Hollywood Star for Guyana
Independence Celebration on Bowling Green, NYC
NEW YORK, NY - Famed Guyanese American actor, Sean Patrick
Thomas, is among the stars set to attend the inaugural flag raising
and VIP awards ceremony for Guyana’s independence on Bowling Green
in New York City on May 26th.
Many would remember the actor from his stellar performance in the
movie, ‘Save The Last Dance.’ But the 37-year-old actor has added
more than half a dozen more movies to his credit since he made his
debut in 1996 in the military drama "Courage Under Fire."
Both of Thomas’ parents are Guyanese but he was born and raised
in Wilmington, Delaware. He originally went to the University of
Virginia to study to be a lawyer but a chance audition for a part in
"A Raisin In the Sun" changed his direction. Since then he was
starred in several films, including “Barbershop” 1 and 2;
"Conspiracy Theory,” "Picture Perfect," "Cruel Intentions," and "The
Fountain.” He is currently shooting for the film, ‘Vah Humbug,’ an
urban tale inspired by Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," with a
Valentine's Day spin.
Thomas is among five other top Guyanese in film and sports to be
lauded this year at the event, an initiative of Hard Beat
Communications, Felicia Persaud.
The event is being presented in tandem with the Bowling Green
Association of New York, The Guyana Independence Committee and the
Guyana Ambassador to Washington, Bayney Karran.
Other top honorees are actress CCH Pounder, film producers and
directors, Rohit Jagessar and Mikey Nivelli and Boxer Vivian Harris.
The Guyanese-born Pounder is a regular face on the “FX” and “The
Shield.” She recently received her second Satellite Award for
“Performance by an Actress in a Series, Drama” and Emmy nominations
for “Best Supporting Actress” for her role as Dr. Angela Hicks on
the NBC series ‘ER’ and for “Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama
Series” for her role in FOX’s ‘THE X-FILES.’
Jagessar produced, wrote and directed “Guiana 1838.” He is
confirmed to attend along with his top actress from the movie,
Bollywood’s Aarti Bathija, who played Urmila in ‘Guiana 1838.’ The
filmmaking journey of the writer and director of ‘GUIANA1838’ began
right from his early years when his grandmother would tell him tales
of how they came on ships from India to the British Caribbean. The
story telling usually happened after dinner when the family would
sit around an old lantern and listen as Grandma went into great
detail, narrating tales of a time when the mighty British Empire
owned colonies in the British West Indies.
She would tell her family about the time when millions of
helpless men, women and children were left for want so that sugar
production would prosper for the British plantation owners. Rohit
listened attentively to the stories as his Grandmother described the
people and their struggles on the land she once worked and lived on.
As the years went by, the stories of his ancestors would remain with
In 1997, he started writing the GUIANA1838 screenplay, telling
the story of the people of the land once known as British GUIANA in
the Caribbean. Guiana 1838 was released on September 24th, 2004 in
New York and has been awarded Best Film of the year at Belize
International Film Festival in Central America.
Nivelli, aka Harbans Kumar, is an Indian national who teamed up
with Pradeep Samtani, to produce the sexy comedy, ‘Rainbow Ranni.
Samtani, that was shot in Guyana. "Rainbow Raani's story is set in
the West Indies with some scenes being filmed in New York. It is a
sexy comedy and through love and music will affirm an ultimate truth
that there is an inherent goodness in each and every human being. We
are all cherished children of God. Each one is lovable," Nivelli
said. "Every rainbow in the sky is a cosmic messenger reminding us
that no matter how different in color, ethnicity, shape, size or
statute, each one of us has individual, intrinsic beauty.
Vivian ‘Vicious’ Harris is among the top boxers who have put
Guyana on the map. His prowess in the ring has resulted in him
securing a world title fight this summer against Britain's World
Boxing Council (WBC) light welterweight champion Junior Witter. He
is only the third Guyanese to win a world boxing title and boasts a
record of 25 wins (17 knockouts) against two losses and one draw. In
October 2002, Harris had beaten Cuba-born Diosbelys Hurtado in two
rounds to win the WBA belt. He defended the crown three times before
losing to Colombian Carlos Maussa.
The five were chosen, according to Persaud, due to their
overwhelming international success in taking Guyana to higher
heights in film and sports. “It is what this inaugural awards and
flag raising on Bowling Green is all about,” said Persaud. “Stepping
beyond what has been done in the past to present Guyana and Guyanese
in the center of power of a city where they represent the fourth
largest foreign born group but still remain largely invisible. It’s
not about abandoning the past events that’s been done in recent
years but about moving beyond the usual and showcasing the people
and community in a way never before seen. The commitment of people
like Sean Thomas, a second generation Guyanese, to this event, shows
that we definitely are fulfilling this year’s theme of taking Guyana
to higher Heights.”
While the flag raising is a public free event from 11 – 12:30 PM
on May 26th at the Charging Bull area of Bowling Green Park, the VIP
awards reception is for private, invited guests only.
It will include a presentation of the country’s varied and
diverse cultural ambassadors, including The Dheeraj Cultural
Foundation’s Ghungroos Dance School; poet James Richmond; the Guyana
Shanto drummers; tassa drummers, singers Almira Brasse and Slingshot
Drepaul, who is recovering from an accident and will make his first
return to the stage at this event.
The flag according to Bowling Green President, Arthur Piccollo,
will fly over the financial district for an entire week. Piccollo
lauded Persaud for the initiative and her push to “ lift Guyana to a
“I look forward to the best independence event outside of Guyana
yet and the best ever in NYC in the most fabulous space and in the
center of power of this city,” added Piccollo. “Folks who do not get
involved will regret this incredible promotional opportunity as New
York City – not Queens or Brooklyn – is where the center of
government and the financial symbols of power are located.”
Following the public event, a private, invitation only VIP
reception from 1-3 p.m. will be held at the prestigious Rotunda of
the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House at Bowling Green, one of
the most spectacular Federal Government buildings in the nation
outside of Washington, DC.