Komon Ou Ye? 9 Of Our Favorite Celebs of Haitian Descent (And A Few Surprises Of Course!)
With the large number of Haitian-born celebrities and Haitian-American (and Canadian) stars doing it big, we couldn’t pass on the chance to highlight some of our favorites–and a few we actually didn’t realize were repping Haiti. They are a variety of singers, rappers, actors and artists, but they all have one thing in common (besides being black of course), they go hard for their favorite country (or at least one of their favorites…). Enjoy!
And be ready to click…
If you hadn’t heard, my imaginary husband is indeed a Haitian brother. While his father was raised in Puerto Rico and was of Pentecostal faith, the singer’s mother grew up in Haiti and was Baptist. When helping to raise money after the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010, Maxwell spoke about his Haitian roots and his work before the catastrophe to help the fight against hunger. His song, “Fistful of Tears,” was used to help in the relief effort.
Who knew? The former Danity Kane and Diddy-Dirty Money member was born and raised in New Orleans, and is African-American and Haitian. After the earthquake, the singer went to Haiti to learn more about her people, and was influenced to help, as she and her family had lost a lot themselves in Hurricane Katrina: “Intertwining my craft as an artist and my quest to learn of my Haitian descent, we were able to put a microscope to Haiti seven months after the Quake, and show how the Haitians are coping… and how they use their Art Culture to tell their story of pain and redemption.” Ah…the more you know!
Wyclef & Pras
‘Clef is definitely the most outspoken Haitian-born celebrity, as way before catastrophe’s like the earthquake of 2010, he was repping the country hard and doing charitable work to fight poverty and more. The son of a pastor, Wyclef Jean was born in Croix-des-Bouquets, but moved to NYC with his family around the age of nine. He’s been the ambassador of Haiti since 2005 and created the Yéle Haiti organization in the same year, which has provided scholarships for thousands of young people. And of course, we know he tried to run for president, but because he didn’t meet residency requirements, he had to let that dream go…for now…
Coincidentally, his Fugees bandmate was also of Haitian descent, and according to Pras, the two looked at each other almost like cousins back in the day after growing up together. His full name is Praskazrel Samuel Michel, and though his bond with ‘Clef was once tight, Pras was very outspoken about his disapproval of his friend trying to run for president after the earthquake in Haiti. Because of that, ‘Clef felt betrayed and the two wound up having beef for a short while. “I love Wyclef to death … We came up together, we grew up together, we basically called each other cousins. But the reality is this, we need a real leader.”
However, the two patched things up for the country they love, with ‘Clef tweeting the following: “On my way 2 Haiti ran into Praz, what should I do make peace or go sit somewhere Else! I Made peace 4 Haiti!”
You might know her better as “Fancy,” from “The Jamie Foxx Show,” but Garcelle Beauvais is a Haitian-born beauty. She was born to Marie-Claire Beauvais and Axel Jean-Pierre. The youngest child, she and her six brothers and sisters, along with her mother, came to the U.S. when she was young, and lived in many places, including Massachusetts and Miami. The actress later moved to NYC on her own where she went to pursue her early modeling career.
Something like an odd fusion of Chris Brown, a MJ wannabe and the wacktastic Flo Rida, Jordin Sparks’ boo is definitely an interesting character in the pop world. He’s also half Haitian. Don’t get it twisted, Jason DeRulo is actually Jason Desrouleaux, and the singer is the child of two Haitian-born parents in Miami. He says they both speak French and Creole.
Trina McGee Davis
Apologies if I’m the only person here excited about this inclusion, but as a huge fan of “Boy Meets World” back in the day, I had to do it. Davis had a recurring role on “Boy Meets World” from ’97 to 2007, playing Shawn’s love interest, Angela. Being the lone black face I can remember on one of my favorite shows from my youth (the whole, “TGIF” era), I think she’s awesome. Anywho, Davis’ father was a Haitian political activist who, because of his comments on the evils of the former President of Haiti, Francois Duvalier (“Papa Doc”), had to run away from Haitian authorities, thus making him MIA from his family for years.
Who else couldn’t stand Marlo on “The Wire”? *Raises hand* But in real life, Jamie Hector is not a fighter, but a lover and community organizer. The activist (he’s got a non-profit organization called “Moving Mountains”) and actor is the son of two Haitian-born parents, and was born in Brooklyn. Though the earthquake happened in 2010, Hector said that he had been helping people in Haiti way before then, rallying support for a project called Love ‘N Haiti. The recycling effort helped to turn trash into energy.
Jean Michele Basquiat
I’m sure you can see from the name that this iconic brother was Haitian, but in case you didn’t know…
Definitely one of Haiti’s most outstanding talents, the late painter and graffiti artist’s work is still selling for millions, and continues to inspire a great deal of creative people, including rappers like Jay-Z, producer Swizz Beatz and more. Born in Brooklyn, Basquiat was the son of a Puerto Rican mother (Matilde Basquiat) and a Haitian father (Gerard Basquiat). His father was born in Port-au-Prince.
Ben Quddus Phillipe
Once again, who knew!? Probably one of the best looking veejays MTV had come around, “Quddus” was a host of MTV’s “Total Request Live” and most recently, the host of the reality singing competition, “Duets.” The Haitian-Canadian fella is the son of a Dutch mother and a Haitian-born father, and the two met while his mother was in Haiti doing charity work, trying to start a rural school project. So yeah, as BIG would say, “If you don’t know, now you know…”
Who would you like to add to the list?
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