Just a few words in an attempt to give an idea of what sort of website Windows on Haiti is.
It began on April 20, 1998 as a personal website on GeoCities, as was fashionable at the time, to affirm my personal roots and love for my native Haiti. However, the same year, it evolved quickly into a quintessential reference point on the Net for various aspects of Haitian culture: the food, the literature, the history, the music, the pictures, the arts, the essays and opinions, etc. A few years later, a broad multilingual forum in English, French, and Haitian Creole was added and that became the most active part of the site, particularly at times of political upheaval and national uncertainty. But perhaps the most endearing feature of the site has been its presentation of exceptional Haitian musicians, forgotten icons as well as emerging artists with considerable talent but lacking in name recognition or commercial success. In particular, Windows on Haiti has introduced unsuspecting scores of new fans to groups like "Mozayik" which performed in NJPAC's Sounds of the City, "Buyu Ambroise and the Blues in Red Band" which participated in the NJPAC's great jazz tribute to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, and today the deeply spiritual lyrics and pulsating rhythms of "Lataye".
The site's development has relied mostly on small, voluntary contributions from the Haitian community in the United States and the support has been generous, totaling over $7,000 in the last 3 years. Another measure of Windows on Haiti's significance to the Haitian community is the number of friendships it has fostered among its readers in Haiti, the United States, Canada, South and Central America, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, Asia, and every other part of the world really. A testament of which will materialize, as it has on other occasions, on the 10th anniversary of the site, coinciding with the NJPAC debut of the group Lataye, which Windows on Haiti has voluntarily promoted over the past year, based on the great quality of their music and socially progressive lyrics.
For a non-commercial cultural website, 10 years may seem like a lifetime. Windows on Haiti has reached that milestone and proudly associates its journey with the forward-looking New Jersey Performing Arts Center in its own sweet 10th anniversary season. To many more, all around.
Guy S. Antoine
Windows on Haiti
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