Film

Award-Winning Haitian Short Film 'Papa Machete' Is Now Streaming Ahead of Third Horizon’s Inaugural Caribbean Film Fest

The Jason FitzRoy Jeffers-written and executive produced documentary sheds light on the veiled history of the machete fighting technique in Haiti.

Black August marked the 212th anniversary of the Haitian Revolution of 1791 to 1804 led by Toussaint L'Ouverture—the only successful slave rebellion in modern recorded history.


Thus Haiti became the first independent Black republic in the world. However to this day, France forces Haiti to pay an "independence debt"—or reparations—totaling billions, to compensate long-dead colonists for the slaves who had won their freedom from Napoléon Bonaparte.

Overcoming incredible odds, having few guns and ammunition, slaves of African descent wielded machetes, the very tool they used to labor on sugar plantations, to achieve freedom.

It is from this rich legacy that short doc Papa Machete, written and executive produced by Jason Fitzroy Jeffers, introduces us to late tire machétt master “Professor” Alfred Avril who taught his fighting technique, often guarded in Haiti, to a select few.

“I don’t use this gift to kill people, but I have it,” Avril reveals in the film. “So if you attack me...Understand? You’ll be in a bad way. If you are cut, the blood will flow.”

The short, boasting lush cinematography, paints a picture of Avril who instructs on the practical and spiritual nature of the machete, especially valuable for Haitian farmers like himself, according to the press release. Through his efforts to provide for and educate all eleven of his children, Avril demonstrates his allegiance to Haiti. His sons Roland and Jean-Paul, both accomplished machete martial artists, carry forth into the future the memory of Avril and Haiti’s victorious past.

“They are the one’s who will see if things change,” Avril says chillingly. “[My sons] are the ones who will see if things get better.”

A hit on the 2014 international film festival circuit, including Sundance and Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), the Jonathan David Kane-directed and edited intimate portrait is now streaming ahead of Third Horizon’s inaugural Caribbean Film Festival.

A passion project of Jeffers, and organized by a collective of Miami and Brooklyn-based Caribbean creatives, the film festival spotlights eight features and nine short films.. If you’re in Miami, be sure to check it out, running from Sept. 29 until Oct. 2.

And, of course, view Papa Machete at the top.

"SA Rappers Out Here Killing Y'all," M.I Abaga On Nigerian Rappers

M.I has fueled a debate about the state Nigerian hip-hop with his latest song, "You Rappers Should Fix Up Your Life."

Nigerian star M.I Abaga is back with a punch and taking aim at all of his fellow Nigerian rappers.

The track—which sees M.I. drop lines like "none of you rappers is real enough... that's why these fans are not feeling ya'll," "SA rappers out here killing ya,ll," and "rappers are singing now just to get popular, yuck"—has sparked a debate across social media on the current state of Nigerian hip-hop.

There's been some calling out M.I for not supporting young Nigerian rappers like big rappers do in South Africa. These years have seen the likes of Cassper Nyovest and other big SA stars supporting younger talent.

Others, however, have taken up the challenge and started responding to M.I's track over the "Fix Up Your Life" instrumental. M.I's been retweeting the responses and, in a way, the track's been getting a lot of the young rappers M.I calls out some more attention.

M.I and his label Chocolate City have also been in the news lately over suing Nas for not delivering a good verse.

What do you think? Is Nigerian hip-hop in decline?

See some choice tweets below.

Video: Looking at the Roots of IsiPantsula Culture Through Some of Its Leading Voices

This new video shows us why South African Pantsula is much more than just a dance move.

Pantsula is more than just a dance, it's a cultural movement and it's being revived through enthusiastic South African youth.

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In Photos: Migos' Culture Tour in Johannesburg

ATL trio Migos' Culture Tour had two South African stops–in Durban on Friday and Johannesburg on Saturday.

We attended the Joburg leg of the tour, and the group didn't disappoint, although the event itself was unacceptably disorganized. South African rappers Riky Rick and Nasty C gave great performances, especially the latter.

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