The Haitian-born creative and executive director of Creole Jam, Rose Guerrier, says the New York-based group is seeking to showcase and clear up misconceptions about Haitian culture during the in-person, West Indian American Day Carnival Parade, on Monday, Labor Day, on Brooklyn’s Eastern Parkway.
Labor Day is a public holiday in the United States.
“The message we want is to showcase Haiti and its history,” Guerrier told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) ahead of the seven-hour spectacle, adding “we want to showcase Haiti and its liberation, and we liberated many.
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“This is the first time that the Haitian community will see their culture displayed in such a way, with authentic costumes and music of our culture,” she said, adding that ll masqueraders will follow a choreographed routine.
“This is the first time we will be portraying our history on the Parkway. Our goal is to showcase our culture and create unity in the community. We want to uplift the culture, uplift the morale of the community, because of the many traumas we’ve been through.
“We want to put a smile on the faces of the Haitian people and on the faces of our brothers and sisters from Africa to the Caribbean,” said, adding that the Creole Jam will comprise four sections, with about 50 masqueraders.
Guerrier said Erol Josue, director of ethnology in Haiti, has traveled from the French-speaking Caribbean Island to assist in the production.
“Once he learned what I’m doing, he came from Haiti and brought costumes. And we made him the first Creole Jam Ambassador of Culture for 2022.”
Brooklyn resident Jocelyn Gay, a member of the Brooklyn-based Voix et Tambours & Haiti, Inc. (Voices and Drums of Haiti), said she’s “ecstatic” to be part of Creole Jam.
“This is what I do,” she said, referring to artistic performances. “That’s my life. It was always my dream to share my culture with the rest of the world,” added the retired social worker.
Guerrier said she was very grateful to Grenadian Derek Noel for giving the group the space at his business to conduct its mas camp.
“Derek has been a very good friend, and he offered me the space to show the unity,” she said.
The Carnival Parade is the culmination of five days of carnival that started last Thursday on the grounds of the Brooklyn Museum, where all carnival events, except Monday’s parade, took place.
The New York-based West Indian American Day Carnival Association (WIADCA), organizer of Brooklyn’s Caribbean Carnival, is celebrating 55 years of carnival in New York.
“Road rules are safety first, costumes only and culture matters,” stressed WIADCA in a statement. “This year our return to the parkway (Eastern Parkway) inspires us to continue the cultural work on behalf of our community, city, state and partners,” said WIADCA’s Guyanese-born chairperson Michelle Gibbs-Francis. “Without them, the mas and pan groups especially, we would not be here today.
“Our losses were tough, but we stood stronger together to overcome by providing for others and producing several impactful community programs for youth, adults and seniors. As for our COVID protocols, we have several guidelines in place to verify vaccination and temperature checks.”