Institute of Caribbean Studies Honors Nine Caribbean Americans At 19th Annual Caribbean American Heritage Awards

Written by Red Velvet Sandy. Posted in Caribbean, Caribbean Celebrity News, Events, Photos, Red Carpet Shelley Home

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Published on November 29, 2012 with 1 Comment

CARAH Award recipients and Dr. Claire Nelson, President of ICS (Center)
Photo Courtesy of Island Vibes Magazine

A powerhouse journalist, a former Miss Trinidad and Tobago Universe, a jazz pianist, a hotel business power player and a Jamaican musical legend were among the selected honorees for the 19th Annual Caribbean American Heritage Awards (CARAH).  The annual CARAH gala was recently held just steps away from the White House at the Washington Capitol Hilton, in DC.

Presented by the Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS), nine Caribbean Americans were presented with CARAH awards. The awards recognize outstanding service, accomplishments and advocacy on behalf of the Caribbean American community and the Caribbean Diaspora. The event was hosted by WJLA anchor Maureen Bunyan.   And of course the Red Carpet Shelley media team was in the house and we interviewed many of the honorees about this auspicious occasion and their accomplishments.  Constance White, Editor in Chief of Essence Magazine talked to the RCS team and shared with us that she was born in England to Jamaican parents and grew up and lived in various places throughout Jamaica.  She also shared with us how her Jamaican culture spills into the pages of Essence which was refreshing.

RCS EXCLUSIVE: She said that the theme for Essence Magazine in 2013 will be reflective of the 50th anniversary of the civil rights movement therefore we will see a lot of articles concerning that momentous period in time.  Anya Ayoung-Chee, Trinidadian fashion designer, who resides in New York City, discussed her collection and her post Project Runway experience.

RCS EXCLUSIVE: Ayoung-Chee also discussed her new resort collection  which will be debut in a boutique in Barbados.  She is very excited about it and said she chose Barbados because it was the best choice from a commercial standpoint. She was stylish, gracious and beautiful.  Monty Alexander Jazz musician reminisced about his iconic career and talked about dancehall reggae and some of the legendary musicians he played with.  Andrew Ingraham, President and CEO of National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators & Developers, Inc. talked about the hotel business, travel and tourism in the Caribbean.  It was a who’s who among some of the most influential people in the Caribbean Diaspora.  I also had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Claire Nelson who is the President of the Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS) who was recently honored by the White House as a “Champion of Change”.  Her career history and journey was fascinating to say the least.

Trinidadian designer Anya Ayoung-Chee
Vanguard Award Recipient  (Photo:

This year’s honorees included:
Monty Alexander – legendary jazz pianist who has shared the stage with Quincy Jones, Natalie Cole and Ray Brown. A talented musician in his own right, this Jamaican has travelled the world using his skilled fingers to soothe souls.
Colin Channer – author and professor. Best known for his novels “Waiting in Vain” and “The Girl With the Golden Shoes,” this Jamaican author is renowned for his combination of spirituality and sensuality that combines seamlessly with social themes in his literary works.
Anya Ayoung Chee – the 2008 Miss Trinidad & Tobago Universe and the winner of the 9th season of Project Runway earning her an unprecedented opportunity to showcase her original fashions and style.
William ‘Bunny Rugs’ Clarke – lead vocalist of Third World, an internationally acclaimed reggae band. Clarke will be honored for his role in spreading reggae to the world through his melodious lyrics and sounds.
Dean Garfield – president and CEO of the Information Technology Industry Council, a powerful advocate for businesses in the IT industry. Dean is highly respected for his transformational leadership skills and for his vision and expertise in positioning the entities in his field on a path of sustained growth.
Robert Greenidge – talented pan master who has expanded the reach of steel pan as a member of Jimmy Buffett’s Coral Reefer Band. His skill on the steel drums has awed audiences as they become enraptured by the melodic sounds.
Shaka Hislop – the former Trinidad & Tobago national football player who starred in the country’s first World Cup appearance in 2006. He also served as a goalkeeper for Newcastle United in the premiere Division I in England.
Andy Ingraham – president and Chief Executive Officer of the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators & Developers, Inc. As the head of the national advocacy group, Ingraham has been central to increasing the number of African-Americans that own, operate and manage hotels.

Constance White – Editor-in-chief of Essence magazine, White is an accomplished communicator known for her expertise on style and fashion. She is a veteran journalist and writer.

Founded by Dr Claire Nelson in 1993, the Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS) is a non-partisan, non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization dedicated to education, advocacy and action on issues that impact on Caribbean Americans. Produced by Dr Nelson and Karema Daley, the CARAH Awards part of the Institute’s mission to ensure that the conversation on the future of America and immigration includes a recognition of the indivisible historical linkages between the US and the Caribbean. The ICS is online at

Proceeds from the CARAH Awards support ICS programs including LIFESeed, a youth entrepreneurship training program; the Annual Caribbean American Legislative Week; AllSPICE during Caribbean American Heritage Month and Embassy Evenings. To learn more about the Caribbean American Heritage Awards, visit




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  1. These are beautiful photos – great wrap up of the event!

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