Miami Compas Festival 2014

Overview:

Ralph Delly, The Haitian Times resident expert on the Haitian music and entertainment scene, shares theories about why the wives of artists in the Haitian Music Industry (HMI) are seldom seen.

NEW YORK—When it comes to the most talented, influential, and dynamic musicians of the Haitian Music Industry (HMI), some make us wonder, “Who are their wives?” Whether the wives are newfound loves or high school sweethearts, they certainly have made their marks in konpa music history. Yet, these women remain mostly out of the public eye. 

Why is that? Are they not party-goers? Do they simply not want to sit at a table by themselves all night long while watching their husbands perform? Or, do our  musicians simply not have the decency to take their wives to their bals? 

Can you believe that some wives have never seen their husbands perform live after 5, 10, 15 years in the business? 

Who are all our musicians married to? Most fans don’t know.

An inconvenience or more?

To me, it seems to be a real inconvenience for musicians to go into their performances without their partners on special days like Christmas, Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve and even a band’s anniversary party. So is it a sense of insecurity on the artists’ part or what?

Bringing them along wouldn’t be that hard to manage, after all. 

I spent 12 years with ZIN. During that period, there was one band member whose side chick used to travel with the group most of the time. The girl always purchased her own tickets when traveling by plane or by bus for local gigs. Knowing that the promoter would not pay for extra tickets, she made sure that she booked a room at the hotel where the band was staying. That’s something that our musicians could do for their wives, even once.

Sometimes, we hear a great song on an album that becomes a mega hit. Many times, a singer’s wife is the author or source of inspiration. The song, perhaps one of the greatest oeuvres in the industry, may have even been quietly crafted by the musician’s wife.

Those ladies constitute a significant portion of some band’s success, but the musicians always

keep their wives in hiding. Some do so because their wife is overweight or not too pretty. Really? 

Discrimination and sexism by our talented musicians are so obvious that their wives never ask about it. I think some have never even asked their husbands to take them to their bals.

Their absence begs the question: Who are the wives of Mac Dee, Nickenson Prudhomme, Michael Guirand, Ederse “Pipo’s Stanis, Arly Lariviere, Kenny Desmangles, Wid Pierre, Catalog Gabel? You won’t know by looking at their X or Instagram page even though the men always post pictures of their children.

In every rule, there is an exception, of course. The most popular man in the Haitian Music Industry today,

Rodney Noel, has no qualms about his wife attending a bal or being part of the Compas Festival. She is elegant, a real lady. Is it because Rodney is rich that he doesn’t care if someone says a bad thing about her? I don’t think so, because she was a very supportive and visible lady before the Compas Festival got big.

With perks come certain responsibilities

Those exception aside, some of our musicians’ wives are discouraged from coming out with their husbands, even though the side chicks are always present. The musicians will tell you that they are going to work so the presence of their wives is not important. They will also tell you that the wives are crazy about their career and too busy to tour with their band. They might even blame some female fans who might judge the appearance of the wives.

Another thing to understand is that a lot of our musicians never have a wife, but rather a “bouboute’ living in their house with whom they have kids. Most would feel uncomfortable if someone were to make a bad comment about their partner or take pictures to post on social media. So how can even that change you as a husband? Like the saying goes, “If you don’t like the heat, get out of the kitchen.” 

It’s time for those ladies to wake up and smell the coffee by going out with their husbands when they play at local venues. They must compose themselves, even if they are alone in the VIP section of the club. 

Being a popular musician comes with a ton of perks. The musicians’ wives seem hidden in the industry because their husbands have locked them down. It’s past time to release them. 

And remember: You must love and cherish your wife, because it’s not easy to find someone that sees you in the house only 52 out of 365 days.

Ralph Delly is an award-winning music and entertainment journalist with extensive experience covering the Haitian Music Industry and the Haitian-American community. He has worked in Haiti and the United States at such media organizations as Radio Metropole, WNWK/107.5 FM, Radio Soleil d’Haïti and The Haitian Time – where he penned the popular “The Delly Dish” gossip column. Dellys has worked with numerous artists in the HMI, including Zin, Lakol, Phantoms, Zenglen, Sokute, Jam, See Well and 509 – to name a few. Delly graduated from Carlos Albizu University of Miami and City College of New York (CUNY)

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