Caribbean American Heritage Month may have technically ended a few days ago, but we still want to take the time to recognize some of the unique voices in this diverse community.
Last year, we made a list of Caribbean news sites worth following, and this year our list is made up of influential content creators.
The women in this group come from a variety of countries around the Caribbean, and each brings her own unique flavor to her writing. I found many instances of them supporting each other on social media as well, which was great to see.
1. Jay Blessed
Jamie Alleyne-Morris immigrated to New York from Trinidad when she was 18. She started her blog in 2011 as “A Human Experience From A Caribbean Perspective.”
Originally a Caribbean entertainment news blog, the site now breaks news stories, interviews celebrities, and serves as a voice for the Caribbean LGBTQ+ community.
After leaving the blog world for several years, Jay Blessed rebranded and relaunched the site in 2018. As a mental health advocate, she has also taken on the task of using her platform “to bring positivity and healing, by discussing and uncovering issues that deeply affect the diaspora but is often disregarded or blatantly ignored.”
Follow @JAYBLESSED on Twitter.
Franka Philip is a Trinidadian journalist and co-founder of Trini Good Media.
Philip, a former BBC journalist and foodie, writes a food column for Caribbean Beat, the in-flight magazine of Caribbean Airlines.
Trini Good Media articles include Trinidad and Tobago entertainment and culture news, as well as interviews with influential local figures in the Talk ‘Bout Us podcast.
Follow @Trinifood on Twitter.
Jacqueline Charles is a Caribbean correspondent for the Miami Herald.
Born in Grand Turk, the capital of the Turks and Caicos Islands, Charles moved to Miami at the age of seven with her family and started writing for the Miami Herald as an intern when she was only 14. Over the years, she’s covered urban affairs and Caribbean news.
She was named Journalist of the Year in 2011 by the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) for her coverage of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, for which she also was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. Charles also contributed to the Herald’s Panama Papers.
Follow @Jacquiecharles on Twitter.
4. JoAnna E.
First-generation Trinidadian JoAnna E. is a travel and lifestyle blogger from New York City.
Her blog, named one of the Top Black Travel Blogs, shares her love of travel, beauty, and fashion, as well as stories of her journey as an African American woman in the tech industry.
An advocate for Caribbean tourism, JoAnna has great travel guide posts for a variety of locations around the Caribbean, including Cuba, the Bahamas, and Turks and Caicos.
Follow @joannaeblog on Twitter.
5. Tamara Sykes
Tamara Sykes is “a free-spirited, Caribbean-born fashionista who now resides in the Midwest.”
Born in Barbados, Sykes writes the Baydian Girl blog and covers everything from fashion to motherhood to business. She also shares a lot of great blogging and SEO posts on social media, so be sure to follow her to get helpful insights for improving your own blog.
I loved reading her style tips, which inspire me to add more color to my wardrobe (my closet is full of black, navy, and gray).
Follow @baydiangirl on Twitter.
Originally from Trinidad and Tobago and currently living in New York City, Leigh-Ann Martin is a chef and writes her Gasparillo Junction food blog to “re-introduce home cooking back into the lives of others, especially the average single lady or gentleman.”
Her farm to table cooking style combines her Trinidadian roots with a New York City lifestyle. She creates her recipes based on four elements: Caribbean flavors, simple ingredients, easily-to-replicate techniques, and beautiful plating.
Follow @chefleighann on Instagram.
A former TV news anchor, Ianthia Smith is a full-time blogger, vlogger, and content creator in the travel and lifestyle space. Her blog, Miniskirts and Microphones, covers topics like freelance tips, food, skincare, and travel.
Smith was named one of The Bahamas’ 2017 most influential 40 under 40 professionals. According to her xoNecole bio, she offers millennial women “advice and inspiration on how to transition from 9 to 5 to full-time girl boss while being a woman in the age of social media.”
The Bahamas native has written for Essence, Forbes Travel Guide, and Sheen Magazine. She also currently hosts four Bahamian TV shows.
Follow @iamianthia on Twitter.
8. Vashtie Kola
Vashtie Kola, a first-generation American of Trinidadian heritage, is a sort of renaissance woman who works as a director, artist, fashion designer, and DJ.
Based in New York, Kola made a name for herself 20 years ago and has been called the “Curator of Cool” by Black Enterprise.
Her website, Downtown’s Sweetheart, has a mix of content from a team of writers covering music, style, and wellness, among other topics.
Follow @vashtie on Twitter.
Born in Nassau, Bahamas, Strachan now lives in Tampa, Fla., and writes the popular Bahamianista blog, a resource for all things carnival.
“On Bahamianista, I share my carnival and travel adventures; lifestyle tips, vexations, epiphanies and everyday life on here as an urban millennial,” Strachan explains on the site. “The gist is I’m just trying to live my best life and document it in the process.”
Posts cover carnival style and planning tips, as well as workout and fitness advice to help you look your best at carnival.
Follow @bahamianista242 on Twitter.
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Di good ting dem👏🏾🔥 (well, I try) FINALLY – full review of #carnivalinjamaica on the blog and Youtube/ – recapped everything from fetes to Xaymaca to sightseeing 😆Just press di good link dem – link in bio and subscribe cuz more to come. 📸: @courtney_chen_ #crisdoescarnival #jamaicacarnival2019 #carnivalinjamaica2019 #iamXaymacan #blackpassportstamps #travelisthenewclub #travelisthenewblack
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Rocky Parker works in Audience Relations at PR Newswire. Check out her previous posts for Beyond Bylines and connect on LinkedIn. When she’s not working, Rocky typically can be found cooking, binge watching a new show, or playing with her puppy, Hudson.