Haiti Open | People Culture Tourism
HaitiOpen.com | Summer 2018
Haiti Open | People Culture Tourism
HaitiOpen.com | Summer 2018
BEST WESTERN PREMIER Experience Best Value, Premier, 4-Star Accommodations in the Heart of Pétion-Ville By Shirley Dorsainvil
LARGE GROUPS ARE WELCOME AND OFFERED SPECIAL RATES TO COLLABORATE, CELEBRATE IN LUXURY AND EXPERIENCE THE BEAUTY OF HAITI.
here safety, service, and comfort is a priority: Best Western welcomes groups, families, solo travelers, and business travelers alike in the affluent Pétion-Ville, Haiti. Discover incredible places with a contemporary aesthetic infused with Haitian-inspired style. While accommodated in the hills of the capital Port-au-Prince, and nestled in the heart of Pétion-Ville, experience the wealth of the suburb where everything you need is in close proximity.
Lounge in a unique, innovative reception zone. Upon your welcome, enjoy a cocktail crafted by the best bar staff while settled on a pleasant terrace at the Whiskey Bar. Enjoy live entertainment during the affordable happy hour. Best Western offers complimentary and reliable onsite shuttle services to get you to the nearest attractions or your travel destination. Arrangements can also be made for city transportation. The hotel dining establishment, Le Michel Restaurant, offers a free, sumptuous, buffet breakfast, in
Haiti Open | People Culture Tourism
addition to lunch and dinner to appease all appetites, 24 hours a day. With indoor and outdoor seating options – whether you’re going on a date, attending a work meeting, having lunch with friends, or simply grabbing a drink – the dining experience will exceed your expectations. Guests looking to enjoy the hotel for lounging can spend a day healing at the onsite health spa and massage center, Oxygene Spa. Indulge in body treatments, massages, manicures and pedicures of your choice. For family relaxation, unwind poolside in the outdoor swimming pool. Nearby is a fitness center with stateof-the-art equipment. A gift shop and currency exchange is easily accessible on site. For business travelers, a fullservice business center is available and equipped with personal computer, fax machines, copy machines, meeting and seminar space. The Louverture Room is a stylish and upscale 1,432=squarefoot event space provided for groups and business travelers. The terrace is elegant, with a retractable canopy with a perfect view for use at semi-private events. Host your next cocktail party, private dining event,
reception or weddings in style. Ask about their corporate contracts. During your stay, an on-call doctor and 24-hour concierge and room service is available.
Here, comfort meets spectacular views and refined luxury. City and mountain views are offered in rooms ranging from suites to studios. With a modern European design, options include balconies to capture the true ambiance of Pétion-Ville. In the large, spacious rooms, reliable Wi-Fi is complimentary. Other amenities include cable and satellite television, an in-room refrigerator, in-room safe, coffee maker for coffee enthusiasts, and iron/ironing board. To keep up-to-date with Haiti news, the room includes a free newspaper. For extended stays, the hotel books long-term rooms.
Pétion-Ville is the only city in Haiti that never sleeps, and hotel staff can assist guests who want to culturally immerse themselves at upscale jazz bars, nightclubs, casinos, and restaurants, all just steps away from the hotel.
HaitiOpen.com | Summer 2018
SAMANTHA COLAS Miss Universe Haiti 2018 Photographer: Jameson Thermitus MUA: Francisco Le Laquilleur & Christelle Sanon Dress: @attitudebylory Coiffure: Loubens Pouloute
Haiti Open | People Culture Tourism
An escape from the ordinary awaits in the northern shores of the “Haitian Riviera.” From the lush foothills of the Massif du Nord to the crystal waters at their feet, Fatima Group’s hospitality holdings combine first-class luxury with an adventurous spirit found only in this extraordinary isle. Explore nature from land, sea, or air with guided tours and secret adventures. Hit the water the way you like, whether to fish, sail, jetski, or just relax. Dine and entertain with VIP flair. And do it all with the luxuries and amenities you expect from a first-class Caribbean getaway. Both sumptuous and wild, pristine and historic, there is no place like Cap-Haïtien. Learn more at fatimagroup.ht or call +1 305.635.0938 x3012.
FATIMAGROUP. HT +1 305.635.0938 x3012
LUXE EXPANSION UNDERWAY
M A R QHaitiOpen.com U I S P A R A D I S E | Summer E K O L O J2018 I K R E S O9 RT
MERLIE FLEURIZARD Miss International Haiti 2018 Photographer: Jameson Thermitus MUA: Francisco Le Laquilleur & Christelle Sanon Dress: @attitudebylory Coiffure: Loubens Pouloute
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SAMANTHA COLAS, left Miss Universe Haiti 2018
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MERLIE FLEURIZARD, right Miss International Haiti 2018
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WRAP AND WHAT KNOT @wrapandwhatknot Photo by Hugue-Robert Marsan @hrmarsanphoto
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HaitiOpen.com | Summer 2018 15 ÂŤ
WRAP AND WHAT KNOT @wrapandwhatknot Photo by Hugue-Robert Marsan @hrmarsanphoto
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It's good to listen to music during your pregnancy 18 Haiti Open | People Culture Tourism
DR. SHRUSAN GRAY
BOARD CERTIFIED OBSTETRICIAN/ GYNECOLOGIST A YOUNG SHRUSAN GRAY FIRST REALIZED THAT SHE WANTED TO WORK IN FEMALE-CENTERED MEDICINE AS A CHILD IN THE CARIBBEAN. Dr. Shrusan Gray is a BoardCertified Obstetrician and Gynecologist, licensed by the State of Florida and New York and is an award-winning physician with an outstanding Ivy League education with extensive experience in her field. She is the co-founder and owner of Women to Women OB/GYN in Hollywood, Florida. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Dr. Gray has been practicing medicine for over 15 years. She is affiliated with several South Florida hospitals, including Memorial Hospital West and Memorial Regional Hospital. A young Shrusan Gray first realized that she wanted to work in femalecentered medicine as a child in the Caribbean. There, she not only witnessed, but assisted, her aunt, who was a midwife, in many home births. Some of these deliveries were unsafe and complicated. Today, she practices with a collaborative approach, helping to guide and educate women about the best choices for their health. She is highly skilled in all areas of obstetrics and gynecology and is adept at handling routine care and complicated issues requiring surgery and long-term care. OUR WOMEN’S HEALTH CENTER Upon arrival at our women’s health center, you’ll quickly notice the lengths we go to make our patients feel comfortable. You’ll notice that our waiting room is
more like a living room decorated with impeccable taste in design. We believe that making patients comfortable starts as soon as they walk through the door. And whether you book an appointment for an ultrasound or any other service we offer, you’ll be made to feel cared for and as comfortable as we possibly can. We know just how discomforting a gynecology appointment can be, and we want to do our best to diminish your anxieties. Our office is designed to accommodate women’s health needs and is done so with privacy and discretion in mind. Another great benefit we offer our patients is the ability to collect lap specimens and results on site. Not only does this save time, but it helps with peace of mind. We also offer our patients peace of mind by securely storing all information. You can rest assured that your identity and results will be safe in our hands. Not only can you trust that we care for women’s health, but we care about being a quality source for obstetrics and gynecology. Making sure that all patients feel comfortable requires listening, empathy, and attentive care, and when you book your obstetrics and gynecology appointment with our practice, you can rest assured you will be getting all of that and more. Put your women’s health in the right hands and trust the OB-GYNs at Women to Women.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Obstetrics Normal to High-Risk Pregnancies Perinatal and Genetic Counseling Infertility Work-up and Management Ultrasonography Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) Gynecology Complete Gynecological care Adolescent Gynecological Care Incontinence Therapy Treatment of Breast Diseases Contraception Management Sterilization Services Surgical management of gynecological diseases Mona Lisa Touch To Improve Vaginal Hydration Reduce Painful Intercourse Improve Urinary Incontinence Improve Vaginal Laxity
Contact Information: 3990 Sheridan Street, Suite 201 Hollywood, FL 33021 954-505-4458 firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com www.obgyncarewoman.com Please call the office or go online to schedule an appointment. Most insurance plans are accepted.
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CONTENTS| SUMMER 2018
… don’t downgrade yourself to make it …
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Designer & stylist Adjanie Muller Jewelry Olé bijoux Fabienne Descadres @olebijoux
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CONTENTS| SUMMER 2018
48 08 EVENTS | 86
Clarin World Championship HANA Fund Raising Gala HALO Fund Raising Gala Project St. Anne
DIRECTORY | 94 Worldwide Business Directory
TOURISM | 48
INTERVIEWS | 70
Sans-Couci Palace Noailles Port-au-Prince Wedding Planner Group Travel to Haiti
Tamara B. Rodriguez Sandra Justice Success Jr Chelo Chelo DJ Bullet Helmer Joseph
ARTS | 62 Patricia Brintle Vladymir Acloque Haitian Hertage Museum
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TALK TO US firstname.lastname@example.org
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JEAN ALFRED DELVA Editor-in-Chief 305-842-3555 Cover SASKYA SKY Little Haiti, Miami, FL Photo by Richard Lecoin @richardlecoin_photography Designer & stylist ADJANIE MULLER Jewelry OLÉ BIJOUX FABIENNE DESCADRES @olebijoux Mendes Chevalier GRAPHIC DESIGNER @mendes_1812, 786-267-0108 Proofreader ALEC ROSS Layout MOHAMMAD "MA" ALAUDIN Photographers: JAMESON THERMITUS CENDINO TEMÉ MACKINLEY "SPEX" MADHERE MAXENCE BRADLEY EDWARD M. JEAN-BARRE MAXIM LAROCHE JOHNY "REDLIGHT" LUC HUGUE-ROBERT MARSAN SAMUEL DAMEUS POUSYE JW PHOTOGRAPHY JOSEPH ULYSEE RICHARD LIBURD RICARDO SAINT-CYR JASON LARKIN VIRAN DE SILVA MARVENS AMAZAN Writers: SHIRLEY DORSAINVIL YSELANDE PIERRE SHELLY-ANN PARKINSON VANESSA JOSEPH, ESQ. A. DE LARA KATIA PHILIPEAUX BRIYANA JOSEPH STEVE BENETT SCHAINA JEAN-CHARLES Haiti Representative: PETERSON AGERNORD, PORT-AU-PRINCE +509-3488-2714
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RICARDO SAINT-CYR OWNER/PHOTOGRAPHER
USA: 26 Haiti Open | People Culture Tourism
786-488-5227 • HAITI: + 509 653-8306
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CLARA LUCE LAFOND Model & MUA @claraluce5 Photo by Richard Lecoin @richardlecoin_photography
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CLARA LUCE LAFOND
Model & MUA @claraluce5 Photo by Richard Lecoin @richardlecoin_photography
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LOVELY BAZILE Miss World Haiti 2018 Contestant Photo @hrmarsanphoto MUA @anjoumakeupartist Clothes @barbie_store._haiti Styling @christelledominique 32 Haiti Open | People Culture Tourism
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MARCELA THEODORA SALCEDO Miss World Haiti 2018 Contestant Photo @hrmarsanphoto MUA @anjoumakeupartist Clothes @barbie_store._haiti Styling @christelledominique 34 Haiti Open | People Culture Tourism
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Model: Wadeline Desruisseaux Photographer: Samuel Dameus MUA: Francesco Bellevue @Welcome_to_Haiti Swimwear: @tmmgstore Location: Decameron Haiti
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Model: Youseline Jean Marie Photographer: Samuel Dameus MUA: Francesco Bellevue @Welcome_to_Haiti Swimwear: @tmmgstore Location: Decameron Haiti
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Photo by Ricardo Saint-Cyr
Rutshelle at Compas Fest 2018 40 Haiti Open | People Culture Tourism
It’s all bout di flavas
Dukunoo Jamaican Kitchen Jamaican Restaurant (www.dukunookitchen.com) Written by Shelly-Ann Parkinson
he word “Dukunoo” or its many variations of spellings and pronunciations has its roots in West Africa. It simply translates to “sweet thing” or “sweet mouth.” Depending on where your family hails from, your recognition of this sweet staple may be a tad bit different, but the basic formula is the same. This sweet treat will always be a starchy pudding-like consistency wrapped in a leaf, tied, and boiled. It is a simple dish…yet steeped in so much history. It is this sense of history and culture that the owners of Dukunoo Jamaican Kitchen wish to bring to their guests. Located in the heart of Wynwood, Miami, it is not lost on them that they are surrounded by gentrification. However, it is Coowner, Dr. Shrusan Gray’s mission, “to open a Caribbean restaurant that is eclectic, chic, artsy, and upscale, that will positively represent Caribbean culture.”
The menu will feature traditional Caribbean dishes with a twist. Some of these dishes will be from old, almost forgotten recipes that grandma used to make and there will be dishes that are jazzed up and created for the restaurant. Besides the amazing quality of the food, guests are guaranteed to expect quality service, great art, and music in a relaxed atmosphere. Dukunoo Jamaican Kitchen will be open in Summer 2018 and is branded as a chic, fine dining restaurant that will feature a casual outdoor jerk area with a full bar. CoOwner and General Manager Leonie McKoy, a New York businesswoman and restauranteur, along with Co-Owner and Manager, Rodrick Leighton, who brings a legacy of managing some of the hottest night clubs in Philadelphia, together, are a winning combination for this joint venture in Wynwood.
Dukunoo Jamaican Kitchen is an eclectic Jamaican restaurant located in Wynwood, Miami that combines the best of fine dining and casual scenery. LOCATION: 310 NW 24th Street Wynwood, Miami - Fl 33127 www.dukunookitchen.com email@example.com HOURS: Monday - Sunday: 2PM - 2AM
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Photo by Ricardo Saint-Cyr
RoodyRoodBoy at Compas Fest 2018 42 Haiti Open | People Culture Tourism
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Lite kont piki moustik! Vide dlo dòmi yo pou anpeche moustik viv epi miltipliye bò lakay ou.
Pou rapòte nwizans moustik, al sou www.miamidade.gov/311direct, rele 311 oswa telechaje aplikasyon mobil 311 Direct gratis nou an. 44 Haiti Open | People Culture Tourism
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(305) 919-7993 www.islandtv.tv
CH 578 Without Cable Over the Air CH 16.8 With Cable Comcast
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HAITI’S ROYAL PAST SANS-SOUCI PALACE, CAP-HAÏTIEN
By Steve Bennett from UncommonCaribbean.com + Photo by Jason Larkin
pic, grandiose, awe-inspiring – Sans-Souci Palace is the type of attraction you’d expect to find nestled in the heart of some storied European capital; an enduring symbol of its country’s longstanding power and glory preserved for all time amid ever-more-modern buildings and infrastructure. When adventuring in Haiti,
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though, you learn quickly to expect the unexpected. In the case of SansSouci, that means an uncommon location in the tiny town of Milot, 165 miles north of the more commonly beaten paths in and around Port-auPrince. (Better to fly to nearby Cap Haitien with Sunrise Airways to get here.) Sans-Souci crowns the dusty,
humble town like a beat up tiara atop an aged beauty queen in sweat pants and an old T-shirt. Hints of the old glory remain, though, with just a little imagination required to envision the lavish feasts and parties once hosted here by King Henri I. Henri Christophe, as he was better known, was among the key figures in the Haitian Revolution
CULTURE (1791-1804), which resulted in Haiti becoming the first and only country in the world where slaves won and held onto their independence. A former slave himself, Christophe managed the plantation that was Milot for a time during the Revolution. After the fighting was over and independent Haiti’s first leader, Jean-Jacques Dessalines was assassinated (October 1806), Christophe returned to Milot and created a separate government from that based in Port-au-Prince. Naturally, he was soon elected as the first President of the State of Haiti, as he called it, eventually elevating himself to Henry I, King of Haiti, in 1811. History remembers King Henri as a ruthless despot who re-enslaved his people in order to build his kingdom and personal fortune, notions disputed by my local guide during my visit to Sans-Souci. What’s not in dispute, however, is the enduring legacy of Haiti’s tremendous potential that he left behind in grand structures like Sans-Souci. The Palace, constructed between 1810 and 1813, was known throughout the modern world at the time as The Versailles of the Caribbean. Sprawling gardens, fountains, bronzed lions, artificial springs, opulent furniture, decor and art pieces from all over the world were once literally everywhere the eye could see. The statue in this article, for instance, was imported from Italy for Henri’s wife, Queen Marie-Louise. There were once 15 of them scattered all about Sans-Souci… King Henri’s penchant for grand structures (he also commissioned the famed Citadelle Laferriere) was said to serve a greater purpose than simply inflating the infamous leader’s outsized ego. As my guide suggested on a few different occasions during our tour, the King had good intentions. Remember, this was the early1800s. Freedom would not come to slaves in America for another halfcentury. Equality wouldn’t come for
quite a bit longer than that. Yet here, in a remote enclave of northern Haiti, former slaves that had fought for and won their independence had built a full-scale aristocracy on par with the Europeans (though they mocked it), complete with the most ostentatious palace in the New World. I felt the weighty significance of this immediately upon scaling the steps of Sans-Souci and gazing out at Milot below. Knowing the tragic history of slavery and racism, their lasting effects when it comes to feelings of self-worth and achievement among many black people, and all the challenges Haiti has faced as a country over the centuries makes the grandeur of Sans-Souci all the more moving, impressive, and incongruous. I found myself staring blankly at and around Sans-Souci for extended stretches wondering how it could be; what could’ve been… No doubt, similar thoughts must’ve crossed King Henri’s mind near his end as well. After nine years on the throne, a stroke severely weakened him, leaving his growing number of disapproving subjects and enemies with a window to get rid of him. King Henri beat them to the punch though, taking his own life by shooting himself in the head with a silver bullet in the throne room at Sans-Souci. His son would succeed King Henri, both in assuming the throne and in assassination, his end coming just 10 days after his father’s. Sans-Souci lived on, of course, though a massive earthquake in 1842 took it down to its current state. Less extravagant, yes, but certainly no less worth a visit, SansSouci Palace stands among the most significant historical attractions in the Caribbean. A guided tour is strongly recommended to get the most out of your Sans-Souci visit. Check in with my friends at Agence Citadelle for rates and package information via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call them at 011-509-2940-5900.
HE WANTED TO SHOW THE REST OF THE WORLD THAT THE BLACK PEOPLE THEY KNEW ONLY AS SLAVES COULD ACHIEVE GRAND WORKS THE EQUAL OF ANY SOCIETY.
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THE UNCOMMON ARTISTS’ ENCLAVE OF NOAILLES, IN PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI By Steve Bennett from UncommonCaribbean.com
Ping! Ping! Ping! Ping!
ind the window down a good mile away from the village of Noailles and you’ll hear it - the unmistakable sound of hammers and chisels striking metal. Repeatedly. Incessantly. Rhythmically. Day and night, no matter the hour, over and over and over again. In most places the sound would rate a nuisance; the authorities soon dispatched to quite the racket, restore the peace. Noaille, however, is different. In this small corner of Crois-desBouquets, a northern suburb of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, the pinging is welcome, beautifu even; music to the ears of all who live here or happen to visit. An ultimate expressions of Haitian ingenuity and supreme artistic craftsmanship, the entire village of Noailles operates as a veritable artists’ commune, one in which seemingly everyone is involved in producing all manner of dramatic iron works of art from old and discarded oil drums. Sculptures, wall hangings, mirrors, furniture, light fixtures - all sizes, all colors, all infinitely amazing. I’ve visited Noailles twice in the past year, both times starting my tour of its many artistic wonders at Serge Jolimeau there. I mean, it’s
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not everyday that you get to meet an absolute legend in the art world at his home and workshop. Ever-so-humble, though, Jolimeau always says, “Where else would I be?” Jolimeau’s masterful ironwork, most of it inspired by local folklore and vodou, is so marvelously intricate and complex that it’s been liked to metal lace. You see it proudly displayed in all the finest hotels, restaurants, government offices, and museums in Haiti. You also have seen it for sale in Macy’s recently, a product of the Clinton Global Initiative following the 2010 earthquake. The best place to see Serge’s work, and that of his many, many other very talented artist neighbors, though, is in Noailles itself. Only here can you get a full sense of just how dynamic, broad, and voluminous the metalworks produced in the village really are. Roaming the area streets in and out of the myriad of shops, it was truly amazing to note the incredible variety of art pieces, each collection and its attendant craftsman sporting a slightly unique signature style. A the same time, you really feel the art here. Maybe it’s the pinping, which
never stops, or the personal oneto-one interaction with each of the artisans, the majority of whom speak English, but the whole place just feels alive with boundless energy, creativity, and heart. Like the art pieces created here, the village of Noailles is truly oneof-a-kind.
It sounds of progress, of passion, of pride... and some of the most incredible works of art you’re likely to find anywhere.
Photo by Viran De Silva
Photo by Viran De Silva
HaitiOpen.com | Summer 2018 51 ÂŤ
Photo by Viran De Silva
WEDDING PLANNER WEDDING WIRE BRIDE CHOICE AWARD RECIPIENT
MARIE DANIELLE VIL-YOUNG À Votre Service
By Shirley Dorsainvil + Photos by Marves Amazan
eddings are times of special meaning shared between couples, their friends and families. Having produced nearly 300 weddings, À Votre Service Events®, a premier boutique firm specializing in luxury wedding and event planning services, brings dream weddings and events to the pearl of the Caribbean, Haiti. With features in multiple issues of notable magazines worldwide, the fivestar firm provides: Creativity Wedding and event planner extraordinaire Marie Danielle Vil-Young brings a unique twist to designing luxurious weddings and events by using her science background. She has an undeniable passion and dedication for wedding and event planning while keeping customer satisfaction in mind.
order to ensure a successful event. To alleviate the stressors of the day, they are there throughout the entire process. DETAILED The À Votre Service Events® team does amazing work to transform spaces that make fantasy events a reality. They note the smallest personal details to match floral
Destination Weddings. Weddings are filled with joy and love that create moments that will be cherished for a lifetime. Celebrate the beginning of years of happiness with a firm that values professionalism, attention to detail, value, superb quality of service, and flexibility. They specialize in event planning, floral design, wedding planning, conference or meeting planning, product launches, fashion shows, galas, fundraisers, and bar or bat Mitzvahs. As well, they handle rentals, coordinate delivery, arrival, and set-up times with the photographer, the florist, the musicians, and the caterer or banquet manager Explore the innovation À Votre Service Events brings to the wedding industry in top publications such as The Knot Magazine, New Jersey Bride Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Weddings by the Ritz-Carlton Magazine worldwide, television show TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress”, online Style Me Pretty, Bride’s Cafe, and Style Unveiled. Discover your next cherished memory by booking your free initial consultation.
We insist on making sure that each of our events is extraordinary, sumptuous, and delivered at the highest level to meet our clients’ wishes, dreams, and fantasies. – Marie Danielle Vil-Young
QUALITY OF SERVICE “À Votre Service” means “at your service”. To Vil-Young, delivering the highest quality luxury weddings and events for clients who seek quality in all things is critical, so customer service remains her obsession and priority. The company, a 2011 Wedding Wire Bride Choice Award recipient, provides well-trained staff who offer true expertise for designing your special day or special event. They go above and beyond what their clients expect and contract for. That said, all final decisions are made by clients in
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arrangements and can extend things to a grand scale to provide opulent details for your wedding or event planning needs. The firm’s attentiveness and personal attention to every detail creates memories that make every event special. FLEXIBILITY Whether you are planning your wedding in six months or 2 years, serving 500 guests or hosting a small event for a circle of friends, À Votre Service Events accommodates your every need. They offer service tiers ranging from Full-Partial to Day-ofCoordination in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, or Pennsylvania. Also, the firm is available for
Photos from Martine & Anton’s Decameron, Haiti Beach Wedding June 8, 2018 by À Votre Service Events® www.avsevent.com 1-800-757-0549
Marie Danielle at Decameron Haiti
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INTERVIEW Experience Group Travel to Haiti with
GRAVEL WORLD An interview with its founder Clifford Williams
Photos taken at Île-à-Vache, Haiti, March 2018
By Schaina Jean-Charles + Photos by Cendino Temé @cendioteme_
AITI OPEN had the pleasure of speaking with the founder of Gravel World, a business working towards expanding the “false narrative [of Haiti] being shown in American media.” Clifford started Gravel World because he believed in the power of groups. He told HAITI OPEN that “when you [Gravel: Group + Travel] you build connections with people and potentially make lifelong friends. For me, friendship is essential to the soul. It is a necessary aspect of life.” What was the inspiration for Gravel World? Clifford grew up in Haiti and was “inspired to show people that Haiti was more than meets the eye.” Clifford wants others to see Haiti as more than [just] a mission country. Clifford chose Haiti as the top destination for what it represented to him.
What has been the response to Gravel World? “Haiti is our marquee destination.” Clifford has received an overwhelming response to what his business has done for those of Haitian descent and non-Haitians alike. Clifford mentions that the people he encounters feel that Haiti offers an eyeopening experience, contrary to what is exposed on U.S. television. His attendees are moved by the “genuine nature of the Haitian people.” Although coordinating group trips can often become overwhelming, Clifford remarks, “I went into it knowing that I would be dealing with many different personalities and attitudes, and I was ready.” However, despite the uneasiness
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and tension that sometimes afficts group trips, his attendees leave the trip as “a big happy family.” That is the experience
HE FELT THAT WE SHOULD TAKE [PILGRIMAGE] TO HAITI BECAUSE IT IS THE HEART OF BLACK FREEDOM WORLDWIDE. he wants to provide for his attendees. Gravel World is about becoming family and experiencing the different facets Haiti offers.
What do you wish you knew before starting a group travel company? “I spent 2 years planning the first trip,” says Clifford. He made sure to become very informed before diving into such a
grand venture. “I was fortunate to learn what not to do from other people. All my trips have been smooth!” However, he never expected the lasting impression the connections he made with his attendees would have on him. Clifford wholeheartedly expressed that if there are individuals out there aspiring to do what he does, they should just “Do it! I would advise them to do as much research as possible, go on a solo trip and run through the trip they want to organize on their own first. Doing that will make your trip smoother, and the experience will be 10 times better.”
What has been your biggest joy since starting this company for Haiti? “My biggest joy is watching people, especially non-Haitians, fall in love with our culture and especially our food. From time to time, some of my American attendees will send pictures of them eating in a Haitian restaurant stateside or send me a picture of them drinking Barbancourt Rum. It bridges the gap amongst us, a black people in America, and that’s powerful.” What can we expect from Gravel World in 3 – 5 years? “In 3 – 5 years expect Gravel World to take over resorts. We’ve done that at Abaka Bay in Ile a Vaches, which is paradise on earth. Moving forward, we’re looking to book the bigger resorts completely. That’s the plan! People are also getting excited about our other destinations (Indonesia, Zambia) coming up in 2019.”
CONTACT: GravelWorld Website: GravelWorld.com
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Île-à-Vache, Haiti Gravel World March 2018
Photo by Cendino Temé @cendioteme
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Île-à-Vache, Haiti Gravel World March 2018
Photo by Cendino Temé @cendioteme
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Port-au-Prince Airport, Haiti Gravel World Group Trip, March 2018 Photo by Cendino Temé @cendiotem 58 Haiti Open | People Culture Tourism
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STUDENTS IN CAP-HAÏTIEN, HAITI, 2017 Photo by Maxim Laroche HaitiOpen.com | Summer 2018 61 «
PATRICIA BRINTLE AND EXCELLENCE IN PHILANTHROPY
By Shirley Dorsainvil HAITI OPEN sat down with selftaught artist and award-winning philanthropist Patricia Brintle. Art plays an integral role in Brintle’s life. “I feel at peace with the world when I paint,” she says. “Yet, at the same 62 Haiti Open | People Culture Tourism
time, I feel the excitement of creating something new that, one day, will be part of someone else’s life.” She lives in the United States but most of her art reflects her native land, Haiti. The strong influence of her homeland pieces is depicted in her
favorable “Seasons” series, which depicts women holding various fruits native to Haiti. Devastated by the loss of her friends and family in the January 2010 Haitian earthquake, Brintle and her husband Joe sought advice
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Although creating art is more of a lifestyle for Brintle, she is “driven by the desire to give back to my country” and directs most of her effort toward philanthropic service. on how they could help individuals affected by the disaster. Brintle notes that “a call from above” from a friend asking for assistance with repairing Marie Reine Immaculee in Les Abricots, a church damaged by the quake, influenced her to raise funds. This sparked the initiative and led to the birth of a 501 c(3) charity: From Here to Haiti. In February 2011, by hosting a walk-a-thon, an art show, and receiving private donations, Brintle raised the necessary funds to travel to Les Abricots and hire 70 people from the community. Within a week, they replaced the roof and repaired the columns of the church. To understand her philanthropic ambitions and “keen responsibility toward Haiti”, we asked Brintle a few questions.
Tell me about the mission of From Here to Haiti. “From Here to Haiti is an allvolunteer charity that provides temporary employment and promotes self-sufficiency for the people of Haiti through the repair of non-governmental places of public assembly such as schools, churches, and the like. FHTH keeps its budgets small and works mainly in the provinces where the need is greatest.” After completing their groundbreaking work at Marie Reine Immaculee, word spread and, soon, they received more requests than they could complete. Despite that, From Here to Haiti has completed over 43 projects. 64 Haiti Open | People Culture Tourism
What does transparency mean to you when you encourage philanthropy? Transparency means that donors know their chosen charity, the work it does, where their money goes, and who benefits from their donations. This transparency can stimulate philanthropy in Haiti for youth. Brintle believes the “future of Haiti resides in its youth – on the island and abroad – and in the connection they make with other youth around the world.” She reiterates that volunteerism will build a connection with youth in Haiti by fulfilling their need to make a difference. She says the best way to influence the youth is by presenting the problems to them. Once the youth know the problem, they will work quickly to solve the issues presented to them. If you could offer advice to youth, what would you say? Become engaged early in your community. Speak with your community leaders; become aware, first hand, of their character and what their plans are for the future. Do not be afraid to ask questions, inform yourself, and take action if necessary, because everything that happens today impacts your future. What words of encouragement do you have for emerging business leaders? For emerging and established business leaders in Haiti, I would
say hire youth in your business and develop a tuition reimbursement program that will motivate them to continue their studies with high grades while working. Too many youth in Haiti are unable to continue their schooling because of a lack of money, and many talents are lost as a result. For emerging business leaders in the US, I would encourage them to foster philanthropy in their companies; this will breathe life into their workforce, bring a sense of togetherness and reinforce the wellbeing of their employees. Brintle has received various commendations, citations, proclamations and resolutions from State senators, borough presidents, and legislators, from the “2017 Shining Star Award” from the Diocese of Brooklyn to being presented with the “Honor of Merit” from Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe. This community-oriented artist teaches one-on-one religious education to children with special needs and prepares them to receive their First Communion in her spare time. However, in five years from now, she sees herself painting and continuing to show and sell her art internationally. Her hopes for From Here to Haiti is to continue its efforts, “engaging the youth and repairing places of public assembly in the countryside.” Lastly, she hopes to “obtain grants that will allow us to complete the many projects that come across our desk.”
Listening to peace
I am Cane
At the foot of the sky
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HOPE by Vladymir Acloque
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Written by A. De Lara
from “Ayiti Pam Nan” (email@example.com)
ladymir Acloque is an intentionally unschooled artist born with an innate ability to create realistic drawings, as well as brilliantly colorful expressions of emotion. His work ranges from pure abstraction to large portraits of the people of his homeland; a juxtaposition of abstract splashes of color on faces, radiating the patient suffering of the Haitian people. His abstract work are symphonies of liquid color moving over the canvas like waves of the ocean surrounding his island nation. He creates these expressionistic works by moving Acrylic across large canvases directing the movement of these liquid colors as they slide into each other, building a painted surface that speaks to the viewer much as an orchestra conductor creates a pallet of music for the ears of the listener. His portraits combine his fine hand for capturing the likenesses of his people with his ability to transmit emotional expression, connecting the viewer through the eyes of his faces to their souls. This rare ability to combine line and color, layering splashes of interlocking images over faces of pure emotion, makes his art a captivating experience. The viewer is caught by the eyes of his faces, transfixed as they stare hauntingly out from the canvas. The bodies on his hybrid sculpture-paintings leap out at the viewer from the canvas, almost life size, as they emerge from the flat surfaces of his canvas. They tell their stories to the viewer without words, inviting us to walk around them, asking us to imagine their origin, luring us into the canvas to share their experiences. As we see these sculptures floating on their painted surfaces, they seem far too heavy to be suspended. The impossibility of this vertical placement of sculpture on canvas creates a super-real effect on the viewer; an unexpected bond between the viewer and the art. Vladymir is a constantly evolving artist, not bound by the conventions of formal training, but exploring
the edges of his expressive ability. When asked, he is unable to define the source of his inspiration. He describes the process of creating his works as emptying his mind, allowing his energy to flow naturally onto his canvases. To encounter his works is to step into this space with him, to connect with the soul and spirit of a natural artist.
If you have questions o how to participate, please reach out to Alexandra De Lara or Jesika Maiga at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at (305) 905-5435 & (786) 266-7387
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HAITIAN HERITAGE MUSEUM In Miami’s Design District
HHM Board of Directors
The creation of a cultural legacy dedicated to an underrepresented heritage
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By Shirley Dorsainvil
utside of Haiti, Miami has the largest Haitian community in the United States. In order to serve the large population of Haitian individuals in such a large city, representation is key. Founder and co-founder Eveline Pierre and Serge Rodriguez established this when they launched the Haitian Heritage Museum (HHM). Nestled in the internationally recognized Design District of Miami, the awardwinning museum highlights Haitian culture, art, traditions, and history. Having a museum owned and operated by individuals of Haitian descent serves as a successful example of philanthropy in action. Despite the pitfall of a lack of support among the Haitian community, the Haitian Heritage Museum belittles the social climate and educates Haitian individuals on how to be philanthropists using a new dynamic that is different from the norm in the Haitian community. The museum is an interactive space that includes a gallery adorned with beautiful artwork that serves as a mecca for Little Haiti. The 501c3 organization includes historic artifacts, Haitian film viewing, a presentation of sounds of Haitian music and a collection of Haitian literature. Pieces date back to the 1940s and features works from Masters of Haiti Prophet Dufort, Claude Dambreville, and Jean Charles. Likewise, the unique Haitian art includes work by both traditional and modern-day artists.
Since the bicentennial anniversary of Haiti and the opening of the museum, the Haitian Heritage Museum has presented opportunities to educate the community for a decade. This has been done by helping the people learn about Haiti’s rich heritage and giving Haitian youth a sense of identity in Miami, an truly metropolitan city. Haitians will travel worldwide to pay homage to Haiti and be patriotic about their country. I really think it’s important for the community to come together and celebrate This product is a labor of love and keen interest in culture has set the way for the exploration of Haitian culture. Admission to the museum is affordable and the space itself serves as an amazing day date, field trip for the kids, or a way to explore Haitian culture in Miami. Membership types range from students to companies and permit admission to art exhibits, museum series, and notices about seminar series, to name a few benefits. Secure the legacy of Haitian generations to come by celebrating the richness of Haitian heritage at the Haitian Heritage Museum. Hours of operation and other information can be found at http://www. haitianheritagemuseum.org. Haitian Heritage Museum 4141 NE 2nd Ave #105C Miami, FL 33137
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A Delicate Touch on Illness and Inspiration: An interview with
TAMARA B. RODRIGUEZ
By Shirley Dorsainvil + Photos by Mackinley “Spex” Madhere
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arents must worry about revealing uncomfortable information to their children, but cancer is certainly one of the most challenging. Philanthropist and author Tamara B. Rodriguez was diagnosed with cancer when her daughter was 5. Even though illness struck, she gathered the strength, driven by the influence of her daughters and support from her husband, to write a children’s book. HAITI OPEN explores the inspiration behind her delicate descriptions of the realities of cancer in her first book, “Hair to the Queen!” and her latest book, “Teo the Great”, targeted to a younger audience. Why did you choose to write a children’s book? “I needed to find a creative way to help [my daughter] and her 6-yearold sister understand the illness and to let them know that everything was going to be okay. Since I couldn’t find a children’s book that reflected all the components that I wanted—I decided to write my own book.” Are your characters based on real people? “Yes. Most of the characters are based on people that have inspired me. For example, the character Teo, in Teo the Great, was inspired by a little boy – a true hero – who fought and won his battle against cancer. By the time he was 5 years old and finished with chemotherapy, I knew he would change my life and the lives of others around him forever.”
What inspired you to begin writing these books? “I hope to create awareness and inspire people to get screened at an earlier age. There have been tremendous advancements in cancer research and the survival rate with early detection is staggering.” The constant reminders from her husband about the impact the book might have “on other families struggling with ways to introduce cancer to their children” cleared the way for her to create a children’s book.
INTERVIEW What is your writing Kryptonite? Your drive? “My drive is to deliver a product that my family will be proud of [and] helping others see cancer in a different light. . .” Tamara confesses that she would not change anything about her books. Rodriguez says their overall and reoccurring themes are “family support, encouragement, and acceptance” and hopes that the books will “serve as a tool for families that want to teach their kids about compassion, support, and hope” that “gently touch on the illness [cancer].” Specifically: “Hair to the Queen! is told in the voice of seven-year-old Corazon as she prepares for a costume party to celebrate her birthday. Corazon›s mother is battling cancer and wears a wig after losing her hair. With the help of her father, sister, and friends, Corazon uses her birthday celebration as an opportunity to plan a special surprise for her courageous mom. The book can be purchased on Amazon or on our website www. hairtothequeenbook.com.” Without spoiling “Teo the Great” for future readers, it is available for pre-order on Amazon. For aspiring writers, Rodriguez contemplates the advice she would give herself and mentions that it is important to live your best life. But the key “is to help others along the way.” She says the best advice for aspiring writers is to “take your time to write something that you will be proud of. A piece of work with a message that will make sense today and also 20 years from now.” Likewise, she references the importance of an aspiring writer experiencing writers block “to write, take a break, write again and continue that process until you are happy with the end result.” Rodriguez is a fitness fanatic and uses the gym as an escape. “I love fitness,” she says. “The gym is my happy place.” When she is not focusing on her wellness, she enjoys spending quality time with her family and close friends. She reflects on her ambitions and hopes in five years and shares that her goal is to producing a TV show
“…it is important to live your best life, but the key “is to help others along the way”. based on her books and play a more integral role in the operations of her family’s foundation. That foundation is The Alfred Beliard Foundation, which is dedicated to raising cancer awareness and prevention strategies among Haitians living in regions that lack a proper healthcare system and remain underserved. This is done by providing access to care, creating community events in Haiti, and providing necessary resources. It is no wonder that Rodriguez wants to play a greater role in the foundation. To learn more about the great work of her families’ foundation, visit http://www.fondationalfredbeliard.org
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ACTRESS, PRODUCER AND TALK SHOW HOST
SANDRA JUSTICE By Briyana Joseph + Photos by GW Photography
hanks to her charismatic and unforgettable personality, Sandra Justice’s presence is mesmerizing. Sandra Justice is an award-winning actress, producer, event host and former Miss Haiti South Florida. Since she’s been influenced by Angela Bassett, Halle Berry, and Angelina Jolie, you can bet Justice brings dynamism, versatility and confidence to her every role. It’s almost impossible not to feel her passion through her art. If you browse through her work, you’re sure to appreciate how she is able to skillfully pull from her life experiences to relate to a variety of characters. A big part of the magic is her ability to improvise spontaneously to bring a dose of reality to her roles. From stage plays to films to television series and commercials, her love affair with the camera has been explosive. After acting in the stage play “Black in Time” in high school with a starring role as the illustrious Billie Holiday, Justice was officially bitten by the acting bug. Sandra began her acting career on the set of the 2005 film “Miami Vice”, which starred Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell. Later, she challenged herself with a role in “Step Up Revolution”. Justice has also had numerous feature roles in television series such as “The Glades” and in commercials for venues like Mardi Gras Casino and the Westin Diplomat. You can
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even spot her in Brandy’s music video for the song “Deliver Me”. How are you able to do it all? Actress, producer, host, interviewer. TV shows, commercials, web series and more. Effortlessly, you’re able to play these different roles on numerous platforms. What
Sandra’s acting career began on the set of the 2005 film “Miami Vice”, starring Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell. encouraged you to tackle multiple arenas, and how do you stay motivated? “I am able to do what I do through God’s grace, which gives me the talent and strength. Growing up, I always knew that I wanted to be in entertainment. I wanted to use the fame to bring hope and inspiration to young women, as proof that all things are possible. In life,
sometimes we get down and unsure of our purpose, or feel that things are not working how we’d like. It’s hard to ignore the tugging in our spirits that says, “There’s got to be more, we were put on this earth to be greater.” I stay motivated by being around like-minded people and I surround myself with individuals who are where I’m trying to go, so it reminds me it’s possible. Every day, I take actions toward my goal, because a goal without a plan is just a wish.” Justice’s talents naturally transfer to hosting events, where she keeps her audience engaged. She has hosted events such as Fashion for a Cause by Bravo’s Lisa Nicole Cloud, and The Red Dress Soiree with CBS 10 News Anchor Eric Yutz. Sandra also hosted the 2016 Haitian Heritage Celebration held by the City of Miramar and Mayor Wayne M. Messam. Her current projects include producing “The Sandra Justice Show”, where people tune in to hear her “keeping it real,” discussing real issues and possible ways to solve them; the Lunerversal Film Productions film, “Loving Til’ It Hurts,” a story about domestic violence; a feature role in “The Unknowns: Talent is Colorblind,” based on a true story produced by Top Cat Productions; and a feature role in “When Good Men Are Tempted,” a spicy stage play produced by Godz Sun Productions.
Sandra Justice Photo by GW Photograhy
Sandra Justice Photo by GW Photograhy
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SUCCESS IN COMEDY By Vanessa Joseph
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How A Young HaitianAmerican Comedian Is Breaking Barriers For The Culture
f Tyler Perry and George Lopez had a Haitian baby, his name would be Success Jr. You may also know him as “Manman Junior,” the representation of the typical Haitian mother. Manaman Junior is a smaller, less deadly, yet still lethal, version of Tyler Perry’s most popular character, Madea. When he’s just being himself, Success Jr., whose real name is Success St. Fleur, Jr., is entertaining audiences with stories of what its like growing up as a Haitian-American kid in the United States, similar to the way George Lopez’s comedy revolves around the Mexican experience. Either way, Success Jr. is sure to make you laugh yourself into tears. The young entertainer got his start at a young age and has produced his own shows and written his own comedy from the very start. Fast-forward to now, Success Jr. is amongst a class of young Haitian-Americans who are breaking barriers and traditions by following their dreams and not those of their parents. Speaking of parents, Success Jr.’s real-life mother—a much more stylish woman than Manman Junior, but still just as funny—used to feel a sense of shame whenever someone would ask her, “koman Success ye?” As most Haitian-American children can attest, Success Jr.’s real Manman told him he would be a doctor, lawyer, or an engineer. In the early days of his career, ask her about
Success and she would immediately change the conversation to talk about Success’s sister who is on her way to becoming a doctor. “My mom is finally proud of me,” says Success Jr., “when I first started my career, she didn’t support my desire to pursue a career in comedy. But now, you should see how she lights up when people tell her they saw one of my videos.” Despite being a child of Haitian descent, it wasn’t until recently that Success Jr. visited Haiti. “What’s crazy is that growing up, I always thought that Haiti was a place to be feared; now, I can’t get enough of it and am always looking forward to my next trip,” says the comedian who is scheduled to be part of a major comedy festival at the end of the month. Through his comedy, Success Jr. has given non-Haitians an inside look at what it is like to grow up as a Haitian-American, while giving Haitian-Americans the sense that they are not alone in their struggle of being raised by Haitian parents. While Success Jr. is currently working on a series of projects in comedy, he remains committed to using his platform to elevate the Haitian voice and also showing young Haitian-Americans that it is very much possible to follow your dreams, be successful, and make your parents proud all at the same time. -end-
Through his comedy, Success Jr. has given non-Haitians an inside look at what it is like to grow up as a HaitianAmerican…
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Chelo Chelo By Yselande Pierre + Photo by @pousye
ith an infectious personality, big heart, and funny as you know what...Chelo Chelo is the definition of bringing humor into the lives of the mass. In particular, the Haitian mass population. Here is a secret about Chelo Chelo. He is shy. Yes, he is shy yet loves to surround himself around a trusted support system. A comedian, influencer, friend, son, brother, and activist, we at HAITI OPEN got the opportunity to interview the “Zoe 911” star to get to know this funny entertainer.
Q: Where are you from Chelo?
A: I was born in Aquin, Haiti but I grew up in Ba Peau Chose, Port-AuPrince.
Q: What is your favorite Haitian cuisine? A: Legume, Diri Blanc (White Rice), Sauce paw (Green Pea Sauce) Q: What inspired you to be a
comedian? A: What inspired me to be a comedian, well...I was not inspired to be a comedian. I saw Zoe Poze make a video and it was not funny to me. I thought that he could make it better (Zoe Poze and Chelo are great friends). My friend Percy said, “You sound like a hater and if you can do it better than do it.” If not, then shut up. I asked Percy, “would you be my cameraman?” Percy said “yes”. I shot three videos that day and all three went viral. People kept asking for more and I delivered thanks to Percy and Zoe Poze.
Q: Let me ask the same
question but in a different way. Why comedy? A: Because laughter is the best medicine.
Q: As a comedian and artist,
do you feel pressure to be funny all the time? A: Absolutely not. No one is perfect. Do you expect LeBron James to be perfect at every game? Therefore, I cannot expect myself to be funny all the time.
Q: What is the most annoying question that people ask you? A: Are you Chelo Chelo?
Q: What is your dream car? A: Jeep Wrangler
Q: What do you love about
the summer? A: The amazing sun, great day and night parties and I get to travel to different states and countries for comedy shows or promotional tours. I will be in Haiti promoting Zoe 911 and I have a comedy show in Canada.
Q: What are some of your
upcoming projects? A: I am currently promoting Zoe 911 with the amazing Paul Antoine. I am in the process of working on my own show, “Le Chauffeur”, some animations, part two of Zoe 911, hosting, and producing fun music. I cannot forget the fact that I will be working on more comedy shows. Stay tuned to my social media platforms for more details. I love my fans and I thank all of them for their continued support.
Q: What do you wish you
knew more about? A: I would love to learn more about me.
Q: What do you know for
sure? A: I know for sure for sure that God is real.
I saw Zoe Poze make a video and it was not funny to me. I thought that he could make it better (Zoe Poze and Chelo are great friends). My friend Percy said, “You sound like a hater and if you can do it better than do it.” If not, then shut up. I asked Percy, “would you be my cameraman?” Percy said “yes”. I shot three videos that day and all three went viral. People kept asking for more and I delivered thanks to Percy and Zoe Poze.
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DJ BULLET DELANÉ —LITERALLY, IT’S THE YEAR OF DJ BULLET AND HE’S TAKING OVER HAITI’S MUSIC SCENE PA BAK By Vanessa Joseph
f you haven’t already heard, DJ Bullet is 2017’s DJ of the Year according to Haitian news outlet, Ticket Magazine. Whether you know him by his DJ name, DJ Bullet, his rapper moniker, Balalalet, his nickname, Da2, or his legal name, Daniel Deux Verna, you know for sure that the young DJ and rapper has major talent that is appreciated all over Haiti and throughout the Haitian music world. So how did the engineering student get into music? It’s in his blood. For as long as he can remember, DJ Bullet was surrounded by musicians and grew to have a deep appreciation for music. His brothers performed in Konpa bands and, after moving to Miami for his university studies, he worked with his friends who were also talented musicians. Through his connections, DJ Bullet was able to expose his talent to wider audiences and really feed his passion for music. DJ Bullet started to gain popularity when he released “Leve Men Nou,” a rap tune that became a hit throughout Haiti. With regular gigs and performances, DJ Bullet’s audience and fan base began to grow. Things really started to
take off when he began to release Raboday hits with clean lyrics that everyone—young and old—could enjoy. His hits led to him performing in Kanaval, which was an incredibly significant opportunity for him as it gave him the platform to expose his music to fans all over the country and abroad. But, DJ Bullet is Haitian and so is his mother—that means that this was definitely not the path she had chosen for him. “Education is extremely important to my family and everyone has gone to prestigious and well-known universities; but, my mother sees my success so she’s actually very proud of me,” says DJ Bullet. Having been independent for most of his life, DJ Bullet was bound to break the family tradition of pursuing a career in the medical field. While his brothers left music to focus on their education and careers, DJ Bullet did the opposite— so far, it’s been working extremely well for him. DJ Bullet has worked with some of the top people in the Haitian Music Industry and alongside international artists including Walshy Fire, Steve Aoki, Lil Jon, Ozuna, Davido, Michael Brun, and Mr. Eazi. Safe to say that
DJ Bullet has worked with … international artists including Walshy Fire, Steve Aoki, Lil Jon, Ozuna, Davido, Michael Brun, and Mr. Eazi. next time you’re in Haiti, make it a point to find out where DJ Bullet is spinning so that you can go back home and tell all your friends how you saw a miracle happen—the miracle that is DJ Bullet. Keep up with the kid by following him on Twitter: @balalatet. -end-
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Helmer Joseph after presenting his latest fashion line
International Fashion Designer
Helmer Joseph Putting the Haute in Haute Couture Article by Briyana Jopseh + Photos by Edward M. Jean-Barre Helmer is a haute couture designer in Montréal whose creations blur the boundaries between art and fashion and have been featured in various exhibitions and museums around the world, including the McCord Museum in Montréal and Musée de la civilisation in Québec City. His approach to fashion is rare and specific; employing a range of sustainable fabrics like organic cotton, silks and linens. He creates everything from accessories to suits and combines innovative designs with sustainability. WHEN DID YOU FIRST REALIZE YOU WANTED TO PURSUE A CAREER AS A DESIGNER? “When I was around seven or eight years old. I found people to be unfashionable. I criticized everything and asked for advice,” says Helmer, who was born in Gonaives, near Haiti’s place of independence and the church. “My audience was always wearing their Sunday best, such as marigolds
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for burial masses and national holidays.” WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART ABOUT BEING A DESIGNER? Helmer’s imagination has never been in question. As a child in Haiti, he trained as a tailor at JB Damien vocational arts school, and moved to Jamaica for one year to study machine embroidery. At the age of
20, he came to Montréal with his family and studied fashion design at College Lasalle. He launched his first collection in Montréal in 1982. In 1983, at the age of 27, he moved to Paris, where he studied fashion and textile design, specializing in a variety of fields with an emphasis on haute couture at Esmod, Francoise Conte, Lesage, and l’école de la chambre syndicale de la couture parisienne. During his 20 years
Fatima wearing Helmer Joseph, Photo by Edward M. Jean-Barre
Fatima wearing Helmer Joseph, Photo by Edward M. Jean-Barre
in Paris, he took on contract positions at all the major couture and fashion houses, including Dior, Chloe, Thierry Mugler, Louis Vuitton, and many more.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART ABOUT BEING A DESIGNER? “The FREEDOM to DREAM what is possible. Source: Kat Sark from suitesculturelles.wordpress.com
Fatima wearing Helmer Joseph, Photo by Edward M. Jean-Barre
WOULD YOU TRAVEL, LET’S SAY, TO HAITI TO DESIGN A BLAZER OR BLOUSE? “Currently, I am in Haiti. I am working on a collection of embroidered white blouses for men and women influenced by our history and culture.” When he returned to Montréal in 2004, he continued to produce a collection twice a year and to work with clients from all over the world, including Paris, Boston, Washington, Ottawa, Toronto, Haiti, Senegal, Benin, Martinique, and Ivory Coast. He opened his gallery-boutique on Boulevard St. Laurent in 2009.
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FIND PEACE, LOVE, AND HAPPINESS WITH THE “CHIMEN LANMOU” STAR
By Shirley Dorsainvil + Photos by Richard Lecoin
invest in your music… stay consistent, have patience
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Designer & stylist Adjanie Muller Jewelry Olé bijoux Fabienne Descadres @olebijoux
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Designer & stylist Adjanie Muller Jewelry Olé bijoux Fabienne Descadres @olebijoux
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here are certain artists who cannot be lumped into a specific genre. Saskya Sky is a free-spirited artist who contributes music to whatever genre “gives good vibes and makes people happy”. She is a woman of all trades who has gained recognition as an international Haitian-American recording artist, actress, and social media influencer. Born and raised in Haiti, she contributes music locally in South Florida. Saskya Sky’s artistic career began when she began singing at the age of eight. Her church-singing background built the foundation for her current vocal range and passion. But she credits her voice influence to Celine Dion, her unique style of singing to iconic French singer Fredrick Francois, and her aspiration for greatness to Michael Jackson. The multi-genre artist gave HAITI OPEN the opportunity to explore her views on Haitian art, music, and culture.
WHAT ARE THE MAJOR INFLUENCES BEHIND YOUR PASSION FOR CREATING MUSIC? [Being able to] touch someone’s emotions [and] the ability to connect with others through it [is] a powerful thing. We asked Saskya to consider her contribution to Haitian music and where it fits in. “I don’t like to categorize myself or my music,” she says. “I love to give good vibes, whether it’s from my presence, by doing comedy skits online or my music. My music is a vibe. It gives good vibes and makes people happy. I want everyone to enjoy my music.” WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON HAITIAN MUSIC AND ITS CONTRIBUTIONS TO SPREADING OUR CULTURE WORLDWIDE? I love Haitian music. I’m connected to it on a spiritual level. My father loved listening to Rasine . . . Septan
and Tropicana. Those types of music will always bring me back to a perfect time in my life. We haven’t had a strong effect on the international market. The reason may be the language barrier, but our sounds have influenced artists all over the world. We just haven’t been recognized for it. I do believe we will get there someday.
WHO IS YOUR IDOL? I don’t idolize anyone. Different artists inspire me in different ways. I can learn something different from each of them. MANY WOMEN FIND BEING AN ARTIST IN THE HMI CHALLENGING. HOW WOULD YOU SAY THE HMI HAS CHANGED BY EMBRACING WOMEN AS ARTISTS? The HMI has not changed with embracing women. There are some great female artists in the HMI. Some are far more creative than they are given credit for. I don’t see anyone rushing to [female artists] concerts and taking time to appreciate us as they do [male artists]. I don’t see [female artists] often added to the lineups at festivals . . . you will hear about our looks, or our bellies are too fat in a dress, when we don’t have enough [physical assets] and when our names our linked to a guy or another woman. Rarely does the HMI produce successful female artists. It’s always one or two. The [majority] are men. WHAT IS THE BEST THING TO HAPPEN TO YOU SO FAR? She explains a mental pitfall that she has overcome. “Peace!” She mentions praying “for peace for a very long time. I prayed to be happy. It’s been a long time since I’ve smiled genuinely. I was not a happy person these past years. Depression and anxiety invaded my mind. I never publicly expressed myself for fear of being judged. So people
would ask about my disappearance, and I would give different excuses. But the truth is, I was taking time off to work on my sanity. I prayed for peace, I prayed for happiness. And I’m thankful that I now have it.”
WHAT ARE THE MAJOR INFLUENCES BEHIND YOUR PASSION OF CREATING MUSIC? The ability to connect with others through it. That’s a powerful thing. Touching someone’s emotions. Being able to make them said or happy, or excited. That’s major. IF YOU COULD WORK WITH ANY ARTIST, WHO WOULD THAT BE? It would be Chris Brown. I’ve always believed that he’s a living legend. He’s so underrated. Although he is a major superstar, I still believe that he doesn’t get enough credit for his abilities. He’s a young Michael Jackson in my eyes.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SONG THAT YOU HAVE CREATED? FAVORITE ALBUM? My favorite song right now is my current song, “Chimen Lanmou”. I feel like I discovered a different side of myself when I wrote that song. A side that is cool and careless. A side that does not care about anyone else’s opinion. When I wrote Chimen Lanmou, I just went with the flow, I didn’t overthink anything. Saskya advises upcoming artists to “invest in your music… stay consistent, and have patience.” She explains that the internet is fluid and there are multiple ways to make it. Because of this, she says, “don’t downgrade yourself to make it; don’t let anyone talk in your head; don’t listen to any one who promises you the world.” Peeking into her future, she hopes to be a worldwide, mega-superstar with a successful acting career. Check out the artist’s favorite single, “Chimen Lanmou” – and stay on the lookout for her next tour! HaitiOpen.com | Summer 2018 85 «
Luca Gargano holding the microphone
CLARIN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 3RD EDITION from Luca Gargano, Hotel Florita, Jacmel, Haiti (June 5th, 2018)
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luca gargano 2
les clairins sajous vaval et casimir
Herbert linge de Berling et les 3 gagnants
les 9 finaliste et michel sajous
the winners left to right Italy Michele France Oliver and UK Andreas
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HANA 34TH ANNUAL FUND RAISING GALA (April 21st, 2018) Photos by Joseph Uslysee
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HALO 2018 Scholarship Recipients
THE HAITIAN AMERICAN LEADERSHIP ORGANIZATION (HALO) 13TH ANNUAL CULTURAL & FUNDRAISING GALA – La Perle des Antilles (May 2018)
By Katia Philippeaux, President of HALO + Photos by Richard Liburd
f you have not yet attended one of the Haitian American Leadership Organization (HALO) Cultural and Fundraising events, you are missing out on an evening of fun, dance, and culture. For the past 13 years, HALO has hosted one of South Florida’s “must attend” fundraising events. Its main purpose is to raise funds to award underprivileged high school seniors the opportunity to attend college. In addition, the vibrant cultural theme component attracts both in and out of town attendees to the annual rendezvous. Each year a different theme is presented, showcasing the history and beauty of the Haitian culture. This year’s theme, La Perle des Antilles: The Pearl of the Antilles, demonstrated the beauty
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of Haiti as guests embarked on a cruise to the sandy, breathtaking beaches of Haiti. A captain and crew welcomed attendees as they walked through the 3D cruise ship featured at the entrance of the ballroom. The cocktail reception included traditional Haitian cuisine appetizers, drinks and networking opportunities. The cultural program of the evening included a show from Nancy St. Leger Dance Ensemble and a performance by Sosyete Koukouy, under the direction of Jean Mapou. Annually, the groups cultivate their performance with the featured theme, enlightening the audience with a brief, yet rich history of Haiti. The evening ends with guests dancing the night away
with a performance by the musical group T-Vice. HALO is a 501c3, non-profit organization based in South Florida. Its mission and vision includes the empowerment of our community to be better represented, to support and promote the development of future leaders through education and to provide a link between existing community based organizations to facilitate networking opportunities. HALO looks forward to embarking on new projects that will continue to empower the youth in our community and become our future leaders. For sponsorship opportunities and for updates on HALO, please visit halohaiti.org or email email@example.com.
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by embodying “the helping hands of St. Anne”
We FEED: In collaboration with the priests of St. Anne Church in Camp-Perrin, Haiti, our first project in 2008 commemorated the Feast of St. Anne by providing hot meals to the lessfortunate. Since then, the Feast of St. Anne has become an annual project for Project St. Anne feeding over 1,500 people every year and confirming that even the smallest gestures can provide HOPE to those in need. We SERVE: All of our actions at Project St. Anne are born from a spirit of serving to ADVOCATE for the underserved communities of southern Haiti. In addition to serving on the ground and helping to build shelters for families year-round, we are dedicated to providing gifts and support during the
… dedicated to providing gifts and support during the holidays for 700+ families.
PROJECT ST. ANNE The helping hands of st. anne
Project St. Anne is an international non-profit organization established by Haitian-Americans in 2008 whose mission is to enrich the community through social endeavors by providing Nutritional, Financial, and Educational support. We strive to serve & maintain the dignity of the impoverished community of Haiti 92 Haiti Open | People Culture Tourism
holidays for 700+ families. Project St. Anne is especially committed to serving by helping to REBUILD the community during disaster relief and serving with dignity. WE EDUCATE: Project St. Anne is passionately committed to creating educational opportunities to communities that would otherwise be unable to afford this privilege. By sponsoring 210 + children in Camp-Perrin, we provide the opportunity to attend schools as well as educational supplies and support to give future generations an education and the SPARK to give back to their communities. Contact Info: 305-468-0355 www.projectstanne.org firstname.lastname@example.org Key Officers: Naika Charles DHaiti - Founder Lynda Bernard - Co-Founder Randy Gornail - CEO
Project St. Anne 10th Anniversary Fund Raising Event at Kasa Champet, June 2nd, 2018
with Reginald Policard and Sons featuring Carlo Vieux & Fader Lima
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WORLDWIDE BUSINESS DIRECTORY Total Women Wellness Center
ART GALLERIES Haitian Heritage Museum
4141 NE 2nd Ave #105C, Miami, FL 33137 (305) 371-5988 www.haitianheritagemuseum.org
Dr. Clones Lans and Dr. Hans Jean-Baptiste 16400 NW 2nd Ave, Suite 101, Miami, FL 33169 (305) 705-4575
I&B Medical Associates
Dr. Alain Innocent & Dr. Alande Brezault 9400 NW 12th Ave, Miami, FL 33150 (305) 835-9264
Preferred Family Care
Dr. Patrick Romeus 16853 NE 2nd Ave, Suite 101, North Miami Beach, FL 33162 (305) 548-8530
CAR DEALERSHIPS P S Auto Enterprises
You Work. You Drive. 3216 S. State Rd 7, Miramar, FL 33023 954-985-8375
Family, Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry
Dr. Francisco Javier Azar 16777 N. Miami Ave, North Miami Beach, FL 33169 Phone: (305) 866-9644
Dr. Angelo E. Gousse Broward : 1951 SW 172 Avenue, Suite 305, Miramar, FL Dade : 21150 Biscayne Blvd # 304, Miami, FL 33180 305) 606-7028
DOCTORS & MEDICAL CENTERS Primary Medical Care Center
Dade: 115 NW 7th Ave, Miami, FL 33168 Broward: 2412 N. State Rd. 7, Lauderdale Lakes, FL 33313 (305) 751-1500 | (954) 289-0000
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Women to Women OBGYN Care
Dr. Shrusan Gray 3990 Sheridan Street, Suite 201, Hollywood, FL 33021 954-505-4458 www.obgyncarewoman.com
BUSINESS DIRECTORY Florida Endovascular and Interventional
Dr. Curtis Anderson 15600 W 67th Ave, Suite 101, Miami Lakes, FL 33014 786-534-2555 www.flinterventional.com
Sunshine Pain Management Medical Center
Dr. Mogin Antoine 900 NE 125th Street, Suite 110, North Miami, FL 33161 (305) 836-1421
HOTELS Best Western Premier, Petion-Ville
50 Angle Louverture & Geffrard, Petion-Ville 6110, Haiti +509 28 14 2200 www.bestwesternpremierhaiti.com
Dr. Romane Joseph Dade: 9415 NE 6th Ave, Miami Shores, FL 33138 Broward: 4900 West Oakland Park, Blvd., #107, FT. Luaderdale, FL, 33313 (786) 401-6455
LAWYERS Louis Law Group
Insurance Litigation Attorney Pierre A. Louis, ESQ. 7951 Riviera Blvd, Suite 103, Miramar, FL 33023 954-676-4179 www.louislawgroup.com
FINANCIAL & TAX SERVICES Globelend Capital
Business Loans 1111 Park Center Blvd 425, Miami, FL 33169 877-491-7537 www.globelend.com
PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEOGRAPHY Spex Photography, Inc.
AB Consulting & Accounting Services
Anis Blemur 685 NE 126th St, North Miami, FL 33161 866-677-7623 www.abfinancials.com
Mackinley ‘Spex’ Madhere Miami based, travels worlwide spexphoto
Red Light Photos
Johny ‘Redlight’ Luc Miami based, travels worldwide redlightphotos
GRAPHICS & PRINTING Xpert Sign & Printing
Junior ‘Fresh’ Dieubon Miami based, travels worldwide jd.productions
12195 NW 7th Ave, North Miami, FL 33168 305-688-1616
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RESTAURANTS Randy’s Restaurant & Lounge
REALTORS & MORTGAGE BROKERS
Dukunoo Jamaican Kitchen
John Lorfils, MBA 6850 Coral Way #200, Miami, FL 33155 E-mail: email@example.com
13420 NW 7th Ave, Miami, FL 33168 305-687-9630
310 NW 24th Street, Wynwood, Miami, FL 33127 www.dukunookitchen.com
Green Street Realty
50 Angle Louverture & Geffrard, Petion Ville, Haiti 877-897-2523 www.bestwesternpremierhaiti.com
926 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1W3, Canada Phone: 647-346-9356 www.rhumcorner.com
WEBSITE DESIGN & SEO 1804WebSolutions, Inc.
12864 Biscayne Blvd, #298, Miami, FL 33181 305-407-1642 www.1804WebSolutions.com
70 Boulevard de l’Hôpital, 75013 Paris, France +33 1 43 37 05 62
WEDDING VENDORS À Votre Service Events®
Marie Danielle Vil-Young 1-800-757-0549 www.avsevent.com
Shipping to Haiti 7829 NW 72nd Ave, Miami, FL 33166 305-599-0777 www.emexusa.com
WINDOWS & DOORS CMS International Group Corp.
TRAVEL AGENCIES & GROUPS
Jeff Lozama 3333 NW 168th St, Miami Gardens, FL 33056 www.cms-miami.com 305-628-3421
Gravel World Clifford Williams www.GravelWorld.com gravelworld 96 Haiti Open | People Culture Tourism
Add your business (1.844.HAITI-OPEN or firstname.lastname@example.org)
“MY MISSION IN LIFE IS NOT MERELY TO SURVIVE, BUT TO THRIVE; AND TO DO SO WITH SOME PASSION, SOME COMPASSION, SOME HUMOR, AND SOME STYLE.” - MAYA ANGELOU
ichard Lecoin is a multitalented artist often referred to as a “jack of all trades”. He has a passion for life and hunger for success. This talented thirtysix year-old started a career with the federal government over 15 years ago. While working there, he managed to go to school to become a licensed massage therapist. Model turned photographer, his vision and craft for photography, fashion, and modeling continued to grow. Born in New York and raised in Haiti, the unfortunate passing of his father left Richard to take on many
responsibilities at a very young age. Fast forward Richard moved to New York where he became his mother’s primary caretaker during her battle with cancer, all while working fulltime, modeling, and pushing to get his degree before his mother’s passing. This all drove Richard to embody hard work, dedication and sacrifice. His “nothing can stop me” attitude propelled him to where he is today. In November of 2010, after his mother’s passing, Richard moved to Miami to start a new. Married now, with three kids, he finds himself
engulfed in a number of exciting opportunities such as bookings for the HBO series Ballers, Empire’s Jussie Smollett aka Jamal featuring Pitbull music video “No Doubt About It”, and Pepsi Max’s Uncle Drew Series Part 4. Richard’s love for the camera continues to carry his vision to “capture a moment in time”. He has since worked tirelessly to expand his photography with a number of private projects, building his brand, Richard Lecoin Photography. HaitiOpen.com | Summer 2018 97 «
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Saskya Sky graces our 11th magazine edition cover for summer 2018 ARTS & CULTURE.