On Tuesday, January 31, 2017, prominent members of Washington’s private and public sectors gathered at the renovated Chancery to honor and celebrate Mr. Raoul Peck’s Oscar nomination for the highly acclaimed documentary film “I Am Not Your Negro”.
Based on James Baldwin‘s unfinished manuscript Remember This House, the film is a striking work of storytelling depicting the heartrending history of race in America through Baldwin’s reminiscences of civil rights leaders Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Born in Haiti and raised in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, France, Germany and the United States, Mr. Peck has contributed culturally to the United States, Haiti and France. He previously served as Haiti’s Minister of Culture from 1996 to 1997, and has served as President of La Fémis, the French state film school since January 2010. He also received many honors for his previous documentaries, such as Lumumba.
The distinguished guests were welcomed with a Haitian signature cocktail and escorted to a reception featuring a private collection of Galerie Monnin which exposes some of Haiti’s most prominent artists.
Amongst the notable guests were Mr. Karl Racine, First Elected Attorney General of the District of Columbia; Ms. Monique Dorsainvil, Former Deputy Chief of Staff for the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs at The White House; Joanne Hyppolite, Curator at the National Museum of African American History and Culture; Mr. Arthur (Arturo) Espinoza Jr., Executive Director of DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities; Mr. Ron Nixon, Washington Correspondent at the New York Times; Tisha Hyter, Deputy Director of Nothing But Nets from the United Nations Foundation; Dr. Julianne Malveaux, former College President and Founder of the nonprofit Economic Education; Mr. and Mrs. Anas “Andy” Shallal, Owners of Busboys and Poets and many more.
The dinner was hosted in the stunning Louis XIV architectural design ballroom. The Ambassador delivered remarks and invited the guests to join him in celebrating the accomplishments of Mr. Peck. “I am tired of Haiti’s negative narrative. Haiti is more than a charitable destination. Haitians and people of Haitian descent have and continue to contribute greatly to the social progress of our global community. It has a lot more to offer. The contributions of the Diaspora are vast, and today we celebrate the work of a man who is a living testimony of this truth.”
Each dish on the menu was carefully selected and crafted by renowned guest Chef Cynthia Verna for this special occasion. It consisted of fried ball shaped plantains with mango salad, polenta cake with codfish ceviche on watercress, beef fillet/shrimp creole with a red wine mushroom sauce served with Haitian national rice, Haitian vegetable etouffee served with Haitian national rice and plantains, banana flambé with Rhum Barbancourt sauce and vanilla ice cream.