Culture

Haiti Has One Of The Most Expansive And Influential Histories In The World

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Located on the western side of Hispaniola, Haiti is a nation rocked by revolutions and steeped in culture. We take a look at 21 highlights of the country’s history ranging from courageous slave revolts, rum-soaked pirates, murderous despots, and change-making visionaries.

The Indigenous Haitians

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Ancestors of the Taíno people, an Arawak-speaking population, were the first to inhabit Haiti. They are rumored to have arrived as early as 4000-5000 BC and researchers of this indigenous group debate whether they originated from the Amazon Basin, the Yucatán Peninsula or even as far as the Colombian Andes. Despite a wave of smallpox and slavery in the 16th century driving the Taíno to extinction, their language is immortalized in Haiti’s name, which is a transliteration of Ayti, meaning Mountainous Land.

The Arrival of Christopher Columbus

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Christopher Columbus arrived in Haiti on Dec. 5, 1492, whilst sailing around the Caribbean Islands during his iconic expedition funded by the Spanish Empire. In an act of imperial uncouthness, he swiftly renamed it La Isla Española and established La Navidad, the first European colony in the Americas, which was located near to present-day Cap-Haïtien on the north coast. 

Bartolomé de las Casas

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Bartolomé de las Casas was ordained as the first priest in the Americas in 1510. He was one of the first to propose the use of African slaves as a method for offsetting the decline of the Taíno, who were rapidly dying from enslavement and foreign disease. It’s estimated that there were up to 8 million Taíno, before the arrival of Europeans, and by 1548 less than 500 were left. Las Casas later denounced all forms of slavery, but historians and abolitionists have since indelibly labeled him as one of the founders of the transatlantic slave trade.

Queen Anacaona

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Queen Anacaona, born in Léogâne, Haiti, was the last Taíno chief. After being captured by the Spanish and refusing to become a concubine she was executed. Her bravery has been praised in modern Haitian music, such as by Ansy and Yole Dérose.

Bottoms Up

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In the 17th century the swashbuckling Welshman, Henry Morgan, was contracted by the British to invade the colonial Spanish settlements scattered throughout Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Failing to succeed he turned his attention to plundering wealthy Caribbean ports for gold and used Isla Vaca on Haiti’s south coast as a base of operations. After years of government-sponsored marauding, including accidentally blowing up his most prized battleship after a night of hard drinking, he fled to Jamaica with his bounty and bought 5,000 acres of land for cultivating sugar cane for the British. In 1944 his notoriety was spread even further around the world with the founding of the Captain Morgan rum brand.

An Island of Outcasts

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Tortuga Island on Haiti’s north coast was an epicenter for piracy. Previously fortified by the Spanish, a small number of French and English buccaneers began their first attempts to settle here in 1625. Over four decades the nations battled for ownership of the island, with Spain gaining and losing control four times. In 1684, the European superpowers signed the Treaty of Ratisbon, which effectively outlawed piracy and led to many of Tortuga’s settlers to seek out more legitimate work in the navy or cutting and trading wood.

Kings of Coffee

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When Spain ceded Haiti to the French in 1697 it was renamed Saint-Domingue and in less than a century became an agricultural powerhouse producing 60 percent of all coffee and 40 percent of sugar for Europe. So productive was this new French colony that it became referred to as The Pearl of the Antilles.

The Slave Rebellion

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The Haitian Revolution starting in 1791 was the most successful slave rebellion in world history. The three-year rebellion led to the abolishment of slavery across all of France’s territories, the country’s independence and kick-started slave revolts in the United States and elsewhere in the Caribbean.

Gunpowder and Guano

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Since 1857 there has been a territorial dispute between Haiti and the U.S. over uninhabited Navassa Island. The US maintains its control under the Guano Islands Act of 1856, which was passed as federal law, to allow U.S. citizens to claim unoccupied islands for collecting guano deposits which were readily used in the production of gunpowder and agricultural fertilizer.

Dezafi

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The first book to be written entirely in Haitian Creole, Dezafi by Frankétienne, was published in 1975 and described daily life during the Duvalier regime. It wasn’t until 1987 that Haitian Creole was recognized, alongside French, as the official language of the country.


Good Juju

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There’s a saying in the country that “Haitians are 70 percent Catholic, 30 percent Protestant, and 100 percent voodoo.” It’s believed that voodoo’s roots go back 6,000 years to Benin and was brought over to Haiti during the slave era where it was practiced in secret. It’s even said that a single ceremony led by Duty Boukman, a voodoo priest, instigated the Haitian Revolution. As a steadfast part of Haitian culture for centuries, it was formally considered in 2003 by Haiti’s Catholic President at the time, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, as having equal standing to Catholicism.

Hideouts

Credit: J. Outhwaite & K. Girardet / wilderutopia.com

During the 17th and 18th centuries, large numbers of slaves managed to escape the French to hide away in Haiti’s mountains. They were known as mawon which means “escaped slave” in Haitian Creole. Their clandestine communities, known as maroons, survived through hunting, agriculture, and capturing and returning other slaves who tried to escape. The most well-known maroon leader, François Mackandal, poisoned the drinking water of hundreds of plantation owners throughout the 1750s.

L’Ouverture’s Vision

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Toussaint L’Ouverture was the eldest son of an African prince. L’Ouverture led the revolutionary forces during the Haitian Revolution and after France abolished slavery he allied with them to overthrow the British and Spanish on the island. After his success, he wrote Haiti’s first constitution. A visionary, he ratified that “All men can work at all forms of employment, whatever their color.” and “There can be no slaves on this territory; servitude has been forever abolished. All men are born, live and die there free and French.”

Record Breakers

Credit: Auguste Raffet / Wikipedia

Haiti’s independence from France in 1804 makes it the world’s oldest black republic and after the United States, it is the second oldest independent nation in the Western Hemisphere.

Genocide

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Between 1804-1915 over 70 dictators ruled Haiti. Jean-Jacques Dessalines, who was the first ruler of independent Haiti carried out the genocide of 3,000-5,000 white native French and French Creoles. The only people spared were Polish who defected from the French army, medical professionals and a handful of German colonists.


The Citadel Laferrière

Credit: United States Army / Wikipedia

The imposing Citadel Laferrière is the largest fortress in the Americas and was built by slave rebellion leader Henri Christophe after gaining independence from France. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982, the mountaintop citadel was designed to sustain 5000 men with food and water for up to one year.

Jewel of the Caribbean

Credit: Rémi Kaupp / Wikipedia

The Sans-Souci Palace, 3 miles from Citadel Laferrière, was the royal residence of Henri Christophe. The palace’s ornate stonework and majestic architecture have been compared to the Palace of Versailles in France.


A Mix-Up

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At the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, when Liechtenstein and Haiti unveiled their country’s flags they realized they were identical. Soon after Liechtenstein added a crown to their flag to avoid any further confusion.

Duvalier Dynasty

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François Duvalier was elected as president in 1957. After an attempted military coup d’état, Duvalier’s regime exerted a totalitarian rule over Haiti. He consolidated his power by creating an undercover death squad which Haitian’s referred to as the Tonton Macoute (Uncle Gunnysack) which is named after a local mythological creature that kidnaps children and carries them away in a sack to be eaten. His aim was to spread fear, crush dissent and assassinate his opponents. An estimated 30,000 were killed. Duvalier declared himself President for Life until his 19-year-old son took over in 1971 and ruled until 1986 when he was forced to flee during a revolt.


Military Rule

Credit: U.S. Coast Guard / military.com

Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a Roman Catholic priest, was elected in December 1990, but in less than a year was overthrown in a coup d’état giving rise to General Raoul Cédras. Under military rule up to 5,000 Haitians were killed and thousands of Haitians tried to flee the country by boat. Between 1991 and 1992 the U.S. Coast Guard intercepted over 41,000 trying to flee the country.

Natural Disaster

Credit: Marco Dormino, The United Nations Development Program / Wikipedia

On Jan. 12, 2010, an estimated 217,000 people were killed by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake which destroys most of the capital, Port-au-Prince. The international community came together to help the country rebuild.

READ: This Tijuana Restaurant Has Become The Hub Of The Haitian Migrant Community Stuck In Mexico

Foundation Used To Only Have Three Colors, Here’s How We Went From Nudes To Fenty

Fierce

Foundation Used To Only Have Three Colors, Here’s How We Went From Nudes To Fenty

@bareminerals

Ah, foundation. Literally the basic building block for most of our beauty routines. It’s been around literally since the early ages and continues to thrive and impact the ways in which beauty brands develop their own platforms. But foundation wasn’t always as inclusive and complex as it used to be While it’s not uncommon to find foundation in it is starkest  blanket shades, literally dubbed light, medium, and dark, beauty brands like Fenty, Estée Lauder and Maybelline New York have all pushed for foundation hues that complement the broad spectrum of skin tones. But how did we make such progress in beauty? And where did foundation originally come from? 

Here’s a brief and insightful look at how foundation became another household item that we cannot live without.

In the beginning, foundation was only for the rich and powerful.

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Believe it or not, makeup goes back all the way to Biblical days where it was referred to as “face painting.” Just check out the Old Testament (Ezekiel 23:40). It was also used by rich Romans and Greeks during 200 B.C. However, the practice of using makeup for spectacle purpose could be seen more prominently in the 17th-century by monarchs such as Queen Elizabeth I and in the 18th-century men began to wear it too as made fashionable by Louis XV. Back then, this group of elites would wear foundation while artists painted their portraits as part of s social affairs, and actors would then go onto wear their looks onstage. While the foundation was only worn by the wealthy, the makeup itself was made out of toxic ingredients including zinc oxide, glycerin and calamine lotion.

Foundation, as we know it today, has its roots in Germany and Poland.

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Originally, German actor Carl Baudin created greasepaint to use as a tool to use on stage so his wig line would be hidden onstage. The greasepaint was made out of zinc white, ochre, and vermillion in lard. Weird, right? But it worked and he began to sell it. Then in 1914, Polish makeup icon Max Factor created his own formula that was a mix of pigment and lard and invented. Factor created the makeup specifically for actors in Hollywood and it worked so well on film that the product became a hot commodity. The Hollywood industry only used Max Factor foundations on sets. The term people used for the foundation was called pan-cake because of the density of the product but also it wasn’t only in liquid form but packed powder. 

The evolution of foundation in the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s

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For the most part, foundation just came in three shades, white, medium, and dark, which didn’t leave much room for those of us with a skin tone that didn’t fall into any of those three tones. While cosmetic companies began to manufacture their own foundation, for the average woman the main brands were Maybelline and Cover Girl. Both those brands sold compact powder cases that provided inexpensive coverage that provided coverage for faces. 

Loose powder foundation. Finally a breakthrough!

 Credit: Instagram/@bareminerals

As foundation continues to evolve, we now have foundation that comes in all forms including loose powder. While liquid provides extensive coverage that basically gets applied just like paint, for women who want a natural look can easily turn to loose powder for that flawless look. In the late ’90s Leslie Blodgett, a makeup executive at Bare Escentuals, changed the foundation game when her company created Bare Minerals, released a loose powder foundation that had SPF and other vital minerals for your face. Now every cosmetic company sells their own version of loose foundation powder. 

Foundation for everyone.

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Foundation has come a long way. It’s not the pan-cake makeup of yesteryear, nor is it made just for the rich and famous. It comes in a variety forms, including liquid, matte, powder, sticks, and so much more. The great thing about this evolving makeup is that it comes in all tones and for all skin types, and it’s no longer made with harmful ingredients. Today, cosmetic companies have found ways to create a product that not only provides coverage but that can also help your skin. There’s a huge portion of the beauty industry that sells products that are vegan, animal-cruelty free and made of organic ingredients. Imagine if Max Factor knew how foundation was made today, he’d probably think you were joking and argue that foundation could not be made without the use of animal lard. The reality is that today trying to choosing which foundation might have become a bit more complex since he started making foundation but as a result, mostly everyone is able to find a brand that works for their skin tone,  beauty standards, and wallet. 

READ: 25 Brands Made For Latinas And Women Of Color That Are Totally Crushing The Beauty Game

Aristemo Will Soon Be Broadcast All Over The US Thanks To Univision Distributing This Gay Love Story

Entertainment

Aristemo Will Soon Be Broadcast All Over The US Thanks To Univision Distributing This Gay Love Story

univision / Instagram

Telenovelas have long been typecasting all the stereotypes we’ve grown up to believe to be true, and then to unlearn all over again. We’ve met the seductress duplicitous female villain, the overreactive, drama queen female ‘lover,’ and the steel-jawed masculine heart-breaker hero who finally finds his integrity and reunites with his inhumanly patient lover. Oh, and all the woman are highly sexualized and overall just the most feminine. Telenovelas have long codified the binary and the love stories of heteros. Not anymore.

Televisa’s El corazón nunca se equivoca (ECNSE) premiered in Mexico earlier this summer, and, now that Univision is picking up the novela, the U.S. is about to get its first-ever gay couple to star in a novela. 

El corazón nunca se equivoca (ECNSE) is the spin-off of novela Mi marido tiene familia that we’ve all been waiting for. 

Credit: @M3li_G3 / Twitter

We got to meet stars Aristóteles “Aris” Córcega (Emilio Osorio) and Cuauhtémoc “Temo” López (Joaquín Bondoni) meet and fall in love in Mi marido tiene familia. That said, they met as teenagers while living under their parents’ ignorant roofs. Now we get to see them build their own lives. Together, the duo has been lovingly dubbed “Aristemo” or “Emiliaco,” depending who you ask.

In Mi marido tiene familia, we watched Aristemo endure a lot of homophobic hate.

Credit: @Itgetsbetter / Twitter

Being gay in a homophobic society is incredibly isolating and dangerous. Suicide rates are nearly twice as high in the LGBTQ+ community than in the hetero community. That’s not because they’re gay. It’s because people are told that “God hates fags.” Fans have been rooting for Aristemo ever since they graced the television screen because they offer hope to all the gay niños out there watching.

ECNSE will follow Aristemo as they move from Oaxaca to Mexico City to follow their passions.

Credit: @Dacaflow / Twitter

Of course, passion ensues. They escape Oaxaca’s brand of homophobia for Mexico City’s brand, but, as is the reality for our LGBTQ+ community, Aristemo finds and cultivates a safe space for them to love each other freely. Instead of sneaking around their parent’s houses, they hide away in their own shared apartment together, free at last.

Claro, leaving the crime scene of their families’ homophobia doesn’t heal those wounds as quickly as they hoped for.

Credit: @ARISTEM0KING / Twitter

You can expect to see a reasonable representation of life for LGBTQ+ youth in Mexico City. LGBT youth are far more likely to experience depression, suicidality and mental illness than hetero folks. Instead of the “happily ever after” ending we typically get from novelas, we get to see a more realistic next chapter in Aristemo’s lives together as they cope with their own depression, suicidal thoughts, and the emotional distress that homophobic political campaigns inflict. 

American fans are emocionada AF.

Credit: @httpTahi / Twitter

This fan took the time to screenshot grabs of an interview with Bondoni and Osorio, because the duo is just as cute off-screen as they are on-screen. “Ay pero bro, que bonito lo miras,” the fan captioned. “EMILIACO EN USA!”

We’re all learning lessons in love from Aristemo.

Credit: @SHIPPERARI / Twitter

Apparently, Aristemo not only goes on to create a safe space for themselves, but they also take in other LGBTQ+ youth. 😭We’ll meet their new friends, Diego (Nikolás Caballero) and Carlota Cervantes (Ale Müller), and watch how this little family learns to take care of each other and unlearn the drama that their families created for them.

The broader Aristemo family diaspora is currently weeping pride tears everywhere.

Credit: @pride_site / Twitter

“I’m so proud and also very excited 🙂 can’t wait for aristemo to make history in the us,” tweets one fan. “Creo que sin importar lo que pase, nos sentimos muy orgullosos,” tweets another. No novela drama we’re about to witness will change how proud we are to finally give this love story the spotlight. Why? Because the heart is never wrong [cries in gay].

America, you can watch El corazón nunca se equivoca on August 13, 2019 at 9p.m., only on Univision.

Credit: @T53657190 / Twitter

It’s prep time, mi gente. Gather your friends, your micheladas and a few Costco sized bags of Fritos, because the emotional eating is about to take over your life. Plus, know that you have 26 episodes to binge, which in novela world, is simply not enough. Still, we’ll take it. Mil gracias, Univision.

READ: Univision Makes History, Announces First Telenovela That Will Star Gay Couple In Leading Role

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