The Al’s Haitian Festival began for years ago (2009) as an annual gathering of Haitian people celebrating their flag. It generally takes place the third Saturday of May at the Broward Central General Park in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Initially more of a stage for burgeoning artists to showcase their talents, the festival has experienced a significant push with performances by International Raper Rick Ross and the Haitian born Super Star “Congressman Gracia Delva” in this edition.
Despite solid performances from Septan, Nu Krezi, Zenglen, Kodjay and Rick Ross etc, it was Gracia Delva who brought down the house. His performance was nothing short of a “Show Biz.” From his first appearance to the end of his performance, Gracia engaged the crowd in a way that only he knew how. Throwing money in the air, taking off his shirt and throwing it in the crowd, putting on a new outfit, and asking the fans to send back their hats and flags to him. This type of interaction goes a long way, and Gracia understands that. Last night, he filled a hole that was created by his sudden departure from the Florida’s scene nine years ago. His presence at the Al’s Festival put an end to all speculations and rumors that he and Mass Kompa could not perform in the United States. Gracia has once again proven to many of his critics that he is the only Haitian Superstar in town.
The fourth Annual Al’s Festival was not without controversy this year as many performers did not get to perform last night. Time or stage management was once again an issue. T-Vice, Voix the Iles, Top Adlerman were among those who did not get to perform and some of them were not shy of voicing out their opinions. Top Adlerman who was visibly upset told T-M that he paid his musicians out of his own pocket, yet he was not allowed on the stage. He blamed the Organizers of playing favoritism. On the other end, Robert Martino, father of Roberto and Reynaldo Martino, did not like the fact that Rick Ross was invited to what he believed to be a Haitian thing. He stated: “These people never supported us in anything. I don’t understand why Rick Ross invited and given that much time on stage. I really don’t get it. In my time, and I have been in music for over 30 years, these people never participated in anything that we were doing.”
Mr. Martino failed to understand that we are living in a much different world now. Wake up Mr. Martino, It is the 20th Century. T Joel TG (Bri Lari-a of Radio Fusion) reminded him that the same people he is up against are currently supporting his sons. T-Vice is the only Haitian group that was invited to participate in an all Jamaican Annual Festival at the Bi-Centennial Park in Down Town Miami at the end of this month. Mr. Martino apparently did not have an answer to that….