Skip to content

5 Influential Icons from the Caribbean That Impacted the World

The Caribbean Islands Boast of Famous and Influential People
From All Fields and Walks of Life

The Caribbean is mostly known for its white sandy beaches and year-round sunshine. But did you know that there is a long list of Caribbean greats that have created a lasting impact on the world? The Caribbean islands boast of famous and influential people from all fields and walks of life. Here are 5 influential icons from the Caribbean that impacted the world.

Bob Marley – the #1 Reggae Music Icon In the World

A proud son of the Caribbean, Bob Marley is a name that is recognised in every corner of the world. He was a Jamaican icon and music legend that transformed the world with his conscious message portrayed through reggae. The world of reggae and the world of music on a whole will never be the same.

Bob Marley only had a small window of time to impact the world but boy did he leave his mark. And he did it in less than 20 years. He made his first recording in 1962 at the tender age of 17. And at a young age of 36 (in 1981) he died under tragic circumstances. In that short span of time Bob Marley and the Wailers recorded 165 songs. Here’s a complete list of Bob Marley’s songs.

Sidney Poitier – The Most Globally-Acclaimed Actor from the Caribbean

Did you know that acclaimed and award-winning actor Sidney Poitier had his roots deeply buried in the Caribbean? Although he was born in Miami, Florida (in 1927) Sidney Poitier grew up in a tiny Caribbean village on Cat Island in the Bahamas. He was the son of a poor farmer. It was in the capital, Nassau, where Sidney made his first encounter with the movie theatres as an 11-year old boy.

Sidney Poitier was the first black actor to receive an Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role in 1964 and remained the only one for almost 4 decades until Denzel Washington for Training Day in 2001.

Here are 3 movies starring Sidney Poitier that you can watch right now:

– Lillies of the Field

– A Raisin in the Sun

– In the Heat of the Night

Usain Bolt – the Fastest Man Alive

Widely considered the ‘fastest man alive’, Usain Bolt is a Jamaican-born sprinter and Olympic gold medallist for the 100- and 200-metre races. He unprecedentedly won gold in three consecutive Olympic Games (2008, 2012 and 2016) and won a total of 19 gold medals, the highest number in history for an Olympic sprinter. He was also the first and only man in Olympic history to win both the 100- and 200-meter races in record times.

Colin Powel  – A Black Caribbean Man Who Rose to the Top

Colin Powell, the son of humble, hard-working Jamaican immigrants rose to the top. Colin Powell is an American politician, diplomat and retired four-star general who served as the 65th United States Secretary of State from 2001 to 2005 under President Bush.


Powell is one of countless children of Caribbean immigrants who left their sun-drenched homelands for North America and Europe, looking for a better life. Powell firmly believed that black Caribbean people, had a leg up on African Americans. In his book, My American Journey, Powell states that Afro-Caribbean people “did not have their individual dignity beat down for three hundred years, the fate of so many black American slaves and their ancestors.”

Peter Minshall – Masman and Creative Genius

Peter Minshall, born in Georgetown, Guyana and raised in Port of Spain, Trinidad, is a creative genius who truly made his mark internationally.  Peter Minshall is a ‘masman’, creative designer, and has a way with words that can only be described as brilliant. 

While growing up in Port of Spain, Peter was naturally exposed to Carnival at an early age. He designed his first carnival costume at the age of 13 and there was no looking back after that. He was hooked. Peter Minshall’s definition of carnival is “where you see the music and listen to the mas”. Peter didn’t just design costumes and mas bands; he created a story that captivated onlookers.  He designed legendary carnival king and queen pieces such as “Tan Tan” and “Saga Boy” (watch short video here) and carnival bands such as Paradise Lost, River, Rat Race, Hallelujah and many, many others.

But Peter Minshall didn’t only leave his mark on the Caribbean scene. He stamped his mark in bold colour across the international stage as well. He is the man behind the epic opening ceremonies of many international events – the 1987 Pan American Games, the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, the 1994 Football World Cup and the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. And yes, Peter also designed the inflatable men that you see all across North America at street corners and in front of shopping malls.


Kevon Wilson


kevon wilson

Kevon Wilson, is a premier researcher and strategist. He has more than 16 years’ experience in research, digital marketing, and strategic planning in over 15 countries around the world.


He is co-author of many of Leve Global’s research publications such as Big Data – Delivering the Big Picture to Drive Competitiveness, Everything You Need to Know About Internet Marketing, The Top Ten Emerging Markets as well as market publications on the American, British, German, Japanese and Canadian markets


Here are Related Articles That Might also Interest You

6 thoughts on “5 Exceptional Icons from the Caribbean That Impacted the World”

  1. Janelle P Commissiong

    Truly disappointed…Could you not have identified one Caribbean woman to be on this list? Please go and do your homework.

    1. Thank you Parry for your comment. You’d be pleased to know that we are working on a similar piece dedicated to female icons of the Caribbean. Eugenia Charles will be prominently featured. Stay tuned.

  2. Henry F. van Varsseveld

    Jan Ernst Matzeliger from Suriname was the inventor of the shoe twisting machine in USA, which result that shoes became cheaper and available for people with not a high income.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *