Naomiel: Lakay

Naomiel is a talented poet who has recently gathered a great following, not only for the powerful lyricism of her poetry but even more so for her spellbinding delivery. Born and raised in Haiti, the island nation is a prominent theme in many of her poems, which have garnered her widespread praise. She moved her audience to tears with her poignant performance of “Avan” and reminded them of the harrowing pain of having to let go of a lover in “Adieu, mon amour.”

A co-founder of the popular bi-weekly cultural show BOUKAN at North Miami’s Moca Café, Naomiel regularly performs her poetry as part of the show as well. She is also the co-host of the television show Plezi Solèy, which can be seen on Island TV on Fridays at 8 PM. The show can also be watched online at www.islandtv.tv

Naomiel is currently working on a spoken word CD that will feature her most popular poems.

Underestimated Diamond: Whatever

Drama, whatever
Your negative words, whatever

I shrug my shoulders and turn my back
Not irritated: just found a better way
Whatever because I’m tired of looking back

I am in control
So whatever to the discomfort I see

Whatever is the final mark

I cannot trust you, check mark
I cannot speak to you, check mark
I cannot believe you, check mark
I can no longer deal with you, check mark
You are liar, check and double mark

You reject me because I am not perfect,
Let’s use a red pen and check that mark

Whatever

No need to vent on the impossible
Knowing my worth makes me invincible
Reaching my own satisfactory level is incredible
Shaking it all off is formidable

So yes, whatever

Whatever to nonsense

We are through

Famous words: “It’s not me, it’s you.”

*   *   *

M. Cassandra Pascal is the Underestimated Diamond; a woman of high standards and strength. Born in the historical town of Boston, Massachusetts, she has every intention to mark her name in history as a writer who is expressive, honest, and victorious. The Underestimated Diamond is very proud of her Haitian heritage. She was born of two wonderful parents that taught her about strength and courage. From them she inherited self-love and faith in God, the biggest weapons against all obstacles.

Underestimated’s passion for writing started when she was 10 years old. She recalls having to memorize and recite poetry every week in school. Little did she know, these weekly assignments of non-stop repetition would lay the foundation for a poet and writer in the making. Over the years, Underestimated wrote several poems for school papers, community projects, churches, and non-profit organizations. During her college years, Underestimated had a great opportunity to really display her talent during a poetry reading for Black History Month. “I will always remember my very first reading,” she says, “because my poem ‘Still Walking’ brought the audience to tears.” “Still Walking” became Underestimated Diamond’s signature poem, reflecting her views on life.

After facing some unexpected obstacles and remaining silent for a while, Underestimated turned once again to writing, this time as a source of healing. Writing became her therapy, renewing her faith in God, turning her into a woman of grace and true inner beauty. Today, writing remains her true devotion, leading to breakthroughs of unlimited expression. She uses her fears as ammunition against the chains that held her down in the past. “The pen flows through the paper like the water flowing down the river; my water is pure and honest. My words shine. As the Underestimated Diamond, I want to harvest my blessing and present to you my true reflection.”

Maryse Cayemitte-Elysée: Coup de Foudre

Soudain
Détaché de l’obscurité de la nuit
Tu m’es apparu…
Et plus rien d’autre n’a existé
Que nos regards qui se buvaient…
Le monde a sombré dans nos yeux
Les tiens rivés aux miens
Les miens aux tiens
Comme une décharge électrique.
Et dans ma poitrine
Je sentis les premières pulsations
D’un amour
Aussi imprévu qu’une averse d’été.

*   *   *

Cliquer ici pour lire d’autres poèmes de Maryse, ainsi que sa bio.

David Bontemps: The Making of “Vibrations”

Pour annoncer la sortie de son nouvel album “Vibrations” en avril prochain, David Bontemps présente la vidéo promotionnelle réalisée par Guy-Édouard César.

Bon visionnement!

Cliquer ici pour lire la bio de David.

Interview with Fayola Nicaisse

THE ART OF BEAUTIFUL:

Fayola Nicaisse is a business woman and a bit of a philanthropist. She is the creator of Ebene, a truly natural line of products made with ingredients in their purest form–no need to get a dictionary when reading the labels. Fayola puts her heart and soul into every formula. In fact, each product has a story behind it. Baby products were created for her daughter and the line grew with her son. Pregnancy products were created when she was pregnant, hair products through her journey of natural hair. Home Spa products were for Fayola to relax after a long day’s work and later became gifts for friends. Her home fragrance products are natural alternatives to freshen the environment.

How did you become interested in beauty products? 

I remember my hair texture changing as I was growing up; I thought to myself, “Why is my hair feeling so hard and dry?” By the time I turned 11, my mother was frustrated with the high maintenance and decided to relax my hair. I liked the relaxer at first, but it went against who I was—I loved my kinky wringlets; I loved their versatility. Once I left the nest, I went natural again and never looked back. I soon realized that the products I was using were in fact responsible for making my hair unmanageable. Petroleum, for instance, which made my hair hard, is contained in most if not all hair products for curly, kinky, ethnic natural and relaxed hair.

Most products out there contain ingredients that are not natural. Why? Because artificial ingredients cost a lot less, can be mass-produced and give companies a great way to make big profits.  A lot of the synthetic ingredients used have been linked to various skin conditions and cancers, but they are extremely cheap and therefore more attractive to these larger companies. That’s why I decided to create my own line of products—natural and affordable.

I have turned down many investors over the years. I don’t want to compromise my quality in the name of making a buck. Yes, our products do cost a little more, but I have made a grand effort to keep them at an affordable cost while providing the highest quality that we can to our customers. We use quite a few botanicals, essential oils and pure ingredients like aloe vera, coconut oil, avocado oil, lavender, carrot, babbasu oil, and castor oil, but our main ingredient is Shea Butter which is Beurre de Karite in French. I refuse to cut corners.  My children and I use the products that we sell, therefore I want the best for my children, myself and my customers.

What is in your background that makes you qualified in the domain of cosmetics?

Being from Haiti, I grew up in a pretty much organic environment. Organic is second nature to us in the islands. I grew up watching my mother and father both mix natural remedies around the house for everything from a common cold to hair treatments and pomades.

I started officially mixing products at the age of 18.  Over the years, I researched and studied natural raw materials and their benefits all on my own. Truly Natural and Organic is a popular concept nowadays and universities are now incorporating it into their curriculum. Believe it or not, I did not study chemistry, and yet I have been invited by chemists to speak at various functions because they want the key of what I do; I have been offered jobs to work with companies to help them go green. Raw natural ingredients–olive oil, shea butter, aloe vera, avocado, carrot, oatmeal, cinnamon, and so on–make sense to me. Chemicals don’t. I understand what chemical ingredients such as Petroleum, Sodium Laurel and Lauryl Sulfates, Disodium EDTA,  polymers, silicones, and glycols do, but don’t understand why caring companies would use them in cosmetics when there are natural ingredients that give better results and are good for you and the environment.

What are the advantages of using organic products?

Organic is going with nature. The ingredients are in their purest form and retain all of their vitamins and minerals and therefore deliver all of the results. They do not contain a bunch of chemicals and pesticides residue.  They are better for you—inside and out. Our skin is our biggest organ. If you take the time to eat Organic produce, you should also take the time to use Organic products. It is more than a choice, it’s a lifestyle.

The last time we talked, you were expanding your skin care line into its own brand… 

Yes. That line is called Nicaisse Organics, after my late father, who used to take me to the health food stores on the weekends and have me read up on herbs and natural remedies. He really nurtured and fueled my passion for natural alternatives.

For her hair, Fayola uses the Shea Butter Curl defining cream, the Essential Scalp Serum, the Shea Butter Hair and Scalp Conditioner. For her skin, she loves the Vanilla Bean and Peppermint Soap, the Kokum Butter Body Treatment, the Shea Butter Body Milk in Lavender, and the Lemon Ginger body scrubs. All these products are available online at Ebene Naturals.

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Profile: Elle Philippe

Official WWOHD member Elle Sabrina Philippe was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Originally from Leogane, her father worked as an accountant for Victor Saliba. After a few years on Rue Magasin de L’Etat, the family moved to Carrefour (Bizoton).

In 1986, Elle left Port-au-Prince for America, first residing on Brooklyn’s Nostrand Avenue with her cousin, and later alone in Queens, Manhattan, and New Jersey. She recently moved back to Manhattan where she is raising her 11 y.o. daughter.

In America, Haitian immigrant work became Elle’s priority. Faced with numerous financial responsibilities, she became an adult overnight. “The rent had to be pay,” Ellen said. “The electricity, and so on. [I also had to think about the welfare] of the family back home.”

While working, however, Elle decided to pursue her professional dreams by enrolling at the French Culinary School, where she took night classes for many years. At the school she met renowned Jacques Pepin, the “God of French cooking.” She later travelled to Paris, where she worked under the guidance of master Paul Bocuse and perfect her sense of fine Gastronomie in Lyons.

In addition to working as a Chef, Elle encourages fellow Haitians to contribute to the education of underprivileged Haitian children by donating to J/P HRO Foundation on Crowdrise.com. The funds raised on that website go directly to the School of Hope.

Click here to donate.

Jeanie Bogart: Anvi W

M tanvi pale avè w
tande vwa w kap rezonnen
tankou souf van pote sot lwen, byen lwen
m tanvi koute chak mo k ap sot lan bouch ou
bèl pawòl ki fofile jouk nan emosyon m
pawòl ki satiyèt mwen
ki penchen m, mode m
pawòl ki fè m tresayi

M tanvi kanpe fas pou fas avè w
pou m wè yon lòt fwa ankò
sa k ap fèm fou konsa, k ap vire lòlòj mwem
lajounen kou lannwit
visaj ou ki enprime nan rèv mwen
nan panse m, nan kòle m, nan lespwa m
pou m wè kò w k ap rele kò m san pran souf
branch cheve w ki makònen ak zantray mwen

m tanvi manyen w
pase pwent dwèt mwen sou tout kò w
jouk yo antre nan entèdi w
jwe sou po w yon senfoni
ki pi bèl pase tout senfoni Moza
ki pi dous pase yon senfoni Betovenn
m tanvi manyen w, mòde w, souse w
jouk nou danse yanvalou nan teyat lannwit

From the CD “Dènye Rèl”

*   *   *

International Award Winning Poet Jeanie Bogart was born in Haiti where she studied Journalism. She started to write at the age of fourteen. Her poetry is a revolution in terms of writing as she dares to express desire in an erotic manner. She migrated to New York in 1996 where she studied Fashion Design. She managed to write and design on her spare time while working as a French and Creole Interpreter for the New York State Court System. She is also currently a journalist- staff writer at the Connecticut Haitian Voice.

In 2006, she won the first prize in a Creole poetry contest by Kalbas Lò Lakarayib in Martinique. Her poems have been published in many anthologies such as “Plaisir des Mots” by Dossiers d’Aquitaine – France 2007, “La Poésie Haïtienne Contemporaine” by La Maison de la Poésie – Belgium 2007, la Revue Littéraire Passerelle – Montréal 2008.

Her poetry book Un Jour… tes pantoufles was published by Éditions Paroles in Montreal in 2008. She is the voice on Lettres d’Automne/Tanlapli, a CD by Franz Benjamin that came out in Montréal in 2008. She released a CD of Haitian Creole poetry titled “Dènye Rèl” in 2009. In Feb 2011, she published Éloge de l’Interlocuteur together with poet Saint-John Kauss (Éditions Joseph Ouaknine -France).

She was a signing author at Livres en Folie Haiti in 2009.  She has performed at The Medicine Show Theatre in Manhattan, the Bowery Poetry Club, the Brecht Forum, BLVD, the Brooklyn Central Library, Harvard University, The Ferguson Library in Stamford-Connecticut, Northeastern University in Boston, Lehman College (Poetry Slam: Celebrating Haitian Women) Bronx, NY March 2011.

Her latest poetry book titled Paradoxe was published by Editions Dédicaces in Montréal in 2011. She is now working on a novel.

M.J. Fievre, Editor of Onè? Respè!

M.J. Fievre’s short stories and poems in English have appeared in Haiti Noir (Akashic Books, 2011), The Mom Egg, Healthy Stories, Writer’s Digest, The Caribbean Writer, and Daily Bites of Flesh: 365 Days of Flash Fiction.

Born in Port-au-Prince, M.J. Fievre is the author of several mystery novels and children’s books in French. Her latest publications include Les Fantasmes de Sophie (2007) and Sortilège Haïtien (2011).

M.J. got her MFA from the Creative Writing program at Florida International University. She loves coconut shrimp, piña coladas, her dog Wiskee, and a good story. Anton Chekhov is one of her favorite writers.

She is a regular contributor to the online publication The Nervous Breakdown (a magazine featuring the work of published and emerging authors, poets, and other artists from around the world) and a proud member of the Miami Poetry Collective, famous for its Poem Depot, a regular feature of Wynwood’s Second Saturday Art Walk.

M.J. is also the founding editor of Sliver of Stone, a bi-annual, online literary magazine dedicated to the publication of work from both emerging and established poets, writers, and visual artists from all parts of the globe.