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6.01.2012

Feature Fridays: Kat Cherie of KREYOLicious.com™

KREYOLicious.com is your online source for everything about Haitian culture!  Kreyolicious is self-described as a "non-ending cultural odyssey" and this couldn't be any more accurate. Kreyolicious provides the most fascinating and entertaining information on all things Haitian, from interviews and features of our most prominent artists and thinkers as well as up-and-coming ones, to entertainment news, to the most interesting historical pieces and random Haitian facts you could imagine.  The information never stops flowing and none of us want it to! Kreyolicious doesn't miss a beat! Kreyolicious articles are presented in the most engaging yet relatable fashion, making the reading and browsing experience such a pleasure.  KREYOLicious.com is the place to explore our Haitian identities, deepen our connections to each other, take pride in our rich history and accomplishments, and to feel empowered as a people.


Kreyolicious is managed by Editor and Founder, Kat Cherie, an amazing screen-writer of Haitian descent.  I had the opportunity to chat with the lovely, approachable, smart, witty, and talented Miss. Kat, who is now one of my closest Twitter friends and definitely someone I look up to. Check out my interview with Kat Cherie of KREYOLicious.com!
Tell us about yourself!
I love to write, and I love history. I love my culture, and am rather fascinated by it. I love my parents and other family and friends. I love life, and I try to maintain a spirit of gratitude as much as I can, because I'm thankful for all that God has done for me.

Why did you create Kreyolicious? Equally important....How did you come up with such a fabulous name?

I wanted a name that was creative. I wanted a cool name, but one that wasn't too trendy, you know, that would lose steam after "season". I had an initial name, but I felt it was, I don't know, too geeky. I thought why not Kreyolicious. Kreyol, taking on the creolized spelling, and -icious...well -icious the suffix that just adds an aura of uber coolness to just about everything. So it worked out well, Kreyol for the Haitian side, and the -icious for (US) American identity.


I created Kreyolicious because I had exhausted myself trying to find something like it. Plus, I had all this information in my head I had been reading and mentally collecting at the library since I was little. 

You truly cover some of the most interesting topics on Haiti that I have ever come across. Seriously. I mean your site covers everything from in depth book reviews, to interviews with amazing Haitian figures, to your "Chapo Ba" and "Haiti History 101: Haiti by the Decades" series (my two personal favorites). How do you chose what to write about? What inspires you the most?

Well, thank you for being a reader. History inspires me. I've always loved language arts and social studies all my life, practically. Haiti History 101 was done for those who may or may not love History, but want to increase their knowledge of Haitian history, but who, at the same time don't want to be overwhelmed. The fact that the site has categories helps a lot when it comes to deciding what to write about. This way, I am able to plan articles and features, and make sure that attention is paid to all the categories, and that I don't lose that balance; like have more Haiti History 101s, while fashion and beauty articles are lacking. Girl, everything inspires me! It could be something as simple as coming across an old photo of Haiti, or coming across a name that pushes me to do additional research, and an article is born.

When I read all of your interviews, reviews, etc, I feel so proud to be Haitian. I also feel incredibly inspired by our vibrant culture, which is always so eloquently and creatively presented on your site. I know a big part of Kreyolicious' mission is to serve as a resource for young Haitian-Americans, like ourselves. I think this is really important since it can be challenging at times to retain and appreciate our "Haitian essence" here in the Diaspora. Can you talk about the importance of engaging the Haitian-American youth and what you think our role is in revamping Haiti?
I think engagement is so very important, because if it's not constant, or at least on a regular basis, there is this risk of disconnection. And I think that some are within that disconnect line and don't even realize it. But really, what I see is this pride, a lot of it and a love of culture and things related to Haiti. I think our role is to serve as one of the connectors to help build and to draw on this online community.

Through 
KREYOLicious.com, what message are you sending to the world, about Haiti, Haitians, and Haitian-Americans to the world?
Haiti is more than we think it is. And I think that in the future, there's going to be a lot of surprises, and in some cases, it won't be a surprise.

You have a background in screenwriting. That is so interesting! How does your film background influence the way you present information on Kreyolicious? Also, can you tell us about any screenwriting projects you may be working on now?
Yeah, I write screenplays. My love of films manifests itself on the site in the interviews and movie reviews. Actually all writing is writing, though in different forms, with different purposes, and different audiences in mind.

I've completed a couple of screenplays, and there are others that are at different stages of the creative process. They're targeted towards different markets, but I would say that most of what I've written have a Haitian aspect to them. I am so fascinated by vintage Haiti, the 1800s, especially; the 1910s, the 1980s, and to some extent the 1940s, and 1920s. Heck I might as well say all the decades. I love coming across these sepia and black and white photos of Haitians in Haiti from eras back. To me, that's so fascinating. I know they had stories, and stories that repeat themselves over the course of generations. Most of the scripts I've written have this theme of women's issues permeating them: abuse, mental illness, abandonment, and the like. One script centers around this girl who's been sent to the capital in the '80s to work in the home of a wealthy family. Her story launches off a trilogy, and is followed by the story of her daughter. 

What have been some highlights of yours since creating Kreyolicious?

I have had the chance to meet a lot of interesting people---including you, and make so many other new connections. Most of all, there's been this outpouring of messages and emails from readers, saying how much they appreciate the site, how much they've learned, and how it's helped them see their Haitian heritage or Haiti in a different light.


This may a little obvious for you in particular.....but I always ask: How does your cultural identity manifest itself in your work?
I think it manifests in every word, in every sentence, and in every article! 


My readers are interested in maintaining life balance through the arts, culture, and holistic health. How do you maintain balance Kat?
It's not always easy to maintain balance, but I think it's important to put forward the effort, because without balance sometimes we can end up overexerting ourselves. So I try to do little bit of everything, devoting myself to different things when I feel it's necessary.

Why should we visit 
KREYOLicious.com? What makes your site different?
You should visit it, because it's just what the Cultural Doctor ordered, as it is one of the few cultural websites on Haiti. Tee hee. You should visit Kreyolicious to see what it's all about. I think what makes it different from other websites is the personal voice aspect.

Anything else you want to tell us?
I'd like to thank you very much for this interview, and am sending lots of love to the Kreyolicious readers, not to mention my heartfelt thanks.
Thanks Kat! 

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Feature Fridays highlights people of color (with a special focus on those of Haitian descent) and organizations who are doing meaningful wok everywhere from the arts, music, and fashion, to politics, business and the non-profit world.
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