May 1, 2020
April was all about the coronavirus, COVID-19, the pandemic.
May Is About Haiti
Haitian Heritage Month isn't 'official,' but it is celebrated in thousands of communities across the United States. It started in Boston in 1998 and then came here to Palm Beach County (PBC) in 2001--where, along with the rest of south Florida, it is celebrated bigger and better each year than anywhere else. There are usually huge annual events happening, such as the 22nd annual Haitian Compas Festival, to be held in Miami May 13-18 (click here for info) and the PBC Library System's annual celebration, which starts this Saturday and runs throughout the month. Click here for its list of events.

The international celebration of Haitian Flag Day is on May 18.
And read more, below, about Mora J. Etienne, a Haitian filmmaker recently honored by PBC. To learn more about the pandemic and PBC's steady response to it, click here to read the most-recent Bernard Beat --a twice-weekly, digital publication from County Commissioner Mack Bernard, who is...Haitian. Thank you, Mr. Commissioner for the great, broad, useful information!

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Tomorrow: A Virtual Partay For All!
Though the focus of the event is the City of Riviera Beach and its push to see more residents participate in both the U.S. Census and the city's first-ever Community Values Survey, the performers are cool. From a spoken-word artist to an African drum performer to students from a dance conservatory, they will together help push the city's push . And while the focus is on city residents, tune in. It'll be fun, different, lively. It can be viewed on the city's RBTV station and its YouTube and Instagram pages. And, click here , to read a City newsletter that describes the event, its purpose and, most importantly, its performers. Fun!
One of Those Performers Has Her Own Virtual Classes, Too
That would be Samantha Cyprian, the founder of Soul Movement, the West Palm Beach-based dance school for the young, who has partnered with two dance instructors in Georgia and New Jersey to launch the Soul Movement Virtual Dance Series to teach classes in movement --including Hip-Hop, Afrofusion, Jazz and Tap. To see class times and days, click here . The Series was created for a simple reason. " Soul Movement’s sole purpose is to give our community dance and it is our goal to ensure this continues, now, with this pandemic," said Ms. Cyprian, a trained psychologist who teaches dance at U.B. Kinsey Elementary School of the Arts. "And there are other dance company owners who want the same. So, we partnered." The classes are open to all and, to find the list, times and to tune in, click here . To learn more about Soul Movement, click here and, if you want to see Ms. Cyprian's work, tune in Saturday to the event above and watch the little ladies do their thing. Dance.
He Makes Movies--and Has Been Recognized
In the 16 years Mora J. Etienne has lived in PBC, he’s done much. He produced a film, titled Le Prix a Prayer (The Price to Pay), about domestic violence in partnership with the WPB police department. He’s led workshops for young people, countywide, to interest them in film and has also acted as a drama coach with For the Children, a Lake Worth-based nonprofit. All of that comes on top of a life full of the creative arts, including writing, producing, directing and acting thus far in six movies he's done—three in Haiti, three in PBC. So, when he did his sixth and most-recent film, Until The Last Breath last year, he included the people and places of PBC. That’s surely why, in part, the Palm Beach County Film & Television Commission pushed for him to be recognized. But, because of the pandemic, the event couldn’t happen in public at a County Commission meeting. So, instead, the recognition arrived in the mail, dated April 7. “I love Palm Beach,” he said, “so this award means a lot.” Learn more about Mr. Etienne here , including other recognition he's received over time.
He Was No MLK, But Still
Malcolm X, the American Muslim who had been active in the Civil Rights Movement, had also been controversial. While some praised him for his strong advocacy for the rights of black Americans, others accuse him, to this day, of preaching racism and violence. But there will be a celebration of his life and legacy later this month in WPB. The daylong event is free and open to the public and will be held at the RBG House--as in red, black and green, as in the colors of Africa--and will feature live performances, a variety of vendors and a celebration of all things black. The point, says Nyota King, owner of All About Us LLC, which sells authentic African wares and is an event sponsor, is to learn more. “There were things Malcolm X believed in that we need to know,” she said. “It’s all about us.” For more information, send an email  here  or call 561-247-0618. And to buy some cool, authentic African attire and accessories to wear to the big event, click here .
A Celebration of the African diaspora
Ever heard of Africoco? We love this event: a celebration of the music, food and people of the African diaspora. African-Americans, Caribbean blacks and native Africans all attend this event from across south Florida, with the sounds of the collective culture swirling all around. The monthly mixer is also meant to connect professionals of color to socialize, exchange and bond year-round and changes locations periodically to contribute to increased connections. Currently, Africoco is being held at The Bamboo Room in Lake Worth on the last Saturday of each month and the next one is coming up! Ticket prices range; click here for entry information and, here , to learn more about the event itself--including some really cool-looking t-shirts for sale and a trip to Ghana in June. Go Africoco and meet some really interesting people.
Thanks to the Pandemic...'s looking like none of Florida's high school graduating seniors will walk across the stage this year, but thanks to state Senator Bobby Powell, they're still being honored. That's because PBC's District 30 representative is offering to write congratulatory letters to all of the young achievers--no matter where they live in the Sunshine State. Indeed, to date, Senator Powell has already written and mailed out more than 200 letters, with more on the way, thanks to a social media pitch that is getting more and more shares and more and more likes. " There is nothing that anyone can do to replace the traditional rite of passage, which is walking across the stage in front of friends and family who share in that moment,” Senator Powell said. "But, to me, a letter from a Florida Senator is not only a way to officially recognize that success, but to deliver a moment of joy during this time of uncertainty.” And, in a sense, PBC's youngest state Senator represents them as well: he was named Chairman of the statewide Florida Legislative Black Caucus last month for a two-year term. So let's congratulate him on his milestone as well. And, if you know a student who needs the honor, look here .
Have News to Share?
Let Us Know!
Unless it has to do with the pandemic. Our main focus at cocowire, both this newsletter and the website, is to provide a platform for news, events and useful information that might not otherwise be known about. All the interesting people, stories and happenings, for example, that are in communities of color in PBC. The pandemic? It gets lots of coverage. Everywhere. We didn't even do an April newsletter because of it. But if you know of something interesting to share that is not getting lots of coverage, like the pandemic, tell us. We have a radio show, too, on SupaJamz Radio 103.7 FM, a young, Caribbean-themed station in PBC that is hugely popular--and has friendly ad price points. Visit its website here and, ours, here ! We're on the team.
Tell Us Here!