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5TH ANNUAL HAITIAN CREATIVE AND CULTURAL INDUSTRIES SYMPOSIUM

Written By Shanieya Harris
June 21, 2023 at 2:02 PM

Farah Larrieux of THELAR Management Group speaks to the attendees at the HCCIS, May 2023. Photo credit Mackendy Jeune.

On Saturday May 25th, the 5th Annual Haitian Creative and Cultural Industries Symposium (HCCIS) Focusing on Arts Activism took place to bring awareness to Haitian art and culture cultivated in South Florida. Several professionals with expertise in communication, international relations, community organizing, and the music industry led discussions on this year’s topic of “Raising Up Haitian Voice with Arts”.

The symposium featured key performer Mr. Wesner St Louis, a famous Haitian Conga Player, and a series of workshops and conversations by guest speakers Honorable Marie Paule Woodson, Florida State Representative, District 105, Vice-Mayor Alexandra P. Davis, City of Miramar, Mrs. Myrtho C. Valcin, Macaya Foundation, and Mrs. Farah Larrieux, THELAR Management Group.

 

Haitian Conga player Wesner St Louis performs as part of HCCIS, May 2023. Photo credit Mackendy Jeune.

Farah Larrieux is a communication strategist, social entrepreneur, and community activist. She started working in public relations in 2002, and she and Pierre-Michel Théodat established the THELAR Management Group in Haiti. “I feel it is a civic responsibility for me to contribute to the development of my community. We see a lot of talent, but there is a lack of resources and education programs for Haitian artists trying to develop their art,” said Larrieux.

The event highlighted the role of art in the Haitian community and created comprehensive messages to support Haitians’ aspirations, struggles, and fight for social change, good governance, justice, and peace outside of Haiti’s borders.

“Being Haitian is a privilege,” stated State Representative Woodson. “I am able proud to occupy a space where only 120 people out of Florida state get to have a seat. I do not take it lightly. I felt it was extremely important for me to show my face today. Simply to be present and see the community prosper alongside artists. It is in unity that we have strength.”

Sabine Desir, Director, Miss Haiti Organization (left), Honorable Marie Paule Woodson, Florida State Representative, District 105 (right), HCCIS, May 2023. Photo credit Mackendy Jeune.

Woodson is the First Haitian American State Representative of Broward County, District 105. She continued while smiling, pointing to her dress, “We are the most vibrant! You can see it in my dress. As Haitian Americans, we are proud and resilient and, despite tribulations, we continue to stand strong. I am asking that, in having this event, we continue that strength inherited by our ancestors.”

Since the first symposium, Larrieux has made an effort to provide resources to the public and has incorporated translation and interpretation in Creole, French, and English for all to participate in the discussion.

The first conversation kicked off a discussion about cultural diplomacy: a tool to promote Haitian aspirations abroad by Mrs. Cassandra Honorat, International Relations Expert, followed by a workshop educating artists on music Audits, algorithms, AI & WorldBEATS by Mrs. Marsha Carmeta Sealy from WorldBEATS Music Group.

The second conversation was led by Ambassadors of Change, Mr. Raoul Junior Lorfis of Loop Haiti, and Miss Haiti Organization Director, Ms. Sabine Desir.

“As Haitians participating in beauty pageants internationally, we are sending a message to say that Haiti still has something to offer to the world. Last year we placed top 16 in Miss Universe. So, we have beauty and can make an impact,” asserted Desir.

Lastly, the final workshop wrapped up the role of arts and social media plays in activism by Ms. Alexa McCalla Johnson from Broward College.

Vice-Mayor Alexandra P. Davis closed the day with her affirmation, “We have a very diverse community with folks from all around the Caribbean. Whatever we can do as a city to showcase the culture and help the artist to get their work out there to the public is what we will do.”

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