After an exhausting search for positive programs in the Haitian community in the New York City area for a very long time, I’m happy to say that my wish finally came true. Just a year ago, I was a complete stranger to Haitian activities in New York. My blog was mostly focused on my lifestyle in New York as a young (Haitian) woman. Now I’m so happy to include more of my Haitian culture in the blog. Since I started attending amazing and inspirational cultural events, I can say that my life has really changed. I always considered myself an ambassador of my country. I was always a proud Haitian dedicated to teach my friends about my culture, but now I’m ready to teach the world! And I’m not opposed to learning either because the Haitian culture is so complex.
Last Thursday, I was accompanied by Ania and Soukena, the ladies from my Ansanm Nou Se Ayiti project to the opening night of the second annual Haiti Film Festival in NYC hosted by Haiti Cultural Exchange. You can only imagine how thrilled I was. A whole film festival made by Haitians! Our own voices and narratives telling the world who we are as a people and culture.
Drom, a club in the East Village, was the selected venue for the soiree. I watched it fill up with Haitian directors, actors, designers, photographers, and different supporters of Haitian films. Emeline Michel did not disappoint, and performed beautifully with some new songs from her album. The crowd danced to the different mixes DJ Paul Beaubrun spun that night. I spoke briefly with my favorite Haitian artist, Belo. I was also able to see and speak with celebrity photographer, Marc Baptiste. Dayanne Danier was also there to support. It’s always nice to see such a great team work together to create something so powerful.
Haiti Cultural Exchange received a Proclamation from Deputy Borough President Rosemond Pierre-Louis on behalf of Borough President Scott Stringer for their wonderful initiatives in representing Haitian culture in New York City. Filmmaker, Frantz Voltaire was presented an award for his published work on the social history of Haiti.
Regine Roumain, president of Haiti Cultural Exchange, was nothing short of gracious on such a big night. The organization planned a three-day festival showing FREE screenings, which included some great short films, such as Suze Anne, a thesis film made by some of the students of Haiti’s only film school, Cine Institute. The festival closed with Toussaint Louverture, starring famous Haitian-American actor, Jimmy Jean-Louis.
Supporting these programs within our community is what brings progress. Without funding, time, or passion, we wouldn’t be able to celebrate such amazing work done by our peers. I encourage supporting organization like Haiti Cultural Exchange or Cine Institute, and it doesn’t have to be much. Most of Haiti Cultural Exchange’s programs are free to the public with suggested donations.
To finding more about Haiti Cultural Exchange and their programs, visit their website: http://haiticulturalx.org
Click on each thumbnail below for a full photo. If you would like to use any of these photos, please cite them.