On Monday October 26, Haiti Cultural Exchange hosted our annual Community Stakeholder Dinner for the 2022 “Lakou NOU” artist cohort’s season of programming. The list of attendees included past Lakou NOU artists, community leaders, activists, scholars, senior artists, and past HCX event participants. Throughout the intimate meal at Grandchamps restaurant in BedStuy, Steven Baboun, Robinson Mathurin, Sherlee Skai and Lalin St. Juste presented a look into each of their projects and received feedback in preparation for their final presentations in December.
Mathurin shared photos, rehearsal video and interview questions for his dance-centered project on being a Black immigrant. St. Juste shared a narrated compilation video of interviews and childhood photos for her project on the Haitian Creole language and identity. Baboun shared survey questions/answers and photography for their project on being queer and Haitian. Skai shared news stories and lyrics to her song for her project on Haitian immigration.
After the meal, each artist received constructive feedback from our stakeholder guests in small groups.
During the closing circle with all the artists and participants, community leader, Dr. François Pierre-Louis Jr., Associate Professor of Political Science at Queens College, CUNY, expressed his pride in the artists and their public ownership of their Haitian identities. Dr. Pierre-Louis noted that ownership was not always present within his community when he was young. The Lakou NOU artists surely are taking the next steps to explore the nuances of the Haitian diaspora, all grounded in their love for Haiti.