Haitian socially conscious songs!
Kreyolicious playlist time! In which…in which I sit and scour Youtube for days at a time to look for Haitian music songs that fit a particular theme. Today’s theme…socially-conscious songs. Have listened to songs by the Black Eyed Peas where they denounce domestic terrorism, and have listened to Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror”, and all these urban griot-rappers rap about the hood…Now, it’s time to see, examine and report on what Haitian artists have been up to in that arena…Let’s go, ya’ll…let’s see what’s on the playlist.
1. Kreyolicious Artist/Band: Stanley Georges
Kreyolicious Song: Ou Mechan
Social Issue Tackled>: Statutory rape, pedophilia!
Where It hits Home: The lyrics speak of voluptuous young girls whose figures attract lecherous men. These lecherous men prey on young underage women young enough to be their daughters. Very nice vocals, and the message is very touching.
Kreyolicious Side Note: One of the striking things about this song is the point-of-view. Fingers are not being pointed at the young women as the initiators of these illicit relationships. There’s no victim-blaming, only a call to cease the exploitation of impoverished young women.
2. Kreyolicious Artist/Band: Darbenz
Kreyolicious Song: Pa leve Sou Men Li
Social Issue Tackled>: Domestic/relationship violence
Where It hits Home: Well, the lines hit home all over. Someday, I’ll tell you this really lengthy story about how I came across this song, but today, we’ll just cover why it’s on the playlist.
Kreyolicious Side Note: An elaborate story about domestic violence, undocumented immigration, and overall public announcement about the dangers of staying in an abusive relationship. Again, a song whose melody’s so catchy, but not enough to make you forget its message.
3. Kreyolicious Artist/Band: Kompa Kreyol
Kreyolicious Song: Pouki Sa
Social Issue Tackled>: Gun Control
Where It hits Home: A song about a little boy named David who emulates some of the programming he’s seen on TV. He sees his dad’s gun, and thinks that it’s just like one of those contraptions he’s seen on TV. Unable to differentiate between reality and make-believe, David opts for make-believe. Only things is, real life isn’t make-belief. David shoots himself to death.
Kreyolicious Side Note: This song is lovely. Firstly, I haven’t come across a song in Kreyol that treats issues of gun control, and the effects of television on little kids, as well as parental surveillance and the lack of it. David watched shoot ’em ups and cowboy movies. Is that all that’s shown on his TV screen at home? This song also pushes us to look at other issues too…like imported programming from other countries and their effect on developing countries.
Have to also mentioned that this song offers great vocal delivery from the lead singer of this band, and that the issue is treated very, very effectively.
4. Kreyolicious Artist/Band: Emeline Michel
Kreyolicious Song: Djanie
Social Issue Tackled>: Domestic violence
Where It hits Home: But don’t I already have a domestic violence track on this countdown? Well, it won’t hurt to have another more. What’s more, whereas the other song was told from the point of view of a male, this one is told from the female perspective. It’s a friend talking to a friend, and it’s recounted in a personable way.
Kreyolicious Side Note: The narrator tells Djanie that she’s been there before, so it’s not as if it’s a random person addressing her, but rather someone who knows what it’s like being treated with verbal and physical disrespect.
5. Kreyolicious Artist/Band: Krezi Mizik
Kreyolicious Song: Ti Mafi
Social Issue Tackled>: Prostitution
Where It hits Home: All I have to say about this song is…Can I get a podyab for this Ti Mafi person? Lawdie, she has to punch the clock on a nightly basis and she ain’t no night auditor at the Holiday Inn or Hampton Inn. Non! She’s involved in the trading of pleasures of the flesh. Her dad left the house, and she and her mom lives in some shack somewhere in Port-au-Prince with her younger siblings. She’s under electrical poles all night, trying to get herself a client.
Kreyolicious Side Note: This song is so depressing, but I like how the songwriter behind the song put in lines about the need for her to recognize her self-worth, and to get herself out of that career. So, at the end, we are not served with just a song about a young woman whose circumstances induce her into the street thot life, but we are told that soon there’ll be a way out.
There you have it folks, Haitian socially-conscious songs written and performed by, well, Haitian artists. Do you have any socially conscious songs by Haitian artists that didn’t make this countdown? What are they? Sound off to your girl Kreyolicious!