Music and Poetry Unite Dominicans and Haitians

Dominicans and Haitians came together for a night of music and poetry at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe on Feb. 23. Clarivel Ruiz, the founder of the Dominicans Love Haitians movement, which hosted the event, told The Haitian Times’ Maya Earls what prompted her to start the movement.

Ruiz said the idea for the movement was seven years in the making, after discovering at home in the Dominican Republic that her grandmother was Haitian. Since then, she wanted to promote the similarities between the two cultures instead of focusing on the differences.

A poetry reading in English, Spanish and Creole kicked off the event, followed by musicians and artists who also spoke of their own experiences. Union Community College English professor Roberto Garcia, one of the speakers, described how he’s perceived in the U.S. versus in the Dominican Republic, and the negative response to his Gawker article on being an Afro-Dominican.

Tense relations between Haiti and the Dominican Republic reached a peak after the latter passed legislation in 2014 that would render stateless many Dominicans of Haitian descent. With large populations of both groups in New York City, the controversy has generated protests and statements from public officials in the city.

Go to The Haitian Times to read more details on the event at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe.

Tags: Dominican-HaitiansNuyorican Poets Cafe

Caribbean Life News

March 11, 2016

Dominicans and Haitians – bridging the gap

By Tequila Minsky


The Dominicans Love Haitians Movement has joined the ranks of creative Dominicans in artistic collaboration with Haitians reaching across the contentious boundary that separates the two populations of the one island, Hispaniola.

Held at the Nuyorican Poets Café, in late February, four Dominicans and five Haitians came together in poetry, music and inspiration to celebrate commonalities.

The evening was organized by filmmaker and Borinqua College (Bushwick Campus) communications professor Clarivel Ruiz, a Dominican–American who went to the Dominican Republic for the first time in 2009. While she might have been aware of animosity between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, it really hit home on that first family trip to the DR when her father revealed that one of his grandmothers was Haitian.

Ruiz tells this story as an intro to a packed Nuyorican Café in this Lower East Side performance venue on that blustery rainy night.

At the point when her parents had been married for 45 years, her mother said, “If I had known that, I wouldn’t have married you.” She was sharing this deep-seated prejudice.

A poet herself, Ruiz speaks about a personal journey of self-reflection. “I was looking for why this (Dominican mind-set) is the way it is, particularly Dominicans not honoring their African ancestry.” She acknowledges how Dominicans have internalized the colonial attitude and denial of self.

The conversation of “the other” had also previously been with her; she had been having this discussion for several years.

“I asked myself how could we harness power on how we live our lives? How can we live without being hateful? I thought how poetry and music are great forms of expression of what we feel as people.”

Inside the creative community, Ruiz found others with whom it resonated to bring Dominican and Haitian performing artists together. She discovered Afro-Latina poet Amanda Alcantara who “lives in the intersections of gender and race,” who grew up in the DR and lives in between many identities. She found poet Roberto Carlos Garcia who knew Dominican poet YuBelly Rodriguez.

Ruiz’s friend Joyce Azor immediately wanted to collaborate. Her husband Steve Azor, founder of Ayiti Deploge, reached out to Haitian talent, bringing in newly arrived Anie Alert Joseph who sang during the evening. On acoustic guitar, Mikaelle Cartright sang in French Manno Charlemagne’s “Bam Yon Ti Limye” that asks: Why must the Black race suffer? Why are they treated so unfairly?

Others who performed were Haitian rapper singers Rossini Celestin and also D’eithchy & and Tre Issacs.

The 40-year-old multicultural and multi-arts Nuyorican Café, a perfect venue for these spoken words artists to perform together, has a history of giving voice to diverse groups of rising poets, actors, filmmakers and musicians who have not yet found consistent havens for their work.

Following the performances, audience members mingled in a spirit of harmony and personal conversations. “So beautiful,” exclaims Ruiz. “I was so moved by the level of artistry and engagement of the audience.”

Ruiz wants to have more of these events, expanding into Brooklyn and the Bronx and including visual arts.

Recently, Bric TV broadcast a piece on this artistic effort to bridge the gap between the two countries:



Published on Mar 2, 2016

Some Dominicans and Haitians in New York are trying to mend fences between their compatriots at home. Clarivel Ruiz and Steve Azor, CEO of ‘Ayiti Deploge,’ talk on on the project “Dominicans Love Haitians,” full of music and poetry.


Con Sabor Latino

Sun, Jun 19, 2016   3:00 PM


This week Con Sabor Latino welcomes our guest, Clarivel Ruiz.  She is a filmmaker, professor, and founder of “Dominicans Love Haitians”, an organization/movement created to address relations between Dominicans and Haitians on the island and here in the states.

Dominicans Love Haitians Movement Brings Together Artists at WOW Cafe Theater Tonight

by BWW News Desk Jun. 23, 2016 

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While Dominicans of Haitian background are deported in the Dominican Republic, Dominicans and Haitians in New York City celebrate their interrelated culture and history.

At 7pm tonight, June 23rd, at the WOW Café Theater, the Dominicans Love Haitians Movement brings together Dominican and Haitian artists to reflect and reconcile over 500 years of Eurocentrism.

Using art as a vehicle for unraveling biases and bigotry, the evening will feature performances by emerging Dominican and Haitian poets, singers, singer/songwriters and rappers. Tickets are $20. For more ticket information, click here. Located on the lower East side, the WOW Café Theater, is the oldest collective space in New York City for women and trans gender artists. It will be a future and consistent venue of Dominicans Love Haitians Movement.

The premier of Dominicans Love Haitians Movement took place February 2016 at the historic Nuyorican Poets Café dedicated to artistic empowerment. The artists that contributed to the event with their talent were Dominican poets Amanda Alcantara, editor of ‎La Galería Magazine, Roberto Carlos Garcia, published poet and translator of Pablo Neruda’s Heights of Macchu Picchu & Other Poems forthcoming by ?ervená Barva Press 2016, and painter, playwright, spoken-word poet Yubelky Rodriguez. Our Haitian independent singer/songerwriters were Rossini Celestin, his brother Deitchy Celestin and Tre Issacs, Mikaelle Aimee Cartright of the group Kayel, and Anie Alerte Joseph. Ayti Deploge, an organization that provides support to independent Haitian talent helped to provide musician.

“I’ve seen a lot of shows here, a lot of shows, and this is the first like this,” said Nuyorican House Manager, Raul Rios. “This is needed.”

“It is time to deal with the narratives that have been relegated to us regarding who we are as a people in the Dominican Republic,” said Clarivel Ruiz, first generation Dominican American and Founder of the Dominican Loves Haitians Movement. “The myth that we aren’t a group of people who have African ancestry and that we are more ‘white’ than ‘black’ has kept us separate from our fellow Haitians. Politicians through out history have used that statement to instill fear and loathing in order to manipulate Dominicans.”

For our second showcase, Dominicans Love Haitians Movement partners with Company Cypher, which educates and engages audiences in an international conversation about race and colorism. “Company Cypher is a natural partner because of their commitment in undoing racism.”

Dominicans Love Haitians Movement aims to heal the wounds instituted by racial stigmas by creating space to manifest the possibility of and the ability to witness violent acts without deflection, amnesia, or suppression and then voicing those acts so they no longer hold power nor define Dominican and Haitian people.

“There are those of us who understand the ramification of history and are doing something about it, said Clarivel. “We are one of many and together we have power.”

Showtime 7PM, Thursday June 23rd at the WOW Café Theater. To purchase tickets, go to

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