What's up Little Haiti


Wyclef Jean discusses Temporary Protected Status for Haitians

Haitian-American musician Wyclef Jean talks about the possibility of Haitians losing their temporary protective status from his home in Los Angeles.

Wyclef Jean

Haitian advocates like Marleine Bastien had been hoping that Haiti’s biggest celebrity, known for rocking Haitian pride and peppering his rap and song lyrics with Creole narrations, would say something about TPS.

 “We are so encouraged,” she said, “by his strong stance for renewal...I know it warmed the heart of thousands of TPS recipients. I had a community activist say to me last night: If every musician did what Wyclef did last night, we would be so far ahead in this campaign for TPS renewal.”

The artist’s stance, she said, reminded her of 1997 when Jean stepped onto the stage of the Grammys as a member of the Fugees wrapped in the Haitian flag. The watershed moment, at the crest of an anti-immigrant wave, empowered millions of Haitians who had been battling stereotypes and feeling disenfranchised.

“Again last night, he reminded me that despite the criticisms, he always stands up when it matters and that’s important,” Bastien said.

For months, Bastien and other Haitian and immigration advocates have been rounding up support among Democratic and Republican lawmakers, Haitian and non-Haitian professionals and businesses to urge Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to renew the designation for 18 months ahead of its July 22 expiration date.

Kelly has not yet said what he will do. But acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services James McCament has recommended to Kelly in an April memo that the program be renewed for only six months and then terminated in January. His argument: Conditions in Haiti have improved since the country’s tragic Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake left more than 300,000 dead, 1.5 million homeless and an equal number injured.

Those calling for an 18-months extension, as has been customary since the Obama administration designated Haiti as a TPS country days after the quake, say recovery has been slow and uneven, and Haiti is still suffering from the effects of a deadly cholera epidemic, imported by U.N. peacekeepers 10 months after the quake, and last year’s deadly hurricane.

Jean, who refused to let a few skirmishes disrupt the festive mood and even scaled the lighting rail, agreed.

“Haiti can’t take these deportations,” he sang.


A Basquiat Sells for ‘Mind-Blowing’ 0.5 Million at Auction


MAY 18, 2017

Joining the rarefied 0 million-plus club in a salesroom punctuated by periodic gasps from the crowd, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s powerful 1982 painting of a skull brought 0.5 million at Sotheby’s, to become the sixth most expensive work ever sold at auction. Only 10 other works have broken the 0 million mark.

“He’s now in the same league as Francis Bacon and Pablo Picasso,” said the dealer Jeffrey Deitch, an expert on Basquiat.

The sale of the painting, “Untitled,” made for a thrilling moment at Sotheby’s postwar and contemporary auction as at least four bidders on the phones and in the room sailed past the million level at which the work — forged from oil stick and spray paint — had been guaranteed to sell by a third party.

Soon after the sustained applause had subsided, the Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa revealed himself to be the buyer through a post on his Instagram account. “I am happy to announce that I just won this masterpiece,” he said in the post. “When I first encountered this painting, I was struck with so much excitement and gratitude for my love of art. I want to share that experience with as many people as possible.”


Development Bank Approves Million For Santo Domingo Historic District Restoration

The Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) this week approved a million loan to finance continued renovation of historic, public and tourist infrastructure in the Zona Colonial district in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic’s capital.

The new funding will “help recover public spaces and historical monuments, improve living conditions for residents, develop [the] local economy and strengthen historical area management,” according to an IADB statement. The financing supplements Dominican Republic government initiatives launched this decade to restore streets, buildings and public streetscapes across the historic district, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The project will also provide assistance to residents of the district by assisting 200 low-income households with “gentrification dynamics,” said officials. Other plan aims include the restoration of historic facades, traditional squares, the historic city wall and adjacent public spaces.

The funds will also be used to improve economic prospects for small and micro-sized business enterprises, prioritizing those that are owned by or employ area residents, with an emphasis on strengthening training related to tourism service delivery.

Historic buildings including the St. Francis Convent will undergo renovation, along with museums and public spaces. The district will also receive new water, sewerage and storm drain systems plus new electricity and communications wiring, public lighting, street furniture and road signs. Tree planting on will take place on “priority roads” and new traffic installations will prioritize pedestrian traffic, said officials.

“The program also contemplates improving the [Zona Colonial] governance and implementing sustainable management principles and plans to strengthen tourism and tourism-related services,” the statement adds.

Santo Domingo’s Zona Colonial was the first permanent American settlement for 15th-century European explorers. The district features Calle de Las Damas, the oldest paved street in the Americas which leads to Plaza de Espana, a broad stone courtyard highlighted by Alcazar Colon, the restored palace of Don Diego Colón, a son of Christopher Columbus and the 16th-century Spanish viceroy of Santo Domingo.

May 18th -Haitian Flag Day Celebration

The General Consulate of Haiti in Suriname celebrated the 214th anniversary of our flag in style! This was the fourth consecutive year that this celebration took place in the city of Wanica, where a large portion of the local Haitian Community lives.

More appealing than last year, this traditional meeting by the Consulate has become a real cultural and family festivity.  Artists were more than anxious to demonstrate their multiple talents including music, dances, songs, poetry, comedy, etc…

The Consulate made certain not to forget about the very young attendees by including an inflatable castle and having Surinamese artist available to draw the Haitian flag on the faces with glitter.

A larger turn out came out this year, and more participants from the Haitian community attended as well to exhibit crafts, delicacies prepared from family recipes and for the first time, shoes, sandals and quality purses. During this fair, Surinamese companies interested to doing business or recruiting in the Haitian community participated once again.


Dany Laferrière, named Officer of the Order of Montreal

Dany Laferrière, illustrious French-speaking writer, heavy weight of Haitian literature and a member of the French Academy, was honored by Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre, last week on the eve of the 375 anniversary of this Canadian city.  

On Wednesday, May 17th, as the festivities for the 375 anniversary of the city were getting launched, Mayor Denis Coderre use the opportunity to honor seventeen individuals with the Order of Montreal, formerly known as the Academy of the Great Montrealers, created in 1988 by the Chamber of commerce of Metropolitan Montreal.

"I have received honors in the past but never during a historic day as today," declared the author.

The medal of the order of Montreal pays tribute to people who "contribute in a remarkable way to the development and to the brilliance of the metropolis". Next to Dany Laferrière (native of Petit-Goâve, Haiti), two other symbolic personalities also received the same honor they were Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who is orchestra conductor, and visual artist Françoise Sullivan.

Cremasse-inspired Entrepreneurship in Montreal

To sell 2,400 bottles in fourth weeks! That is the challenge that Steven Charles, founder or LS cream, a Haitian cremasse-inspired liquor, has given himself.

LS Cream is reminiscent of Haitian Cremasse. It includes alcohol, condensed milk, coconut, and spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, or vanilla. To create his drink, Steven Charles, native of Montreal-North with Haitian origin, took his grandmother’s recipe, originally hand-written on a scrap of paper, before sending it to an American laboratory.

"I often wondered why the crémasse was not commercial. I said to myself that it is maybe something that people would like to buy," explained Steven Charles.

Having been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), LS Cream was produced for the first time in December, 2014, for the American market.

The success is immediate. In two weeks, 75 boxes of LS Cream were sold in the states of New York and Florida. The product received a silver medal in the World Spirit Competition of San Francisco, then a gold one in the WSWA Spirit Competition in Las Vegas.

Today, the LS Cream is available in more than 100 liquor stores, all part of the Societe des alcool du Quebec (SAQ), at a price of .30. But nothing guarantees that the black, modern and uncluttered bottles, designed by Steven Charles, will stay there.

Considered a "specialty product" LS Cream was ordered only in small quantities by the SAQ. “We again have to see if the LS Cream is going to remain a seasonal product, which will be presented at certain periods of the year, or if he can remain all the year," explain Anne-Sophie Hamel-Longtin, director of media relations for SAQ.

It is from this perspective that the entrepreneur launched his sell-out "operation," on social networks, with the objective of selling 2,400 bottles in the 4 weeks. In a video on Facebook, Steven Charles recounts the history of the product and the importance that it takes its place in the market.

To find of the support and to insure the promotion of LS Cream, the young entrepreneur participated in the show "In the eye of the dragon" where experienced business men and women invest in the ideas of new entrepreneurs, each requesting 0,000. His proposal was not chosen; however, several Dragons, including Gilbert Rozon, offered to help him get his project to become better known.

If sales are strong, LS Cream could enter the sought after circle of "regular products" of the SAQ. When this happens, Steven Charles wants LS Cream to have place in all the bars and restaurants.