Posts Tagged ‘haitians’

TONIGHT tune in for another brand new episode of Haitian AllStarZ Radio on WBAI 99.5 FM (Pacifica Radio) every Tuesday evening/ early Wednesday morning 12Midnight – 2:00am.
Tonight’s episode features LIVE in the studio special guest SMAX MUSIC originally from Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. Smax Music’s sound is an eclectic mix of a variety of Caribbean Music and Rock.
Tune in to the “Blague” segment! Ingrid Austin-Daniels and Dina John of Corn Bread Cremasse with the latest blog post “Faux Haiti”. Call us at 718-780-8888.



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This post was written by Wilkine Brutus.  Mr. Brutus is the editor-in-chief of The Vanguard Element: http://www.vanguardelement.com/
He is a poet working on a cross-genre book.  He is also a Vlogger from South Florida, USA and edits from South Korea.

Jean-Bernard-Etienne1-300x206La Misterieuse by Jean Bernard Etienne (Acrylic on canvas)

“Sak pase?”

As a Haitian-American, I grew up with a sharp concern for identity. The American dream, skewed like a broken mirror of slanted reflections or like the bewilderment of a weird nightmare. I’d wake up from it all with an empty stomach, hungry to understand what society was feeding me, fiending for a gluttony of knowledge. Like most inner-city youth, resources were limited. I was often times too apprehensive and distracted anyway–time in the inner-city was like watching a scary movie, buffering at the climax or at the scary moment of a scene. There is nothing more horrific than the constant depreciation of the human soul.

At age 12, the sudden realization of anger and confusion forced me to find an avenue to channel my erratic emotions. I was one of many 12-year-old Haitian-American boys and girls that generally weren’t embraced by Black-Americans. We were also depreciated by the American culture and its hypocritical foreign policy.

In the mid-90s and early 2000s, I use to swallow the stark contrast in treatment between Cubans and Haitian refugees, a double standard US immigration policy that favored the Cubans, which allowed Cuban refugees to stay on American land once they arrived, but would ship Haitian refugees back Haiti. This illogical and racist treatment sparked humanitarian debates, but Black-Americans never embraced or defended the Haitian diaspora, at least not in my neighborhood. There were also historical political and cultural animosity between Haitians and Dominicans, whom both share the island of Hispaniola.  Haitian-Americans were marginalized by black-Americans and Dominicans, hated, frowned upon—and I screamed during a fight, “I’m human, just like you. I’m human, just like you, I’m human just like you,” only to wake up, frantic, with a broken mirror, slanting my reflection—a sharp identity crisis.

It would take years for Haitians and Haitian-Americans to salvage their reputation as “equivalent beings.” I look back and ponder if that time period of injustice and hate was just a complicated era of culture clashes and miseducation.  I don’t know! Evidently, political and economical deterrents were to blame for the madness—a bit too overwhelming for a 12-year-old to understand. Despite my current wisdom, those feelings of neglect and cultural misfortune is difficult to eradicate, albeit moving on in life felt fairly easy. The morals and values that my mother instilled was like a watermark on video—my life, like all humans, has been a montage of trials and tribulations but I own them and I’ve managed to fast forward.

The earthquake that ravished Haiti didn’t create complete sadness, it was ironically another inspiration to uplift and represent the people. However, it was obviously painful to fly to Korea directly after the devastation.

There is a deep fundamental responsibility to understand humanity and the men that alter its very essence. We’ve reduced ourselves into categories and sub-categories and we’ve ignored the universal understanding of love and respect, cordial debates and solution. Our existence is often a battle to claim significance and human contribution, economical strength, fear, and power.  We are, in many ways, still lost in our desperate attempts to find meaning—a matrix of confusion. I am, however, beautifully found—as my purpose, as a Haitian-American in South Korea, is to navigate through preconceived notions and negative perceptions of black males and rectify them. I’ve been wonderfully embraced in doing so, as the universal rule of love and respect applies everywhere. Onelove! -Wilkine Brutus




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This blog post is by Martine, Haitian-American author of the blog ” Taste Buds Required.  Please check out her blog at: http://www.tastebudsrequired.com




I have a confession: I don’t know much about wine. This was mostly a non-issue for me before moving to Seattle because most of my friends and family in NY didn’t know about wine, either. When I moved here, I realized how much serving wine was actually a part of the culture; having people over for dinner generally meant having wine to serve them.

In keeping with my philosophy that what goes in my mouth should taste good, I’m mostly a fan of picking up brands that I think I’ll find tasty. We could argue that knowledge gives you a different sense of what tastes good, and maybe once you’ve had a really good wine it’s hard to go back to bad ones, but ultimately it’s still just a matter of preference (of course, with my limited knowledge, I wasn’t really thinking about the fact that wine can be used to enhance the flavor of a meal). My mother’s preference was for Manischewitz.

I know what you’re likely thinking, and I wouldn’t entirely disagree. I’m sure most wine enthusiasts would be appalled by this, or the fact that it was actually occasionally served to guests at parties (either that or White Zinfandel), but no one ever seemed to be bothered by this. To be fair, wine (or alcohol in general) weren’t standard parts of the meal. They were very occasional and usually precipitated by someone asking if they could bring something. If someone mentioned wine, though, someone was likely breaking out a bottle of Manischewitz.

With that background in mind, I was at a severe disadvantage when I moved. Most of my guests would offer to bring wine, but I like to make sure my guests don’t have to worry about bringing anything which meant I wanted to be the one to buy the wine.

At one of my very first dinner parties here, I did the unthinkable and actually brought out a bottle of White Zinfandel. In my mind, this was the classy wine, and definitely a step up from Manischewitz. The bottle went untouched as several of my guests (who apparently don’t like showing up empty handed) had all decided to bring a bottle of “real” wine. I was thankful (if slightly embarrassed) for the lesson and to my guests for deciding to bring the wine, anyway. I also realized I was going to have to learn a thing or two about wine.

How do you go about picking your wine? I’m betting that most people aren’t taking long wine classes or even doing massive internet searches for how to pair wine with a meal. I still don’t know much, but at least I’m no longer serving the undrinkable. While I’ve also usually got a bottle or two of wine on hand, for the most part, I’ve decided to let my guests bring the wine, and focus on the things that I do know.


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The following blog post  was submitted by Mr. Ashley Toussaint: www.brothertoussaint.wordpress.com



“Identity Crisis” is an excerpt from a book that I am currently writing. It’s a coming of age story about a Haitian American boy named Johnny Baptiste who grows up in Miami, Florida. The book addresses the common struggles that inner city youth face, such as poverty, crime, peer pressure, school life and identity. “Identity Crisis” exposes the depth of how some Haitian Americans struggle to publicly acknowledge and embrace their Haitian heritage. 

Therefore, as Johnny continues to deny his own heritage, he continues to buy into an idea that he is inferior. Our identity is what makes us unique and authentic. Unfortunately, the stigma of being Haitian will not allow Johnny to embrace who he truly is.
Excerpt from the upcoming book authored by Ashley Toussaint:

“It was a sad sight, but not surprising, at least not to most of the students in the class (95% of the class was Haitian). Ms. Gomez however, was flabbergasted. She could not believe it. She was so excited and eager to share a piece of literature with them, especially sense it was written in their language. But she was sadly mistaken. It was the exact opposite of what she had expected. Instead of excitement, there was lethargy in the room. Instead of pride, there was embarrassment. The looks on their faces and the silence of the classroom infuriated her. And suddenly, the petite soft-spoken Filipino woman ripped them all a “new one”.

“Why don’t you want to read in Creole?!” Why are you ashamed of your culture?!” No one answered. “You should be proud of your heritage, you should be proud of where you are from!” she exclaimed in her Filipino accent. How embarrassing. There stood a 4 foot 6 inch nun from the Philippines teaching a group of black, Haitian-American children about being proud of their race, their heritage and their history. Her words were so precise and simple, yet heavy and sharp. They cut right through Johnny’s heart.

She continued to lecture them about how she had come to America, but was not ashamed of where she was from. By the time she was done with them, they were all humiliated, but for the right reason. “Now who wants to read the third page?” Just about every hand went up. They were strong, proud, black hands of young Haitian-American children, who had never felt like they had a reason to truly be proud. And though Johnny struggled to read his mother’s language, it didn’t bother him. If anything, it was the most beautiful struggle he could ever endure.”

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ratchetMrJeffDess is a writer, professor, public speaker and emcee of Haitian descent. Born and raised in Jamaica Queens, MrJeffDess stayed in New York City and hit the poetic and leadership scene full force in 2001 at St. John’s University. Along with receiving a B.A. and M.A. in English Literature his career at St. John’s would mark the beginning of a journey towards a variety of literary genres and leadership types.

MrJeffDess is the author of three books of poetry. He has performed, spoken and presented across the nation at various institutions and universities. With over ten years of performing and student affairs experience under his belt MrJeffDess continues to strive towards helping students reach their highest potential. He currently serves as the Assistant Director of Campus Life at New Jersey City University.

MrJeffDess in conjunction with grew bap books   creates an enjoyable cultural dialogue about growing up as the son of immigrants and the struggle with identity with the publication of Deconstructing Ratchet.

Deconstructing Ratchet, provides a poetic conversation on the complexities of ratchet culture and all that surrounds it. Featuring over 100 haiku, Deconstructing Ratchet will  reshape the way readers define ratchet ideologies and all of its incarnations. The text will specifically look at the impactful influences of music, television and media. The haikus will also address the how young men and women are depicted through a ratchet lens.

Using the art of the haiku poetry, Deconstructing Ratchet evokes humor, paradox and intellectual discourse all while twerking to a dope rhythms and drenched in a hot mess.

clair huxtable haiku

Deconstructing Ratchet will be available in paperback for purchase at www.lulu.com as of March 4, 2014 and www.Amazon.com as of April 4, 2014. EBook versions of the text will be available on April 4, 2014.

For more information visit www.MrJeffDess.com

Follow him on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/mrjeffdess

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(This article is courtesy of Ron Duprat. Ron is a well-seasoned executive Chef, having cooked for varying establishments such as the Pelican Bay Foundation and the Montauk Yacht Club. He has cemented himself as an expert in exotic flavors—often incorporating his own Haitian Creole influences with French-Asian Fusion cuisine. Ron always likes to keep vanilla bean, saffron, truffles, Spanish olive oil and chocolate on hand, and his favorite thing to make is his signature flourless chocolate cake.-“Bravo: Top Chef”)

“South Florida and New Orleans share many culinary connections, namely Creole, a style of cooking chef Ron Duprat has spent his life learning and perfecting.


His drive to be the top Creole chef America stems from his youth in Haiti, learning in the kitchen under the tutelage of his grandmother, who was trained as a French chef. Living in poverty and going hungry as a youth was another motivating factor to becoming a chef. Since taking this path, Duprat has earned a long list of accomplishments that include several stints as an executive chef and even being selected as a culinary ambassador by the U.S. State Department.

Duprat received formal training at the La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine in Paris and the Culinary Institute of American in New York City. He traces his roots to several South Florida restaurants, including stints at the Hollywood Beach Marriott and Latitudes Beach Cafe, also in Hollywood. Duprat’s style is Floribbean, or what he describes as “Caribbean clashed with American.”

His work has earned him appearances on several TV shows. Ever since starring in Bravo’s Top Chef for several episodes, Duprat ended his tenure working for the man and is currently doing consulting work, traveling between his home base West Palm Beach, St. Thomas or New York City, among other places.

One of those places where he finds himself a lot is New Orleans, which he also considers his second home. Recently, Duprat was featured on Spike TV’s Bar Rescue, brought in by host and personal friend Jon Taffer to revamp the menu at the Spirits on Bourbon in New Orleans, formerly known as the Turtle Bay. Spending a lot of time at home and in New Orleans, Duprat senses a familiar connection in food culture between the two areas.

Emerging as a culinary style in New Orleans several hundred years ago, Louisiana Creole began showing up on menus in Florida a short time later. Duprat is fascinated by the differences in Creole cuisine across both regions, particularly in New Orleans.

One of the main regional differences, he says, is seafood. South Florida Creole includes a lot of ceviche is heavy on grilling marinaded whole fish like snapper, flounder and sea bass, whereas Creole in New Orleans (and in Louisiana) contains an abundance of shrimp, mussels and crab claws combined with lots of spices. Duprat also says that the French Creole cuisine is more similar to the northern part of Haiti.

No offense South Florida, but Duprat may be a little bit particular to the Big Easy. New Orleans is hard to beat as a culinary mecca. For what it’s worth, South Florida and New Orleans share a kinship that expresses itself in many ways through cultural elements such as food and music.

“New Orleans has the best seafood,” Duprat said. “When I come to New Orleans, I’m coming home.”

Duprat’s plate is full with several projects. Between consulting and developing his own signature products, Duprat is working on another possible reality television show. His current endeavor is trying to get a TV reality show focused on finding talented chefs among a pool of minority chefs from across America. The concept is still in the works, but if all goes well he hopes to have it live by the Fall of 2014.”

“We want it to be something productive and innovative,” Duprat said. “It’s not going to be about the drama as much as it is going to be about the chefs cooking their hearts out.”

View the original source here: http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/cleanplatecharlie/2013/09/top_chef_ron_duprat_on_the_florida-new_orleans_creole_connection.php by David Minsky


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Life is a balance of holding on and letting go.

“Eat a live frog every morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” -Mark Twain

Growing up a child of Haitian immigrants, I didn’t have many “new things”. For the most part, the majority of my belongings came from garage sales, hand me downs, and local thrift stores.  The teenage years were tough because of the tremendous amount of pressure to be in style. Fortunately, I attended Catholic school and uniforms were the socioeconomic equalizer. I rarely took advantage of the days when you could pay a dollar to wear your own clothes. Are you kidding me? I knew my limits and so I stayed in my ugly plaid skirt and crisply ironed top and polyester vest.

It wasn’t until recently that I realized that the whole ” no new “experience had a lasting impression on me.  I don’t like labels but I think I might…could…maybe…hope I’m not, but the clues point to me having some clutterer/hoarder tendencies. I said tendencies to draw the line that I am nothing like the people you see on “Hoarders” but I do have attachment issues to “things”. I believe this is directly related to my experience as a kid (did not have) and now as an adult (must have).

What ARE some of the things I can’t let go of?

1.      Emails/Voicemails– Besides having 5 different email accounts, I have over 8,000 plus inbox messages and forget about what it is in the  trash bin. I try and schedule time to delete them but you never know when someone might need you to recall an email from March 2008 with an attachment. My voicemail count is at about 247 messages:).
2.      Shoes– My kids have play shoes, school shoes, soccer shoes, swim shoes?? and the list goes on. I, on the other hand had these hideous black and white saddle shoes and a pair of sneakers. Two pairs: that was it. So, it should be no surprise that I evolved into an Imelda Marcos type personality when it came to shoes.
3.      Clothes– The majority are kids’ clothes. I never met a clearance rack I didn’t like. I cannot pass on a hand me down. If you offer me clothes, I will take it. The problem is I am the recipient of clothes from way too many people. So in addition to new clothes, my kids have closets full of clothes. 
4.      Paper– I like to keep and file important papers for 5-7 years per IRS suggestions. My paper clutter in that area is under control. It’s the stuff that comes from school that has taken a life of its own. The artwork, graded schoolwork, certificates, the list goes on and on. Isn’t is every Mom’s responsibility to keep these things?
5.      Tupperware– I have lost count on these.  I tried using the strategy of “if it doesn’t have a to– toss it” or if it is has the melted burn spot– it has to go.  If I have to fight to get the lid on—bye bye. They multiply in the middle of the night.  They have to, it’s the only explanation.

My journey has just begun. The above mentioned are just a few as I am just scratching the surface.   So, every morning I “eat the frog” and work on letting go.

Did you grow up not having and now as an adult have a tendency to overindulge from time to time? Do you indulge yourself? Your kids? What are some things you find hard to let go?

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