Photos via @goldarosheuvel, @ayoedebiri and @thegenuinetoussaint on Instagram

Amidst the glitz and glamor of Hollywood, there exists a group of Caribbean actors and actresses whose contributions to the film and television industry may surprise you. From iconic actors to emerging filmmakers, we’re shining a spotlight on some Caribbean American talent who have left their mark on the silver screen.

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Golda Rosheuvel

Look up the most popular show on Netflix right now and you’ll probably see the 19th Century Regency era-based series Bridgerton. What you might not know is that one of the most notable characters, Queen Charlotte, is played by Guyanese actress Golda Rosheuvel, a role that has brought her considerable acclaim. With a discography that includes the lead in the Bridgerton spinoff short series, titled Queen Charlotte, a part alongside Zendaya in Dune: Part One, the whistleblowing grandmother Agnes in the 2016 Lady Macbeth and the recurring role of Jocelyn Sancerre in the new 2024 release of Doctor Who, alongside a handful of roles in other films and stage productions.

Ayo Edebiri

A rising star, 28-year old Ayo Ejebiri gained national acclaim with her role on the Hulu original comedy-drama, The Bear, of which she won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. Since, the actress, who has Barbadian roots on her father’s side, has appeared in highly rated movies like the girls fight club comedy, Bottoms and the 2023 musical mockumentary, Theater Camp, as well as television, including a speaking role on the provocative cartoon comedy, Big Mouth and the part of Ayesha, the sister of main character Janine Teagues, on Abbott Elementary. Her cheeky interview humor and awkward red carpet candor has made her a fan favorite, while her coming of age roles have hailed her as a relatable female character for young women. 

Letitia Wright

Letitia Wright has quickly risen to prominence as one of the most intriguing young actresses of her generation. Born in Georgetown, Guyana, she first gained attention as Chantelle in the 2011 British drama Top Boy. Her talent continued to shine with a guest role in the 2015 series of Doctor Who and an Emmy-nominated performance as Nish in the 2017 “Black Museum” episode of the horror meets sci-fi series, Black Mirror. However, Wright is likely best known for her standout role as Shuri in Marvel’s Black Panther alongside the late Chadwick Boseman, where her portrayal of Wakanda’s lead scientist and strong princess captivated audiences worldwide.

Zoë Kravitz

The daughter of musician Lenny Kravitz and actress Lisa Bonet, Zoë Kravitz has Bahamian ancestry on her father’s side. She has carved out her own path in the entertainment industry, delivering memorable performances in big box office films such as It’s Kind of a Funny Story, Divergent, Mad Max: Fury Road, and the newest 2022 Batman. She’s also no stranger to television, with a spot on the HBO drama Big Little Lies alongside Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and her Divergent co-star Shailene Woodley. When she’s not on the Hollywood red carpet, Kravitz also models for commercial brands like Yves Saint Laurent. Her unique blend of talent, beauty and charisma continues to captivate audiences worldwide.

Stephen Toussaint

Stephen Toussaint is a British actor recognized for his versatile performances across television, film and theater. Born and raised in the United Kingdom to Barbadian parents, Toussaint has garnered acclaim for his powerful presence and nuanced portrayals of complex characters. In 2022, he gained widespread attention and praise for his role as Lord Corlys Velaryon, also known as “The Sea Snake,” in the HBO original series House of the Dragon, a prequel to the immensely popular Game of Thrones.

Throughout his career, Toussaint has demonstrated remarkable range and dedication, earning him respect and admiration from audiences and peers alike. From his role on the British crime drama, The Knock, to the Australian series Pine Gap and even a small part in the 2010 Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, alongside Jake Gyllenhaal, his work continues to contribute to the evolving landscape of contemporary drama, making him a prominent figure in modern television and film.

Naomie Harris

Hailing from London with roots in Jamaica, Naomie Harris has garnered international acclaim for her versatile performances across film and television. From her breakthrough role as Tia Dalma in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise to her poignant portrayal of a drug-addicted mother in Moonlight, Harris’s talent knows no bounds. She has become known as a great choice for action-packed sequences, like her role of the superhuman Shriek in the 2021 Venom Marvel sequel, Venom: Let There Be Carnage and her portrayal of a badass police officer in Black and Blue. Her ability to inhabit complex characters with depth and nuance has cemented her status as one of Hollywood’s most compelling actors.

Barry Jenkins

Acclaimed filmmaker Barry Jenkins has emerged as a visionary voice in contemporary cinema, crafting visually stunning and emotionally resonant narratives that challenge conventions and defy categorization. Born and raised in Miami to a Bahamian mother, Jenkins won widespread acclaim for his film Moonlight, which earned him an Academy Award for Best Picture. Another of his accomplishments is the 2018 If Beale Street Could Talk, a critically acclaimed film with a whopping 95% audience rating on review site Rotten Tomatoes, of which he directed and wrote the screenplay.

His evocative storytelling and profound exploration of identity have solidified his reputation as a filmmaker of immense talent and promise. In 2024, he is set to direct the much-anticipated adventure musical, Mufasa: The Lion King.

Lorraine Toussaint

With a career spanning over three decades, Lorraine Toussaint has delivered captivating performances across film, television and stage. Born in Trinidad and Tobago and raised in Brooklyn, Toussaint’s talent shines in roles that range from the fierce Vee in Orange Is the New Black to the nurturing mother-figure in Queen Sugar and a brief stint as a LGBTQ+ ally on the family-favorite television series, The Fosters. Since 2021 she has been devoted to the women-led CBS adaption of the hit Denzel Washington movies, The Equalizer, working alongside Queen Latifah. Her ability to embody complex characters with depth and authenticity is a testament to her skill as an actress.

Selenis Leyva

A Dominican-American actress hailing from the Bronx, Selenis Leyva has captivated audiences with her memorable performances in film and television. Known for her dominating role as Gloria Mendoza in Orange Is the New Black, Leyva’s portrayal of complex and multidimensional characters has garnered widespread praise. More recently, she appeared in Creed III alongside Michael B. Jordan as the strong Latina mother of a fellow boxer, and since 2022 she has been known as Rosie on the NBC sitcom Lopez vs Lopez, a reprisal of sorts of the early 2000s hit show. Beyond acting, she is also an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and mental health awareness, using her platform to amplify important social issues.

Yara Shahidi

Best known for her starring role in the television series Black-ish and its spin-off Grown-ish, Yara Shahidi is a rising star whose Caribbean roots add an extra layer of richness to her identity. Born to an Iranian father and a mother of Afro-Trinidadian and African American descent, Shahidi is not only a talented actress but also an outspoken advocate for social justice and youth empowerment. Outside of television, Shahidi played the lead in the 2019 romance, The Sun Is Also a Star, and scored the role of Tinker Bell in the 2023 live action Disney adaptation of Peter Pan & Wendy


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