One of the few luxury islands on the planet, The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is located in the Southernmost part of the Caribbean.
It was an island inhabited for centuries by native Amerindian people before the coming of the Spanish Empire. Consisting of smaller islands, it is situated south of Grenada, off the coast of Northeastern Venezuela and shares maritime boundaries with Barbados, Saint Vincent, and the Grenadine and finally Guyana to the Southeast.
With a population of 1, 395, 714 people based on the latest estimates, the island has the third-highest GDP per capita based on purchasing power in the Americas after the United States and Canada.
Trinidad and Tobago is well known for its unique history, language, sports, music, as well as, its mixture of African, Spanish and Indian cultures and most notably its carnivals.
Here are 6 famous people from Trinidad and Tobago who have made a positive global impact:
Born in Trinidad and Tobago in 1941, Stokely was prominent during the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. and the global Pan-Africanist movement. He moved to the U.S. at age 11 and attended Howard University where he began activism. His voice and the voices of others eventually developed the Black Power Movement.
He became very popular in the 1960s and was tipped to be the successor of Malcolm X as America’s “Black Messiah”. He soon became a target by the U.S. government’s J. Edgar Hoover’s COINTELPRO (counter-intelligence program) which focused on black activists. Frequent assassination attempts ensued.
He fled to Ghana and then Guinea where he adopted the new name of Kwame Ture.
Floella Benjamin, Baroness Benjamin
Floella Benjamin is a television presenter, singer, businesswoman and politician and a Baroness known famously for being a presenter of children’s programmes such as Play School, Play Away and Fast Forward. She was born in 1949 in Trinidad and Tobago and shortly afterwards, her father, a policeman and talented jazz musician, migrated to Britain.
She studied her A-Levels at night schools and combined it with stage acting and television presentation. On June 28, 2010, Lady Benjamin was introduced to the House of Lords as a Life Peer nominated by the Liberal Democrats with the title of Baroness Benjamin of Beckenham in the County of Kent.
Nicki Minaj is a rapper, singer, actress, and model born in Trinidad and Tobago. Her life began in Saint James, Port of Spain and she ended up in Queens, New York City. Her music career had a few bumps, however, her breakthrough was her mixtape, Playtime is Over, released in 2007.
The mixtape made her famous and she signed to Young Money Entertainment in 2009. Her Pink album peaked number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 and was certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
She is known for her colourful costumes and wigs.
Kieron Pollard is a Trinidadian cricketer known for his successful playing stint in Mumbai Indians. His success on the field drove him to financial wealth, becoming the highest-paid player in the 2010 Indian Premier League. He is one of two players to play over 100 ODIs and never play a Test match. He was born in 1987.
A legendary figure in the music space, Betancourt is a Trinidad-born pioneer arranger and musician on the steelpan. He is known to be a major figure in pioneering the Pan in Europe and the UK in 1951. Starting a career at an early age, he was involved with music with the Tambo Bambo family band and grew up experiencing with the Steel Pan.
In a career spanning over five decades, he has received numerous awards, including his involvement in the origins of the Notting Hill Carnival in the 1960s.
He performs in high profile events, including performing for the Queen. Betancourt lives in London, England.
Toussaint was born in Trinidad and Tobago and brought to live in Brooklyn in the late 1960s by her mother who was a teacher. She began her career in 1989 as a supporting performer in theatres. She gained prominence in 1991 when she was the lead actress in the critically acclaimed Lifetime television series, Any Day Now, from 1998 to 2002.
Her reputation grew as she became a regular cast in movies, including Law & Order, Crossing Jordan, Saving Grace, and Ugly Betty. Others were Friday Night, Lights, Body of Proof and The Fosters.