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Haitian-American comedians use humor to celebrate Haitian heritage, flag day

Wilkine Brutus

For many Haitians in the diaspora, Haitian Flag Day on May 18 honors the 1804 revolution— the largest successful slave revolt in human history.

It's also a celebration of the variety of experiences that make up Haitian culture and identity, sprinkled with Black joy.

The Haitian and Hilarious comedy tour, presented by Success Jr and Plus Pierre, features more than 20 comedians; it runs through Dania Improv on May 18th, Haitian Flag Day, and Miami Improv Comedy Club on Thursday, May 19th, with stops in Houston, Boston, and Atlanta.

Success Jr, based in Atlanta, is known for portraying his Mother, the viral character Mama Junior. The Miami-native made a strong appearance in the award-winning film Ludi. Plus Pierre, another Miami-native, appeared in Ludi and Kevin Hart's "Hart Of The City" on Comedy Central. Pierre's sketch comedy has over 2 million likes on TikTok.

SeJoe, a Brooklyn, New York-native based in Central Florida, is a standup comedian and a fierce Haitian language advocate with a hit comedy special on Amazon Prime. He's also on the comedy tour. SeJoe said he's enjoying the new interest in Haitian culture, a far cry from the anti-Haitian sentiments in years past.

"For far too long, we sat in the back of the class. And so everybody else got their flowers, but we never did, and we played a big part in world history," SeJoe said. "People love to say Black history or Haitian history— no, Haitian history is world history." 

SeJoe says he wants the story behind the first Black Republic "to be celebrated by everyone, not just Haitians."

Zoe Poze was born in St. Maarten and is based in Fort Lauderdale. He is also part of the nationwide comedy tour featuring household names in the community.

He said comedians on social media have created platforms that add a new lens to the Haitian experience.

"We all have different experiences but guess what, every city we go to, everyone somehow relates to each individual.," Zoe Poze said. "There’s always something everybody relates to. That’s not a coincidence to me.  Whether it was trauma, whether it was just plain experiences, we all find a way to laugh at our lives." 

Popular Haitian comedians on the tour from various backgrounds, include Paul Prinvil, Applehead, Haitian V, Fat & Funny, Ti Inosan, Garihanna, Malik, Haitian Jonas, Danny Duces, Ms.B, TJ, Naesha, Frantz Casseus, Bechir Sylvain, Ruben Paul, Chris "set it off" Jones, Jean Nervil, and Nancy Bellany.

Wilkine Brutus is the Palm Beach County Reporter for WLRN. The award-winning journalist produces stories on topics surrounding local news, culture, art, politics and current affairs. Contact Wilkine at wbrutus@wlrnnews.org
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