Régine M. Roumain: Torch Carrier

(right to left) Régine M. Roumain and Michèle Voltaire Marcelin

Creator (Régine M. Roumain) and creation (Haiti Cultural Exchange “HCX”) are so intertwined, it’s a challenge to discern where one stops and the other begins.

If Haitian culture is the mother, HCX is the fetus, and Régine is undoubtedly the umbilical—the lifeline connecting the two.

Régine M. Roumain is co-founder and director of HCX, the organization that does much more than disseminate Haitian Culture in the New York area.  It moves us forward.

HCX is a one-stop place for Haitian musicians, writers, visual artists, poets, dancers, story-tellers—seasoned and emerging. It is a virtual womb, in a sense—a safe place to develop and grow and give birth to creative ideas.

HCX connects outside organizations to Haitian artists about whom they might not have heard. “They are out there on their own,” Régine says of most artists in the diaspora. “HCX is a central place that can link everyone.”

This mother of two is constantly on the move, facilitating programs that keep Haitian culture from fading. The signature ‘An n’ Pale’ series–a tête-à-tête between artist and audience–is always refreshing. HCX also partners with New York City Public Schools to facilitate learning objectives that help our children’s imagination to flourish.

There’s never a quiet moment in Régine world, but you will never catch her without the torch she carries in Haiti’s name.

Régine’s InnerView with VoicesfromHaiti is coming soon.

Jany Tomba (Part 2): The Soul of a People

Jany Tomba (Photo: Rolf Bruderer)

Jany Tomba on Being a Model

The first time I was photographed for a magazine was with two other girls: a blonde and a brunette. It was an ad for JC Penney. I did not know how important it was to have a national ad that ran in  Seventeen Magazine—a huge magazine. I had no preconceived idea of what to feel.

It was a new experience. I remember the blinding lights, the preparation for the shoot; the hustle bustle in the studio.

The day before the shoot, I remember going on ‘the go-see’ (the interview), where several girls were also present. I just showed up as myself, unaware of what people were thinking or might be thinking. I think I was comfortable with myself and that came through. That was my first paid job. I thought it was very natural for me to be in front of the camera.

Did I think of myself as being pretty? I didn’t think so until I left Ste. Rose de Lima—a school that was run by nuns. When I attended Centre d’ Etudes Secondaires, an excellent private boy and girl school back inHaiti, I started to smile.

I did not know I would be a model.  As a child I thought I would have been a doctor. When I saw the stylish girls walking around NYC city with their portfolio, it seemed like a nice way of living. Continue Reading. . .

Tomba (Photo: Sasha Huber--Finland, 2010)



Honoring the Past.  Celebrating the New Journey.

JANY TOMBA: Three Braids

Photo: Jany Tomba Archives (Ruelle Nazon)

When I was a little girl, I wore my hair in three braids: two thick ones in the back and a third one on the side of my face. That was my style. That was the way my grandma combed my hair.

Some of the imported nuns insisted that I remove that braid from my face. Their comments made me feel bad.

Even though I attended one of the most the prestigious religious schools, the educators liked to control some of the Haitian girls. They did not like our physical appearance. They attacked the way some of the children spoke French.

If I could go back and talk to little Jany Tomba, I would tell her: You are unique and don’t mind what the nuns say to you about having your third braid hanging in front of your face. I would tell her she is beautiful.


Exclusive VFH InnerView (Part 1)

Exclusive VFH InnerView with Jany Tomba (Part 2)

Jany Tomba: Creole Text

Katia D. Ulysse

9/11/11 — Ten Years Later

Katia D. Ulysse

As Haitians , we are a little too familiar with tragedy. We lift our voices in memory of those who have lost their own.  A tragedy, by any other name, destroys lives.  We understand. As we say in Haiti, pran kouraj: Be encouraged. -kdu

From: Irmina Ulysse

“9/11 is a reminder of just how precious each moment is.  9/11 is a reminder of how vulnerable even the strongest among us is.  9/11 is a reminder of how temporary life and everything in it is.  So to those who can dance, dance; those who can sing, sing; and those who still have breath, live. LIVE!!!”

Leonie Hermantin

“9/11 was the fateful day when we all shed out hyphenated identities and stood tall in solidarity as Americans. It is very sad, though, that this tragedy was highjacked by opportunists who used it to make the lives of immigrants in this country so difficult. . .”

Edwidge Danticat wrote a great piece in the New Yorker. Check it out:


Kristo Art: from “My Candle, My Light”

. . .Tears flow every time I think of them . . .I pray . . .or sing our national anthem. . .Not American . . .not Muslim . . .Just human. What else can I do?

I am just a man . . .”