Black Girls Blogging: Kat of Kreyolicious

If you follow the media and American ignorance, you'll think that Haiti was simply a black colony that fought the French, dabbled in black magic, descended into extreme poverty and suffered an earthquake. Growing up in a Haitian family filled with lawyers, doctors, clergy men and entrepreneurs, I always felt frustrated that my homeland always was painted as being this dark land inhabited by barbarians. I knew the truth. I knew that this gorgeous land, filled with people of all shades and ethnic backgrounds, was special and wished that those who slandered us and belittled us for our pride and courage could just get a glimpse of what I and so many others know as the truth.

Lo and behold, late last year my prayers were somewhat answered. Due to the glorious tool that is Twitter, I was able to come across one of the best sites I have ever visited: Kreyolicious. Created and run by Kat, a young Haitian-American woman, the site is a majestic gem of Haitian history. Did you know it was a Haitian man Jacques Roumain who inspired Langston Hughes? Or that it was a Haitian emigre who was one of Abraham Lincoln's confidants? Me either! Check out my interview with Kat (who is as sweet as the mangoes from my grand-père's yard) below!

For those who aren't familiar, how would you describe your website? 

I would describe it as a cultural salon, Haitian-flavored.  It's a cultural space where readers can learn about Haiti, from its beginnings, to its present, as well as its cultural contributors over the course of 200+ years of its existence, whether musical, literary, scientific, and the like.

Your website is such a gem. What inspired you to create it? 

Aw, thank you so much. I love to write, and I love my culture, so out of those two loves Kreyolicious came to be. I'm very inspired by other entrepreneurs and after reading about the whole blogging movement. I wanted to start a blog and magazine about Haiti, and for Haitian-Americans. Since there weren't too many of the latter, I made the choice to start one. I called up the designer Zillz, had him design the site, and I launched

What has been the biggest lesson you've learned in creating this space online for Haitian culture? 

Well, it confirmed what I knew already: that we Haitians are like, all over the globe. Like seeing 
someone from Australia, others from Japan and Uzbekistan on the site's visitor tracking system. And these are readers who are habitual visitors, who don't just accidentally happen on the site, and just leave. Though they may have different backgrounds, though they may live in different places, they all have their love of their culture in as a common factor.

What is the biggest reward you received thus far from this project?
Interacting and connecting with fellow Haitians all over the world, and having readers who learn something they had not known prior, concerning Haiti. I figured a little cultural website about Haiti would bring visitors, but I never imagined this flood of response from readers, and the traffic.  Not to mention other assorted rewards.

What do you hope for people to take away from your website? 

It's no longer just my website though (smiles), but the website of every visitor who clicks through. I hope that when they learn something. I hope that they realize that Haiti and Haitian culture is rather rich, and that Haitians have contributed a great deal to world history.

What advice do you have for Black women who are interested in creating a culture oasis online - the way you have? 

I would say, do it for the love of it. And everything else will come. When you're choosing a name for your product, think long-term. Like when you're taking your IB classes in middle school, and everyone's wondering why---why you're always trying to be an oddball. But you're not trying to be an oddball. You're thinking, "Down the line, I will get credit for these classes." So, likewise, whatever decision you make when naming your site, give it a worthwhile name. It's good to be creative and spontaneous, but always have---always act---with the bigger picture in mind. Get your own domain from the get go. Be consistent.

Valerie Jean-Charles is a 23 year old community servant and writer in Brooklyn, NY. She holds a BA in Political Science from Fordham University. Follow at @Empressval to join her never-ending conversations about everything and then some.

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