kreyole

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This Headwrap Lookbook Celebrates Every Woman’s Beauty

BY PATRICE PECK

When deciding on a name for her headwrap company, Paola Mathe drew inspiration from her Haitian roots.

The young entrepreneur ultimately went with Fanm Djanm, which means “strong woman” in Kreyol. An appropriate fit considering the company’s mission to inspire women everywhere to live boldly. The headwrap and lifestyle brand celebrates all women, Paola told Okayafrica via email, and their latest lookbook proves that.  [Continue reading article and view more amazing images at OkayAfrica.com.]

Haiti’s Influence on Louisiana

Haitians are the dominant Creole culture of New Orleans. Currently there are 5,000 people of Haitian descent that live in the New Orleans area. 

In 1709 (dayiti: I believe the author means 1791 because that’s when the Revolution started) after the Haitian Revolution that ended French rule and gave Haiti its independence 90% of the Hatian refugees settled in New Orleans. The immigration of Haitians, both white and free people of color (gens de couleur libres) brought 2,731 whites, 3,102 free persons of African descent and 3,226 slaves to the city. This one event doubled the population of New Orleans in one year and had an important social and cultural impact on Creole Louisiana that still influences it to this day.

The Hatian Creole population settled in the French Quarter and brought a distinct culture and architectural tradition giving New Orleans a reputation as the nation’s Creole Capital. They brought with them what was to become the rhythm and soul of New Orleans. The Crescent City would not be what it is today without these contributions.

Haitians played a major role in the development of Creole cuisine, the perpetuation of voodoo practices and preserving the city’s French character. Among the most notable Haitians in New Orleans history were; the pirate Jean Lafitte born in Port-au-Prince around 1782. Marie Laveau, the undisputed Queen of Voodoo (dayiti: Her portrait is above), born in [Saint Domingue] in 1794.

Bat chyen an tann mèt li
— 

Haitian proverb

Translation: If you beat a dog, its owner will come.

Meaning: You are free to act as you please, but be prepared to deal with the consequences of your actions.  

Cultural note: In Haiti, most people don’t view dogs as a part of the family as in the US. Dogs are free to roam the streets as they please. This proverb relies on the premise that even if you think a dog has no owner, if you beat it, you’ll face the consequences. 

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RAM, Sa'n pa wè yo

RAM 1995 song. Sa'n pa wè yo (Those we don’t see) has both a spiritual and political meaning referring to loas and the thousands who disappeared under Raoul Cedras.