A Few Bahamian Celebrities – Part 1

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Flag of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas

Greetings to my readers.  This article is about celebrities from all fields that were born and bred, well born at least, in the Bahamas.

Here we go:

The Beginning of the End

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The Beginning of the End

This Bahamian funk band was formed in 1969 and brought you the hit tune, ‘Funky Nassau – Part 1’.  For my younger readers who are clueless as to what I’m talking about, you can fall in love with this very catchy song here.

The 5-member band consisted of 3 brothers, Ray (organ), Roy (guitar), and Frank Munnings (drums).  The other 2 members were Fred Henfield (bass) and Livingston Colebrook (guitar).

The Beginning of the End released an album called ‘Funky Nassau’ in 1971.  The track ‘Funky Nassau – Part 1’ brought the band international acclaim when it became a hit single in the U.S. peaking at #15 on the Billboard Hot 100, #7 on the Billboard Black Singles chart, and #31 in the U.K. Singles chart in March 1974.

T-Connection

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T-Connection

This Bahamian funk & disco group was the brainchild of Theophilus Coakley.  The other members were his brother Kirk Coakley, Monty Brown, Dave Mackey, Berkley VanByrd, and Anthony Flowers (presently performing with Baha Men).

The members of T-Connection grew up on the music of local Bahamian artists such as Tony McKay, Freddie Munnings Sr., The Beginning of the End, as well as American funk music of the 70’s, which had a great influence on their sound.

T-Connection got their start playing in The Out Island Bar at Nassau Beach Hotel, but it was in Freeport City where the group got its claim to fame in the mid-70’s.  Many describe their music as a fusion of goombay, junkanoo, and 70’s funk.

The group’s first major hit was the song, ‘Disco Magic’, and had a great follow-up with, ‘Do What You Wanna Do’, which held the #1 spot on the Billboard charts for 8 straight weeks.  These two songs pushed the group to international stardom.

Johnny Kemp

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Johnny Kemp

Who remembers the song, “just got paid, Friday night, party hopping, feeling fine…”?  That song was a Grammy nominee for Best R&B song in 1988.  The singer and songwriter was Johnny Kemp.

Johnny Kemp is an R&B and dance music singer and dancer who was born in Nassau, Bahamas.  Johnny moved to New York as a teen to front a group called Kinky Fox.  He met Teddy Riley in the 80’s while performing in clubs.  Shortly after, he hit #10 on the Hot 100 in 1988 with the Riley produced ‘Just Got Paid’.  The song also went to #1 on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart.

Mychal “Sweet Bells” Thompson

Mychal was born in 1955 and it wasn’t until the age of 16 that Thompson started playing basketball “because he was having too much fun as the 6’5” quarterback on a local football to get serious about basketball”.  What a wise decision that was he made!

Mychal "Sweet Bells" Thompson

Mychal “Sweet Bells” Thompson

Thompson set history when he was the first foreign-born #1 pick in the 1978 NBA Draft, chosen by the Portland Trailblazers.  He was a fixture in the Portland lineup for 8 years (though one season was missed due to injury), starting at both power forward and center positions.

Thompson was named to the 1979 All-Rookie team.

He played a half season with the San Antonio Spurs in 1986 before settling in Los Angeles where he helped the Lakers win two consecutive NBA

Thompson (furthest on right)

Thompson (furthest on right)

championship titles before retiring in 1991.

Thompson has 2 sons currently playing in the NBA, Mychel and Klay.  His youngest son, Trayce, is currently playing in Minor League Baseball for the Chicago White Sox.

Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson

I thought it was only fitting to introduce you to Kimbo Slice the way I first discovered him, on youtube fight videos.

Kevin ‘Kimbo Slice’ Ferguson was born on February 8th, 1974 in Nassau, Bahamas, but spent his early years in Cutler Ridge, Florida.  Ferguson was called ‘Kimbo’ as a child but got the ‘Slice’ addition to his nickname after leaving a big cut on the right eye of an internet opponent called ‘Big D’.

He went to Miami Palmetto High School where he starred as middle linebacker.  Ferguson was able to net an athletic scholarship with the University of Miami left after a year and a half.

This internet fighting phenom worked many jobs including bouncer for a Miami strip club before becoming a bodyguard with RK Netmedia, a Miami based pornography production and promotion organization.

Ferguson’s first taped brawl was in 2003 and an internet star was born when the video went viral.  After fighting on camera for the internet on a regular basis, his popularity caught the attention of EliteXC, a U.S. based mixed martial arts organization owned and operated by ProElite.  It was with EliteXC that Ferguson made the transition from internet brawler to becoming a televised superstar.

 

 

Stay tuned for A Few Bahamian Celebrities – Part 2 coming soon!!

Sources

  1. http://www.last.fm/music/The+Beginning+Of+The+End
  2. http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/artists/875885b7-9619-423f-b039-2046361d5c18
  3. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1125803/3/index.htm
  4. http://kimbo305.com/bio.htm
  5. http://www.bahamasentertainers.com/index.html

 

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