Archive for the ‘Literature’ Category

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.

Posted in An n' Pale, Archive, Events, HCX Programs, Literature | No Comments »

An n’ Pale | Café Conversation with Manbo Dòwòti Desir


Dowoti Alice Ann palePlaces of forgetting, places of remembering. These were the focus of the An n’ Pale|Café Conversation with Manbo Dòwòti Désir on Thursday, October 23, 2014. The talk highlighted her new book, Goud kase goud: Conjuring Memory in Spaces of the AfroAtlantic. The special event, organized by Haiti Cultural Exchange and moderated by Advisory Board member and Kiskeácity founder Alice Backer, was an opportunity to explore the connections between sacred space and public discourse. Those gathered at FiveMyles Gallery enjoyed wine and other refreshments as they awaited the arrival of the guest of honor. Some spoke in hushed voices about the preservation of African culture in the Diaspora, which had been the topic of Manbo Dòwòti’s appearances on Backer’s radio program, Legacy of 1804. Others talked about their travels in Africa and throughout the Diaspora, and wondered aloud at what insights Désir would offer up during the conversation.

As a light rain began to fall, she arrived to hold court. After a brief welcome from HCX Executive Director Régine M. Roumain, Ms. Backer and Manbo Dòwòti took their places in the front of the room. Alice first introduced the speaker, highlighting her extensive work in academia as well as in the cultural sphere, and underscored her participation in the UN’s commemoration of the International Decade for Africa. An extremely regal woman with a warm presence, members of the audience were invited to share in an exchange of ideas as Manbo Dòwòti and Ms. Backer began. In the course of her research for Goud kase goud, Désir completed a multi-year journey to 16 countries, visiting places imprinted with the energy of the Ma’afa. The images and words that she brings together capture the pain and longing of separation, the suffering of oppression, the hope of salvation, and the sweet confidence of liberty.

The author presented a slideshow of the sites detailed in the book. Some are places of forgetting, like the well at Elmina castle in Ghana. The Manbo explained that captive Africans were made to walk around this well several times, reciting incantations that severed their connection with the Motherland. She said that this was as much a show of mercy as it was of brutality. The captors understood that the separation would have been too great, too generationally scarring, without some form of ritual passage. Other sites were places to allow remembrance and reflection, like the “Redemption Song” sculpture in Kingston, Jamaica’s Emancipation Park. The figures, a Black man and Black woman, rise serenely from the water, their faces to the sky. Just as places like Elmina and Goree Islands mark where captives left Home, sites such as Emancipation Park and Manhattan’s African Burial Ground National Monument speak to the ways in which they and their children pursued freedom, dignity, and a new sense of home on the other side of the Atlantic.

During the question and answer session, Manbo Dòwòti spoke of how her journey into AfroAtlantic religious traditions and her experience as an artist in the public domain informed the project that became Goud kase goud. As a vodouisante, she understands how public space and spectacle serve as vehicles for addressing social issues. She conveyed the importance of ritual, of psycho-spiritual healing, in movements for social justice. The evening closed on a high note, with Manbo Dòwòti taking time to speak individually with members of the audience and sign copies of her book.

To see pictures of this event, click here!

To purchase your copy of Goud kase goud: Conjuring Memory in Spaces of the AfroAtlantic, visit the HCX Boutik at 558 St.John’s Place | Brooklyn, NY.

By Gerard D. Miller, Jr., An n’ Pale participant

Posted in An n' Pale, Archive, Events, HCX Programs, Literature, Photography | No Comments »

September 14 – 15: Annual Kriye Bode Workshop and Performance



Peniel Guerrier presents Kriye Bode in “Histoire D’Haiti.” This engaging performance incorporates Haitian dance and drum to capture the unique history of Haiti from the early Taino tribes to the start of the revolution.

Acclaimed choreographer Peniel Guerrier has created a captivating tribute to Haiti’s struggle to become the world’s first independent black nation. Alongside his student performers, Peniel will bring to life the emotions, hardships, and spirit of the people who fought for a new beginning.

Kriye Bode is a term that signifies the call to participate. Kriye Bode calls people together to dance, sing, drum, and rejoice in the energy of life, as a community. As the artistic founder of Kriye Bode, Peniel Guerrier has dreamt of bringing this Haitian experience to the people of New York. The first Kriye Bode symposium took place in the spring of 2005.

The attendees participate in an interactive and riveting lecture on Haitian folklore followed by Haitian dance class and a drum circle. The classes give meaning to movements and rhythms discussed in the lecture. The weekend concludes with a performance by Peniel’s students, which bring the lessons of the workshop to life.

The performance allows the workshop participants to see what the dance looks like in full costume and live drumming.

Kriye Bode has since become an annual symposium. Every year the program grows and becomes more enriching than the previous year.

Kriye Bode workshop
When: Saturday, September 13th, 1pm ~ 5pm
Where: DANY Studios (Studio #3)
305 West 38th Street | New York, NY 10018

$75- workshop
$25- single class
$15- Non-Participant Observation Fee (for panel discussion or classes)

Panel Discussion: 1pm ~ 2pm
Haitian Folkloric Dance Class: 2pm ~ 3:45pm
Drum Class: 3:45pm ~ 5pm

Kriye Bode in Histoire D’Haiti
When: Sunday, September 14th ~ 5pm
Where: LIU Brooklyn/Kumble Theater for the Performing Arts
One University Plaza | Flatbush Avenue | Brooklyn, NY 11201
Between Dekalb Avenue & Willoughby Street
Ticket price: $30

Tickets can be purchased at or at the Kumble Theater box office. Box Office: (718)488-1624

To purchase tickets for the workshop contact Peniel Guerrier at 347-432-8294 or email

For more info and directions to the theater please visit

Posted in Arts, Classes, Dance, Events, Literature, Music, Theater, Visual Art, Weekend | No Comments »

Archive : Selebrasyon! New York’s Celebration of Haitian Art & Culture


Selebrasyon program coverConsisting of forty days worth of Haitian arts & culture, this large-scale Haitian arts festival was the first of its kind in New York City. With 22 events presenting the works of artists residing in New York, Haiti, and other parts of the Diaspora Haiti Cultural Exchange brought together over 100 modern and traditional artists, a majority of whom were emerging or unknown and whose work represents their extreme talent and innovation.

Kicking off with Selebrasyon! Opening Night and the Haitian Flag Day Selebrasyon! all the way to the No Passport Party finale, the festival gave artists a platform to present what’s cutting edge in Haitian art and offered nearly 4,000 participants an opportunity to experience their craft and engage with our community. Selebrasyon! could not have been possible without YOU! HCX extends our thanks to all of the artists, attendees and institutions that helped create the memorable moments that made Selebrasyon! a dynamic showcase of Haitian heritage.

To view a full list of the Selebrasyon! Community & Media Partners, Sponsors, and to learn more about Selebrasyon! CLICK HERE!

See what Caribbean Life had to say about Selebrasyon!
To view the full Selebrasyon! program, CLICK HERE!
To see photos from Selebrasyon!, CLICK HERE!
For videos of the festival,CLICK HERE!


Posted in Archive, Arts, Crafts, Dance, Events, Film, HCX Programs, Literature, Music, Photography, Poetry, Public Forums, Selebrasyon!, Uncategorized, Visual Art, Weekend | No Comments »

« Older Entries | Newer Entries »