FAMOUS CARIBBEAN WOMEN – Pt. 2

Help us celebrate the strength and beauty of  Caribbean Women! This is the second list of some of the most talented, beautiful and famous Caribbean Women………..

HEATHER HEADLEY

Heather Headley (born October 5, 1974) is a Tony Award-winning and Grammy Award-winning R&B singer and actress from Trinidad and Tobago. Heather began singing at a very young age. She left college to perform full-time at the age of 22, and received her first role on Broadway the following year. After taking center stage in the title role of Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida, she won a Tony Award for the role in 2000. From there, she decided to embark on a parallel path as a recording artist.
Headley was born into a music-loving family in Barataria, Trinidad. When she was just two years old, she entered a radio talent show for children and took second place. Two years later, she began taking piano lessons and began to dream of a career as a singer. Standing in the empty church at which her father, Iric Headley, was pastor, she gave solo performances for an audience of one—herself—using a hairbrush as a microphone. She pretended to sing for a large crowd, yet at the same time hoped nobody would see her.

Headley, however, did have the opportunity to sing in front of an audience. The church had a drama group in which she performed and for which she later helped write and direct productions. She also sang in the church’s choir. These activities allowed her to develop her love of music and singing. Then one week before her fifteenth birthday, the Headley family—Iric, his wife Hannah, Heather, and her brother, Iric Jr.—moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana.

It didn’t take Headley long to find a musical niche in her new country. The years of performing in Trinidad proved solid training when she replanted her roots in Indiana. At Northrup High School she became the featured soloist in the show choir and performed the female lead in two musicals—Man of La Mancha and Funny Girl; in 1991 she won the Miss Indiana Black Expo contest.

                                                                         Live Performance at the Chicago Theater

After she graduated from high school, Headley attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where she studied communications and musical theater. Her heart, however, led her to the stage. While performing at a gala in Chicago, Illinois, the musical director of Dreamgirls asked her to audition. She won the role of Michele and began performing at the Mariott Lincolnshire Theatre in Chicago. Following that production, she went on to perform in The World Goes ‘Round at the same venue.

In 1996 Headley left Northwestern University at the end of her junior year when she was chosen to understudy Audra McDonald in Ragtime. In her three years at Northwestern, however, she had made quite an impression. Dominic Missimi, associate professor and Music Theatre Program director at Northwestern University, told the Chicago Tribune, as quoted in Northwestern Magazine: “Of all the people I’ve encountered in my career as a teacher at Northwestern University for the last 20 years, there is little doubt I would put her at the top of my list of people most likely to have a major, major career.”

After Ragtime, Disney hired Headley to play the role of Nala in their Broadway production of the Lion King in 1997. When Disney held auditions for the title role in their Broadway production of Tim Rice and Elton John’s Aida a year later, they were looking at R&B singers rather than theater actresses. Headley auditioned anyway, but before she received the role she had to be approved by the chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Company, Michael Eisner. In 1999, before Aida opened, Headley starred in the Encores! Production of Do Re Mi, alongside Nathan Lane, Brian Stokes Mitchell, and Randy Graff.

                                                                   Ashley Brown, Heather Headley & Karen Olivo

Aida opened officially in March of 2000. The play tells the story of a Nubian princess, Aida, who is captured and forced into slavery. She ends up falling in love with Radames, the soldier who captured her. But Radames is engaged to marry Amneris, the Egyptian princess for whom Aida works. “I believe that [Aida] is undoubtedly one of the greatest gifts I have ever been given,” said Headley in her official website biography. “I love the role, and I adore the show.”

In that same year Headley was listed as one of People magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People for 2000 and Essence magazine’s 30 Women to Watch in 2000. When she was nominated for a Tony Award, Headley was stunned. “I can’t believe that at 25 I’m up for a Tony Award,” she told Angela Martin-Hinds in the Trinidad Sunday Express. “Imagine, I am competing against Audra McDonald, a woman I once understudied when I did Ragtime…. I never believed that I would be such a huge star on Broadway.” She received the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical in June of 2000; she won Drama League and Drama Desk awards for Aida as well.

Josh Groban & Heather Headley, We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration At The Lincoln Memorial

In 2002 Headley embarked on a parallel musical path as a recording artist, releasing her self-titled debut on RCA Records. She used the CD to take a break from the stage and grow in a more R&B direction. “It’s not a Broadway CD,” Headley told Tracy Hopkins in Essence. “It’s more like Whitney Houston meets Lauryn Hill…. I want to be that link between Broadway and the pop world.”

Headley played a few concert dates before the album’s release and planned to follow with a tour. She quickly realized, however, the differences between Broadway and an R&B concert. “I’m heading into this ‘world’ that’s new to me…. When you play a character, you represent someone else to some extent,” Headley wrote in her online journal on her official website. “This is all me! I want it to be perfect. I want people to accept my gift to them.”

From Trinidad to Broadway to concert stages around the world, Headley followed her heart and her dream every step of the way. “When I was growing up, I heard an adage that I have clung to throughout my life,” Headley said in her official website biography. “It says: Reach for the moon so that even if you miss you’ll be among the stars.”

In 2009, Headley, along with Al Green, released a version of the song People Get Ready on the compilation album Oh Happy Day: An All-Star Music Celebration.

On the January 31, 2010, Heather won her first Grammy Award for Best Contemporary R&B Gospel Album for Audience of One on the EMI Gospel label.

In December 2010, Headley performed a duet version of “Blue Christmas” and “My Prayer” with Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli on Bocelli’s “My Christmas” tour in six cities. Of special note: at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ on December 4, 2010, the audience insisted on a rare second encore with Bocelli, as they were captivated with her as much as Bocelli. Bocelli had to summon the detail to go back and get her to come back on stage. This is noted because Bocelli has other performers with whom he travels, but rarely do they get the ovation on the level of Bocelli, but this crowd clearly and loudly ovated their praise of Headley’s stunning performance.

Heather is married to Brian Musso (6 September 2003 – present) 1 child, John David.

 

 

CAROL CHRISTINE HILARIA POUNDER,

“CCH POUNDER”

Carol Christine Hilaria Pounder (born December 25, 1952), known professionally as C. C. H. Pounder (styled “CCH Pounder“), is a Guyanese-American film and television actress. She has appeared in numerous films, made-for-television films, television miniseries and plays, and has made guest appearances on notable television shows.

Pounder was born on December 25, 1952, in Georgetown, British Guiana (now Guyana), the daughter of Betsy Enid James Arnella and Ronald Urlington Pounder. She was educated inEngland and moved to the U.S. in 1970, where she attended Ithaca College. Pounder made her acting debut in the 1979 film All That Jazz.

.Pounder starred in the film Bagdad Café, and has made smaller appearances in many other successful films. She has focused primarily on her television career. In the early 1980s, Pounder first appeared in guest roles on Hill Street Blues, and then on several other popular shows (Miami ViceRoboCop 3L.A. LawThe X-FilesLiving Single and Quantum Leap) before landing a long-running recurring role as Dr. Angela Hicks on ER from 1994 to 1997. In the midst of this she had a large co-starring role in the 1995 Tales From the Crypt feature film Demon Knight. She then returned to guest appearances on other shows, including The PracticeLaw & Order: Special Victims UnitMillenniumThe West Wing (where she was considered for the role of C.J. Cregg) and the short-lived sitcom Women in Prison.

From 2002 to 2008, she starred as Detective Claudette Wyms in the FX Networks police dramaThe Shield. For this role she was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in 2005. She had previously been nominated for Emmys in 1995 (for guest starring in The X-Files) and in 1997 (for her supporting role on ER). She has also lent her voice to several video games and animated projects, including Aladdin and the King of ThievesTrue Crime: Streets of LAGargoyles as Desdemona and Coldfire, and most recently Justice League Unlimited asAmanda Waller, a role she reprised for the animated movie adaption of the comic bookSuperman/Batman: Public Enemies. Also, Pounder was one of the readers for the HBO filmUnchained Memories: Readings from the Slave Narrative that aired in 2003, directed by Ed Bell and Thomas Lennon. She currently appears on the Syfy series Warehouse 13. Pounder also was one of the stars of the cancelled Fox sitcom Brothers. Pounder was nominated for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for her appearance in the BBC/HBO series The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency.

Pounder is married to Senegalese anthropologist Boubacar Kone. The couple were married in an African ceremony in Dakar, Senegal and remarried in Los Angeles, California six months later. Kone is the founder of The Boribana Museum in Dakar, Senegal, for the study of cultures of the African diaspora. They have three children, Nicole (b. 1971), Libya (b. 1973), and Matthew (b. 1982).

Pounder has 6 grandchildren: Elisa (born 1994), Michelle (born 1999), Kelly (born 2002), Libya (born 2005), Enid (born 2007), and Matthew (born 2010). Pounder used to own a jewelry shop called Banji Girls with her business partner Conni Marie Brazelton, but now sells jewelry through her website.

YUMILKA RUIZ LUACES

Yumilka Ruiz was one of the most impressive figures on the volleyball courts. If anybody ever had any doubts about women’s jumping ability, they should see this woman play. For sure she jumped much more than most men; Ruiz can fly! Yumilka Ruiz was considered one of the best players in the world; not only because of her jumping ability, but she was also a very skilled player and guaranteed to be on the best scorers or best spikers list.

Captain of the Cuban women’s volleyball team, Yumilka Ruiz had been the long-time favorite player and would always be our bias pick for the best player in the world award.

Yumilka Ruíz born 8 May 1978 in Havana is a retired volleyball player from Cuba, who represented her native country in four consecutive Summer Olympics, starting in 1996. She twice won a gold medal with the national team in 1996 and 2000; she also claimed the bronze at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece.

She retired in 2008 aged 30.  At 1.79m the outside hitter had a jumping power reaching 3.28m.

In August 2008 Ruiz was elected as a member of the International Olympic Committee by the 120th IOC Session.

CICEILY TYSON

Tyson was born and raised in Harlem, New York, the daughter of Theodosia, a domestic, and William Tyson, her father, who worked as a carpenter, a painter, or any other jobs he could find. Her parents were immigrants from the island of Nevis of the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis in the West Indies; Her father arrived in New York City at the age of 21 and was processed at Ellis Island on August 4, 1919. Tyson married legendary jazz trumpeter Miles Davis on November 26, 1981. The ceremony was conducted by Atlanta mayor Andrew Youngat the home of actor Bill Cosby. Tyson and Davis divorced in 1988. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority. On May 17, 2009, Tyson received an honorary degree from Morehouse College, an all-male college.

Cicely Tyson in “Idlewild”

Tyson was discovered or found by a photographer for Ebony magazine and became a popular fashion model. Her first film was an uncredited role in Carib Gold in 1957, but she went on to do television such as the celebrated series East Side/West Side and the soap opera The Guiding Light. In 1961, Tyson appeared in the original cast of French playwright Jean Genet’s The Blacks, the longest running off-Broadway non-musical of the decade, running for 1,408 performances. The original cast also featured James Earl Jones, Roscoe Lee Browne, Louis Gossett, Jr., Godfrey Cambridge, Maya Angelou and Charles Gordone. She appeared with Sammy Davis, Jr. in the film A Man Called Adam (film) (1966) and starred in the film version of Graham Greene’s The Comedians (1967). Tyson had a featured role in The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1968) and was in a segment of the movie Roots.

In 1972, she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in the critically acclaimed Sounder. In 1974, she won two Emmy Awards for The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. Other acclaimed television roles included RootsKing, in which she portrayed Coretta Scott King, The Marva Collins StoryWhen No One Would Listen and Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All for which she received her third Emmy Award. On February 10, 1979 she hosted episode 11 of the fourth season of Saturday Night Live. In the opening monologue, Garret Morris came out dressed in female clothes doing an impression of Cicely, until the real Cicely joined him onstage pretending to be angry at the impression and at the way Morris was demeaning all black actors with such “base” comedy.

Cicely Tyson and Lila Rogers in the dramatic movie The Help.

In 1982, she was awarded the Women in Film Crystal Award for outstanding women who, through their endurance and the excellence of their work, have helped to expand the role of women within the entertainment industry.

In her 1994-1995 television series Sweet Justice, Tyson portrayed a feisty, unorthodox Southern attorney named Carrie Grace Battle, a character she shaped by consulting with and shadowing the legendary Washington, D.C. civil rights and criminal defense lawyer Dovey Johnson Roundtree.

In 2005, Tyson co-starred in the movies Because of Winn-Dixie and Diary of a Mad Black Woman. The same year she was honored by Oprah Winfrey at her Legends Ball.

The 4th. BET Honors

The Cicely Tyson School of Performing and Fine Arts, a magnet school in East Orange, New Jersey, was renamed in her honor. She plays an active part in supporting the school, which serves one of New Jersey’s most underprivileged African-American communities. In 2010 Ms. Tyson narrated the “Paul Robeson Award” winning documentary “Up from the Bottoms: The Search for the American Dream.” In 2011, Tyson appeared in her first music video in Willow Smith’s 21st Century Girl. Cicely played Constantine in the 2011 drama “The Help”

DAISY FUENTES

Fuentes was born in Havana, Cuba to a Cuban father and Spanish mother. When Fuentes was three years old, her family fled the island due to political turmoil and moved to Madrid, Spain. Fuentes learned to speak English while watching I Love Lucy episodes. Soon thereafter, she moved with her family to Harrison, New Jersey, where she attended Harrison High School, was voted Homecoming Queen, and “BEST LOOKING”, and graduated class of ’84. Fuentes started modeling during her senior year in high school. An aspiring hairstylist, she enrolled in cosmetology school with dreams of opening her own salon. Though, while studying communications at Bergen Community College, she was hired as the weather-girl for WNJU-TV, the Telemundo New York affiliate station. Shortly after, she moved on to New York’s Univisionaffiliate where she became the weather anchor and reporter for the evening news.

Daisy Fuentes was married to Juan Canales and was first hired in 1988 as the host of MTV Internacional, a one-hour Spanish-languagemusic show that aired in Latin America and the U.S. Later, Fuentes joined MTV in 1993, becoming MTV’s first Latina VJ. She was also a host of the fashion and modeling series House of Style, among other correspondent gigs. With MTV she achieved name recognition as one of that network’s more popular hosts and soon was courted by companies to be a spokes-model. She later landed a role on the ABCsoap opera Loving. Fuentes appeared on shows such as Dream OnThe Larry Sanders Show, and Cybill. From 1994 to 1995, she hosted her own talk show, Daisy, on CNBC. She was the host of America’s Funniest Home Videos from 1998 to 1999. She hosted The ALMA AwardsDick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, the 1998 World Music Awards, the 1999 Billboard Latin Awards, and the Miss Teen USA,Miss USA, and Miss Universe pageants. She guest-starred in the TV series Queen of Swords episode “Running Wild” 2000. In 2000 she also starred as Kenzie Pearson in Shutterspeed, a made-for TV movie also starring professional wrestler Sting (Steve Borden.)

Daisy Fuentes has appeared on many magazine covers and has starred in nationally televised ads for Revlon, Pantene, American Express, M&Ms and others. She was the first Mind, Body, Spirit Superstar, which was created to generate awareness of top women’s health causes and work to promote change.  In 2005, Fuentes appeared on the three page cover ofPeople en Español’s “50 most beautiful” women. Fuentes has hosted numerous TV shows and specials.

In 2004, Fuentes successfully launched the first clothing line bearing her name. She made her debut in the hair-care category with an all-natural haircare line called Daisy Fuentes Style Pro, in March 2009 to mass retailers. Her workout game for the Nintendo Wii, Daisy Fuentes Pilates, was released in August 2009.

In February 2011 through Kohl’s stores The Daisy Fuentes new fragrance Mysterio eau de parfum joined her five other fragrances on store shelves at Kohl’s along with her hair care line, jewelry line, home collection, accessories collection and clothing line. It is estimated that she sells about $300 million worth of goods, clothing, accessories, and sunglasses at Kohl’s department stores each year.

Fuentes signed a prescription-eye wear licensing deal with Zyloware, an eyewear manufacturer that also has licensing deals with the “American Idol” judge Randy Jackson and Sophia Loren, for a women’s Latina-driven collection of prescription glasses.

3 Comments on “FAMOUS CARIBBEAN WOMEN – Pt. 2

  1. Good information on beautiful and talented Wi women in the diaspora. Please keep it going with those involved in other pursuits including science. Thanks for the examination of women I am also looking forward to learning more about our male counterparts.

  2. Pingback: See Guyanese Pounder

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