A Brief History of
Established in 1985, Sosyete Koukouy, Inc. (Sos*ye*te Koo*Kouy), is dedicated to preserving Haitian culture in the United Statesthrough education and arts and cultural presentations. Its mission is to preserve, perpetuate and present, Haitian cultural performances and exhibitions, to Creole and non-Creole speaking audiences. In support of that mission, Sosyete Koukouy presents and produces cultural programs that: increase awareness of Haitian people, its language, rituals and traditions, and its deep roots in the African continent; foster greater understanding between Hatian people and people of other diverse ethnicities, cultures and heritage; and foster respect for the arts and artists of Haiti and the Americas by raising awareness of their historical and artistic contributions to the national and international cultural landscape. As performers and presenters of Haitian folkloric and contemporary dance, music, theatre and literary arts, Sosyete Koukouy, Inc. produces and presents its projects primarily in South Florida with tours throughout the United States, Caribbean, Haiti and Canada, where high concentrations of Haitian people reside. It is nationally recognized as an essential resource and repository of Haitian cultural information for academians, artists, linguists, and others seeking information about Haitian culture, politics and language. Sosyete Koukouy advocates and supports the importance, potential and impact of Haitian culture as a vehicle for social, cultural, economic development and empowerment of Haitian people for successful assimilation into American culture.
As a repertory company of 60 Haitian singers, dancers, actors and writers, Sosyete Koukouy, has spun off six new companies located in Homestead,Canada, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Haiti. Aside from its presentations to general audiences, the organization makes a concerted effort to target Haitian and Haitian-American people who are isolated in their own communities, by using familiar art forms to support cultural and acculturation services such as language skill development. The Haitian-Creole language, learned initially through family and community interaction, has retained its original composition and is the basic form of communication used to carry on the daily activities of the Haitian people; therefore, Sosyete Koukouy’s original literary and theatrical presentations are deeply rooted in the Haitian tradition and are performed primarily in Creole with audio and visual technology aids to assist people who are non-Creole speaking.
The organization also serves as an incubator company for other emerging Haitian artists and arts groups, providing opportunities for the mounting of new work or criticism for authenticity and clarification of little known or practiced traditions. Many of its members represent noted historians and archivists of Haitian culture and heritage, contributing towards is reputation as the information center of Haitian culture and resources in the State of Florida. It is often said that “inside Sosyete Koukouy beats the heart of Little Haiti.”
An integral part of Sosyete Koukouy’s programming are collaborations with grassroots and established artists and organizations on the creation and presentation of new and traditional works reflective of the Haitian cultural experience. As the oldest and most visible of Miami’s Haitian performance organizations, its activities are year-round with a total performance season of more than 25 different events including productions and exhibitions. Its primary targeted audiences are Haitian/Afro-Cuban/Caribbean communities. Sosyete Koukouy is the recipient of many, local, state and international community, civic and artistic awards for its performances, academic conferences, and its dedication to the presentation and preservation of Haitian language and culture.