BY Megan Small
The month of May is Haitian Heritage Month.
For 31 days residents of South Florida who are of Haitian descent celebrate their culture. On Friday May 19th, the day after Haitian Flag Day, hundreds gathered at the The Little Haiti Cultural Complex to celebrate the one year anniversary of Sounds of Little Haiti. The organizers did it in a huge way by getting the hip-hop music artist Wyclef Jean to perform, “It’s definitely historical, it feels good to be back home in Little Haiti” said Wyclef Jean in an interview with Host/ Performer Mecca Grimo Marcelin.
Sounds of Little Haiti is the monthly event where locals and tourists celebrate authentic Haitian culture. Every third Friday, an outdoor concert along with vendors gather at the Little Haiti Cultural Complex to provide an immersive experience. Sounds of Little Haiti is the revival of Big Night in Little Haiti which ended in April 2016. The One Year Anniversary concert also had the Carnival band Rara Lakay, We Them Zoe’s and The Nancy St. Léger Danse Ensemble performing that night. “We’re going to start in 1996 and end in 2017. Kompa, Zouk, hip hop… I’m going to play the guitar, we’re going to turn up! But I have to keep in mind there’s a curfew,” Wyclef laughs talking about his performance before the concert
Having reached international success for his music since the mid-1990s, Wyclef recently took time away from the music space to work a public servant. He made a plea to those present to continue to fight towards policy and legislation that are affecting Haitian Americans, including TPS.
Wyclef spoke with CNWeekly and told us that Haitian Flag Day and Haitian Heritage month has cross-cultural importance. Wyclef Jean explains “This is African History, This is black history. As the first black republic, Haiti took a chance and other Caribbean islands knew that they could do it too.”
He has a new EP entitled “J’ourvet” currently available for streaming and is working on a Carnival 3 album, to be released soon.