Today’s United States is a land rife with cultural divide, but Haitian DJ/producer Michael Brun comes bearing a message of love and unity.
Hailing from Port-au-Prince, the 25-year-old knows the prevalent narrative of his homeland. Haiti is often seen as a poverty-stricken, disaster-prone afterthought, but it has always been much more. As a musician, Brun has worked tirelessly to share the beautiful resilience and importance of his culture while giving back to his country through charitable initiatives.
Following reports that President Donald Trump referred to Haiti as a “shithole” in a White House meeting last week, Brun was understandably upset but tried to channel his frustration into inspiration to share the truth about his homeland.
Provided exclusively to Billboard Dance, read Brun’s thoughtful and powerful response to Trump’s comments below.
I grew up hearing that Haiti was a shithole my whole life. The narrative of Haiti didn’t change last week, it’s a narrative that has been forced upon our country for decades, by outsiders, by the media, by the world at large and by a bigoted president. Negativity reinforces negativity, and to impressionable youth who don’t know their true worth, these words became reality.
But instead of feeling pity or remorse, myself and a new generation of Haitians saw it as a call to action.
A call to reconnect with the principles in which our country was founded, principles based in unity, bravery and respect.
A call to elevate our standards in education and cultural preservation, and to create a new paradigm for our nation and our youth.
A call to take the narrative of our country into our own hands.
We will determine how people perceive our country. A country that served as The Mother of the Americas, who’s people liberated themselves from colonial rule in 1804 and aided both the United States and the rest of the Caribbean in their battles for freedom.
A narrative of failure is not Haiti’s national anthem, it is ‘La Dessalinienne’, an anthem retelling the Haitian Revolution and the mantra that unity and strength of mind can overcome insurmountable odds. These are the stories that must be heard by the youth of Haiti. The stories of perseverance, ambition and responsibility for one’s country.
Today a new generation of artists, empowered by technology, is taking control of the languages of hip-hop and electronic music, infusing them with Haitian culture and traditional rhythms, and speaking to millions of people in Haiti and around the globe.
We are writing our own Haitian anthems. These are the voices that will be heard by the next generation of Haitians and these sounds will define Haiti to the rest of the world in the years to come.