Trinidad and Tobago is home to two Nobel Prize-winning authors, V. S. Naipaul and St Lucian-born Derek Walcott (who founded the Trinidad Theatre Workshop and spent much of his career working and raising his family in Trinidad). Designer Peter Minshall is known not only for his Carnival costumes, but also for his role in the opening ceremonies of the Barcelona Olympics, the 1994 World Cup, the 1996 Summer Olympics and the 2002 Winter Olympics, for which he won an Emmy Award.
Geoffrey Holder (brother of Boscoe Holder) and Heather Headley are two Trinidadian-born performers who have won Tony Awards for theatre. Holder also has a successful film career, and Headley has also won a Grammy Award. Record artists Billy Ocean and Nicki Minaj are also Trinidadians. Interestingly, three actors who starred in Will Smith’s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air are of Trinidadian descent: Tatyana Ali and Alfonso Ribeiro were regulars on the show and played Will’s cousins Ashley and Carlton respectively, while Nia Long played Will’s girlfriend Lisa. Foxy Brown, Dean Marshall, Sommore, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Gabrielle Reece, pop singer Haddaway, Tracy Quan, Mike Bibby, Lauryn Williams, Fresh Kid Ice and Roy Hibbert are all of Trinidadian descent.
Trinidad and Tobago also has the distinction of being the smallest country to have had two Miss Universe title holders and the first black woman to win the title: Janelle Commissiong in 1977 and Wendy Fitzwilliam in 1998; the country also had a Miss World title holder, Giselle LaRonde.
Trinidad and Tobago is the birthplace of calypso music and the steelpan, which is said in Trinidad and Tobago to be the only acoustic musical instrument used in the 20th century. Trinidad is also the birthplace of soca music, chutney music, parang and carnival (in the form that has been widely copied in the Caribbean and around the world). The diverse cultural and religious background also allows for many festivals and ceremonies throughout the year, such as Carnival, Diwali and Eid celebrations.