The premier Jamaican community website Jamaicans.com has compiled a list of the top Jamaicans searched for by the site’s visitors. The list, which is ranked in order of the total number of searches, uses the search metrics at Jamaicans.com. The top five in the ranking are Rita Marley, Rebecca Silvera, Sean Paul, Shaggy, and Suzanne McFadyen. See the entire list below.
1. Rita Marley
Alpharita Constantia Anderson Marley was born in Santiago de Cuba in 1946, but was raised by her Aunt Viola in Kingston, Jamaica. The Jamaican singer was a member of the I Threes with Marcia Griffiths and Judy Mowatt, the backup vocalists for Bob Marley and The Wailers. She is the widow of Bob Marley, who she married in 1966, and the mother of three of his children: Cedella Marley, Ziggy Marley, and Stephen Marley. She also has three children from other relationships: Serita Stewart, and Sharon Marley and Stephanie Marley were adopted by Bob Marley after his marriage to Rita. She survived being shot in the head during the assassination attempt on Bob Marley in 1976. After Bob Marley’s death, Rita recorded several solo albums, and in 1986, converted the house where she had lived with Bob into the Bob Marley Museum. She is also the founder and chair of the Robert Marley Foundation, the Bob Marley Trust, and the Bob Marley Group of Companies. She has adopted 35 children in Ethiopia and provided aid to more than 200 children at the Konkonuru Methodist School Ghana. She established the Rita Marley Foundation in 2000, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization focused on ending poverty and hunger in developing countries. Rita Marley was presented with the Order of Distinction from Jamaica’s government in 1998 and received the Marcus Garvey Lifetime Award in 2010. She became an honorary citizen of Ghana in 2013 and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from the University of the West Indies in 2015. She had a serious stroke in 2016, which took her out of the public eye for some time. In 2019 she was presented with the Iconic Award for a Duo/Group with the other members of the I Threes by the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association.
2. Rebecca Silvera
Rebecca Silver was born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1986, and later moved to Miami, Florida. The reality television star is best known for her appearance on the programs “She’s Got Game” on VH1 and “A Trip to Jamaica.” A model, businesswoman, and health and fitness advocate, she once held the title “Jamaica Tourism Queen,” a role that brought her to the public’s attention. She also competed in other Miss Jamaica beauty pageants. She stepped away from the spotlight to have her son, LJ. Her favorite part of being on “She’s Got Game” was going on tour when the series was filming as she enjoyed visiting different cities. Silvera was once a professional equestrian with a specialty in show jumping, and she still rides horses for pleasure. She is interested in the acting profession and has taken acting lessons and has been involved with a project in Hollywood.
3. Sean Paul
The reggae/dancehall singer, songwriter, and producer Sean Paul Ryan Francis Henriques was born in 1973 in Kingston, Jamaica. His great-grandfather on his father’s side came to Jamaica from Portugal in the 17th century. He is of Sephardic Jewish-Afro-Jamaican, English, and Chinese-Jamaica descent. Many of his family members have excelled in the sport of swimming; his grandfather was a member of the first national water polo team from Jamaica, and his father played water polo for the team during the 1960s and was a long-distance competitive swimmer. Paul himself played for Jamaica’s national water polo team from the age of 13 to 21, giving up the sport to pursue his career in music. He attended Hillel Academy, Wolmer’s Boys’ School, and the University of Technology. Former producer and manager Jeremy Harding was told about Paul by his brother and met the singer when Paul came to his studio looking for advice. At that meeting, Paul and Harding created the song “Baby Girl” and decided it was good enough to develop more tracks and seek radio airplay. Paul had a cameo appearance in the film “Belly” in 1998 and also had successful collaborations with DMX and Mr. Vegas. Paul released his debut album in 2000, “Stage One,” on the VP Records label. His breakthrough came with his second album, “Dutty Rock,” which ultimately sold six million copies worldwide and is cited as instrumental in developing the dancehall pop genre. He signed with Island Records in 2016, citing Toots and the Maytals as his inspiration for career longevity. Paul received the Order of Distinction, Commander Class, from Jamaica’s government in 2019 for his contributions to the promotion and popularity of reggae music around the world. In 2021, he released his seventh studio album “Live N Livin” under his own label, Dutty Rock Productions. In 2012, Paul married his long-time partner Jodie Steward, a Jamaican television host, and the couple had their first child Levi Blaze in 2017 and their second Remi in 2019.
Musician, deejay, record producer, singer, and philanthropist Orville Richard Burrell, better known by his professional name of Shaggy, was born in Kingston in 1968. He took singing lessons in 1987 and was discovered in 1988 while he was singing with friends in the street. In the same year, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, serving with a Field Artillery Battery in the 10th Marine Regiment during the Persian Gulf War. After getting his first hit with “Oh Carolina” in 1993, he went on to appear on “The Unreleased Project” hip hop album from Kenny Dope and worked with Sting International, Don One, Lloyd “Spiderman” Campbell, and others. His recordings “Boombastic” in 1995 and “That Girl” with Maxi Priest in 1996 became huge hits. His album “Hot Shot” reached Number 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and was ultimately certified 8x platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, the second most successful album of 2001. During his career, Shaggy has collaborated with many of the most influential and popular musicians of modern times, including Willie Nelson, Eric Clapton, Gwen Stefani, Ben Harper, Keith Richards, Toots Hibbert, and The Skatalites. In 2007, he received the Order of Distinction with the rank of Commander from the Jamaican government. In 2020, he marked the 20th anniversary of “Hot Shot” by providing an updated version of the album called “Hot Shot 2020.”
5. Suzanne McFayden
Author, collector of modern and contemporary art, and sponsor of national and international humanitarian efforts to end hunger, Suzanne McFayden was born in Kingston in 1985. A former student of Convent of Mercy Academy (Alpha), an all-girls high school in Kingston, McFayden is the author of the self-help book, “How to Be a Superwoman.” She has a BA degree in French literature from Cornell University and an MFA in Writing from Mills College. In 2009, she was named to the Hedgebrook Writer in Residence program and invited to return in 2020. She is a board member of the Blanton Museum at the University of Texas in Austin, the Studio Museum of Harlem in New York City, and is on the Pratt Institute’s DEIA Committee. McFayden is one of a small number of independent women art collectors and focuses her personal collection on works that reflect her identity, which is stated on her website as a Black woman, “mother, immigrant, a traveler, survivor, writer, other.” She was the first wife of billionaire Robert F. Smith, an American businessman, philanthropist, chemical engineer the founder, chairman, and CEO of investment firm Vista Equity Partners, and one of the wealthiest people in the United States. She met Smith while studying at Cornell University. They married in 1988 and later divorced.
The dancehall and reggae deejay and recording artist Popcaan was born Andrae Hugh Sutherland in St. Thomas, Jamaica, in 1988. He joined the Gaza Music Empire of Vybz Kartel in 2008 and released his breakthrough hit “Clarks” in 2010 in collaboration with Kartel. The track is an ode to the Clarks shoe brand, which is popular with Jamaicans. The song won the awards for Best New Artist, and Collaboration of the Year, as well as Song of the Year (Dancehall). He signed with Mixpak Records in 2014, releasing his first studio album “Where We Come From.” He then signed with OVO Sound, the label of Canadian rapper Drake, in 2016, and Warner Records. He has had several global hits, including “Only Man She Want” in 2011, “Everything Nice” in 2014, and “Family” in 2017. The singer made his debut as an actor in the film “The Intent 2: The Come Up” in 2018. He had had successful collaborations with artists include Drake, Pusha T, Matoma, Gorillaz, and Davido. He received a nomination for a MOBO Award in the Best Reggae Act category in 2014, and he won the MOBO in 2015 and 2016. His second album “Forever” was released in 2018 and entered Billboard’s Reggae Albums chart at Number 2. Popcaan was a headliner at the 2018 Sumfest event. He released his third album “Vanquish” in 2019 and his fourth “Fixtape” in 2020, which included collaborations with Drake.
7. Peter Tosh
Jamaican recording star Peter Tosh was born Winston Hubert McIntosh in Westmoreland, Jamaica, in 1944. Abandoned by his parents, he lived with various relatives until he was 15 and moved to Trenchtown in Kingston. He learned to play the guitar by watching a man play the same song for half a day and memorizing what he did. In the 1960s, he took free music lessons from focal teacher Joe Higgs. Through Higgs, Tosh met Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer, and they began performing as a trio in 1962. He helped to organize the Wailing Wailers, a band in which he was the only one who could play an instrument. The group had a hit with “Simmer Down,” their first single, and had several others before disbanding in 1965. When Marley returned to Jamaica from the US, both Tosh and Bunny Wailer were involved with the Rastafari faith, and they renamed their group The Wailers, as to “wail” means ‘to mourn” or “express one’s feelings vocally.” He claimed to be the person who taught Marley how to play guitar. Tosh promoted the legalization of marijuana and participated in the global opposition to apartheid in South Africa. In 1987, he won a Grammy Award for Best Reggae Performance for his last record “No Nuclear War.”
8. Christopher Martin
Reggae/dancehall singer and songwriter Christopher Oteng “Chris” Martin was born in St. Catherine, Jamaica, in 1987. He attended Watermount All-Age School and graduated from St. Jago High School in 2003. In 2005, he won Digicel’s Rising Stars competition and became well known for his songs “Cheaters Prayer,” “I’m a Big Deal,” and “Dreams of Brighter Days,” among others. He then participated in the Christmas promotion for Digicel, with his debut single recording “Love Is All We Need” forming part of the promotional campaign. He was the first winner of the Digicel Rising Stars contest to have a single listed on the charts in Jamaica. Martin credits his parents for his motivation in following his musical dream. During his career, he has worked with several top reggae and dancehall producers and has appeared in many stage shows throughout Jamaica. In 2008, he appeared by invitation at “One Night with Michael Bolton” and the Air Jamaica Jazz Festival. He signed with VP Records in 2013, and in 2016, toured Zimbabwe and performed with D’Major and several of the nation’s singers, including Winky D.
9. Bunny Wailer
Reggae singer and songwriter Bunny Wailer was born Neville O’Riley Livingston in Kingston. He died in St. Andrew Parish in March of 2021 at the age of 73. He was an original member of The Wailers together with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh. Wailer won three Grammys during his career and is one of reggae music’s pioneers. He first met Bob Marley in Nine Mile, St. Ann, and they became fast friends on the basis of their shared experiences in coming from single-parent families. They formed The Wailing Wailers with Peter Tosh in 1963. In 1967, he, Tosh, and Marley signed a record contract with Danny Sim’s JAD Records. Wailer contributed songs to the group throughout its many changes of producers, and by 1973, each of the group’s three founding members had his own label. As The Wailers gained global attention, Wailer and Tosh felt marginalized, and Wailer left the group in 1973, taking the name “Bunny” to begin a solo career. He also became more focused on his spiritual faith during this period and started to record in the roots style, which was in sync with his political and spiritual messages. Wailer won the Grammy for Best Reggae Album in 1991, 1995, and 1997. He received the Order of Jamaica from Jamaica’s government in 2012, and in 2017, he was given the Order of Merit. In 2019, he received the Pinnacle Award from the Coalition to Preserve Reggae.
10. Marcia Griffiths
Marcia Llyneth Griffiths was born in 1949 in West Kingston and began her career as a stage performer with Byron Lee and the Dragonaires in 1964. After that performance, Clement Dodd and Ronnie Nasralla offered her recording contracts. She went with Dodd’s Studio One label and recorded several duets with male singers, including Bob Marley. She worked with Bob Andy as a duo from 1970 to 1974, and from 1974 to 1981, she was a member of the I Threes, the backup singers for Bob Marley and The Wailers. Her re-recording of Bunny Wailer’s song “Electric Boogie” was released in 1983 and became a minor hit for her. When it was remixed in 1989, however, it made the line dance “Electric Slide” a global phenomenon that reached Number 51 on Billboard’s Hot 100 list. This was her most successful single. She was featured on “True Love” by Toots and the Maytals, which won the Best Reggae Album Grammy in 2004. Griffiths made an appearance in the documentary film “Reggae Got Soul: The Story of Toots and the Maytals” on BBC in 2011. In 2014, as part of her 50th year in the music business, she released an album of her favorite songs by other artists. Also in 2014, she received the Jamaican Order of Distinction (Commander class) from Jamaica’s government.
11. Dale Elliott
Social media vlogger, actor, and comedian Dale Elliott, 23, was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and is best known for his star turn in the film “Sprinter,” which has been called one of the best films to come from Jamaica. The film’s director Storm Saulter cast the actor in the film’s lead role after seeing Elliott in a video on social media imitating his grandmother. Elliott now makes his home in Los Angeles and continues to create comedy content for his Instagram, YouTube and Facebook platforms. Elliott was raised by his grandmothers in Pembroke Hall and Harbor View in Jamaica. He attended Kingston College, where he represented the school in track and field at the ISSA Grace Kennedy Boys and Girls Championships. He earned a BA in international relations at the University of the West Indies in 2019. His successful video postings to social media led him to an influencer management agency, STUSH Marketing, and he began to create brand content for companies like FLOW, KFC, Jamaica National, and the Jamaica Environmental Association. He has said that his role in “Sprinter” presented no real challenges to him as an actor because it was so similar to his own life story: that of a talented track and field athlete who dreams of leaving Jamaica to see his parents, who had migrated abroad
12. Damian Marley
Damian Robert Nesta Marley, who is also known as “Jr. Gong,” was born in Kingston in 1978. The popular songwriter, singer, deejay, and rapper is the youngest son of reggae legend Bob Marley. He was two years old when Marley died and is the only child born to Bob Marley and Cindy Breakspeare, who was Miss World in 1976. His nickname “Junior Gong” refers to his father’s nickname of “Tuff Gong.” Damian Marley has been performing since he was 13 years of age when he formed the group, the “Shephards,” which opened the 1992 Reggae Sunsplash music festival. He began his solo career on his father’s record label Tuff Gong, releasing his first album “Mr. Marley.” His second studio album “Halfway Tree” was released in 2001 and won the Best Reggae Album Grammy in 2002. His fourth studio album “Stony Hill” was released in 2017 and won the Best Reggae Album Grammy as well in 2016. Marley describes his music as a combination of dancehall and reggae and does not try to separate them. He sees them as Jamaican culture. The themes of the album involve Africa, its ancestry, and its poverty, and include social commentary about the US and Africa. In 2006, Damian Marley won Best Reggae Album and Best Urban/Alternative Performance for his third studio album “Welcome to Jamrock.” With this win, he became the sole Jamaican reggae artist in history to win two Grammys on the same night. He is also the only reggae artist to win the award for the Best Urban/Alternative Performance at the Grammys.