Three Jamaicans to Receive Caribbean American Heritage Awards in Washington DC

The Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS) announced that Jamaicans Michael Blake, Stephen “Cat” Coore, and Jacky Wright will be honored at the 30th Annual Caribbean American Heritage (CARAH) Awards Gala on November 17, 2023. The event, which will take place at the JW Marriott in Washington DC, is the premier celebration of the achievements of Caribbean Americans and the supportive contributions of Friends of the Caribbean toward Caribbean American interests.

Luminary Award: Stephen “Cat” Coore

Jamaican and founding member of the Third World band, Stephen “Cat” Coore, will be presented with the Luminary Award. Stephen Coore was born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1959, the son of a deputy prime minister and a music teacher. He attended Forster Davis School of Music to study vocals and guitar. He founded Third World in 1973 with keyboardist Michael “Ibo” Cooper, drummer Carl Barovier, singer Milton “Prilly” Hamilton, and bassist Colin “Oliver” Leslie.  It debuted in 1973 at Jamaica’s celebration of independence. Third World is one of the iconic bands in the history of reggae music. Third World is arguably the longest-existing band in Jamaica’s music history and is noted for its crossover skill and ability to blend reggae with sounds from Black American culture. The band is known for its reggae-influenced hits including “Now That We Found Love” and “96 Degrees In The Shade.” The group has received multiple Grammy nominations and was awarded the 2012 American Caribbean Heritage Award. Third World serves as a Goodwill Ambassador for the Issa Trust Foundation’s pediatric care initiative in rural Jamaica and as the “Oceans Ambassadors” for the Alligator Head Foundation and its Clean Ocean initiatives in Portland, Jamaica.

Public Service Award: Michael Blake

Former New York Assemblyman for the 79th District and former Vice-Chair of the Democratic National Committee, the Hon. Michael Blake, will receive the CARAH Outstanding Public Service Award. Blake was born in 1982 in the Bronx, New York, the son of Jamaican immigrants who named him after National Heroes Michael Manley and Alexander Bustamante. He earned a degree in journalism from Northwestern University. He began his political career in the Michigan House of Representatives working for State Senator Jeffrey Schoenberg. Blake went on to be the deputy political director in Iowa for Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election and served as associate director of public engagement and deputy associate directory of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs during the Obama Administration. He served in the New York Assembly from 2014 to 2020.

Trailblazer Award: Jacky Wright

Jacky Wright was born in London to Jamaican parents and was raised in Tottenham. Her family moved to the US when she was a teenager. She is the first Chief Technology and Platform Officer (CTPO) to be appointed at McKinsey and will be presented with the Trailblazer Award. As CTPO, she leads the firm’s overall technology strategy and portfolio and heads the international tech team at McKinsey, which serves over 40,000 colleagues in 66 countries. Prior to working at McKinsey, Wright was the chief digital officer and corporate vice president at Microsoft US. She was ranked the Most Powerful Black Briton in the United Kingdom by Powerlist 2022. She is a Women in Science and Engineering Ambassador, a member of the World Economic Forum Chief Digital Officer Community, and is on the advisory board for the Paul H. Chook Department of Information Systems and Statistics at Baruch College, City University of New York.

The Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS)

The Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS) sponsors the annual Caribbean American Heritage (CARAH) Awards Gala to recognize outstanding achievements of those of Caribbean Heritage in diverse fields, including the arts, entrepreneurship, science and technology, sports, and public service. The theme of the event for 2023 is “A Celebration of Excellence and Service.” The president and founder of the ICS, Dr. Claire Nelson, noted that the 2023 honorees exemplify “a distinguished cohort of Caribbean trailblazers, visionary leaders, daring pioneers, and exceptional people” who have made outstanding contributions to their fields of endeavor.

Photo – Nick Ford

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