By NAN ET Editor
News Americas, LOS ANGELES, CA, Fri. Feb. 19, 2016: Black Caribbean-roots actors continue to make their mark on current popular U.S. television shows. As Black History Month enters week three, here are 10 Caribbean-roots actors on highly rated U.S. TV programs as compiled by News Americas Now:
1: Kerry Washington: Kerry Marisa Washington is highly known for her role as Olivia Pope on “Scandal” since 2012 on ABC television and is getting ready to play Anita Hill in the HBO show ‘Confirmation.’ But this Bronx-born actress’ roots go straight to Jamaica. Washington’s own mother is a professor and educational consultant who was born in Jamaica. Washington is now married and the mother of one and insists her baking specialty is none other than Jamaican fruitcake.
2: Eamonn Walker: He plays fire chief Firehouse 51 Battalion Chief Wallace Boden on NBC’s ‘Chicago Fire’ but few know that actor Eamonn Walker has Caribbean roots. Walker was born in London to a Grenadian father and a Trinidadian mother, in 1962. He also actually lived in Trinidad for six months when he was nine years old before returning to London to attend the Hungerford School in Islington and later the University of North London. Of his Caribbean roots he says: “My whole being and everything that I do has my British and Grenadian sides running through me. Until I went to grade school, I spoke with my Caribbean accent as my mother did but quickly received my first taste of discrimination when kids made fun of me and made my life pretty miserable, because we all know how cruel kids can be (laughs). So I learned to speak like everyone else with a North London accent. Again, my need to be connected with my people has always been in me and I recently returned from Grenada where I met my father’s side of the family for the first time and it was beautiful. In every fiber of my being, knowing my people has always been important to me and I’m glad I was able to meet my extended family.”
3: CCH Pounder: This British-Guiana (now Guyana-born) actress can be seen on the popular ‘NCIS New Orleans’ on CBS. Carol Christine Hilaria (CCH) Pounder currently portrays medical examiner Dr. Loretta Wade but has years of acting under her belt, having made her debut in 1979. Pounder was educated in England and moved to the U.S. in 1970, where she attended Ithaca College. She is married to Senegalese anthropologist Boubacar Kone and has three children and six grand children.
4: Marianne Ragipcien Jean-Baptiste: She is an English-born actress who plays FBI agent plays Bethany Mayfair in the popular series on NBC, ‘The Blindspot.’ Marianne Ragipcien Jean-Baptiste was born in London to a mother from Antigua and father from St. Lucia. She grew up in Peckham and was classically trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and performed at the Royal National Theatre. Jean-Baptiste gained international success from the Mike Leigh-directed social drama Secrets & Lies (1996), receiving both Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress nominations for her performance, becoming the first black British actress to be nominated for an Academy Award, and the second black Briton to be nominated, succeeding Jaye Davidson. She has been married to Evan Williams since 1997. She is also a writer and composer and wrote the score for Mike Leigh’s “Career Girls.” Jean-Baptiste has also written and performed with British jazz musicians, including Jason Rebello, for whom she wrote and recorded four tracks on his album “Keeping Time.”
5: Lorraine Toussaint: After a successful run on ‘Orange Is The New Black,’ she now plays Donna Rosewood on Fox’s “Rosewood.’ Lorraine Toussaint was born in Trinidad and Tobago and moved with her family to Brooklyn in the 1960s. She began her career as Shakespearean actress before tackling screen acting in television and film. Since then Toussaint has received critical acclaim and the Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for ‘Orange Is The New Black.’ She has also played the role of Amelia Boynton Robinson in the 2014 historical drama film ‘Selma’ directed by DuVernay. She has said her aim is to get into directing especially on projects that are Caribbean-based.
6: Alfred Enoch: Alfred “Alfie” Enoch plays the role of Wes Gibbins in the ABC legal drama series, ‘How to Get Away with Murder.’ He was born in London to but traces his roots to Barbados through his maternal grandparents. He made his big acting debut in 2001 as Dean Thomas in ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.’ He has appeared in seven of the eight Harry Potter films and also voiced the character in the video game based on the first part of the film. For his portrayal of Gibbins, Enoch has received two NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series consecutive nominations. His father, William Russell, is a renowned actor who played Ian Chesterton in the original run of the BBC show, ‘Dr. Who.’
7: Meghan Goode: This California-born actress began her career at age 4 and now this 34-year-old actress is playing the recurring role of Dr. Grace Adams on CBS’ ‘Code Black.’ Her character was just introduced in the February 10th episode. Meghan Goode’s roots stretch to Barbados and Puerto Rico through her father’s side of the family. Her paternal grandmother was born in Puerto Rico and her paternal grandfather in Barbados. She also plays Lara Vega in Fox’s ‘Minority Report’ and also recurred on ‘Raising Dad,’ ‘Deception,’ ‘Californication,’ ‘Mr. Robinson,’ and ‘All That Matters,’ among others. On the film side, she was recently seen in ‘A Girl Like Grace,’ which she also co-produced. Other film credits include ‘Think Like A Man Too,’ ‘Anchorman: The Legend Continues,’ and ‘Eve’s Bayou.’
8: Monica Raymund: This bi-sexual actress currently plays Gabriela Dawson on the NBC drama ‘Chicago Fire’ but even though she was born in Florida, Monica Raymund’s roots extend to the Caribbean. Her mother was born in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic and is a community volunteer and co-founder of the Soulful Arts Dance Academy in St. Petersburg. Raymund had her big break of ‘Law & Order’ She is an ardent supporter of LGBT rights. She divorced in 2013 and in February 2014, she came out publicly as bisexual for the first time via Twitter.
9: Alfonso Lincoln Ribeiro: He was born in the Bronx to parents from Trinidad & Tobago. Now the former ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ star and season nineteen winner of ABC’s ‘Dancing with the Stars’ is hosting ‘America’s Funniest Home Videos.’ Alfonso Lincoln Ribeiro was named as Tom Bergeron’s successor as host of the show. Ribeiro began his career at the age of eight. He first gained recognition in 1983, when he played a leading role in the Broadway musical ‘The Tap Dance Kid.’ His mother was the daughter of Trinidadian Calypsonian the Roaring Lion. He is currently married to writer Angela Unkrich and the couple have two sons while Ribero has one from a previous marriage.
10: Peter Thomas: He plays himself on Bravo’s Reality TV show, the ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta,’ and is the husband of series co-star Cynthia Bailey. Peter Thomas was born in Jamaica, raised in Brooklyn and lived in Miami. He is very much the entrepreneur, launching a bar which he co-owns with Bailey and recently announcing the launching of “Peter’s Brew,’ a line of Jamaican gourmet coffee.