Brooklyn Center presents Voices of Haiti: Artists as Activists

 

MEDIA CONTACTS
Michelle Tabnick, Publicist, 646-765-4773
Rick Berubé, Director of Marketing and Communications,
718-951-4600 x3331

Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College presents a panel discussion on the role of Haitian artists as activists, both at home and abroad, on Thursday, March 2, 2017 at 6:30pm at the Woody Tanger Auditorium, located on the first floor of the Brooklyn College Library. Featured participants on the panel include singer/songwriter and Red Cross Ambassador Emeline Michel; acclaimed author Ibi Zoboi; Régine Roumain, the Executive Director of Haiti Cultural Exchange; Dr. Jean Eddy Saint Paul, founding Director of the CUNY Haitian Studies Institute; and filmmaker/journalist Cassandre Thrasybule. Tickets for the roundtable are free, no reservations necessary. For more information, visit www.BrooklynCenter.org.

The panel discussion is presented in conjunction with Brooklyn Center’s presentation of Emeline Michel in concert on Saturday, March 4, 2017 at 8pm in Whitman Theatre on the Brooklyn College campus. Tickets for the concert are $35 and can be purchased at BrooklynCenter.org or by calling 718-951-4500 (Tue-Sat, 1pm-6pm).

About the panelists

Haitian songstress and Red Cross Ambassador Emeline Michel is internationally acclaimed for fusing pop, jazz, blues, and traditional Haitian rhythms into deeply moving, joyful music delivered with a charismatic live show. A master entertainer, Michel has shared her message across Europe and the Americas for more than 20 years, with appearances at Carnegie Hall, The United Nations, Milan's Teatro Manzoni, Florida's Kravis Center, Festival International de Jazz (Haiti), Ontario's Luminato Festival, Montreal International Jazz Festival, New Orleans Jazz Fest, Tasmania's Ten Days On The Island, Zimbabwe's Harare International Arts Festival, and MTV's Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief.

Michel began singing with the gospel choir in the church of Gonaïves, Haiti. After studying at the Detroit Jazz Center she returned to Haiti, where her career blossomed. Now based in New York City, she runs her own production company, Production Cheval de Feu, and is a cherished voice for social issues surrounding women and children worldwide. Her 10th album Quintessence captures the reverence and gratitude for the present moment, showcasing Michel's virtuoso vocal, singing in Creole, French and English, with finger-picked guitars, soulful backing vocals, a children's choir, Haitian percussion, lush strings, playful trumpet and accordion lines.

Emeline Michel in concert is part of Brooklyn Center’s 2016-17 Con Edison Music Masters Series, which also includes Patti Austin: Ella Now and Then (April 22, 2017 at 8pm), the Yosvany Terry Afro-Cuban Sextet (May 6, 2017 at 8pm), and 10-time GRAMMY® winner Chaka Khan (May 13, 2017 at 7:30pm).

Régine M. Roumainis the co-founder and Executive Director of Haiti Cultural Exchange (HCX). Established in 2009, HCX has developed programs designed to present Haitian culture to a broad audience, while supporting emerging and established artists, promoting cross-cultural exchanges and encouraging dialogue around contemporary social issues. Ms. Roumain has over 15 years of experience in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors, most recently as a Program Officer with the New York Women’s Foundation, where she managed grant-making in two of the Foundation’s largest portfolios: community organizing & advocacy and economic security. Previously, she has worked as a management consultant for nonprofit organizations and as the Coordinator of a community based organization engaged in civic education, youth development and advocacy for the Haitian-American community.

Over the past 8 years, Ms. Roumain has spearheaded the artistic vision of Haiti Cultural Exchange, developing programs highlighting the cultural richness of Haitians; programs rooted in community, collaboration and dialogue. Through her work with Haiti Cultural Exchange, Ms. Roumain has become a leading figure in the presentation of arts and cultural programs focused on Haiti and the Diaspora. Her efforts have been recognized by a Union Square Award for the Arts and the Haitian Roundtable. Régine was born in Brooklyn, NY, where she currently resides with her family, and was raised between Port-au-Prince, Haiti and NYC. She is fluent in French and Haitian Creole. Ms. Roumain graduated from St. John’s University with a Bachelor of Science in Communication Arts.

Ibi Aanu Zoboi was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and is a graduate of the Clarion West Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop. Her short story, “Old Flesh Song,” is published in the award-winning Dark Matter: Reading the Bones, a collection of African American speculative fiction. Ibi received an award from the Women Writers of Haitian Descent for her short story “At the Shores of Dawn,” which was published in One?Respe! literary journal. She won a “Tricky Talker of the Year,” an annual tall-tale contest presented by the Afrikan Folk Heritage Circle.

Her latest book, American Street (on sale February 14, 2017), draws on her own experience as a young Haitian immigrant, infusing this lyrical exploration of America with magical realism and vodou culture. Her children’s fable, “Mama Kwanzaa & Her Seven Children,” was published in African Voices Magazine. She designed and taught a course on female archetypes in world mythology to the young women of the Sadie Nash Leadership Project where she also taught creative writing and leadership classes and she’s been a volunteer mentor with Girls Write Now, Inc. Ibi presented a paper entitled, “Oya’s Brood: Mythology and the African American Woman” for a symposium on Octavia Butler at the Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College.

Ms. Zoboi is a recipient of a grant from the Brooklyn Arts Council for her original program, the Daughters of Anacaona Writing Project, partnering with local organizations Dwa Fanm, Inc. and Haiti Cultural Exchange in Brooklyn, and Fondasyon Felicite in Haiti to conduct a 3-day workshop with teen girls in Port-au-Prince. Ibi has completed a teen fantasy novel based on Haitian myth and folklore. Her short story “The Harem” is recently published in Haiti Noir, edited by Edwidge Danticat. She is a recent winner of the Gulliver Travel Grant given annually by the Speculative Literature Foundationand holds an MFA inWriting for Children & Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Ibi lives in Brooklyn with her husband, visual artist and educator Joseph Zoboi, and their three young children.

Dr. Jean Eddy Saint Paul is the founding Director of the CUNY Haitian Studies Institute, which launched in 2016. He earned a Ph.D. in Sociology in 2008 at the prestigious El Colegio de México, the first Haitian to do so. Previously, in 2002, he was also the first Haitian to complete –with a full OAS scholarship of excellence as outstanding undergraduate student– the master’s program in Latin American Studies at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá. Additionally, Saint Paul was the first graduate of his generation in Social Work at the State University of Haiti, in 2000. A trans-disciplinary scholar, boundary crosser, and cross-cultural theorist, before joining the Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, Saint Paul was a tenured full Professor at the Division of Law, Politics and Government at the Universidad de Guanajuato, in Mexico.

Cassandre Thrasybule began her media career as a news anchor and has worked in the media sector for more than 20 years. She has substantial experience not only as an on-air presenter, but also as a radio, television, and print media reporter as well. Her pieces have appeared in prominent Haitian publications including Le Nouvelliste and Le Matin, and she has also written extensively for Haitian Times. Ms. Thrasybule’s 2015 documentary film, Cassures: Nos familles entre Haiti et ailleurs… (Haitian Families Between Here and There…) deals with the tragedy of fractured Haitian families with fathers living and working in Haiti while mothers and children reside abroad. She holds a B.A. in Media Studies from Queens College and an M.A. in Cross Disciplinary Studies from Nova Southeastern University, and she is currently finishing a PhD in Conflict Resolution.

Voices from Haiti: Artists as Activists
Thursday, March 2, 2017 at 6:30pm
Woody Tanger Auditorium, Brooklyn College Library, 1st fl.
2900 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11210
Tickets: free

Emeline Michel in concert
Saturday, March 4, 2017 at 8pm
Walt Whitman Theatre at Brooklyn College
Tickets: $35
www.Brooklyn Center.org or 718-951-4500

Visit BrooklynCenter.org for a complete season lineup.

Emeline Michel in concert is part of The New York State Presenter-Artist Partnership Project made possible through a re-grant from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Additional support is provided by Con Edison and TD Bank. Promotional support is provided by the Haitian Times, the CUNY Haitian Studies Institute, and the Toussaint Louverture Cultural Foundation.

About Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts

Founded in 1954, Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College presents outstanding performing arts and arts education programs, reflective of Brooklyn’s diverse communities, at affordable prices. Each season, Brooklyn Center welcomes over 65,000 people to the 2,400 seat Whitman Theatre, including up to 45,000 schoolchildren from over 300 schools who attend their SchoolTime series, one of the largest arts-in-education programs in the borough.

Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts’ programs are supported, in part, by public funding from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Brooklyn Center’s 2016-17 season is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of

Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Major support for the 2016-17 season is provided by: Brooklyn College, Con Edison, TD Bank, National Grid, The Howard Gilman Foundation, the Jazz Touring Network, the Alice Lawrence Foundation, the Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation, the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, and the TD Charitable Foundation. Additional support provided by CNG Publications, The Brooklyn Eagle, Brooklyn Media Group, and WBGO Jazz 88.3 FM. The Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott New York Brooklyn is the official hotel of Brooklyn Center’s 2016-17 season. Backstage catering is graciously provided by Applebee’s.

Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts gratefully acknowledges generous support from New York State Assembly members Annette Robinson and Helene Weinstein; New York City Council Member Jumaane D. Williams; New York City Council Cultural Affairs Committee Chair Jimmy Van Bramer; New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and Commissioner of Cultural Affairs Tom Finkelpearl.

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