On Tuesday May 16th, 2023 Haiti Cultural Exchange (HCX) hosted our annual Haitian Flag Day Selebrasyon at Prospect Park Boathouse- Audubon Center. The evening kicked off at 5pm with guests arriving to an art filled space with paintings by Harry Abilhomme on display. As more people filled the inside space of the Audubon Center, guests were able to sit down to live music. Wooly Saint-Louis Jean entertained everyone with lively acoustic renditions of traditional Kreyòl and French songs and when they played ‘Alouette’- everyone was up from their seats singing along and dancing to ‘Alouette, gentille alouette…’
Along with live music, guests purchased from artisanal vendors: Askanya Chocolate, Cantave de Saint Marc Coffee, Bon Bon Lakay, Brooklyn Loves Haiti, and ARTisANETWORK. Attendees also enjoyed refreshments by Grandchamps Restaurant BK featuring Haitian pate, griot sliders, codfish fritters, and Haitian sodas.
Executive Director and Founder of HCX, Régine M. Roumain opened the festivities along with local elected officials Councilwomen Rita Joseph, Mercedes Narcisse and Farah Louis noting the significance of Haitian Flag Day to the Haitian and Haitian-American community of Brooklyn. Ms. Roumain and the organization were awarded with a City Council Citation “for their extraordinary efforts to organize the 2023 Haitian Flag Day Selebrasyon.”
After the last round of light refreshments, the attendees experienced a vibrant and moving performance by Robenson Mathurin and the NANM Dance Company. Their dance performances translated the strength and pain of the Haitian experience through time, and personified the motto of Haiti- liberty, equality and fraternity- to over two hundred attendees and park onlookers. Upon a rousing applause, Ms. Roumain gave closing remarks for the night and introduced the final performer- Emeline Michel.
This time of year, the sun starts setting a lot later and it seems around the time of Emeline Michel’s performance it is what we refer to as ‘golden hour’ adding a touch of gold to the pleasant, soft, and lively buzz of the evening’s featured performer. Haitian and non-Haitians alike were captivated by Emeline’s storytelling hits, responding to her calls of participation-a true ‘Krik? Krak!’ moment. Adults and children danced and sang along to every song, waving their Haitian flags high in the sky- stopping park onlookers in their tracks to enjoy the music on the bridge across the lake.
The day represented everything the Haitian flag stands for- community building with Haitians, Haitian-Americans and local Brooklyn residents of differing backgrounds, freedom of expression and resistance through culture, music, dance and art.
A true Selebrasyon!