Miami is a place in transition, an anthropology that moves like molasses.
I am old now but my recollections of Lemon City are forever etched in a bitter-sweet affection for the swamp that shaped me.
Better known today as Little Haiti, the hood just north of fabulous Design District is home to an up-rooted people coping with assimilation while clinging to the spiritual heart of their beloved island. The source of their strength the spiritual capital of the Caribbean.
With all the "progress" that Miami has endured, it is still possible to find a main avenue that has not been paved in ages. In fact there isn't even a curb, until now. Little Haiti is primed for urban development.
The immigrant experience is unique to each group that is transplanted in mass. For many Haitians the conversion to catholicism was easy, their churches were infused with bush's faith-based dollars. Fair enough. The employment opportunities were plenty as few others were willing to do the work for such offensive wages. From the nurses that care for our aged to the house-keepers that polish up SOBE, Haitian humility has a lesson for us all, hard work is the corner-stone of any good home.
I have said that art is the most powerful force on earth. Indeed man is but a passing shadow without the rituals of music, dance, sculpture and painting. At the top of the class is the inimitable Serge. Muralist and political activist with his feet on the street and his heart in all things Haitian.
Herve Di Rosa is a French painter and long time friend. Through his nomadic adventures and prolific style, Di Rosa has chronicled multiple cities with his unique perspective. With deft naivety his paintings of Little Haiti can be found courtesy of The Bass Museum on Miami Beach. Though Herve has moved on, his delightful view of the swamp is everlasting.
The third pillar is Edouard Duval Carrie, the ardent proponent of all things Haiti. Duval rules with the irons and potions of a modern shaman. His tireless work in helping to realize the Little Haiti Cultural Center is noteworthy. His artwork is a wellspring of the mystical.
Today the Center is a reality, a reality not yet formed for it takes time to build the virtual edifice by a people in flux. Last night another brick was added to the effort by Miami's own Rhythm Foundation.
The Rhythm Foundation is hosting monthly happenings at the Little Haiti Cultural Center.
The plaza was jamming to the beats. On stage were several legendary percussionist and some very energetic dancers.
My pal RaRa the rabbinical rapper tore up the joint with hypnotizing smoothness and of course his own brand of hebrew hollering. RaRa is awesome.
The BigNight in LittleHaiti is no exception. Visitors were fed and feted most satisfactorily.