In the fourth grade I was so embarrassed of where I came from. I used to tell people that I was from Martinique because being Haitian got you teased or beat up. To the kid that used to diss me and yell out ‘you have HBO! Haitian Body Odor!!! Hahaha!!!’ FYI - I’m Facebook stalking you.
I eventually came out of the closet...well my mom actually yanked my ass out of the closet. When she found out, she was not only disappointed but pissed. She demanded that I come clean and stop telling lies.
In the 5th grade when we had to do the ‘Where I Come From’ project she stood over my shoulder to make sure I didn’t include any alternative facts.
I remember like it was yesterday. I’d asked the teacher to wheel in the television and vcr and proceeded to read my report in front of the class. It started with ‘Haiti is known, to many, as the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere but to me it’s the beautiful country that I come from.’ I put in my VHS tape and began to play a video of Sweet Mickey’s “Ou la la.” To this day it’s still one of my favorites. The video showed the beauty of the island and the carefree spirit of the people. I didn’t make eye contact with anyone until after it was done. To my surprise they all loved it, along with the sweet plantains that mom had fried up that morning.
It took me a long time to show pride in my culture so you can only imagine how giddy I was when my girls told me that they wanted to do a Haitian dance for their multicultural cultural day. I may have been a little ‘Dance Moms’ giddy but I was proud and I know my mom would have loved to see her granddaughters pay homage to her one true love.