moved to the Croatian League club KK Cibona for the 200809 season, a club also of the regional Adriatic League and also of the top European-wide competition the Euroleague. He was honored as the Euroleague Round 7 MVP during the 200809 season. In July 2011, he signed with BC Astana in Kazakhstan.

Cindy A. Johnson photo courtesy of bluehens.com

Cindy A. Johnson

Professional Basketball Player

Cindy A. Johnson is a professional basketball player who played for the University of Delaware and several European teams, as well as Guyana's national team.

She played a pivotal role in the rise of University of Delaware women's basketball in the late 1990's under coach Tina Martin and finished her career as the schools all-time leading scorer and one of the most honored players in Blue Hen history.

A native of Far Rockaway, N.Y., Cindy fast-paced style of play in the backcourt helped lead the Blue Hens to a record of 73-24 over her final three seasons, culminating in a 26-5 mark in 2000-01 when Delaware captured the America East title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history. A 2001 graduate of Delaware, she was named the 2001 UD Outstanding Female Athlete of the Year after a season that saw her average 17.3 points per game and finish as runner-up in America East Player of the Year voting. A four-year starter, Cindy earned all-league honors three times and averaged double figure scoring all four years. Among her school records were most points scored in a season (520) and career (1,675). She also was the first UD player to earn an invitation to the Omens National Basketball Association Draft Camp and played professionally overseas. Following her playing career, she co-founded Arlington Pride and Sports Franchise Solutions, an Arlington, Va.-based AAU program which provides a variety of multi-sport programs for boys and girls ages 6-18.

Priscilla Lopes-Schliepphoto taken by Jeff Gross of Getty Images AsiaPac

Priscilla Lopes-Schliep

Olympic Bronze Medalist in Hurdling

Born on August 26, 1982 in Toronto to John and Sharon Lopes, who immigrated to Canada from Guyana. She is a Canadian hurdler in track and field athletic competition. Lopes-Schliep won a Bronze Medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics in women's 100m hurdles. It was the first medal for Canada in Athletics at the Summer Olympics since the 1996 Games and the first medal for a Canadian woman in Olympic track and field since the 1992 Games. On August 19, 2009, Lopes-Schliep won a Silver Medal in the 100m hurdles at the World Championships in Athletics in Berlin, Germany, in a time of 12.54s.

Check out her website: gopriscilla.com

Corinne Van Ryck de Grootphoto taken by Paul Drinkwater / nbc.com

Corinne Van Ryck de Groot

Professional Boxer / Actress / American Gladiator

Born June 6, 1969 to Guyanese parents Toronto, Canada. Made her professional boxing debut on June 25, 1998 and went on to be undefeated with a record of 11 wins, 7 knockouts. She is ranked number 2 in the world by WIBA in the Bantam weight division.
Corinne is also an actress that appeared in "The Guardian" with Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher, co-starred with Billy Zane in, "Bet Your Life". Corrine has also appeared on TV in "LOST", "HEROES", "Ghost Whisperer" and "CSI:NY". Besides being "Panther" on American Gladiators, Corinne is also a celebrity trainer with clients including Damon Wayans, Richard Gladstein and Allie Larter.

Nicolette Fernandes

Nicolette Fernandes

Professional Squash Player

Born on June 19, 1983 in Toronto, Canada to Guyanese parents. Nicolette is a professional squash player who represented Guyana. She won the only Gold Medal for Guyana at the 2006 Central American and Caribbean Games.

In February 2010, Nicolette was named Guyanese Sportswoman of the Year for 2009 by the Guyanese National Sports Commission. In May 2007, Nicolette was ranked No. 27 in the world for professional women's squash.

Dwayne De Rosario

Dwayne De Rosario

Professional Soccer Player

Born May 15, 1978 to Guyanese parents in Toronto, Canada. Dwayne plays for the D.C. United for Major League Soccer. He previously was club captain for Toronto FC. He also plays for the Canadian National Team. Dwayne has won the male Canadian Player of the Year three consecutive times. In 2007, he scored 5 goals in 8 games, the most in a year for the CMNT since 1993.

He is the cousin of Priscilla Lopes-Schleip.

Chris Brasher photo courtesy of bbc.co.uk

Chris Brasher

Olympic Gold Medalist Athlete

Christopher William "Chris" Brasher was born in Georgetown, Guyana on August 21, 1928. He was a British athlete, sports journalist and co-founder of the London Marathon.

In 1954, he acted as pacemaker for Roger Bannister when the latter ran the first sub-four-minute mile at the Iffley Road Stadium in Oxford. Brasher paced Bannister for the first two laps, while his friend Chris Chataway paced the third. Two years later, at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia, Brasher finished first in the 3,000 metres steeplechase with a time of 8 minutes 41.2 seconds, but was disqualified for allegedly interfering with another runner, Ernst Larsen of Norway. The following day, after an investigation, he was reinstated as gold medallist.

He was one of the pioneers of orienteering in Britain and can claim the first public mention of the sport in an article in The Observer in 1957. He had distinguished careers in journalism as sports editor for The Observer newspaper and in broadcasting, as a reporter for the Tonight programme.In 1971, he founded "Chris Brasher's Sporting Emporium" which later became "Sweatshop". In 1978 he designed the innovative Brasher Boot a walking boot with the comfort of a running shoe. Three years later, he founded the London Marathon. In 1983, he became the second president of the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races, an office which he held until 1987.

Brasher was awarded the CBE (Order of the British Empire) in 1996.

Chris Brasher at the 1956 Olympic Games photo courtesy of telegraph.co.uk / Popperfoto / Getty

Above is a picture of Chris Brasher winning the gold medal for the 3000 Metres Steeplechase at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia.

Phil Edwards

Phil Edwards

Olympic Bronze Medalist Athlete

Philip Aaron Edwards, MD, was born on September 13, 1907 in Georgetown, Guyana. He is known as the "Man of Bronze" as he was Canada's most decorated Olympian, the first black Canadian man to win a trophy at the Commonwealth Games, the first ever winner of the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada's top athlete. He went on to serve as a captain in the Canadian army and as a highly-regarded physician and expert of tropical diseases.

Phil Edwards was inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame and McGill University Sports Hall of Fame in 1997, the Quebec Sports Hall of Fame in 2005. An annual award in his name, the Phil A. Edwards Memorial Trophy, has been presented to Canada's outstanding track athlete annually since 1972.

At the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam, he won Bronze medals in the 4x400 metres race. At the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, he won Bronze medals in 800 metres, 1500 metres and 4x400 metres races. In the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, he won Bronze in the 800 metre race. In 1934, he won Gold at the Commonwealth Games in London for the 880 yards race.

Phil Edwards at the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles photo courtesy of collectionscanada.gc.ca / CP Photo / COA

Above is a picture of Phil Edwards (second from left) competing in an athletics event at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics where he won bronze medals in the 800 and 1,500m.

Cohen Griffith

Cohen Griffith

Professional Soccer Player

Cohen Griffith was born on December 26, 1962 in Georgetown, Guyana. He is a former professional footballer.

Griffith began his career at Kettering Town before moving to Cardiff City in October 1989 for 60,000 as a replacement for Jimmy Gilligan. He made his debut for the Bluebirds against Huddersfield Town and scored after just nineteen minutes. Mostly playing as a winger for Cardiff until he moved into a defensive midfield position later in his spell at the club. He eventually left the club in 1995 on a free transfer to Barry Town, helping the side to a treble in the 199697 season winning the Welsh Premier League, Welsh Cup and Welsh League Cup, including scoring both goals in the 2-1 Welsh Cup final win over Cwmbran Town.

Since his retirement he has moved into coaching and currently holds a UEFA B license and has worked in coaching schemes in the UK and Australia. He helps run a health and fitness suite at Ystrad Mynach College.In February 2008 he took over as manager of Troedyrhiw but stepped down as manager in May 2009.

Mark McKoy photo taken by Claus Andersen / CP Archives / thecanadianencyclopedia.com

Mark McKoy

Olympic Gold Medalist Athlete

Mark Anthony McKoy was born on December 10, 1961 in Georgetown, Guyana. He is an Olympic hurdler who won a Gold Medal at the 1982 Commonwealth Gamesin Brisbane in 110m hurdles and won a Silver Medal in 4x100m relay.

At the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, McKoy won a Gold Medal completing the 110m hurdles in 13.12 seconds, winning Canada's first track and field gold medal in 60 years. At the 1993 IAAF World Indoor Championships, he won the 60m hurdles earning a Gold Medal.

Check out his website: markmckoy.com

Troy Ross

Troy Ross

Professional Boxer / Actor

Troy Amos-Ross was born on July 17, 1975 in Mahicony, Demerara-Mahaica, Guyana. He is Canada's top ranked boxing athlete who competed in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta and 2000 Olympics in Sydney. He is currently ranked as the 4th best cruiserweight boxer in the world.

In 2007, he won the Commonwealth Cruiserweight title. In 2009, Troy Ross joined the boxing reality TV show, "The Contender" and won it all to become the Contender Champion. His professional boxing record is 24 wins (16 knockouts, 7 decisions), 2 losses and 0 draws.

Troy Ross has also been in movies: "Cinderella Man" with Russell Crowe, "Resurrecting the Champ" with Josh Hartnett and Samuel L. Jackson.

Check out his website: troyross.ca

Dennis Andries

Dennis Andries

Professional Boxer

Born November 5, 1953 in Georgetown, Guyana. Dennis is a professional boxer in the light heavyweight division.

He is a 3 time WBC Light Heavyweight Champion and has a record of 49 wins (30 knockouts), 14 losses and 2 draws.

Sean Foley photo courtesy of marketwire.com

Sean Foley

Professional Golf Instructor

Born in 1974 in Burlington, Ontario to an Irish dad and a Guyanese mother. Sean Foley has coached PGA Tour Golf Professionals Sean O'Hair, Hunter Mahan, Stephen Ames and Parker McLachlin. Sean is most known for becoming Tiger Woods right hand man in improving his game. Sean currently works with Tiger Woods twice a week in the off-season.

Sean has been the head coach for the Canadian Junior Golf Association since 2003, and teaches at Core Golf Junior Academy in Florida.

Foley graduated with an Arts degree from Tennessee State University, where he played on the varsity golf team. Foley did not aim for a professional golf playing career, but had set a goal in his mid-teens of becoming an instructor to top players, after watching David Leadbetter work with Nick Faldo on the range at the RBC Canadian Open at Glen Abbey Golf Course in the early 1990s.

Howard Eastman

Howard Eastman

Professional Boxer

Born on December 8, 1970 in New Amsterdam, Guyana, Howard Eastman is a Middleweight boxer, nicknamed the "Battersea Bomber". He won the British Middleweight Title in 1998 and then again in 2003 and in 2006. He won the Commonwealth Middleweight Title in 2000 and again in 2003 and 2007. Howard won the European title in 2003. He also won the Guyanese Middleweight Title. His professional boxing record is 46 wins (36 knockouts), 6 losses and 0 draws.

Maritza Correia photo taken by Matt Sayles / AP Photo

Maritza Correia

Olympic Silver Medalist Swimmer

Born December 23, 1981 to Vincent and Anne who moved from Guyana to Puerto Rico. Maritza became the first black woman to qualify for an Olympic swim team in 2004. Correia is only the second black swimmer to make a US Olympic team. She also became the first black US swimmer to set and American and World swimming record.

In 2001, Maritza won a Gold medal in the 800m freestyle and 2 Bronze medals in medley and 400m freestyle events at the 2001 World Championship in Japan. In 2003, Maritza earned a Gold Medal in the prelim 400m free relay at the World Championships. At the 2004 Olympics in Athens, she won a Silver medal in the 400m free relay. Maritza is the World Record Holder in the 400m SCM at 2000 NCAA Championships.

Correia started swimming as a seven-year-old when a doctor suggested the sport could help with her scoliosis, a curvature of the spine.

Charmaine Hooper photo courtesy of olympic.ca

Charmaine Hooper

Professional Soccer Player

Born January 15, 1968 in Georgetown, Guyana. She was a striker for the Canadian women's national soccer team.

Charmaine has played a total of 131 times and scored 71 goals for Canada, both national records. Her international debut was on a July 7, 1986 against the United States. She was a member of the Canada squad at the 1995 and 1999 Women's World Cups.

Charmaine became the only Canadian player in WUSA history to score in the Founders Cup III. She was named the Atlanta Beat MVP and was inducted into the United Soccer League's Hall of Fame in 2002. Charmaine played professionaly in Norway, Italy, Japan, USA and Canada. During her years at North Carolina State University, she earned numerous state and NCAA records.

Ezekiel Jackson photo courtesy of wwe.com

Ezekiel Jackson

Professional Wrestler / Bodybuilder

Rycklon Stephens was born April 22, 1978 in Linden, Guyana. He is a bodybuilder and professional wrestler. He is signed to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), working on its SmackDown brand under the ring name Ezekiel Jackson. He is a one-time world champion, having won the ECW Championship in February 2010, and is recognized by WWE as the final ECW Champion. He is also a one-time WWE Intercontinental Champion.

Pro Wrestling Illustrated ranked him as #93 of the top 500 single wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2010.

Egerton Marcus photo courtesy of collections.gc.ca

Egerton Marcus

Olympic Silver Medalist / Pro Boxer

Egerton Marcus was born on February 2, 1965 in Essequibo, West Demerara, Guyana. He is a Canadian boxer who won the Silver Medal in the Middleweight division at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea.

Marcus turned pro in 1989 and began his career with 14 consecutive wins, including a TKO win over Andrew Maynard. Egerton ran his own boxing gym in Toronto (The Egerton Marcus Boxing Academy) until 2006.

His professional boxing record is 17 wins (12 knockouts), 4 losses and 1 draw.

Mark Teixeira

Mark Teixeira

Major League Baseball Player for the New York Yankees

Mark Charles Teixeira was born on April 11, 1980 in Annapolis, Maryland to John and Margy Teixeira. Mark's father, (John Gordon Teixeira), grandfather (Stanley Gordon Teixeira) and great grandfather (John Gordon) are all Guyanese.

Mark is mostly a first baseman and has also played third base and in the outfield. He played college baseball at Georgia Tech where in 2001, he won the Dick Howser Trophy as the national collegiate baseball player of the year.

Mark was drafted in 2001 by the Texas Rangers, and made his MLB debut in 2003. In 2007 he was traded to the Atlanta Braves, and in mid 2008 was traded to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. In December of 2008, he agreed to a contract to the New York Yankees. Teixeira has won four Gold Glove Awards and three Silver Slugger Awards.

Hugh Ross

Hugh Ross

World Champion Bodybuilder

Hugh Arlington Ross was born on June 26, 1959 in Guyana. He served as an officer in the Guyana Defense Force from 1980 to 1989 when he resigned as a Captain. Hugh's specialties are paratrooping, jungle warfare, amphibious operations, close quarter combat and skills at arms. He has a third degree black belt in Shotokan and second degree in Tae-Kwon-do.

Hugh stands at 5 feet 10.5 inches tall, and weighs 212 pounds. He competes at a weight of 193. Hugh is a decorated power lifting champion with numerous titles. His best poundage was a squat of 650lbs, Bench Press of 430lbs and a deadlift of 688lbs.

On October 30, 2010, Hugh Ross won 1st Place of the Mr. Universe title of the NABBA (National Amateur Body Builders' Association) in the Masters Over-50 category in London, England.

Dwight Grant photo courtesy of Monaster / nydailynews.com

Dwight Grant

World Champion Middleweight Kickboxer

Dwight Grant was born in New York City 1984 to Guyanese parents. He stands at 6 feet 1 inches tall, and competes at a weight of 185.

He went undefeated in the 185-pound amateur category at the World Kickboxing Association's mixed martial arts World Championships in Edinburgh, Scotland in 2010 winning his first two matches on submissions and the third on a forfeit. Grant has a 7-1 MMA record overall and is unbeaten internationally.

Matthew Centrowitz Jr. photo courtesy of Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post

Matthew Centrowitz Jr.

Champion 1500m Track Athlete

Matthew Centrowitz Jr. was born October 18, 1989 in Annapolis, Maryland. He is the son of two-time US Olympic distance runner, Matt Centrowitz and Beverly Bannister, a Guyanese woman with a rich family history of athletics.

He won the Bronze medal in the 1500M event at 2011 Track & Field World championships in Daegu, South Korea.

Matthew grew up in Arnold, Maryland. His negative split 8:41.55 win in the 2-mile race at the Nike Outdoor Nationals is considered one of the best races in prep history, and was also the best high school time of 2007. His time of 4:08.38 at the Penn Relays in April of 2007 established a meet record. He also went on to set the Maryland state record over 1600 meters in 4:04.09 that same year.

Carey Vanier

Carey Vanier

Lightweight MMA Fighter

Carey D. Vanier Sr. was born on August 3, 1981 in Hopetown Village, Guyana. He moved to Minnesota, USA at the age of 3 and is currently fighting out of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

He is a lightweight mixed martial artist fighter who has fought for Bellator Fighting Championship.

He stands at 5'9" and weighs 155lbs. His record is 10 wins, 4 losses and no draws.

He began wrestling at an early age and as a senior in high school, he finished sixth at the state wrestling finals. He enrolled at Ridgewater College where he was eventually named an All-American.

After obtaining an 8-2 record, Carey was signed onto the Bellator brand and will enter their second season lightweight tournament that started in April. Carey won his first fight against Joe Duarte via TKO in the third round. He fought and defeated UFC veteran, Rich Clementi, in a closely contested match, at Bellator 28.

Vicious Vivian Harris photo courtesy of espn.go.com / Getty Images

Vivian Harris

Professional Boxer

'Vicious' Vivian Harris was born on June 17, 1978 in Georgetown, Guyana.

He began boxing at the age of twelve, and has since gained prominence for his aggressive fighting style. He is the former IBA and WBA Light Welterweight champion.

After Harris arrived in the U.S., he began his amateur boxing career, racking up 45 wins, 5 losses, and 32 KO's. In 1995, Harris won the Metros championship, and the New York Golden Gloves two years later. Following these successes, Harris turned professional in 1997.

His record is 29 wins (19 by KO), 7 losses and 1 draw.

Wayne Braithwaite photo courtesy of afp.com

Wayne Braithwaite

Professional Boxer

'Big Truck' Wayne Braithwaite was born on August 9, 1975 in Georgetown, Guyana.

An agile and well-conditioned athlete, he turned professional in 1997 and at 17-0 in 2002, was able to get a shot at the Vacant WBC Cruiserweight Title against Vincenzo Cantatore. Braithwaite won via 10th round TKO, and looked like a future star. There were some in the boxing realm who felt he could become the 1st unified cruiserweight champion since Evander Holyfield.

He lined up a contract to fight on Showtime and successfully defended his title three times before taking on the feared WBA Cruiserweight Title holder Jean Marc Mormeck in a unification bout. Although Braithwaite dominated the fight early, Mormeck came on very strong in the later rounds, and was able to beat Braithwaite physically, nearly getting a KO in the decision victory. In 2005, Braithwaite lost via 4th round TKO to Guillermo Jones, taking the wind out of the sails of his promising career.

On March 29, 2008 he scored a spectacular third round TKO over previously unbeaten Cuban Olympian Yoan Pablo Hernandez and claimed his WBA Fedelatin belt. He still trains regularly at the famous Gleason's Gym in Brooklyn, NY.

His record is 22 wins (18 by KO) and 3 losses.

Shondell Alfred photo courtesy of kaieteurnewsonline.com

Shondell Alfred

Professional Boxer

'The Mystery Lady' Shondell Alfred was born on January 1, 1981 in Guyana.

She holds the WIBA Iberian-American Bantamweight title.

Alfred made her professional boxing debut on February 19, 1999, beating Stephanie George by a four round decision at Georgetown. On December 26, 2001, she registered her first knockout win, defeating Adriana Francis in the first round. In 2003, she scored her second first round knockout in a row, beating Vicki Boodram. On December 26, 2003 exactly two years to the date that Alfred scored her first knockout win, she outpointed George for the second time, this time over eight rounds.

On November 22, she boxed Boodram in a rematch, for the WIBA Iberian-American Bantamweight title. The fight was held in Trinidad and Tobago. Alfred once again beat Boodram by knockout, this time in the third round.

Her record is 8 wins (3 by KO) and 4 losses.

Charles Allen photo taken by Dan Galbraith / Concepts to Applause / commonwealthgames.ca

Charles Allen

Bronze Medalist Track Athlete

Charles Allen was born March 3, 1977 in Georgetown, Guyana. He is Canadian track and field athlete, specializing in hurdling and sprinting.

Allen emigrated to Canada, first to Brampton, Ontario where he attended Turner Fenton Secondary School, and then to Malton, Ontario where he went to Ascension of Our Lord Secondary School. He competed for Guyana in the 2000 Summer Olympics, and still holds the Guyanese record in the 110 m hurdles.

Switching to the Canadian team for the 2004 Summer Olympics Allen made the finals in the 110 m hurdles after setting a new personal best time in each of the qualifying rounds. Finishing a respectable sixth, but in a slower time than he had hoped. He was also captain of Canada's 4 x 100 m relay team, but the team failed to pass the qualifying stages. At the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, however Allen, won a bronze medal with the Canadian relay team.

Prince Kumali photo courtesy of nwalegends.com

Gordon Petrie

Champion Professional Wrestler / Actor

Gordon Petrie was born on September 11 in Georgetown, Guyana to Remington and Julia Petrie. He is a professional wrestler known popularly as, "Prince Kumali" and "The Great Malumba".

Between 1963-1969, he was the Middle Eastern Heavyweight Champion multiple times. He wrestled and defeated the great Indian wrestling legend, Dara Singh in front of 125,000 his hometown fans at a show in Bombay, India.

Clay Nurse photo courtesy of espn.go.com

Clay Nurse

Professional Football Player

Clay Kriston Eversley Nurse was born on August 1, 1988 in Georgetown, Guyana. He played Defensive End for the New England Patriots of the NFL. He stands at 6 foot 3 inches and weighs 260 lbs.

After attending 2 years of playing cricket, soccer and basketball at Queen's College High School in Guyana, Clay Nurse moved to the Washington D.C. area to attend High Point High School. He was discovered by football coach, Messay Hailemariam who saw his potential and made him defensive end for the school team. The University of Maryland, Syracuse and UConn showed interest in Clay, however Illinois made him a formal offer and full scholarship to play at their school where majored in kinesiology. He played and started in all 13 games as a senior in 2010, finishing with 23 total tackles.

He was signed by the New England Patriots as a rookie free agent on July 27, 2011.

Laura Creavalle photo courtesy of girlswithmuscle.com

Laura Creavalle

Professional Female Bodybuilder

Laura Cordelia Creavalle was born on January 25, 1959 in Essequibo, Guyana. She was one of the most successful female bodybuilders of the 1990s.

Creavalle earned her pro card by winning the heavyweight class at the 1988 IFBB World Amateur Championships in Puerto Rico. She made her pro debut six weeks later at the 1988 Ms. Olympia contest. She was the First Woman to win the Ms. International Title Three Times, and was twice runner-up in the Ms. Olympia contest. She holds the record for the most consecutive Ms. Olympia appearances with twelve (from 1988 to 1999), finishing below sixth place only in her first appearance. Creavalle was inducted into the IFBB Hall of Fame in 2007.

Laura has written two cook books, A Taste of Club Creavalle and The Lite Lifestyle: 150 Ultra Low Calorie Recipes for Rapid Weight Loss!. She also co-authored The Health Handbook with former husband Chris Aceto. Laura has been a feature editor for Muscle & Fitness magazine on low fat cooking in the Muscle Fare column.

Eon D'Ornellas photo courtesy of cyclingadventure.com

Eon D'Ornellas

Champion Cyclist and Olympic Athlete

Eon D'Ornellas was born on April 20,1952 in Alberttown, Guyana.

He competed at 4 Olympic Games representing Guyana at Munich in 1972 and Montreal in 1976. Then competed for Canada at Moscow in 1980 and Los Angeles in 1984.

He is a 4 time Ontario Provincial Road Racing Champion, a 2 time Canadian National Road Racing Champion, 1979 Pan American Games Silver Medalist and 1978 Commonwealth Games Silver Medalist and winner of the 120 kilometre road race in Vimmi, France.

D'Ornellas has a cycle shop and runs a cycling club in Toronto. View his bike shop here: dornellas.com and his cycling club at dornellascyclingclub.ca.


Shakira Baksh Caine

Shakira Baksh Caine

Model / Actress

Shakira Baksh was born on February 23, 1947 in Guyana.

After graduating from high school, Shakira, influenced by her mothers talent as a dressmaker was inspired to become a fashion designer. While working as a secretary, her employer encouraged her to enter the Miss Guyana contest, and went as far as to mail her application and photos in. She won Miss Guyana and placed third in the 1967 Miss World competition in London at the age of 19. After her appearance in the Miss World contest worked for four years as a professional model in advertisements for Maxwell House coffee, and other companies.

After seeing Baksh in a television advertisement for Maxwell House coffee, British actor Michael Caine became obsessed with finding the woman he considered to be "the most beautiful... he had ever seen." The couple were married in Las Vegas on 8 January 1973.

She has been married to actor Michael Caine since 1973 they have a daughter, Natasha. She appeared in the film "The Man Who Would Be King," with her husband and Sean Connery and then choose to give up her showbiz career to raise her family.

Nicole Narain

Nicole Narain

Model / Actress

Born on July 28, 1974 in Aurora, Illinois to Guyanese parents. She was Playboy Magazine's Miss January Playmate of the Month for 2002. She has appeared on 'Celebrity Fear Factor' and 'One On One'.

She has appeared in music videos like R.L's song "Got Me a Model", LL Cool J's "Luv You Better", Mario Winans's "I Don't Wanna Know" and Fabolous' "Baby". Narain also competed on the NBC show Fear Factor Playmate edition, but was eliminated in the first stunt.

Shari McEwan

Shari McEwan

Miss Universe Contestant

Shari was born in Guyana in 1987.

She won Miss Antigua and Barbuda Universe 2006 and went on to represent Antigua and Barbuda at the 55th Miss Universe Pageant in Los Angeles, California on July 23, 2006. She stands at 5'11". In 2012, she graduated from the University of Hertfordshire with a degree in Finance and Business Administration.

Janice Moorgen photo courtesy of usask.ca

Janice Elizabeth MacGregor

Beauty Pageant Winner

Janice was born in Edmonton, Alberta (Canada) to Guyanese parents. At the age of 11, she moved to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Her credits include: Miss Saskatoon 2007, Miss Saskatchewan 2007, 2008, 2009 and Mrs. Canada 2011. She graduated from Bishop James Mahoney High School in 2002 and attended the University of Saskatchewan.


Emma Heming photo courtesy of LR Health & Beauty Systems GmbH

Emma Hemming-Willis

Model / Actress

Emma Frances Heming-Willis Was born on June 18, 1978 in Malta. Her father is British and her mother, Zorina Heming is from British Guyana.

She started modeling when she was 15 years old. In addition to being the former spokesmodel for the Canadian lingerie retailer, La Senza, Heming has appeared in advertisements around the world including those for Dior Bronze, Escada, Gap, Garnier, Intimissimi, John Frieda, Palmers, and Redken. She has appeared on the covers of French Elle, Spanish Elle, Turkish Elle, US Glamour, "Shape", Town and Country, and W Magazine.

In 2005, Maxim magazine placed Heming at number 86 in its "Top 100" list. Heming has also walked the runway for numerous fashion shows including Herve Leger, John Galliano, Paco Rabanne, Christian Dior, Chanel, Maska, Thierry Mugler, Valentino, Emanuel Ungaro, Ralph Lauren, and Victoria's Secret.

Heming is married to movie star, Bruce Willis and currently signed with IMG Models worldwide.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation' Premieres in Hollywoodphoto courtesy of Kevin Winter / Getty Images North America

(L-R) Emma Heming, actor Bruce Willis, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Lauren Hashian attend the premiere of "G.I. Joe:Retaliation" at TCL Chinese Theatre on March 28, 2013 in Hollywood, California.


Dr. Mike Philips

Dr. Mike Philips


Writer Mike Phillips was born in Georgetown, Guyana, and grew up in London. He was educated at the University of London (English), the University of Essex (Politics), and at Goldsmiths College London (Education). He worked for the BBC as a journalist and broadcaster before becoming a lecturer in media studies at the University of Westminster.

Mike has written full-time since 1992. Best-known for his crime fiction, his most recent novel, A Shadow of Myself (2000), is the first of a trilogy set in Eastern Europe. Mike Phillips co-wrote Windrush: The Irresistible Rise of Multi-Racial Britain (1998) to accompany a BBC television series. His most recent book, London Crossings: A Biography of Black Britain (2001), is a series of interlinked essays and stories. Mike writes for the Guardian, and is cross-cultural curator at the Tate. He is also a trustee of the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

E.R. Braithwaite photo courtesy of guardian.co.uk / Getty Images

E.R. Braithwaite


Born in Guyana on June 27,1920. He attended Queen's college there, City College (now City University of New York) in 1940, and Cambridge, in 1949, where he received a Master's degree in Physics. During World War II he also enlisted as a Royal Airforce Pilot. Despite his extensive training, however, Braithwaite like several other disillusioned black men after the war, could not find work in his field and reluctantly took up a job as a schoolteacher in London's East End. His experiences were memorialised in To Sir with Love (1959). Braithwaite had turned to social work, (while writing To Sir) and it was his job to find foster homes for non-white children for the London County office, Department of Child welfare. These harrowing experiences and resulted in his second novel Paid Servant (1962).

Martin Carter

Martin Carter


Martin Wylde Carter was born in Georgetown, Guyana on June 7, 1927. He has been compared in stature to W.B. Yeats and Pablo Neruda, as well as being called "the most Caribbean of Caribbean poets". He began publishing in 1950 in Thunder and in A.J. Seymour's literary journal Kyk-over-Al. His collection, Poems Of Resistance, published in 1954, established his reputation as a powerful moral and political voice

At the "Live from Lincoln Center" jazz concert for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, Danny Glover quoted some lines of Carter's, bringing him to public attention in North America for the first time in the twenty-first century.

Edgar Mittelholzer photo taken by Carl Van Vechten in 1952, courtesy of Marquette University Archives

Edgar Mittelholzer


Edgar Austin Mittelholzer was born on December 16, 1909 in New Amsterdam, Guyana. He is the earliest novelist from the West Indian region to establish himself in Europe and gain a significant European readership. Mittelholzer, who earned his living almost exclusively by writing fiction, is considered the first professional novelist to come out of the English-speaking Caribbean. His novels include characters and situations from a variety of places within the Caribbean, and range in time from the early period of European settlement to the twentieth century. They feature a cross-section of ethnic groups and social classes, dealing with subjects of historical, political, psychological, and moral interest. Michael Hughes, wrote in his book A Companion to West Indian Literature that Mittelholzer is "certainly the most prolific novelist to be produced by the Caribbean".

He began writing in 1929 and despite constant rejection letters, persisted with his writing. In 1937, he self-published "Creole Chips" and sold it from door to door. By 1938, he completed "Corentyne Thunder", though it was not published until 1941 because of the intervention of the war. In 1941, he moved to Trinidad and served in the Trinidad Royal Volunteer Naval Reserve. In 1948, he left for England with the manuscript of "A Morning at the Office (Caribbean Modern Classics)", which was published in 1950. Between 1951 and 1965, he had published a further twenty-one novels and two works of non-fiction, including his autobiographical, "A Swarthy Boy".

John Agard photo taken by Andrew Crowley, courtesy of telegraph.co.uk

John Agard

Playwright, Poet and Writer

Born in Guyana on June 21,1949. He is playwright, poet and children's writer, who moved to the United Kingdom in 1977. He has written many books for children and adults. His poem "Half-caste" is on the AQA English GCSE syllabus, and every year he tours the UK performing with other top poets for GCSE students.His children's poetry includes We Animals Would Like a Word with You, Laughter Is an Egg, Einstein, the Girl Who Hated Maths and Hello H2O. His adult collections include Mangoes and Bullets, From the Devil's Pulpitand Weblines. He became the first writer-in-residence at the South Bank Centre in 1993 and at the BBC in 1998. His awards include the Casa de las Americas Poetry Prize, the Guyana Prize, a CLPE Award, a Cholmodeley Prize. In 2007 in was nominated for a Nibbie. In 2013, John Agard was presented a Gold Medal for Poetry by The Queen of England.

John Agard gets a Gold Medal for Poetry presented to him by The Queen photo courtesy of standard.co.uk
Above is a picture of John Agard receiving a Gold Medal for Poetry from The Queen.

David Dabydeen

David Dabydeen

Writer and Novelist

Born as David Horace Clarence Harilal Sookram in Berbice, Guyana on December 9, 1955. He is a Professor at the Centre fo British Comparative Cultural Studies at the University of Warwick. He is a member of UNESCO's Executive Board. David is the author of four novels, three collections of poetry and several works of non-fiction and criticism. His first book, Slave Song(1984), a collection of poetry, won the Commonwealth Poetry Prize and the Quiller-Couch Prize.

Dabydeen has been awarded the title of fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He is the second West Indian writer and the only Guyanese to receive the title. In 2010, David Dabydeen was appointed as Guyana's Ambassador to China.

Cyril Dabydeen

Cyril Dabydeen

Writer and Novelist

Cyril Dabydeen was born in 1945 in Canje, Guyana. He is an accomplished writer and author.

His work has appeared in the Oxford, Penguin and Heinemann Books of Caribbean Verse, and in over 60 literary magazines world-wide. A former Poet Laureate of Ottawa, his last novel Drums of My Flesh won the Guyana Prize for Best Book of Fiction and was nominated for the prestigious IMPAC/Dublin Literary Prize. He is the recipient of the 2010 Guyana Lifetime Achievement Award. He teaches at the University of Ottawa.

He began writing in the early 1960s, winning the Sandbach Parker Gold Medal for poetry (1964) and the first A. J. Seymour Lyric Poetry Prize (1967). His first chapbook collection, Poems in Recession, was published in 1972. In 1970, he left Guyana for Canada to obtain a BA degree in English, an MA degree, and an MPA degree at Queen's University.

Some of Cyril's books are: Berbice Crossing, Imaginary Origins: New and Selected Poems, Dark Swirl, Black Jesus and Other Stories, Beyond Sangre Grande: Caribbean Writing Today, Another Way To Dance.

Brenda Chester DoHarris

Brenda Chester DoHarris

Writer and Professor

Born in Georgetown, Guyana in 1946 to Rebecca Theresa Chester (a nurse-midwife) and Clement Vincent Chester (government dispenser).

Brenda is a professor of English at Bowie State University in Bowie, Maryland and a graduate of Columbia University and Howard University where she received her PhD in English. She was the first Guyanese woman to run in Guyana for office of the presidency of a trades union.

Brenda has published two novels: The Coloured Girl in the Ring: A Guyanese Woman Remembers and Calabash Parkway .

J.W. Chinapen

J.W. Chinapen

Writer, Poet and Educator

Born in 1908 at Albion, Corentyne, Berbice to plantation workers, “JW”, as he was referred to, was among the most famous headmasters to grace Guyana’s landscape. He was among the first batch of graduates at the Teacher’s Training College where he won the Bain Gray Gold medal for Excellence. He taught at schools both in Demerara and in Berbice but his impact was really felt in Berbice.

He was Headmaster at Bush Lot, West Berbice then Massiah C.M., Corentyne. He blazed the way by introducing “The Project Method” which won him several awards.

As a poet, artist, he was writing continuously which culminated in him winning the First C.B. Jagan Gold Medal for Literature in 1960. His book of poems entitled “Albion Wilds” was first published in 1961 and republished in 2007 in Canada.

A biography covering his life, J W CHINAPEN: Educator and Poet is available on Amazon.com.

Oonya Kempadoo photo taken by Len Sehntwali, courtesy of creativecaribbeannetwork.com

Oonya Kempadoo


Oonya was born in Sussex, England, in 1966 of Guyanese parents. Her father is writer, Peter Kempadoo.

Her first novel, Buxton Spice, was published 1998. The New York Times described it as "superb, and superbly written". Her second book, Tide Running, set in Plymouth, Tobago, is the story of young brothers Cliff and Ossie.

Both of these books were nominated for International IMPAC Dublin Literary Awards, the first in 2000 and the second in 2003. She was named a Great Talent for the Twenty-First Century by the Orange Prize judges and is a winner of the Casa de las Américas Prize.

Pauline Melville photo courtesy of independent.co.uk

Pauline Melville

Writer / Actress

Pauline was born in 1948 in Guyana to an English father and Guyanese mother.

Among awards she has received for her writing are the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, the Guardian Fiction Prize, the Whitbread First Novel Award, and the Guyana Prize for Literature.

She was professional actor before she became a writer, Pauline has appeared in films that include Mona Lisa (playing the part of Dawn), as Dora in The Long Good Friday. She also appeared in television programmes: as Vyvyans's mother in the BBC Television comedy series The Young Ones; as Yvonne in Girls On Top, among other roles.

Melville's first book, Shape-Shifter (1990), a collection of short stories, won the 1991 Commonwealth Writers' Prize (Overall Winner, Best First Book), and the Guardian Fiction Prize. Her first novel, The Ventriloquist's Tale (1997), won the Whitbread First Novel Award, and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction.

Rupert Roopnarine photo courtesy of caribbean360.com

Rupert Roopnaraine

Writer / Politician

Rupert was born on January 31, 1943 in Georgetown, Guyana.

In 1954, he won a scholarship to Queen's College, where he excelled in cricket; he captained the team and represented Demerara in the Inter-county Cricket Finals. In 1962 he was awarded a Guyana scholarship to attend the University of Cambridge, where he studied Modern Languages. He played first-class cricket for the Cambridge University team from 1964 to 1966 and was awarded a Blue for representing the university in the annual University Match against Oxford in 1965 and 1966.

In 1970, he was awarded a scholarship to Cornell University, New York, where he obtained an MA and PhD in Comparative Literature. From 1976 to 1996, he has worked as a university lecturer in the UK, Canada, the US and at the University of Guyana.

He is the author of The Web of October: Rereading Martin Carter (1986), a suite of love poems entitled Suite for Supriya (1993), and Primacy of the Eye: The Art of Stanley Greaves was published in 2003.

Roopnaraine's collection of essays, The Skys Wild Noise, won the non-fiction category of the 2013 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature.

Sharon Maas photo courtesy of authorscoop.com

Sharon Maas


Sharon was born in 1951 in Guyana.

She came from a prominently political family. Her mother was one of Guyana's earliest feminists, human rights activists and consumer advocates; her father was Press Secretary to the Marxist opposition leader and later President of Guyana, Dr Cheddi Jagan. She was educated in Guyana and England. After leaving school she worked as a trainee reporter with the Guyana Graphic in Georgetown, Guyana. She later wrote feature articles for the Sunday Chronicle as a staff journalist.

Sharon spent 1971 and 1972 travelling around Brazil, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia. Her travel articles were published in the Chronicle. In 1973 she travelled overland to India via England, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. After two years in India she moved to Germany. Sharon now divides her time between England and Germany with her husband and two children.

Sharon's novels Of Marriageable Age, Peacocks Dancing, and The Speech of Angels were published by Harper Collins and several foreign-language publishers between 1999 and 2004. Her first novel, Of Marriageable Age, will be published as an e-book in summer 2013.

Raywat Deonandan photo taken by Tine De Marez, courtesy of deonandan.com

Raywat Deonandan

Author / Scientist

Dr. Raywat Deonandan was born in Guyana in 1967. He is a scientist, author and journalist.

He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Ottawa (specializing in Global Health), and formerly the Chief Scientific Advisor to the Canadian federal government on the topic of Assisted Human Reproduction. A critically acclaimed fiction writer, his works have been published in nine countries and in five languages. One of his books, a short story collection called Sweet Like Saltwater, won the national book award of Guyana. He is also a regular contributor of op-eds and features to The Toronto Star, The Ottawa Citizen, The Globe and Mail and California's India Currents Magazine. Dr. Deonandan presently sits on the Boards of Directors of both Harbourfront Centre (one of the world's biggest interdisciplinary Arts centres) and the Canadian Society of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. He currently makes his home in both Toronto and Ottawa and does speaking engagements on topics relating to science, literature and social policy.

Visit his website at: deonandan.com

Scientists / Educators

Jamal Deen photo courtesy of ece.mcmaster.ca

M. Jamal Deen

Professor - B.Sc, M.S., Ph.D, F.R.S.C, F.C.A.E., F.I.E.E.E, F.E.I.C., F.E.C.S., F.A.A.A.S.

Jamal Deen is currently Professor and Senior Canada Research Chair in Information Technology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. He is also the Director of the Micro- and Nano-Systems Laboratory. His research specialty are in the broad areas of electrical engineering and appllied physics.

Deen completed a Bachelors of Science degree in Mathematics and Physics at the University of Guyana in 1978, winning both the Chancellor's Medal as well as the Dr. Irving Adler's Prize for being the best mathematician student. After working for two years at the University of Guyana, he won the prestigious Fullbright scholarship to undertake graduate work at Case Western Reserve University. Later as a doctoral student, he won an American Vacuum Society Scholarship. He completed his doctoral dissertation on the design and modeling of a new CARS (coherent anti-Stokes scattering) spectroscopy system for dynamic temperature measurements and combustion optimization in rockets and jet engines in 1985.

Dr. Deborah Persaud MD photo courtesy of reuters.com

Dr. Deborah Persaud, MD

Associate Professor, Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Johns Hopkins Children's Center - B.A, M.D.

Born in Guyana, on August 23, 1960, Dr. Persaud headed the research team that made headlines around the world with curing a baby of the AIDS virus.

Dr. Persaud moved to Brooklyn, New York in the area of Bushwick at the age of 16. She earned her B.A. from York College, M.D. degree from NYU Medical School and did her pediatric residency at Columbia Presbyterian. In 2005, she was the ONLY recipient of the prestigious Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation Scientist Award in 2005, which included a $700,000 research grant over a period of 5 years.

John Rickford photo courtesy of ucsc.edu

John R. Rickford

Author & Professor of Linguistics and the Humanities at Stanford University

Born on September 16, 1949 in Georgetown, Guyana, John Rickford is the J.E. Wallace Sterling Professor of Linguistics and the Humanities at Stanford University. He is also professor by courtesy in Education, and Pritzker University Fellow in Undergraduate Education. He has been at Stanford since 1980.

He received his BA with highest honors in Sociolinguistics from the University of California, Santa Cruz, in 1971, and his Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1979. He won a Dean's Award for distinguished teaching in 1984 and a Bing Fellowship for excellence in teaching in 1992. He is also the President of the Society for Caribbean Linguistics.

He is the author of numerous scholarly articles, and author or editor of several books, including A Festival of Guyanese Words (ed., 1978), Dimensions of a Creole Continuum (1987), Analyzing Variation in Language (co-ed., 1987), Sociolinguistics and Pidgin-Creole Studies (ed., 1988), African American English: Structure, History and Use (co-ed., 1998), African American Vernacular English: Features, Evolution, Educational Implications (1999), Creole Genesis, Attitudes and Discourse (co-ed., 2000), Spoken Soul: The Story of Black English (co-authored, 2000, winner of an American Book Award), Style and Sociolinguistic Variation (co-ed., 2001), and Language in the USA: Themes for the Twenty-First Century (co-ed., 2004). He also has two books forthcoming in 2012: Language, Culture and Caribbean Identity (co-ed.) and African American, Creole and Other Vernacular Englishes: A Bibliographic Resource (co-authored)

Dr. Ivan van Sertima

Dr. Ivan van Sertima

Author & Professor of Africana Studies at Rutgers University

Born on January 26, 1935 in Karina Village, Guyana.

He attended the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London from 1959. In addition to his creative writing, Van Sertima completed his undergraduate studies in African languages and literature where he graduated with honors in 1969. During his studies, he learned Swahili and Hungarian. From 1957 to 1959, worked as a Press and Broadcasting Officer in the Guyana Information Services. During the 1960's, he worked for several years in Great Britain as a journalist, doing weekly broadcasts to the Caribbean and Africa. Van Sertima completed his master's degree at Rutgers in 1977. He became Associate Professor of African Studies at Rutgers in the Department of Africana Studies. In 1979, Van Sertima founded the Journal of African Civilizations, which he exclusively edited and published for decades.

He published They Came Before Columbus in 1976 while he was as student at Rutgers. The book was a best seller and was published by Random House. It dealt with the African origins of Mesoamerican culture in the Western Hemisphere, most notably that the kings of the 25th Dynasty of Egypt were Nubians. On July 7, 1987, Van Sertima testified before a United States Congressional committee to oppose recognition of the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's "discovery" of the Americas. He said, "You cannot really conceive of how insulting it is to Native Americans... to be told they were discovered".

Denis Williams photo courtesy of saa.org

Denis Williams

Educator, Author, Painter and Archaeologist

Denis Joseph Ivan Williams was born in Georgetown, Guyana in 1923.

He studied painting at the Camberwell School of Art in London (1946-48), but subsequently turned to archaeology, gaining a Master's degree from the University of Guyana in 1979.

He held several teaching and lecturing positions in England and Africa, including the School of Fine Art in London; the Slade School of Fine Art, University of London; the School of Fine Art in Khartoum, Sudan; the University of Ife in Nigeria; Makerere University, Uganda and the University of Lagos. From 1967-74 Williams pursued research in Native American tribal art of Guyana, especially petroglyphs. Since 1974 he was the Director of Art and Archaeology with the Department of Culture, Ministry of Education and Culture in Guyana.

Denis Williams is the author of two novels: Other Leopards (1963) and The Third Temptation (1968). He has also produced several works on West Indian and African art and anthropology: Image and Idea in the Arts of Guyana (1970); Icon and Image: A Study of Sacred and Secular Forms of African Classical Art (1974); Contemporary Art in Guyana (1976); Guyana, Colonial Art to Revolutionary Art, 1966-1976; Ancient Guyana (1985); Pages in Guyanese Prehistory (1995); and Prehistoric Guiana (2003). He contributed numerous essays on art to several books and journals. Indeed, he was probably better known as an artist than as a novelist. Williams also edited several journals: Odu (University of Ife Journal of African studies); Lagos Notes and Records; and Archaeology and Anthropology (Journal of the Walter Roth Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Georgetown).

In addition to numerous prizes for his paintings, Williams was awarded The Golden Arrow of Achievement Award from the Government of Guyana in 1973. He has received several grants to subsidise his research in art and archaeology, including research grants from the University of Ife; the International African Institute, London; and the Smithsonian Institution.

Dr. Cargill Alleyne photo courtesy of augustamagazine.com

Dr. Cargill Alleyne, MD, FAANS

Head of Neurosurgery at the Medical College of Georgia and Author

Cargill H. Alleyne, Jr. was born on August 4, 1965 in Georgetown, Guyana to an Cargill H. Alleyne, Sr., an economist and Linnette S. Alleyne, a school teacher.

He established a national record in high school by obtaining 9 distinctions in the G.C.E. Ordinary Level and CXC Exams. In 1983 he emigrated to the U.S. and attended George Washington University where he was elected to several honor societies, including Phi Beta Kappa. He majored in Chemistry and Mathematics and graduated with a Bachelor of Science. He graduated cum laude from Yale School of Medicine in 1991 and was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor medical society. His neurosurgery training was completed at Emory and he completed a fellowship at the Barrow Neurological Institute. After practicing at the University of Rochester for 4 and a half years, he was recruited to the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta.

Dr. Alleyne is listed in the 2007-2008 and 2009-2010 Best Doctors in America and listed as one of America's Top Surgeons in 2009.

He co-wrote 2 books: Ned's Head and Neurosurgery Board Review: Questions and Answers for Self-Asssessment.


Narine Dat Sookram

Narine Dat Sookram

Radio Host, Concert Organizer, Community Volunteer

Narine Dat Sookram was born on December 2, 1975 in No. 65 Village, Berbice, Guyana. He has been a supporter for many years to newcomers to Canada and a long-standing cultural leadership within the Canadian Caribbean community.

He organizes and hosts an annual concert, "Caribbean Dreams", as well as an award winning weekly radio show, "Caribbean Spice" on 100.3 Sound FM Radio in Waterloo, Ontario Canada that promotes pride in youth growing up within the Canadian Caribbean community.

Narine is the founder of Active Vision Charity Association, which provides books and school supplies to Guyanese youth. Narine Sookram has been an outstanding role model both locally and internationally and has won some prestigious awards which include:

Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Dublibee Medal Recipient 2012, Waterloo Award Recipient, 2012, Samaritan Award Recipient, 2011, Lifetime Achievement: Humanitarian, 2011 (West Indian Music Awards), Waterloo Region 40 under 40 Award, 2010, Guelph 40 Under 40, 2011, June Callwood Recipient, 2010.

Above is a video of Narine being presented with the Waterloo Award.

Check out his website: activevisioncharity.com

Olga Lopes-Seale photo courtesy of nationnews.com

Dame Olga Lopes-Seale

Radio Broadcaster, Social & Community Worker and Singer

Olga Lopes was born in Guyana on December 26, 1918. She was known affectionately as 'Auntie Olga' and was a radio broadcaster who used her profession to help poor local children in Barbados.

Olga's career started when she was in her early teens. She loved singing and playing her own mandolin. She became well known as far back as 1942 visiting Barbados for singing engagements. In Guyana, she worked as a broadcaster for Radio Demerara, where she acquired the nickname 'Auntie Olga'.

In Barbados, she worked for the Barbados Rediffusion Services Limited (now Starcom Network) and was active in community work. In the 1940s and 1950s she was known as "the Vera Lynn of the Caribbean".

A high achiever in both her radio and charitable careers, Auntie Olga was Guyana's first woman news reporter and founded the Needy Children's Fund first in Guyana and then in her later adopted country, Barbados. Her selfless efforts made dramatic changes to these communities and resulted in her being awarded an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in 1961, as well as a string of other awards. She was inducted into the Caribbean Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 1997.

The Ovaltine Show photo courtesy of silvertorch.com
The Ovaltine Show: Back row (L-R) Rafiq Khan (Program Director), M. R. Lam (Agent for Ovaltine), Unidentified Person, Olga Lopes-Seale (Announcer) and E. R. Burrowes (Quiz Master)


Major Shawna Kimbrell photo courtesy of af.mil

Major Shawna Kimbrell

Pioneering Fighter Pilot

Shawna Rochelle Kimbrell is a major in the United States Air Force, and the First female African-American fighter pilot in the history of that service. She flies the F-16 Fighting Falcon, and is stationed at Aviano Air Base, Italy. Kimbrell was born in Lafayette, Indiana, on April 20, 1976, to Guyanese parents. Her mother and father, who were naturalized U.S. citizens by the time she was born, moved to the U.S. for education and opportunities. Their hard work and dedication paid off in her father earning a degree from Howard University and a doctorate from Purdue University, which in turn earned him a job offer in Parker, Colo.

That focus on education was a big part of life for Kimbrell and her three older siblings as they spent their school years in Parker. "(Education) was the thing that opened doors," Kimbrell said. "If you got your education, you could do whatever you wanted to do. That was how our house was run."

Military decorations awarded: Air Medal, Aerial Achievement Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal.

David Case photo courtesy of 100greatblackbritons.com

David Case

Pioneering Royal Air Force Cadet

Air Commodore David Case was born in Guyana in 1953. He is the highest ranking black officer in the Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom, and as of 2000, he became the highest ranking black officer ever to serve in Britain's armed forces at the age of 47.

He immigrated to Britain at the age of 5. He was educated at Beckenham Grammar School and learnt to fly on a Flying Scholarship while still at school. He joined the RAF as a 19-year old cadet to read aeronautical engineering at The Queen's University of Belfast. He received his commission in 1975, and was awarded the distinguished Sword of Honour, which is bestowed upon the top cadet officer of the year.

Last Update: June 2013

This list is comprised of people of Guyanese origin or descent that have made a notable contribution to society in their respective field. Majority of these names have come from suggestions sent in from all over the world. This list is in no way 'official', but to be used as a reference and to empower all people and races of Guyanese heritage.

If you have a suggestion to add to this list, please email me at editor@crazykelvin.com including a reference or evidence that the person does have Guyanese heritage.

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