Wyclef in Jacmel

Two Carib bloggers seem excited about Wyclef's December 1st concert in Haiti: haiti-based Yon Ayisyen and Trinidad based Chookooloonks.

Says Yon Ayisyen (Fr): "He will perform December 1st two days before the local and municipal elections. I wonder, will he take the opportunity to stay and vote on Sunday?"

Chookooloonks aka Karen Wolrond, recently had some background to offer on the concert:

Wyclef Jean, of The Fugees fame, is Haitian, and he runs a foundation called Yele.org, an organization whose stated mission it is "to empower the people of Haiti and the Haitian diaspora to rebuild their nation" through combining "the power of music with the tools of development in the areas of education, health, environment and humanitarian assistance." You can read more about their projects here. Next week, in the small town of Jacmel in Haiti, and in conjunction with the Jacmel International Film Festival, Yele.org is hosting Yele Fest, which culminates in Wyclef's first concert in Haiti in 8 years, and is expected to draw a crowd of 50,000.

Incidentally, Haitian-American jazz band Mozayik recently had a Haiti debut performance. 1700 attended. They offer a picture album on their site.

technorati: - - - - -

Enter your Email


Podcasts, Links and More

(Can you tell I'm in a hurry today?)

- - -

Enter your Email

Have a comment? Please post it by clicking Comments below.
To send this post to a friend, click on the envelope icon below.


Thankful for Friends, Family & ... Readers

With family at Easter this Spring.

I never know what to post on Thanksgiving because 1) the holiday has lots of detractors and 2) i did not grow up celebrating it inmy native Haiti. One caveat though is that in my near 15 years of living in the US, I have never met a person, however critical of the holiday, who did not actually spend valued time with friends and/or family during it.

Today I received a text message from my friend Sarah, a neighbor I turn too when I miss speaking and laughing in our native Creole, that summarizes my sentiments perfectly. From a train station in Pennsylvania where she was waiting to be picked up by her brother, she managed to tap onto her mobile the following words:

"I know this holiday is extremely problematic...even so, i want y'all to know how special you are to me & how thankful i am to have you in my life."

I say the same to you my readers from the bottom of my heart.

I will also share the musings of my other friend Jennifer on this day. Jennifer, who is of irish/african/native american descent via Virginia and the Bahamas, blogged for the first time in a while today, reminiscing on her late mother, love and the importance of genealogy in understanding family. Specifically, she advances a theory that her beau, a New Orleans Creole, may have an usually cohesive family precisely because of that French connection. Very interesting.

I am about to go spend time with her and my own family. In the Haitian meaning of the word, that means I am about to see not just siblings and parents but really, cousins, nephews and most importantly friends who have become family. I don't know if French ancestry or a French colonial past have anything to do with it but somehow indeed "lafanmi" as I define it rather broadly is very important -- and when you think of the money transfers that take place every day from the US to Haiti between family members, you can even say vital -- to most Haitians. In that sense, I can only imagine that Thanksgiving is as important as any holiday to most Haitian-Americans.

As I eat turkey and yummy cranberry sauce alongside pommes de terre au gratin, tarte a l'oignon, souffle de mais and griot and bannan peze later on, you'll be in my thoughts.

If you are in the US, have a great Thanksgiving. If you are elsewhere, please receive my sincere thank you for reading me.

Technorati: - - - - -

Enter your Email

Have a comment? Please post it by clicking Comments below.
To send this post to a friend, click on the envelope icon below.


Voices of Freedom Forum: The Wrap-Up

My notes from the Voices of Freedom Panel on which I spoke Saturday. The Panel was subtitled: "The Role of Black Newspapers from 19th Century Weeksville to the Present." My job was to bring the blogger's perspective to that conversation.

Weeksville Forum 034
From Left to Right: Dr. Pat Young, Allison Keyes, yours truly, David Greaves.

The Panel

Weeksville Heritage Center Exec Director Pam Greene introduced the panel.

2:23 pm The moderator Allison Keyes is being introduced. She is a longtime journalist who works for NPR. She now has the mike and is explaining that she became a journalist to tell stories about the black-american community.

2:24 pm She is introducing my co-panelist Dr. Patricia Young who is a phd and education professor. She will talk about the Freedman's Torchlight, the historic African-American Weeksville paper.

2:25 She is introducing David Greaves, publisher of Brooklyn paperOur Time Press, a Brooklyn Native.

2:26 She is introducing me. I realize after the intro that kiskeyAcity can be hard to pronounce for non-Haitians who don't know the meaning of Kiskeya. (Which by the way means "mountainous land" in Arawak/Taino and is, along with the word "Haiti" a name given to the country by its Taino/Arawak natives.)Either that or Ms. Keyes --a consummate radio personality and professional enunciator-- was playing a practical joke on me when she mispronounced kiskeyAcity. Maybe a little bit of both?

2: 29 Patricia Young starts her presentation about the Freedman's Torchlight. Started in 1865, right after emancipation of American slaves. Was not just a newspaper but also one of the 1st Black instructional products designed for Blacks: it provided literacy lessons. Publishers of the Torchlight were African Civilization Society. Dr. Young would like to use elements of design of Torchlight as elements of instructional design today. Believes that African-Americans should be producers of information technologies that affect children, including the entertainment ones (video games etc.)

2:48 David Greaves is up. Our Time Press is a community paper and is more likely to publish church basement events than those happening at the Marriott Marquis. Small Black papers create networks between small business owners and local readership. He says Rupert Murdoch now owns even local paper Caribbean Life (!!!) and they are posing problematic competition to papers like Our Time Press because they are so much better financed. Future of black print media is grim unless there is black financing, he concludes.

3:08 I come on and talk about what I do at Global Voices and at kiskeyAcity, namely that I offer more complex facets of Haiti and other francophone African, Caribbean and Oceanian countries by amplifying the voices of their bloggers. I talk a little bit about the 3-part Kevin Sites Watch I did earlier this year. I showcased bloggers I cover for Global Voices such as Le Blog du Congolais (DRC), Pierrot Dupuy (La Reunion) and Le Blog de Moi (Martinique).

What Future for Small Black Presses?

The Q&A started out with lots of questions about what blogging and blogs are. The audience was by and large made of boomers and some seniors so I was asked to provide the nitty gritty. Then the discussion veered to the problems of small black presses and their (grim) future. There were questions about blogs too, of course and their accuracy and reliability. I explained that blogs, like the mainstream press should be read with a critical eye but that ultimately they offered a more varied set of voices and perspectives that can supplement or at times supplant mainstream media.

Print Vs. Blogs: A Fake Problem

I found it a bit regrettable that some seemed to want to oppose print to blogs. No need really. The internet can actually help the dissemination and availability of historic print publications. Case in point: Marcel Salnave Jr. who, from Haiti, uses his blog Parlons Peu to publicize his father's journalistic writings from the 40s and 50s. I mean, could he really get the same exposure through print, especially with a Haiti-based publisher? Doubtful. His blog makes him searchable on google and hence accessible to the average Joe of any age googling from home. Can a copy or two of his Haiti-published book lingering in one or two specialized collections in the United States and France have the same reach?

(P.S.: Special thanks to Terry and Jennifer Scott. And thanks Jennifer Carr for being such a diligent photographer and last minute forgotten wallet substitute. Long story...)

Technorati: - - - - - - -

Enter your Email

Have a comment? Please post it by clicking Comments below.
To send this post to a friend, click on the envelope icon below.


A Lesson in Branding from Madagascar

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the government of Madagascar, an island country of about 19 million off the east coast of African, succesfully took up a branding campaign for its country in the past few years, according to blogger Aiky at Madagascar Croissance:

Depuis que quelques hautes personnalités ont persécuté les photographes et cameraman qui ne filmaient que la misère et la décadnce du pays, il était devenu à la mode de filmer les jolis paysages : les tsingy, la plage, la mer , ...
[Translation:] Since certain high profile individuals have taken to harassing photographers and cameramen who were filming nothing but the misery and decadence of the country, it has become fashionale to film nice landscapes: "tsingies", beaches, ocean ...
Haiti could use some of that, I think. Not sure that our officials, in their usual fatalistic outlook, care or even know that this type of campaign is possible. But obviously it is. Madagascar was able to manage this without being a first world country.

- -
Enter your Email

Have a comment? Please post it by clicking Comments below.
To send this post to a friend, click on the envelope icon below.


Voices of Freedom Forum / Brooklyn Nov.18.

I'll be contributing the global/blogging/caribbean perspective to this forum on Brooklyn journalism this Saturday November, 18 at the Brooklyn Public Library. I'll be making a presentation with slides. Should be fun! You can click on the flyer to enlarge but here's the info just in case:



Voices of Freedom

The Role of Black Newspapers from 19th Century Weeksville to the Present

Saturday, November 18, 2006 • 2 pm • Free

Central Library, Brooklyn Public Library • Grand Army Plaza

The Freedman's Torchlight, a publication of The African Civilization Society, originally founded by African Americans as an antislavery organization and later became solely dedicated to educating Black citizens, was one of America's first Black newspapers. Today, many Black newspapers exist. What shapes the content of Black newspapers and how have they transformed lives? What types of social, political, economic and spiritual networks have been created through print media? What is the future of Black journalism? What is the potential of Black media? These and other topics are the focus of this fascinating panel presentation. Panelists include Alice Backer, blogger and Francophonia editor, Global Voices • David Greaves, cofounder, Our Time Press • Patricia Young, Ph.D., professor, University of Maryland • Moderator: Allison Keyes, reporter, National Public Radio.

Directions to Central Library: Subway—2/3 to Grand Army Plaza or Eastern Parkway/Brooklyn Museum; Q to 7th Avenue • Bus—B41, B69, B71 (B45, B48, B67, 2-4 blocks)


Technorati: - - -

Enter your Email

Have a comment? Please post it by clicking Comments below.
To send this post to a friend, click on the envelope icon below.


The Traveling Beaver + Ed Bradley

A Day in the Life of The Traveling Beaver
  • The Traveling Beaver is an expat living in Haiti for now and having a great time of it apparently. His posts are usually about his enjoyable experiences there and he generally does very little of the fatalistic whining and complaining that other expats or locals often do. Seems like a man who knows how to make the best of life, wherever he is.
  • Anyway, his latest post illustrates all of the above. Features a trip to Deschapelles --including the requisite contrast of attitudes there to attitudes in faster-paced Port-au-Prince,-- pictures of Deschapelles and ... Burundi where he recently traveled, a performance of Hotel California for fellow hotel guests, and yes (back down to earth!) his feelings about the recent murder of two Jordanian UN troops.
A 'Yellow Misfit''s Goodbye to Ed Bradley
  • Blogger and former Village Voice writer Gary Dauphin (who is in my Haitian Diaspora blogroll, to the right of the home page) has a great post about Ed Bradley, a man he finds relevant to a "yellow misfit" like himself. The post is written in Dauphin's usual unique self-deprecating but refreshingly honest style. Like when he says:
    it was the fact that he was a master flirt that got me, how Bradley seemed to be one of those powerful, married, older men (was Bradley married then? It had to have been '93) whose yen for women had not curdled into a creepy coveting of youth, but had instead ripened into a rakishly cool (that word again) playfulness - gently suggestive, sharp, expert, and completely harmless all at the same time.
  • Bradley was not married then. Or at least not to his widow Patricia Blanchet, a Haitian-American filmmaker, whom he seems to have married in 2004. The Aspen Times has a great article and picture of the two.
- - - -

Enter your Email

Have a comment? Please post it by clicking Comments below.
To send this post to a friend, click on the envelope icon below.


My Blog Log

I joined My Blog Log, which is a kind of MySpace for bloggers and their readers. I invite all of your reading from the mailing list or from the feeds to join my kiskeyAcity page there. You'll be able to create profiles for yourselves, see each other and interact (kind of). You're welcome to do that here too of course but technically My Blog Log is designed specifically for community building. I am new to the software so I can't quite gage compeletely how efficient it'll be for those purposes but I think it is definitely a resource for those of you who have blogs.

I'll report back on how helpful this new tool is.

In the meantime, I created a 'Community and Stats' section to the right of the home page with the My Blog Log badge and another badge of My Blog Log members who have recently read kiskeyAcity.

Meanwhile, you can sign up and join the kiskeyAcity community by clicking on the badge below and following the instructions:

 View My Public Stats on MyBlogLog.com

Enter your Email

Have a comment? Please post it by clicking Comments below.
To send this post to a friend, click on the envelope icon below.


Bob Marley Survey + Wrong Song

  • Caribbean blogger Geoffrey Philps had the marvelous idea of conducting a survey about Bob Marley and rastafari on his blog. Here are the results. Maybe I'll comment on them when I have more time. For now digest on your own. Too bad he did not include any questions on Bob and rastafari's views on the family and gender relations. That would have piqued my interest.
  • I was browsing through some new guadeloupean blogs the other day and one, Bouillante Actualites, posted this YouTube video promoting Guadeloupe. I found slightly bizarre though that the lovely song chosen for the clip is ... Haitian?! (Michael Benjamin's Ou Pati Kite Mwen on the first Haiti Twoubadou album.) In this age of globalization and creolization, I don't really care about those distinctions, but the least the maker of the clip could have done is remove the part of the song where Michael screams "Haiti Twoubadou!". I mean the point of the thing is to promote Guadeloupe ... Is that common sense or did I wake up on the wrong foot?

- - - -

Enter your Email

Have a comment? Please post it by clicking Comments below.
To send this post to a friend, click on the envelope icon below.


New Haitian Blogs

I'm adding some new Haitian blogs to the Caribbean blogroll (see bottom right of home page) and I thought I'd let you know:
  • Karlito's blog a.k.a http://ayitireseau.com/blog/ -- seems to be a blog about the haitian konpa scene. The latest post is about the abduction of Fabiola Dupoux, a well known haitian konpa band manager and former middle and high school classmate of mine. Apparently this happened last nite. Yikes!
  • Techie Sebastien Barreau. Not sure whether or not he is Haiti-based.
  • Adorable Emmanuelle Elie who named her blog after herself. Self-described yogurt-loving model and high school student in Haiti. Blogs in english entirely so is probably attending an American school. Has this lovely post about a convo between her and her mom about love. Her mom tells her something my aunt once told me too, that our generation does not believe in love. (If teen-aged Emmanuelle and 30-something me are indeed of the same generation. Ha!)
  • Emmanuelle's blog is big news because haiti-based blogs have been few and far between so if it takes her age group to propel things forward, more power! In any event all the above guys seem interlinked and may be the future of the type of network apparently needed to form coherent, active blogospheres. To be continued...
- - -

Enter your Email

Have a comment? Please post it by clicking Comments below.
To send this post to a friend, click on the envelope icon below.