Haitian culture comes alive at Sans-Souci – Amsterdam News

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New York Amsterdam News
The New Black View
UNI joins forces with consulate general of Haiti to celebrate Haitian Flag Day, May 18 at Judson Memorial Church.
Rehearsals are now underway and the final touches being put on this year’s staging of UNI, an elegant evening of dance, fashion, and music in celebration of the 216th anniversary of the Haitian flag.
The theme of this year’s event is Sans-Souci.  Sans-Souci means without worries and was the name of the first royal palace in the Caribbean situated in Haiti. Built between 1810 and 1813, less than a decade after the Haitian independence victory, the Sans-Souci palace — once referred to as the Versailles of the Caribbean—was the first palace of its kind in the Americas that housed a Black king and queen. The palace was built to show other civilizations that no matter the color their skin, Haitians were capable of building and enjoying the same luxury. “Haitians should be proud of not only the flag, but also monuments like the Sans-Souci palace that have contributed so greatly to our history,” notes Sanford Placide, creator of UNI. “Sans-Souci will be a vision of what it would have been like to attend an evening at the court of such a marvelous place.”
UNI 2019 will be held at the transcendent Judson Memorial Church in Washington Square. Prior to the performance guests will enjoy light hors d’oeuvres, wine, and a specialty L’élixir d’Henry cocktail, featuring Barbancourt Rhum, one of the VIP sponsors of Sans-Souci. Among the artists confirmed for Sans-Souci are: Amanda Smith, Dance Theatre of Harlem; Haitian master drummer Jean Guy “Fanfan” Rene accompanied by his wife Sirène Dantor Sainvil; Haitian break dancer Steven Vilsaint of Accent Dance; and Haitian supermodel Tasha Poupée, who will be styled by the Jamaican-born New York based fashion designer D’Marsh Couture. 
This year, UNI and the Consulate General of Haiti will honor some prominent Haitian figures who have made their mark on national development and have contributed to preserving Haitian culture through the support of UNI. Among the honorees this year: Tony Delerme, Haitian actor, director and filmmaker; Lionel Moise, two-time Emmy award winning journalist and host of “Business Insider Today;” and Carl and George Daguillard, president and vice president of Stellae International Inc. 
Sponsors of UNI 2019 include Barbancourt Rhum, Lakou Café, Carl & George Daguillard of Stellae International Inc. and the Consulate General of Haiti in New York. 
First held in May 2018 to mark the 215th anniversary of the Haitian Flag, UNI is an annual event that showcases the richness and diversity of Haitian culture. It is the brainchild of Haitian professional dancer Sanford Placide and has received the endorsement of The Consul General of Haiti in New York, Mr. Gandy Thomas. For more information log on to www.uni-arts.org. 
Amsterdam News
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