May is Haitian Heritage Month and little did you know, some very influential celebrities in entertainment, art, and sports are of Haitian descent.
Like most of the Caribbean, Haiti’s culture is rich, reflecting elements from the African, Spanish, Taino, and French who’ve settled on the island of Hispaniola. From poetry to music to delicious creole cuisine, Haitian heritage has always been nothing short of beautiful and enticing — as are its people.
While digging around about famous names with Haitian ancestry, we were excited about what we learned — one of the greatest painters of all time, Jean-Michel Basquiat was of Haitian descent, as are many of our favorite entertainers. Basquiat was born in Park Slope, Brooklyn to his parents Matilde and Gérard Basquiat. His mom was of Puerto Rican descent, born in Brooklyn also, and his dad was Haitian, hailing from Port-au-Prince. Until she was committed to a psychiatric hospital when Basquiat was ten, his mom encouraged his love for the arts, took him to museums, and even enrolled him into an arts private school. By eleven, Basquiat was fluent in many languages, including English, French, and Spanish.
Today, the late legend who died at just 27 years old, is regarded as one of the most influential artists of his time, and of the 20th century, period. Keep scrolling for more interesting, creative figures whose ancestors called Haiti home.
1. Jean-Michel BasquiatSource:Getty
As mentioned, the late icon’s dad was from Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Here, Jean-Michel is seen painting in St. Moritz, Switzerland, circa 1983.
2. Garcelle BeauvaisSource:Getty
Beautiful Garcelle was actually born in Haiti, but moved to the U.S. with her mom and siblings after her parents divorced at the age of seven
3. Jason DeruloSource:WENN
Originally named Jason Joel Desrouleaux, the singer and TikTok star is the son of Haitian parents, although he was born in Florida.
4. Tony YayoSource:Getty
Hailing from South Jamaica, Queens, the G-Unit rapper is the son of Haitian parents and, fun fact, the youngest of three children.
5. Alisha WainrightSource:Getty
Born in Florida, the Raising Dion actress’ mom is from Jamaica while her dad is from Haiti.
6. Blake GriffinSource:WENN
The NBA baller’s mom is white and his dad, Tommy Griffin, is of Haitian descent.
Last, but certainly not least, Maxwell was born in Brooklyn to a Puerto Rican father and Haitian mother.