Le P’tit Club” of Jimmy Moise: The little giant among us
Perhaps we have been sleeping: For many years, there has been a little giant among us doing a mighty job promoting Haitian arts and culture in the diaspora. Judging by the accolades it has received, no one can deny the variety and quality of Haitian artistic events it has promoted and the number of artists it helped put on the map. In just seven years, it managed to occupy an elite place among the South Florida artistic communities and around the world. These accomplishments did not happen by chance. It is an organization working to propel Haitian culture to the forefront of artistic excellence. Sitting in the heart of Broward County, that little giant is “Le P’tit Club, Inc.”
Nestled in the bedroom community of Miramar, this organization has worked tirelessly to promote Haitian culture to whoever will stop long enough to watch or listen. Under the direction of its able founder Jimmy Moise, “Le P’tit Club” tussled slowly to capture the attention of art enthusiasts, media critics and politicians alike. Since its inception in 2003 and subsequent incorporation in May 2007, the name “Le P’tit Club” has been synonymous to quality promotions of Haitian culture for the benefit of its represented countrymen; known and unknown, but still struggling artists.
And the list of recognitions runs long: In May 2008, Jimmy Moise and “Le P’tit Club” spearheaded the first celebration of “Haitian Flag Day” in Broward County. He was the event planner and coordinator of the art exhibit at “Espace Brandt” from 2004 to 2006. He also coordinated the dancers and models at “Caribfest” in the city of Miramar in 2005 and 2006. Also in 2006, he was the coordinator of media relations and scheduling for “Jazz Brunch on the Bay” in Miami. He promoted, planned and coordinated “Caribbean Cultural Heritage Month” in Pembroke Pines, Florida, at the Broward Community College Library in 2007.
The accomplishments do not stop there: In 2007, Jimmy Moise, who was born in Port-au-Prince, was named by “Infocus Magazine” one of the fifty most influential Haitians. In its issue of February/March 2008, “Pluriel Magazine” said of “Le P’tit Club”: “A legacy for our community.” Jimmy Moise and “Le P’tit Club” have been cited numerous times in mainstream media like the “Miami Herald”, “Sun Sentinel”, “South Florida Times” “Le Nouvelliste” and others.
Like the proverbial “Energizer Bunny”, Jimmy Moise, never stops the work of touting Haitian arts and culture. Few individuals have dedicated their time and resources for a cause that does not make a promise of any return. The transition from air traffic controller to arts promoter may seem an odd one. But for Mr. Moise, growing up among accomplished artists, painters like Erve Normil and Jacques Gabriel in addition to listening to musician friends like Boulo Valcourt and Gaggy Depestre, only fueled his love of the arts and the influence they continue to exercise on him. Just being around those artists was a lesson that he would carry with him every day and helped eventually fomenting his idea for “Le P’tit Club.” It was only a matter of time before he partnered with a group of friends with similar interests to form this organization. It first started to operate from his home in Miramar, Florida and quickly grew in such number and quality that some city officials took notice.
The city of Miramar celebrated “Le P’tit Club’s” anniversary with pomp and reverence as Mayor Lori C. Moseley was the guest speaker. It was at the Crosstown Skylight Dome that the city proclaimed March 27th 2011 “Le P’tit Club Day.” Several city of Miramar officials, dignitaries and other elected representatives from different municipalities were in attendance. Mr. Moise himself lent his time and knowledge as a board member for the city’s Cultural Arts Division.
With such background, it behooves me to think that many people in the Haitian community do not yet know what “Le P’tit Club” is or does. This is typical of a fragmented community that is waiting for the next voice to be their horn or the other hand to be their lift. The dynamism of Jimmy Moise notwithstanding, the success of “Le P’tit Club” was mainly due to a group of people who had a vision and decided to throw their passion behind it. They did not wait and lament the inexistence of serious promotions for Haitian arts and culture. They saw that something was missing and they filled that void with dedication.
Haitian communities, though always looking for that spark to lift their spirits and imagination, sometimes tend to neglect that which is only theirs. We don’t need to look far from the “Caribbean Market Place” in Little Haiti to witness an example of that desertion. It has been sitting there for years, like a relic of lost opportunities; a legacy of rich arts taken for granted, then left to wither. They seem to forget that there is an artist behind each brush stroke and a musician behind each note. The causes for such neglect are numerous: We all know how devastating the disaster of January 12, 2010 was for ordinary Haitians. Even before the earthquake, natural disasters and other social burdens, typical in Haitian lives, were enough to divert their attention toward more pressing needs. Yes, there are plenty of needs to attend to, and cultural events that promote the arts may not be on their list of priorities. Besides, Haitian culture dictates that mothers and fathers encourage their children to be scientists rather than artists, no matter how keen are their talents or potentials. It is a taboo subject, sometimes forbidden to even talk about at the dinner table. That does not happen in every case. However, Haitian society had always biased parents to nudge their children away from the arts. That does not mean they succeed every time. Haitians are artists by nature. It seems that no matter what they profess, the artist in them always finds its way out somehow to produce works that please and delight art lovers everywhere.
“Le P’tit Club”, under the tutelage of Jimmy Moise, is providing that spark by exposing the beauty of Haitian arts and making it known to the world. Mr. Moise has travelled far and even to Haiti, spreading the message that Haitian arts matter. Recently, he went to Port-au-Prince to honor “Boukman Eksperyans,” the roots music group that continues to endure and ride the wave of success it has known since the nineties. This shows that no medium is off limit. No musical sound is too discordant and no dance move is beyond the steps or care of “Le P’tit Club.”
Art lovers everywhere would do well to look up “Le P’tit Club” and its activities in the South Florida area. Who knows? Their support may prompt a door to open for a young artist, or an important contact to be the ticket for a talented musician. For that to happen, Jimmy Moise and “Le P’tit Club” deserve that support. In the end, the pride generated can never be measured.
© 2012 Max Zamor