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An n’ Pale | A talk with up and coming actress Natalie Paul by Jessica Tong, Programs & Outreach Coordinator


Natalie Paul Post

Born in Brooklyn, NY and raised between NYC and Haiti, Natalie has always had an interest in acting.  With the support of her parents, she received her undergraduate degree from Yale University and an MFA from the NYU Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Acting Program.

The evening started off with a screening of Everything Absolutely, a short film written, directed, and staring Natalie.  Part of her final student project at NYU, the film tells the story of a day in the life of a young woman living in Brooklyn.  It depicts the silly, neurotic thoughts and tendencies of the mind and was Natalie’s first experience as both director and actor.  Speaking on the debut of her second short film Sweet Tea at Haiti Film Fest 2015, Natalie expressed how much she enjoyed being able to take a step back and explore a career in writing and directing:  “It’s very important not to edit yourself when it comes to new opportunities. Put out what you have!”

In 2014, Natalie was offered the opportunity to play the iconic role of Juliet in Romeo & Juliet at the Classical Theater of Harlem, receiving raving reviews on her performance. The actress then nabbed a role on the HBO hit series Boardwalk Empire as Beatrice Carson, a character based on the life of Eunice Carter, the first Black female District Attorney.  “Being on HBO is incredible!” said Natalie explaining the effect of the role on her acting career.  “As an actor, these things take time to build and HBO was a dream!  After all, I grew up in the HBO era where it was the network to watch.”  Continuing the momentum, Natalie will star in the upcoming HBO series Show Me A Hero, set to debut this fall.  Based on a true story, the mini-series takes place during the late 80’s and early 90’s in Yonkers, NY where she plays Doreen Henderson, a woman whose life is affected by the housing crisis.

The actress also volunteers her time at Hope on a String, a free school focused on teaching Performing Arts in Haiti, as her way of showing gratitude to her country and countrymen.

Closing the night off with some final words, Natalie shared some advice for those looking to break into the acting scene. “Being an actor is tough, but in that first breakthrough, you realize that someone else didn’t get that role. You have to come highly recommended.”

Beautiful and talented, Natalie Paul showed utter humility considering all she has accomplished and we in turn were pleased to have her participate in our An n’ Pale. No doubt you’ll be hearing much more about this gifted artist very soon!

This An n’ Pale | Café Conversation took place Thursday, April 23rd, 2015.

Click here to view photos from the event.


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An n’ Pale | I became known as the tall lady wearing the headwrap! – by Tassiana Larochelle, HCX Fundraising Intern



Various adjectives come to mind when attempting to describe style maven Paola Mathé,  the multi-talented tour de force behind Fanm Djanm and her personal blog Lost in the City.  Bright, arresting, intelligent, supportive, confident and inviting are just a few. The stunning Haitian beauty and founder of Fanm Djanm joined HCX at Kinanm Lounge & Bar in Brooklyn on Thursday, March 19th for our An n’ Pale series with HCX Director Régine M. Roumain.

The evening opened with a special poetic performance by Schneider Laurent and Marc Henry Valmond.  Theirs was a thought provoking, passionate, and seductive piece performed to an imagined beloved and paying tribute to such greats as Frankétienne.

When asked about the genesis of Fanm Djanm, Mathé beamed excitedly.  “I wanted to have a platform to tell stories about different women, their strength and showcase African beauty and culture.”

One of the most insightful moments of the evening came when Mathé reflected on her time in Haiti. “My most vivid memories of living in Haiti were of the “machann“, the street merchants, who I wish I got to hug and got to know.  I remember how strong they seemed and how colorful their head wraps were because they were always carrying a load on their heads. I realize that their loads weren’t only physical; most of these women were poor, many were single, working various jobs, taking care of family members, and most likely had no time to take care of themselves.  I wanted to honor that.”

As to where the idea for the head wraps came from? “I had always worn head wraps and then at some point, I just became known as the tall lady wearing the head wraps! She joked.

Mathé seemed as fascinated and inspired by her followers as they were her.  “I also think of the strong women I’ve gotten to meet here in New York.  It’s important to have a platform for sharing their stories and a supportive network where we could empower each other.”

The evening appropriately ended on a fun note with an impromptu head wrapping session. We thank Paola for a wonderful night of dialogue.

Click here to look at photos of this An n’ Pale.

Click here to purchase a beautiful headwrap.

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An n’ Pale | It’s not THE violin, It’s MY violin! – by Tassiana Larochelle, HCX Fundraising Intern



My name is Daniel. I come from a small town called Morgan, not famous. By famous, I mean real, by real, I mean relevant, by relevant, I mean a connection to you.”  Daniel Bernard Roumain believes in declarations, in fact, one the highlights of our An n’ Pale | Café Conversation came when Daniel had us all declare our names in unison. The HCX community braved the cold and mighty wind for a moderated discussion with the acclaimed composer and violinist on Friday, February 20. Moderated by HCX Executive Director Régine M. Roumain, Daniel intimately connected and engaged with the crowd, speaking of the inspiration for his art, his childhood, his mentors, the need for music in schools and his cultural identity. “There’s a rhythm to everything” said Daniel, who has played the violin since the age of six. “I found rhythm in my mother cooking at 2:37 in the morning!”.

After the conversation, the audience was treated to a veritable feast of a performance. “My violin can be anything” declared Daniel, “I want my violin to breath, cry, laugh, sing, I want to play with my whole body!”  The audience was captivated by his eclectically fused soundscapes that incorporated everything from Hip Hop to psychedelic funk. His final piece ‘Bridge’, a haunting lamentation played over an instrumental arrangement of America (My country, ’tis of Thee), invited listeners to meditate on the meaning of being Haitian in America. “I come from a small town called Morgan, Florida” Daniel reiterated at the end of his performance “but my heart, my soul, belongs to Haiti“.

Click here to view photos of this An n’ Pale.
Click here to learn more about our next An n’ Pale.

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An n’ Pale | Café Conversation with Michele Montas-Dominique – by Lashawn Garnes


Michele montas

As the bright lights dim low, graciously enters Michele Montas-Dominique, a well respected Haitian journalist with a long and impactful legacy centered around the need for transparency in journalism. Madame Montas-Dominique makes her way to the front of the room as the crowd take their seats. Accompanying Madame Montas Dominique is Jocelyn McCalla, the moderator for this addition of Haiti Cultural Exchange’s An n’ Pale| Café Conversation series, welcomes Michele Montas Dominique to discuss the importance of free speech and the role of journalism in Haiti.

Madame Montas-Dominique started the conversation by reminiscing about Haiti as the audience wanted to know more about her work at Radio Haiti Inter.  She began by highlighting the uniqueness of Radio Haiti and how it was the first independent radio station in all of Haiti to broadcast entirely in Krèyol.  She reminded us that at that time, all radio and media outlets were published in French, yet the people were speaking Krèyol.  The use of the Krèyol language as the tool, in which the Haitian masses were able to receive and report local and international news with no filter, was viewed as a threat to the political and status quo order of the day.  Montas-Dominique wanted a station that was for the Haitian people, by the Haitian people.  And thus, Radio Haiti Inter was born.  Founded by her late husband Jean Dominique, Radio Haiti shed light on the political corruption during the period of the 1960’s through the year of 2003. The thick political and economic climate at this time brought about the assassination of Jean Dominique and her forced exile from Haiti.  Radio Haiti’s transparency in dissecting the politics, economic and cultural conduct can now be heard online for scholars, historians, students and anyone who has a passion for Haiti’s 20th century political climate.

“We were all dreaming out loud about changing things” said Montas-Dominique.

The influence of Radio Haiti was important because people became more involved in what was going on within their country.  She remembers times when there were protests happening right on the street in front of her house, and having to go through barricades and angry Haitians to make it to their station in order to report what was happening.  The Haitian people were supportive of Radio Haiti and gave them the utmost respect.

Before Madame Montas Dominique exile, she took meticulous care in preserving and safeguarding the program recordings broadcasted on Radio Haiti Inter. Now, she has partnered with the Human Rights Archive at Duke University’s David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library in providing digitized audio recordings that showcases Haitian society, culture and politics during her and her late husband’s reign.

One question that resonated with the crowd was about how the Haitian Diaspora could get more involved with what was going on in Haiti.  Montas-Dominique reminds us that the by knowing how powerful our voice is and sharing our stories and history through media, is one of the best ways to get involved.  Sharing our experiences and our families experiences can help negate the negative connotations that surround Haiti and the Diaspora.

We thank Michele Montas-Dominique and Jocelyn McCalla for coming out to speak on this cold January day, and thank everyone who came.  HCX appreciates the support and hope to see you at the next An n’ Pale | Cafe Conversation with Daniel Bernard Roumain on Friday, February 20th.

Visit for more information on Michele’s projects.

Click here to view photos from the event!

This An n’ Pale took place on January 29th, 2014.

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