Caribbean Roots Britons Knighted By The Queen

Trinidadian-English singer and songwriter Billy Ocean has been knighted by the Queen. (Photo by: Gonzales Photo/Tord Litleskare/PYMCA/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
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News Americas, NEW YORK, NY., Tues. Dec. 31, 2019: Several Caribbean roots Britons have been knighted by the Queen as part of her 2020 New Year’s honors.

Among them are film directors Sam Mendes and Steve McQueen as well as singer and songwriter Billy Ocean, chef Ainsley Harriott, composer Errollyn Wallen, actor Rudolph Malcolm Walker and Dame Floella Benjamin.

Mendes, whose roots run to Trinidad and Tobago and who directed the James Bond films Skyfall and Spectre, as well as American Beauty and Road To Perdition, said he was ‘amazed, delighted and extremely proud’ to be knighted.

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McQueen, who directed the Oscar-winning 12 Years A Slave, as well as Hunger, Shame and Widows, and whose roots run to Grenada and Trinidad, was also knighted.

Also knighted were Chef Harriott, 62, who was born in Paddington, London and is of Jamaican heritage; Trinidadian singer Billy Ocean, 69, for services to cookery and music, respectively and Trinidad born actor Rudolph Malcolm Walker for services to drama and diversity.

Trinidadian-British actress, author, television presenter, singer, businesswoman and politician Floella Karen Yunies Benjamin, Baroness Benjamin, DBE, DL, was made a dame for services to charity while Belizean Composer Errollyn Wallen, who was the first black woman to have her work performed at the Proms, has her MBE upgraded to a CBE for services to music.