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Jamaica Cool: Some Famous (and Favorite!) Jamaicans Redefine Cool

Come on, admit it: When you think of the words “Jamaica” and “cool,” you think of Bob Marley and Yo Mon.  It’s okay!  Bob Marley was, is and will always be cool in ways that define and redefine the term.  Beyond great hair and amazing music, he was a revolutionary, a fighter, and a staunch supporter of his people.  And we know that Yo Mon brings the cool, literally and figuratively, to the Jersey Shore every single day, but there’s more to Jamaica and Jamaicans than Bob Marley and reggae.  There is a whole list of famous Jamaicans that have brought “cool” to a whole new level and introduced the world to this country beyond their beautiful beaches.

Harry Belafonte:  Harry Belafonte was born stateside in New York to Jamaican parents and spent time on the island with his grandmother while growing up.  No doubt Belafonte had the looks and voice to make him a super star; his first paid gig was with the Charlie Parker Quartet, which included Miles Davis.  He never forgot about Jamaica, though, and has spoken out openly for civil rights all his life, a habit some people think irrevocably damaged his career.  His confidence, talent and unwavering support of the rights of all people have pushed cool to a new level.

Grace Jones:  Born in 1948 in Spanish Town, Jamaica, Grace was raised by her grandparents until the age of 13, when she and her siblings moved to Syracuse, New York, to live with their parents.  A singer, actress and model, she starred in the films Conan the Destroyer and A View to a Kill (James Bond), and she influenced the cross-dressing movement in the 1980’s.  You remember her—she might have scared you a little, but she left people in awe.

 

Usain Bolt:  Unless you’ve been living under a rock during the last couple of Olympics, you’ve heard about Usain Bolt.  His surname has given him the perfect nickname, Lightening Bolt, for a man many regard as the fastest person ever.  A Jamaican-born sprinter, Bolt is the first person ever to hold the world records in the 100-meter and 200-meter sprints and the first man ever to win 6 Olympic gold medals in sprinting.  He’s a five-time World Champion and the first man ever to win a “double double” by taking the gold in the 100 and 200 meter titles in consecutive Olympics (2008 and 2012).  He’s been called the greatest athlete ever.  Anyone with this many “evers” in his bio falls into the category of undeniably cool.

In our next blog, we’ll introduce to you more Jamaicans who define cool.  Who do you think should make the list?