Diaspora

Haitian Student Association Honors Haitian Culture at Montclair State – The Montclarion

The Haitian Student Organization (HSA) brought Haitian culture to Montclair State University on Oct. 16 to celebrate Carnival Des Fleurs (Carnival of Flowers).
The goal of the event was to honor Haitian culture and educate people about its significance.
An unidentified woman is tested on her knowledge of Haitian culture with Katrina Charles and Maquerley Previlon by her side.
Karsten Englander | The Montclarion
Different organizations of Montclair State, including The Black Student Union (BSU), Native African Student Organization (NASO) and The Brotherhood/La Hermandad cosponsored the event. Students from other universities were also in attendance to honor Haiti.
The 2022 – 2023 e-board of the Haitian Student Association.
Lynise Olivacce | The Montclarion
The night started off with, Maquerley Previlon, the host of the night and former e-board member of HSA, introducing the new e-board for the school year as they walked down in front of the crowd.
Unidentified woman sings the Haitian National Anthem.
Lynise Olivacce | The Montclarion
People then stood for the Haitian National Anthem, followed by a moment of silence for Haitian artist Michael Benjamin, better known as Mikaben, who recently died over the weekend after going into cardiac arrest.
Rose Saint Juste, a junior biology major and the president of HSA, expresses that people usually have a negative connotation when it comes to Haiti and wanted to erase that ideal with this event.
“People say it’s the poorest country, people have negative connotations on Haiti,” Saint Juste said. “So we wanted to showcase how beautiful Haiti is and how beautiful our culture is.”
Katrina Charles walks with a man showing off their attire.
Karsten Englander | The Montclarion
Two people dance as they show off their attire.
Lynise Olivacce | The Montclarion
Five men and ladies then participated in a best-dressed segment walking down in pairs, leaving Katrina Charles, a junior biology major and HSA vice president the winner, by popular demand of the crowd. People who had a Haitian flag under their chairs were placed in a trivia game to test their knowledge of Haitian historic events, heritage and the HSA organization.
Contestants listen to the question during trivia.
Lynise Olivacce | The Montclarion
Some were knowledgeable about Haiti, while others, some of who weren’t Haitian, were informed about notable facts about the country after the game. Toward the end of the night, the dancers of HSA performed two dances that bought the Carnival to Montclair State.
Dancers of HSA dance.
Karsten Englander | The Montclarion
The event was a success as students danced to afro-beats as the event came to a close.
Students dance to F.L.Y. (Fast Life Yungstaz) – Swag Surfin’.
Lynise Olivacce | The Montclarion
Ezechiel Collin, an undeclared freshman, said the event was beyond what he imagined.
“Overall the event was really nice,” Collier said. “It was better than I expected and I did learn a lot even though I’m Haitian. It was my first time going to an event like this and dressing up so it exceeded my expectations.”
Nyron Mitchell, a junior family science major and the event coordinator of The Brotherhood/La Hermandad, thought the event was really inviting with neighboring organizations coming together to celebrate Haitian culture.
“I like to see all organizations coming together as one and creating bonds,” Mitchell said.
Charles said this celebration served to show people some unique aspects of Haitian culture.
“Haiti is so much more than what people think and we want people to see that and that’s why we bought our theme of Carnival Des Fleurs,” Charles said. “So people can see what we celebrate and how we celebrate by dancing, the unique garb and just educating others of our culture.”
An unidentified couple dances in the dark
Karsten Englander | The Montclarion
According to Charles, the aim for the night to be the perfect blend of entertaining yet educating others about Haitian culture was fulfilled.
“People got to see the beautiful dance moves within our Haitian culture, the lively atmosphere and ultimately getting an experience of our life,” Charles said. “Like there are people who haven’t tried Haitian food before until today.”
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