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Moses St Louis

Moses St Louis

Haitian world music artist Jean Belony Murat, also known as

Sofani "Soso" Charles is hoping to bring some farming skills he's learned in Dawson City, Yukon, to his family in Haiti.

Charles was born in France but his family is originally from Haiti. He is currently on a two-year working holiday visa and has been working at the Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin teaching farm in Dawson City since April.

"It was by chance. I came last year to Dawson City and met Derrick [Hastings, the farm manager]. It was the end of season so not that much work. So he told me to come back in March, April," Charles said.

 

Charles stayed in Whitehorse over the winter and returned to Dawson City last March, a week before the COVID-19 pandemic shut most things down.

"It was a bit tricky for me when I was going to start, but I keep the faith. And then two weeks after they hired me and I'm still here."

Charles says it's been an excellent experience. Working on the farm has given him the opportunity to learn about livestock, vegetables, medicinal plants and mushrooms.

 

Sofani 'Soso' Charles bagging potatoes for distribution. (Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin Farm)
"It's a school also. This is why I kind of like it. We are here to learn, and if people are better feeling about meat or vegetables, they can be focused on that."

Charles is hoping to focus on growing vegetables. He does not eat meat but he enjoys working with the different livestock.

He hopes to one day have sheep and produce milk.

'I want to show them the way'

Charles's family on his mother's side used to be farmers in Haiti. His mother still has a house in that area of the country, but the family doesn't use it anymore.

Three years ago, Charles travelled to Haiti to visit relatives, and was inspired to learn farming for himself. He decided to travel abroad to learn the skills — and that led him to Yukon.

"If I can grow vegetables here in the Yukon, I can do it anywhere. The conditions here — you get cold and the wildlife are like bears, so you need to be vigilant with everything. So it's really challenging but that's what I like," he said.

Natural disasters are not uncommon in Haiti, and Charles finds it very important to increase food security.

"Why I'm here is really for my family and for my village. I want to show them the way. Like, this is possible," he said.

"I'm not going to tell them, 'do this' or 'do that,' but I will tell them if you want to eat, this is the way."

Hands in the dirt

For Charles, the best thing about working at the Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin farm is being in close contact with nature. He says he feels good when his hands are in the dirt.

Working with the animals has been a great experience and he considers his co-workers on the farm as family.

A large cloud of virus-laden droplets can be released high into 

It may seem like everything is perfect, lights, cameras, action and 

Sickle cell disease affects many Haitians and most of them are 

I had the pleasure of interviewing Virginia Louis aka


Nia, formerly of the group Zin. She was very kind and gracious. Nia is a real thrill seeker and has been fascinated by music and singing ever since she was young. She recently relocated to Atlanta and started her own band. Let’s get the details and the updates:

HB- When I last interviewed you a few years ago, everything was going so well for you, your took over your mom’s restaurant, you were in the process of releasing 2 singles, your solo album was almost done, Let’s catch up, what have happened since? 

Nia- Wow it’s truly been a long time! A lot has happened since then. I completed my Nursing program and became an RN, I’m a mother of two, and after many years of living in Florida we decided to move to Atlanta Georgia! Unfortunately my mother passed away last September after many years of being sick. I am still grieving however I am at peace knowing she’s no longer suffering and one day I will see her again. 

HB- Wow, did not know about that, my sincere condolences and may she continues to rest in peace. Why did you decide to move to Atlanta? 

Nia- We moved to Atlanta for the housing to be quite honest. However once we moved we realized it was a great move for our family. We live outside of Atlanta in the suburbs, its very family friendly and a good place to raise kids. 

HB- What motivated you to put this new band together? 

Nia- As you know a couple years ago I had a project called Påsh which was a collaboration between myself and Dano keyboardist from the HMI and a few other local musicians. That project unfortunately ended. One27 was my husband Webb’s idea along with Delva a well known HMI bassist here in Atlanta. One27 is our baby and we are putting in the work to make it happen!

What is your day-to-day life like these days? 

Nia- Very busy! I juggle a few hats!

HB- What are your memories of Zin?

Nia- Zin was a wonderful time in my life and I have many fond memories of with Zin. I got to travel the world and see places that I would probably not have gone to had it not been for Zin. I will forever remember our live performances; no one performance was ever the same. 

HB- What kind of sound does your new band play, is it similar to Zin? 

Nia- One27’s sound is a balanced blend of my musical influences which includes kompa. So in that since there are some similarities to Zin. 

HB= So what drew you into Konpa music? 

Nia- Kompa literally fell onto my lap. I was familiar with the music and knew of a few artists (Skah Shah, Coupe Cloue, Sweet Mickey). My late brother affectionately called Ti-Lou Lou was a huge fan of Zenglen and D’zine and he would drag me to their bals sometimes. To say that I would eventually join a Haitian band was a stretch! I met the guys from Zin at a bal in Miami and the rest is history!

HB- Do you keep in touch with any of the musicians from Zin?

Nia-  Yes definitely, we have a group chat and we chat regularly. If you do, what do you talk about? Everything under the sun!

HB- How is the family doing? 

Nia- My family is well thank God. My children are 7 and 6, they are growing up so fast I wish I can stop time. We are safe and blessed and I’m very thankful for that.

HB-I know it is very hard to be a successful band in the HMI, especially as a female artist. How do you cope with the frustration of not being able to do everything you want to do? 

Nia- I channel that energy into being creative and forging relationships with like-minded creative people. I know our industry is what it is so I choose what I do, when I want to do it and how. My desire is to create my own lane, I believe eventually it will all fall into place.

Final words? Thank you for the interview and thank you to all my fans out there! I love ya’ll and stay tuned!

Share your social media contact for people who want to follow your music? @One27musiq on Instagram, One27 Musiq on Facebook and One27 Musiq on YouTube.

Fabiana Pierre-Louis is on the brink of making history in New Jersey as the first African American woman to serve on


the state's Supreme Court.If confirmed, the 39-year-old would also become the youngest person ever to serve as a Justice on New Jersey's highest court.

 

"The thought of actually sitting on the court one day was not something that came across my mind as a law clerk," Pierre-Louis said.

When she graduated from Rutgers Law School and became a law clerk for former New Jersey Supreme Court John Wallace in 2006, Pierre-Louis says she was simply focused.

"I think my end game as a law student was to become an attorney and hopefully make an impact on the legal profession, in some way," Pierre-Louis said.

Now she's not only making an impact, she's making history.

"I know how important it is for young people to see people who look like them, or come from similar neighborhoods as them, or similar backgrounds, to see those people in positions of leadership," Pierre-Louis said.

Pierre-Louis grew up in Irvington after her family moved from Brownsville, Brooklyn when she was eight.

She's the daughter of Haitian immigrants. Her father was a New York City taxi driver who saved up to buy his own medallion while her mother spent more than 20 years working at St. Vincent's Hospital in Manhattan.

"Their work ethic is something I've always looked up to,"Pierre-Louis said. "They worked extremely hard coming to a country where they didn't speak the language, didn't know many people and really established themselves."

While this nomination comes at a time of racial strife, Gov. Phil Murphy made it clear his nomination had nothing to do with that.

He started vetting Pierre-Louis back in February.

"Given the challenges which are being brought to the forefront of our society, and the questions which will undoubtedly rise to reach our supreme court, core issues of socio economic equality and equity, there is no better meeting of an individual and the times," Murphy said.

Pierre-Louis is currently in private practice, but before that she was the first African American woman to become the attorney-in-charge of both the Camden and Trenton field offices for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey.

"I just feel like I'm fortunate to be in this position and hope to be an inspiration to others," Pierre-Louis said.

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