It's been a week since I've been back from Haiti. Forgive my lack of posts for the past little bit. I have a lot that I wrote while I was away, that I meant to post daily, but I rarely had access to internet while I was away. So I'm going to be periodically posting some of my scribbles on here just as a way to debrief on some of the ideas that were running through my mind while I was away. I'm also juggling a lot of things personally (moving, job hunting, preparations for another chapter ect..)
Nneka featuring Nas - Heartbeat (Remix) by Hypetrak
" Prior to coming to Haiti I think I must’ve fallen prey to the rhetoric of the strength and defiance of the Haitian story. When I say Haitian story I mean the story of the 1804 revolution, and it’s legacy on Haiti, but I never really addressed or even remotely really recognize the real deep impact of colonialism on Haiti prior to the legendary uprising. ...Everything, from the name of some areas in downtown Port-au-Prince to the names of some streets throughout the country have french names. Names of places and spots that you can find in France as well. ... it's crazy.
French culture is embedded into Haitian Culture and Identity. I’m slowly realizing this more and more. In the formulation of the elite class, the more you can emulate "frenchness", (it also helps if you're lighter skin...[post-colonialism rhetoric] smh) the more opportunities were presented to you.
Right now, I’m wondering: is there a point in trying to separate Haitian identity with French identity and latin-american identity, and African identity. Because right now they all seem to speak of my story. From music on the radio, to our diction, to how some Haitians style themselves with castro-like mustaches, and eat pastries by the deli and ensure to have their café au lait in the morning... From the texture of our paté (patty) to the way family remembers always know natural alternatives to sicknesses and diseases (African roots)... it’s a creole. It’s a mix... I think it's starting to make sense to me now. " - Week 2 (thoughts).
Hypetrak Premiere: Mr. J. Medeiros - Old Man Perez by Hypetrak
This whole trip allowed me to make more sense of who I am, and why I am the way I am. It helped me make sense of why when I was growing up I felt awkward not getting the references that some of my carribbean (jamaica, trini, antiguan ect...) friends and acquaintances had. For example, I never heard of or fully understood dancehall culture growing up until grade 11 (Canada) or felt like it was at all ever part of my history...
There's also the conversations I've had with people who are Caribbean that told me that Haiti doesn't count as being part of the Caribbean... I think the source of this reasoning stems probably from the fact that we don't speak English, we are stigmatized by poverty and politics unlike our other Caribbean counterparts... and let's not forget the basic fact that we have completely DIFFERENT stories... This sort of ostracism irks me a little.