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#3924: Haitians celebrate their Roots and Culture (fwd)


Published Sunday, May 28, 2000, in the Miami Herald 
 Haitians celebrate their Roots and Culture BY CAROLYN SALAZAR 

 Shimmying, shaking and clanking metal noisemakers, thousands of
partyers swarmed through the streets of Little Haiti Saturday night to
show off their moves and flaunt their Caribbean pride. While recine and
copa music pulsed loudly at this weekend's annual Roots and Culture
Festival, attendees waved large Haitian flags, donned white Haitian
 T-shirts and covered their heads with straw hats handmade in Haiti.
 Billy Paul did even more: A Haitian flag draped his body, while a scarf
with a Haitian flag wrapped around his head. ``I am representing my
country,'' said Paul, 19, of Boca Raton. ``This is a time when Haitians
get together and show their pride.'' Five blocks of Little Haiti, from
54th to 59th streets along North Miami Avenue, became a sea of red and
green as about 150,000 people munched on jerk kabobs or curry chicken,
then moved to the beat of the music. They jiggled and shook to
 rap, swung their hips to eclectic Caribbean and African tunes or swayed
to reggae. ``It's important for us to remember our culture,'' said Henry
Juste. ``That's what this festival is all about. It's about getting
people together and getting to know our music.'' This is the sixth time
the festival -- which features artists from Haiti, Martinique,
 Guadeloupe, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Jamaica and Puerto Rico --
has come here. ``With this festival we wanted to bring the community
together artistically,'' said event organizer Albert Alexis.  The
festival featured presentations from Boukman Eksperyans, Sunz of Nature
and TNT Boys. It culminates today with a tribute to reggae sensation and
social crusader Dhaima, who drowned three weeks ago. Dhaima's sister,
Rita Marley -- widow of Bob Marley -- will pay a tribute to Dhaima from
6 to 8 p.m. Dhaima had been scheduled to perform at the festival.