Carnival Kickoff & Digicel Soccer Cup in the Tropics

My latest Global Voices post is about carnival kickoff in the French Caribbean Overseas Departments (Guadeloupe, Martinique, Guyane). The post features 3 video clips of Guadeloupean mas bands Mas a Kle and Akiyo that I'm sure you'll want to see.

What's going on in Haiti on that front? Not sure. Bloggers have been preoccupied with other things but I'm sure there has been some sort of kickoff there too. (Update: HaitiXchange has just the answer to this question. Apparently, pre-carnaval festivities in Port-au-Prince have been attracting about as many people as carnival itself due to regained security.)

Not to mention, Kiskeyans are probably too busy celebrating the Caribbean Digicel Soccer Cup Championship title, subject of another post on GV and for which you can see soccerfabulous pictures here.

Photo by Alex DeCarvalho

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Hyphenate This! Gov. Deval Patrick Haitian-American?

I recently discovered Stanley Lucas' very new blog Haiti Solutions (which I've just added to the Haitian diaspora blogroll). In a recent post Haitians making history in the US, he writes:

In Boston, the Haitian-American lawyer Patrick Deval has officially succeeded Mit Romney as Governor of Massachusetts. Patrick Deval was officially sworn in as Governor last Thursday, January 11 ending sixteen years of Republican control of the executive branch. He is the first black governor of Massachusetts and only the second black Governor in the history of the United States after Douglas Wilder of Virginia.

This is the first I've heard that Governor Patrick was of Haitian descent. (I always approach any claim by Haitians that any public figure has Haitian ancestry with a healthy dose of skepticism. As far as I can remember "Haitian sightings" by Haitians are as common as Elvis Presley sightings by Tennessee-ites. )

Any insights?

Update 1/25/06: Someone posted this entry on moun.com and the discussion is taking place there. Check it out. Basically, as of today wikipedia makes no mention of Deval Patrick being Haitian and nowhere in the discussion have I seen any evidence that he is. Who knows what sparked the rumor?

(Photo by Double Speak Show.)


Haitian Blogs in 2006

Excerpt from this post I wrote for Global Voices about French speaking francophone blogs in 2006:

Much of the exciting news in Haitian blogs has been in English: 3rdworldgirl, for example or even AyitiToma who unfortunately posted just once. But what a post that "Open Letter To Haiti" was! Roody Edme, however spotty, started a very promising blog Ailleurs Vu d'Ici on which he bombarded us with well written and well informed posts on New Year's Eve. It seems the blogger was saving his best goodies for last. And best yet his commentary is not just limited to Haitian affairs but spans the planet! Call this blogger anything but ill-informed.


Posts I Should've Done in 2006 But Didn't

Tom Terrell Benefit

A wonderful event happened in September. Tom Terrell, a music impresario and long time Fort Greene resident, has had cancer and friends organized a benefit to help with medical bills. It was a great evening with great acts from Fort Greene and all over, including M'shell Ndegeocello who unfortunately was in something of a bad mood and chose to play but not sing. The show was great fun though.

Here are my Tom Terrell benefit pictures.

Dwa Fanm Benefit/Screening

In October, I went to an event held by Dwa Fanm, a Haitian-American anti-domestic violence advocacy NGO. They showed a documentary which had more to do with the African-American experience than the Haitian one but which was still relevant enough I guess. Then there was a discussion of rape in Haiti in which an American woman asylum lawyer pleaded for help from Myriam Merlet, Chief of Staff of the Haitian Ministry for Women; the lawyer wanted evidence that the Haitian government was either not doing enough against rape or incapable, for lack of ressources, of doing more. Ms. Merlet kept on answering that very few governments would accept to tarnish their own image in this way and that the woman's request was unacceptable. Some in the audience felt that some of the latest talk about rape being on the rise is a way by a former government to tarnish the current government's image. Interesting but ill-attended discussion.

Here are my Dwa Fanm Benefit pictures.

Bollywood @ Smooch

My favorite Fort Greene Cafe, Smooch, threw a Bollywood-themed party in October. The party was hosted by Amit, a Bollywood-based actor who was visiting New York for a couple of weeks. See the fun times for yourself. (Bollywood @ Smooch pictures.)

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Hyphenate This! (Not Black Like Me, Says Crouch)

From the Jan.1 Issue of Newsweek, from "Is America Ready?", an article on Barak Obama, a quote which is I think relevant to the Caribbean-American experience:

The critic Stanley Crouch argued in a recent column titled "Not Black Like Me" that Obama -- raised in Hawaii as the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas (both academics, both now dead)-- is more representative of the uplifting immigrant experience that the grim African-American one. He will have come into the white house through a side door--which might, at this point, be the only one that's open."

The article says Barack is similar to (Jamaican-American) Colin Powell in that he too was seen more as an immigrant than as a "descendant" (i.e. an African-American with roots in the American South). Thoughts anyone?

Barack Obama Photo (Top) by kalexnova. Pictured right, Stanley Crouch.

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New Year, New Haitian Blogs

The end of 2006 saw a rash of new blogging activity in the Haitian blogosphere.

Roody Edme whose blog Ailleurs Vu D'ici was already around during the year, published (FR) not one, not two but around a dozen posts on December 30th! And they were all good. He blogged about the carnival, the Haitian "netizenry" but also about current affairs in France, the US, China, India, the Middle East, you name it! (Time to dust off your French.)

Haitian-American blogger Nightshift Chronicler got bold and decided, still in December, to start a whole new blog dedicated exclusively to Haiti. It's called Pelerin 89. For the occasion, he borrowed kiskeyAcity's Haitian blogroll (with attribution thank you) and also put up live Haiti headlines from Global Voices. (If you want to do the same, go here and cut and paste the code. Note that you can add live headlines for any country and several dozen topics by going here and clicking on the "JSS" of your choice.)

I just discovered RansR.com (great name!) who, between Dec. 30th and today has already waxed "frekan" on the lack of polish of the Miss Haiti International contest (held in Florida), copyright issues in the Haitian Music Industry (spurred by a recently aired show on Haitian web television site Banbochtv.com) and the movie Choc Terrible.

And recently added to the Blogroll but not necessarily all that new are 3rdwordlgirl, yet another Haiti-based Haitian blogger (in English) whose contributions if irregular are always solid, and Christ, My Righteousness by a Haitian-American pastor.

Enjoy! To many many more in 2007!

(Photo by Alejandro Nunez.)