Diaspora

CARIBBEAT: Colonialism and genocide tackled by director Raoul Peck’s ‘Exterminate All the Brutes’ HBO Max miniseries – New York Daily News

Award-winning director Raoul Peck effectively takes on the role and responsibility of a history teacher with “Exterminate All the Brutes,” a four-part HBO Max miniseries examining “the exploitative and genocidal aspects of European colonialism — from America to Africa and its impact on society today.”
“It’s not an easy story to tell. Because the story still continues today,” says Haiti-born Peck in the miniseries, which addresses colonialism, genocide, slavery and exploitation and the deep-seated doctrines of white supremacy in the series.
The modern resurgence of fascism and Nazism is also explored, as well as the founding of America.
Countering the angry reactions expected when the virtues of America’s founders are questioned or challenged, Peck confidently declares, “There is no such thing as alternative facts.”
“America was born as a colonial power. And this fact is a difficult one to admit, for it bears the fatal capacity to disrupt the core story we have been told all these years and the very foundation of this country,” the director says in the series.
Peck’s cinematic effort shines a probing light on America’s shady beginnings — examining the continual stranglehold the nation’s past events and actions have on the present day and future lives of Native Americans and African-Americans.
The miniseries is based on Peck’s personal experiences and the works of Swedish author Sven Lindqvist (“Exterminate All the Brutes”), American historian-writer Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (“An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States”) and Haitian anthropologist Michel-Rolph Trouillot (“Silencing the Past”).
Written and directed by Peck, dramatic scenes, animation, archival material and documentary footage are used to create the series.
“Exterminate All the Brutes” is produced by Velvet Film and executive-produced by Peck and Remi Grellety.
A portion of the series is dedicated to the pivotal Haitian Revolution, in which enslaved Africans in the French colony of Saint-Domingue won their independence from France, and founded the nation of Haiti.
Peck said the Haitian Revolution “played a central role in the collapse of the entire system of slavery.”
Visit hbo.com/exterminate-all-the-brutes for special features, such as “The Director’s Statement,” a selection of the works referenced in the miniseries and a collection of books and films personally curated by Peck.
The veteran director is known for a number of works, including the 2016 James Baldwin-based film “I Am Not Your Negro” and the 1990 “Lumumba — Death of a Prophet.” He formerly served as Haiti’s minister of culture.
It was quiet at St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ La Soufriere volcano last week, where seismic activity (earthquakes or other vibrations of the earth) has been low since an April 22 explosion, but there was still cause for caution.
Even though the St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ government lowered the volcano’s alert status to the orange category, there remains a “highly elevated” chance of earthquakes, the release of hot gases, eruptions and dangerous mudflows.
Visit the “UWI Seismic Research Centre” Facebook page for video volcano updates from center director Erouscilla Joseph.
Also, Richard Robertson, a UWI Seismic Research Center geologist, is writing a blog on the volcano. Read the blogs at tinyurl.com/sktuzveb
Family, friends, elected officials and other supporters of 12-year-old Romy Vilsaint — the Haitian-American youngster who died after alleged beatings by classmates at Public School 361 in East Flatbush, Brooklyn — rallied and held a news conference Friday.
Officials have not yet determined a cause of death for Romy, who allegedly was beaten twice by fellow students and died May 7.
Participants at the rally and news conference called for the NYPD to complete its investigation and for the city Education Department to prevent bullying in schools.
Brooklyn City Councilwoman Farah Louis recently expressed her concern about the death of Romy.
“This is a tragedy for a family who dreamed of a better life and brighter future for Romy now overwhelmed by grief and anguish,” said Louis, who is the daughter of immigrants from Haiti.
Louis and the Vilsaint family are awaiting the results of the NYPD investigation into the boy’s death.
The boy was allegedly assaulted and beaten by some fellow students after school on May 5. The following day at the school, he was allegedly punched in the head, and he died May 7 after losing consciousness.
Haitian Flag Day — a May 18 holiday marking the successful Haitian Revolution and the 1803 adoption of the nation’s flag — will be commemorated with events in Haiti an across the U.S.
The Haitian Times newspaper in New York is livestreaming the free “Unity in the Community: Can We Uphold L’Union Fait La Force in 2021 and Beyond” event on Zoom and Facebook Live at 1 p.m. on Tuesday.
Scheduled to discuss the “L’Union Fait La Force” (“Unity makes strength” in Haitian Creole) theme are musician Wyclef Jean, Haitian Times founder Garry Pierre-Pierre, Oberlin College Associate Prof. Yveline Alexis, and Dave Fils-Aime, founder and executive director of Basketball to Uplift the Youth in Haiti.
To register and get streaming information, visit bit.ly/HaitianTimesFlagDay
Also on Tuesday, the AfroJams Haiti live concert will be held in Orlando at 8 p.m., presented by AFRO TV’s flagship show AFROJams.
The show stars Rutshelle Guillaume, Fatima Altieri, J-Perry, Michael Benjamin, Anie Alèrte and Lynn Betty. Visit facebook.com/afrojamshaiti.
For its impressive history — which includes many notable Caribbean-rooted “residents” — Woodlawn Cemetery and Conservancy was presented with the Tourism Award from the Bronx Tourism Council on Saturday.
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. kicked off Bronx Week 2021 with the presentation to Woodlawn during a ceremony at Orchard Beach.
Each year, more than 100,000 visitors go to the 400-acre, nonsectarian cemetery, in operation since 1863. The National Historic Landmark, at 4199 Webster Ave., is known for its community events; its Tour de Bronx that runs through the property, and the rustic Level II Arboretum, containing more than 3,500 trees and 392 species.
And Woodlawn is famous for the famous — with a long and impressive list of civic leaders, business moguls, entertainers, jazz musicians, artists, writers and others among its lot owners.
Among the Caribbean-connected permanent residents of Woodlawn are Antigua-born Archbishop George McGuire, who founded the African Orthodox Church in 1918 with Black leader Marcus Garvey; influential St. Croix-born “New Negro Movement” founder Hubert Harrison; Luther and Maud Powell, the Jamaica-born parents of former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and Trinidad’s Frederick “King Houdini” Hendricks, the famed “Stone Cold Dead in the Market” calypso star.
In addition to groundbreaking Bahamas-born Broadway superstar Bert Williams; Black female millionaire Madame C.J. Walker and Cuba-born “Queen of Salsa” Celica Cruz, Woodlawn is the final resting place of R.H. Macy, founder of Macy’s Department Stores; James Cash Penny, who started the J.C. Penny store chain, and others of note.
“Woodlawn Cemetery is one of our most important cultural institutions and is a rich source of information on people who helped shape our city and country,” said Diaz.
Visit woodlawn.org for information on visits, tours and community events.
With the theme “Que Viva Loisaida! (Long live Loisaida!),” organizers recently announced the coming of the anticipated virtual Loisaida Festival on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
The Loisaida Center’s 34th annual event will be livestreamed next Sunday and May 30, featuring family-friendly entertainment, performers and musicians. The festival is being presented virtually for the second year in a row, due to COVID-19 safety measures.
The 2021 lineup for Loisaida includes the all-female Afro-Brazilian samba reggae band Batalá; Afro-Caribbean/electronic music project ÌFÉ; Puerto Rican folk singer Chabela Rodríguez; R&B soul-jazz artists Duendita and Linda Díaz, and Mexican singer/actor/director Fernando Allende.
The 2021 Loisaida Festival will stream live through “The Loisaida Inc. Center” Facebook page and YouTube channel, and the center’s media partners New York and Puerto Rico.
For more information, visit loisaidafest.nyc.

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