2013-starsIn the sweeping- much deserved- Caribbean and T&T euphoria of the Tessane Chin ‘The Voice’ win I couldn’t help but notice we Trinis again don’t seem to generate the same machinery and fuel for our own. Bunji’s and Anya’s voting storms notwithstanding. We need as a nation to connect the dots more often and more scientifically when it comes to our champions. We need to claim our talents and Genius and we need to make noise about them. This post is an attempt to put into perspective the amount of achievements that T&T nationals and diaspora massive put on the international map in 2013. It is an impressive list- and it is far from complete. And it is interactive because I want you all to contribute!!!

I want you to post all the accomplishments that you know that we have authored globally this year- from cup-cake-cooking contests to literary prizes to international art showings to beauty contests. If we achieved something- post it here. Hopefully by early next year we can then have a better idea of what we are about as a nation. For the mean time- enjoy:

  1. Bunji Garlin and ‘Differentology’
    • Song leads flash mob in Long Island’s Mac Arthur airport terminal
    • wins the MTV Iggy ‘Song of the Year’ Award- for international acts
    • wins the Soul Train ‘Best International Performance’ award
    • gets song on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’
    • gets re-mixed by global DJ Major Laza and played internationally
    • gets re-mixed by many other DJs
    • won the Hot 97 Battle of the Beats Competition, out voting the likes of Eminem, No Malice, Dj Khaled and August Alsina
    • becoming one of the NBA’s new favorite arena anthems, airing for instance during the Brooklyn Nets vs. Portland Trail Blazers game at Barclays Center and the Toronto Raptors vs Miami Heat face-off
    • did photo-shoot with iconic pop culture photographer Jonathon Mannion
  2. George Bovell III– 13 medals at the recently concluded FINA World Cup,
    • one gold and four bronze medals at the Berlin, Netherlands and Moscow legs of the World Cup.
    • bronze medal in the 50m freestyle in Barcelona
    • bronze in Dubai leg in Doha, Qatar
  3. Nicki  Minaj
    • 4th on Forbes Cash King list of Hip Hop entertainers earning $29 million in 2013, no other woman has even been on the chart since its inception in 2007
    • joined judging panel of the twelfth season of American Idol with a salary of $12 million.
    • On April 12, 2013, Minaj became the most-charted female rapper in the history of theBillboard Hot 100, with forty-four appearances
    • has confirmed plans to launch her own record label, having signed Parker Ighile, Brinx, and Keisha as artists, and Blackout Movement as a producer.
    • will appear in her first live-action theatrical film The Other Woman; with an anticipated release date set for April 25, 2014 co-starring with Cameron Diaz
    • led nominations for rap musicians at the Billboard Music Awards 2013 having seven nominations.
    • Won Best Female Hip-Hop Artist at the BET Awards 2013, making history as the first female rapper to win the award four times consecutively.
    • currently working on her third studio album which is scheduled for a 2014 release.
    • April 2013, partnered with Beats Electronics to launch the “Pink Pill” speaker, sold exclusively at AT&T
    • On June 6, 2013, Minaj would not only front the moscato beverage called “Myx Fusions” campaign, but also has shared ownership of the company
    • Minaj launched her clothing line The Nicki Minaj Collection in Fall 2013, as “Harajuku Barbie.”
    • February 14, 2013, Bluewater Comics released to stores “Fame” biographical comic book titled Fame: Nicki Minaj
    • revealed via Twitter that she is working on two books
    • In April 2013, the limited version Pink Friday Special Edition fragrance was launched.
    • In July 2013, Minaj announced that her second fragrance Minajesty would be released in September 2013.
  4. Tatyana Ali
    • Nominated, “Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series” – Love That Girl
    • Appears in recurring role in ‘Second Generation Wayans’
  5. Nia Long
    • Appeared in the big African American ensemble film ‘Best Man Holiday’ and finished shooting ‘The Single Mom’s Club’
    • appeared on TV in ‘Malibu Stacey’ and ‘House of Lies’
  6. KMC
    • Signed deal with Universal Global- the biggest record company in the world, recorded 26 songs for debut with a host of duets with artists like Jennifer Lopez, Birdman, Lil Wayne, and Marc Anthony
  7. Kes– continued touring outside of the comfortable T&T carnival diaspora circuit in venues and events like:
    • Vero’s on the Bay, Key Biscayne, FL
    • Montreal International Reggae Festival, Montreal, Canada
    • HOOGSTRATEN, Hoogstraten, Belgium
    • Wild Water Kingdom, Toronto, Canada
    • Bob Marley – A Tribute to Freedom, Orlando, FL
    • UCLA Jazz Reggae Festival, Los Angeles, CA
    • GBM Showcase, Atlanta, GA
  8. Richie Luna had an international hit with the song celebrate expertly managed by his label Champion Sound- pioneering the strategy used subsequently by Bunji:
    • In the US the track attained top 10 placing in some key Electronic Dance Music (EDM) charts including Masspool Digital and Starfleet Music Pool charts
    • placed in the top 10 of Digital Radio Tracker’s US National Airplay chart
    • achieved some key plays at Baseball, American Football and Basketball stadiums
    • currently at 4,142,815 views – the highest ever for a local artist
  9. Soca Warriors
    • convincing back to back victories over the “Reggae  Boyz” at home and away,  narrow 1-0 loss against eventual 2014 World Cup finalists Mexico, a 2-0 win over Honduras, another World Cup qualifier, at the Gold Cup, defeating Saudi Arabia on its home territory, and winning a three-goal comeback against United Arab Emirates at Arab invitational
    • to put the ‘Soca defeats Reggae’ back-to-back wins in context- its been 12 years since Trinidad and Tobago last defeated Jamaica, 14 years since there were two Warrior victories over the Boyz in the same calendar year, and 61 years since a triumph was recorded on Jamaican soil
  10. Rene Bhagwandeen
    • Got selected for America’s Next Top Model and was a fan favourite
    • Reached 2nd to last episode of ‘America’s Next Top Model’
  11. Theophilus London
    • In September 2013, London revealed that the new album Vibezz is dedicated to his aunt who had passed away recently.
    • would be releasing a new mixtape titled I Want You Still and an EP with Jesse Boykins as Paris96
  12. T&T Cricketers
    • Defeated Guyana comprehensively in final to record a hat-trick of Caribbean T20 championship victories  – 2011, 2012, 2013
    • 2013 triumph counted four championship successes in the six editions of Caribbean T20 competition – T&T champions in 2008, Guyana champions 2006 and 2010
    • Won two individual awards – fast bowler Shannon Gabriel (Man Of Final Match), batsman Darren Bravo (Top Player Of Championship)
    • T&T hit two highest scores in 2013 championship – 191/4 v Guyana on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at QP Oval, Port-of-Spain and 187/4 v Leeward Islands, January 9, 2013, QP Oval, Port-of-Spain
    • Trinidad and Tobago logged five times including top spot in Top Ten teams with largest margin of victories
    • IPL 2013 was the last time the players would get the opportunity to play as a national team in the competition, they had a charismatic and creditable campaign that ended in semi-final defeat being undone by Trinis playing in the opposing team…
    • national Under-15 cricketers clinched the regional championships in Jamaica
  13. National swimmer Shanntol Ince
    • 2013 Youth Para Pan American Games held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, gold in 400m freestyle, 100m backstroke, 100m butterfly and 100m freestyle at her first junior event
  14. Jillionaire
    • solo career has also been moving at light speed, with headline gigs & tours across Europe, The UK, Asia/Australia, North and South America, guest mixes for BBC Radio 1 and MTV, a remix on Ultra and more releases in the pipeline
    • In February 2013, Major Lazer signed with indie record label Secretly Canadian.
    • released album Free the Universe.
    • Engaged the Free the Universe 2013 World Tour

Posted on December 27, 2013, in President's Blog and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. ‘Home Again’ – shot in T&T and starring many Trinis in lead and supporting roles and in the crew- won the BAFTA Festival Choice Award, Pan African Film Festival in LA and created history when premiered at British Museum, UK on October 31, 2013 http://guardian.co.tt/entertainment/2013-07-16/home-again-another-award

  2. More accomplishments: T&T had a contingent of visual artists at Art Basel in Miami- one of the biggest art fairs in the world at the Global Caribbean and Global African exhibitions. A highlight was Trinidadian Christopher Cozier’s light box Installation, “The Arrest: Hands up, Hand out.” and his talk on a panel.Miles Regis (and Mandisa Foster) were 2 more Trini artists showing at Art Basel: http://www.largeup.com/2013/12/05/visual-culture-trinidads-miles-regis-at-art-basel-miami/

  3. More accomplishments: Trinidadians in the Universal Circus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHENH1W7if0

  4. More accomplishments: 2 Trini magicians blow minds on the Steve Harvey show: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=444974965614879

  5. Trini filmmaking pioneer Horace Ove’s son – Zak Ove has been enjoying some notoriety in London over some brilliant conceptual installations/sculptures he has been creating that are tribal and modern in a very Trini carnival imaginative way. He has had exhibitions and installations in various sites, the latest recently opened: http://ancienttofuture.com/…/speaker-the-art-of-zak-ove/

  6. Etienne Charles. One of top albums for itunes 2013. From a bio for TEDxPortofSpain “Born on the Island of Trinidad in 1983, Etienne Charles defies easy musical categorization. He has been hailed by New York Times as “an auteur” and by Jazz Times as “A daring improviser who delivers with heart wrenching lyricism.”

    According to Downbeat Magazine “Charles delivers his ebullient improvisations with the elegance of a world-class ballet dancer.” Etienne has received critical acclaim for his exciting performances, thrilling compositions and knack for connecting with audiences worldwide. In 2012, Etienne was written into the US Congressional Record for his musical contributions to Trinidad & Tobago and the World. In 2006 he won the National Trumpet Competition Jazz Division in Fairfax, VA.

    Perhaps more than any other musician of his generation or Eastern Caribbean
    origin, Etienne brings a careful study of myriad rhythms from the French, Spanish, English and Dutch speaking Caribbean to the table. Crucially, as a soloist, he fully understands the New Orleans trumpet tradition (which is readily discernible in his trademark instrumental swagger) and what famed Crescent City Pianist, Jelly Roll Morton so succinctly captured in the now immortal phrase, ‘The Spanish Tinge’.

    He has performed and or recorded with Monty Alexander, Roberta Flack, Frank Foster, Ralph MacDonald, Johnny Mandel, Wynton Marsalis, Marcus Roberts, Maria Schneider, Count Basie Orchestra, Eric Reed, Lord Blakie, David Rudder and many others. His latest recording, Kaiso (Culture Shock Music 2011), features his arrangements and interpretations of the music of calypso legends Lord Kitchener, Mighty Sparrow & Roaring Lion.

    Etienne Charles currently serves as Assistant Professor of Jazz Studies at Michigan State University. He holds a Master’s degree from the Juilliard School and a Bachelor’s degree from Florida State University.

    for further information please visit etiennecharles.com”

  7. Jehue Gordon- who turned away from the life of the streets and towards track and university- wins gold at the IAAF World Championships with an incredible dipping finish: http://www.newsday.co.tt/news/0,182291.html

  8. Facebook’s Global Head of Diversity is a Trini. http://islandistas.com/?p=3702

  9. The Latin American and Caribbean Internet Addresses Registry (LACNIC) announced that Trinidad-born technology expert, Bevil Wooding was the 2013 recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award: http://guardian.co.tt/news/2013-12-28/wooding-receives-lacnic-lifetime-achievement-award

  10. Other than her Top 5 American Top model finish here’s what Renee Bhagwandeen has done this year: TOP 15 at Miss international; Voted 19th most beautiful woman in the world;
    Top 5 most influential people under 25 in Florida; she is now an Official ‘Guess’ girl (one of the few black ones); she’s now modelled for many of the brand metropolitan department stores in the world; she walked for Michelle Obama’s official designer Laura Smalls; and there are a host of other opportunities post ANTM that she is in the process of negotiating…

  11. God Loves The Fighter – first ever T&T feature film to be featured in The Hollywood Reporter by Writer of the Year (2013) Stephen Galloway and Variety Magazine in 2013. Also won, Best Local Feature at the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival 2013. Film was directed by Damian Marcano – born in T&T lives and works out of LA.

  12. Canada-based Calypso-fusion group Kobo Town led by Trini Drew Gonsalves (brother of Joey of Second Imij and music production fame) released a new album called ‘Jumbie in the Jukebox’ produced by a famed World Music producer. The album has taken the band to the next level: it was voted 1 of the top 5 World Music albums for CBC Music (the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Digital Radio Service); it became #1 Europe World Music Charts by July 2013; and set the band on a tour that would include: France, Belgium, Germany, UK, Venezuela, Guyana, Minneapolis, Chicago Illinois, Seattle Washington, Portland Oregon, San Francisco California, and Los Angeles California. The band and album also has been receiving rave reviews in many mainstream metroplitan newspapers and industry publications internationally: “This is what a meeting of Mighty Sparrow and Andy Palacio would sound like. These guys are really onto something.”
    –Global A Go-Go “The record is packed with songs that are optimistic, energetic and upbeat while maintaining a level of intelligence about them. Kobo Town is rooted in activism and politics but cover it all with sunshine and love. Jumble In The Jukebox is the melding of island influences and modern musical techniques that sound authentic despite being uniquely Canadian. If anything, Jumble In The Jukebox illustrates the influence and prevalence of island music in the world. I thoroughly enjoyed this record; it’s lighthearted feel and intelligence made it an absolute joy to jump in line with.”
    — PopStereoReviews

  13. JUS NOW is the meeting of two Riddim obsessives, Interface (Producer / DJ from Bristol, UK) and LAZAbeam (Percussionist / Producer from Trinidad).
    Pushing boundaries with the fusion of traditional Caribbean rhythm culture and sub heavy production values of the UK underground, their respective hometowns are separated by 4,500 miles, yet through a shared love of bass, rum and partying, JUS NOW are smashing up dancefloors across continents.
    Carnival season in Trinidad has seen the most notable collaboration with Soca superstar Bunji Garlin to produce road anthem ‘Savage’, whilst the UK has been exposed to sound of ‘Tun Up’, also featuring Garlin. ‘Tun Up’ has received heavy support from both BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra as well as big name DJs, with Toddla T, David Rodigan, Shy FX, Baauer, MistaJam and B. Traits all giving signals.
    After acclaimed performances at Glastonbury Festival, Love Saves The Day and Bristol’s St. Paul’s Carnival – JUS NOW’s stage show continues to engulf every audience it’s presented to through infectious crowd participation. Complete with live drums and dancers, the host MC’s; Serocee from the UK as well as JUS NOW’s own Kerwin Prescott from Trinidad, provide a positive and extremely energetic front.

  14. Daniel Jerome Cipriani (born 2 November 1987) is an English rugby union footballer of Tobagonian descent. He plays fly-half, centre and fullback. He has been known for his playing as well as his bar fights, high profile love life, and general all-round ‘bad behaviour’. He has played for London Wasps, Melbourne Rebels and England. He currently plays for Premiership team Sale Sharks. Danny Cipriani is mixed-race, his father is from Trinidad & Tobago while his mother is English. Danny appears briefly in an episode in the first season of My Super Sweet 16 UK. Cipriani captained England U16. He played fly-half for the England U19 side in the U19 World Cup but was unable to complete the tournament due to a head injury. Following an injury to Jonny Wilkinson, Cipriani regained the England number 10 shirt for the 2008 Autumn Internationals. He was then dropped following two poor displays in defeat to South Africa and Australia. Much was also made of his high-profile relationship with model Kelly Brook and concerns were raised by critics about whether he was fully committed to rugby. Cipriani is the first England international player to join an Australian Super Rugby team. As of 23 November 2011, he has played 12 matches for the Melbourne Rebels and scored 108 points. His ill-discipline off the field has cost him the chance to play more. Danny Cipriani has signed a new 3-year contract with Sale Sharks he has played 26 times for them, scoring 201 points, including 4 tries in the first 4 games of the 2012-13 LV= Cup, making him the second highest points scorer behind Harlequins Ben Botica, in this year he also helped Sale reach the LV= Cup Final. In 2008 Cipriani has donated 15 pairs of Adidas rugby boots to members of the Rainbow Sports and Cultural Club in Trinidad

  15. Delon Anthony Armitage (born 15 December 1983) is a rugby union footballer who plays at wing or fullback for Toulon and England. He was responsible for the try that gave his team their pip-squeak 16-15 Heineken Cup final victory over Clermont Auvergne that made them Champions of Europe in 2013..He was born in San Fernando, Trinidad. He also occasionally plays centre and often does place kicking, mainly from a distance or if the regular kicker is unable to take it.

    From 1996 to 2002, Armitage lived in Roquefort-les-Pins on the French Riviera and from the age of 12 Armitage began playing for Rugby Nice Côte d’Azur Université-Racing. Armitage was rejected by the France Under-16s, who claimed he was too tall and skinny On his return to London, Armitage joined Richmond before his current club, London Irish offered him a professional apprenticeship. Armitage joined the Academy in 2002, where he played for the England U19’s and was involved in the team that won the U19’s National Cup (02-03). From there he progressed to the U21 squad. His talent was recognised and Armitage played for England in the IRB World Sevens tournament 2005. In August 2009 he took part in the Middlesex Sevens tournament in Twickenham where he helped London Irish to victory over Samerai International to take the championship. In May 2013 he scored Toulon’s only try of the match as they won the 2013 Heineken Cup Final by 16-15 against Clermont Auvergne.

    On 8 November 2008 Armitage made his full England debut against the Pacific Islanders at fullback following injuries to Mathew Tait andNick Abendanon. He put in a man of the match winning performance setting up a try for winger Paul Sackey English Rugby legend and team manager Martin Johnson described Armitage’s debut performance as outstanding.
    On 3 February 2009, Armitage and his brother,Steffon Armitage, were both named in England’s starting XV to take on Italy in the opening game of the 2009 Six Nations. The ninth pair and the first time since Rory Underwood andTony Underwood stepped onto the field together in 1995 that two brothers have played in the same England team.

    Armitage’s stepfather John played rugby for Hatfield and encouraged his sons to such an extent that four of them are now professional players. Guy plays at Irish. Steffon is also a member of the Saxons squad and Toulon. Bevon left RFU Championship club Doncaster Knights in 2010 for his brothers’ youth club Rugby Nice Côte d’Azur Université-Racing. Armitage is the first native West Indian to play rugby union for England. He has two children with his current girlfriend, a son Cameron (born 2007) and a daughter Chloe (born May 2009).

  16. Keston K. Perry, Doctoral Researcher at SOAS, University of London and founder of KUMBAConnect wins the 2013 World ITU Young Innovators’ Competition.

  17. Dwayne Bravo also signed a huge endorsement deal with a Chinese Company.

  18. Etienne Charles’ Creole Soul was the #3 Album of the Year on the JazzWeek charts for 2013. JazzWeek publishes the weekly jazz chart using airplay reports submitted by stations. http://www.jazzweek.com/year-end/

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