MARIE FLORE: Media voice embraces Haitian identity, culture

Author:  Dawn A. Davis
Haitian pride is reflected everywhere in South Florida. In May, Haitian Heritage Month, the Caribbean country’s flag draped vehicles and nationals wrapped themselves in its colors, parading streets and jumping to mesmerizing kompa rhythms blasting from souped-up audio systems.

Flore Dr MarieIt’s just how many Haitians roll. Some, however, believe that’s not enough.

“I cannot be promoting Haitian culture and have my flag wrapped on my head,” insisted popular media personality Marie Flore.

“That’s not what defines the values. We have to promote and protect Haitian culture through education. Protect its value.”

With a doctorate in education administration and leadership and a master’s degree in health services administration, Haitian-born Flore worked in social services and health education for more than 15 years. But, her passion for intellectual cultivation led her to create the first combined radio/television show titled “Radio TV with Dr. Flore”. It was her bid to elevate Haitian culture through her philosophy “Gade Tet Ou”.

MEANING

Translated as “look at your head”, its deeper meaning is about reflection and what’s inside your heart, Flore explained. She formed a non-profit organization of the same name, embarking on a journey as the Haitian American community’s cultural ambassador.

“I felt I could not just tell people Gade Tet Ou without giving them a way to do so,” she said, “and the best way was through mass communication.”

“Radio TV with Dr. Flore” is a production of Gade Tet Ou, which airs Thursday and Friday on AyitiTV and Comcast’s Island TV, while simultaneously running on 1360AM radio. From aspiring artistes to community activists, local politicians and business leaders, Flore spreads her passion for Haitian cultural heritage through conversations with guests who she believes can inspire her listeners.

“As a youth everything I did involved community work and youth advocacy,” she explained. “And when I came to Miami I endeavored to build a spirit of partnership.

“That’s why I created Gade Tet Ou. It was also to continue my father’s work in the rural areas in Haiti and making sure we never forget where we come from.

“Sometimes I think that if Haitians were checking themselves out at all times, life would have been better,” she added. “We can celebrate our history, but we also have to raise history. My ancestors, I know their names, but if I cannot surpass what they have done then it is pointless. Using radio and television, I think I can transcend all that history that we talk about, we need to live it.”

URGENCY

Flore’s mass media platform reflects her sense of urgency to help the Haitian community become an unmistakable cultural and political force. Her programming includes building financial wealth, branding and marketing by exposing new talent, entertainment, culture, education and politics. The show is also presented in three languages - Haitian, Spanish and English.

She believes activism is being consciously aware of one’s contribution to building the community and opening as many doors as possible for others through education and cultural awareness.

“There is no culture without embracing your identity,” said Flore.

“If you don’t know where you come from, if you don’t have certain values and willing to share and embrace those values, then everything is superficial.”

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