Archive for the ‘creoles’ Category

Garcelle Beauvais (1966- ), also known as Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon, is an American television actress and former model. She is best remembered for playing Fancy on “The Jamie Foxx Show” in the late 1990s. She was also assistant district attorney Valerie Heywood in “NYPD Blue”. In 2007 she appeared in Playboy magazine and had twins – all at the age of 40!

She had her twin boys in October 2007: Jax and Jaid. She also has an older son, Oliver (1991), from her first marriage.

Some commenters at Bossip.com did not like how white her twins look. Since they are test tube babies, it is possible that they are not hers by blood. Assuming that they are, they might get darker as they get older.

They were delivered early because she started having headaches that would not go away. The doctors said she had pre-eclampsia, which could have killed either her or the babies. After they were born, she lost her baby fat almost right away. She says it is because her shoot for Playboy forced her to get into shape before she was expecting the twins.

She started in film, not television. She was even in “Coming to America” (1988) as a rose bearer. I remember her in the water tower scene in “Wild, Wild West” (1999). But she has never had a lead in a film that made it big. Her success has come instead in television:

  • 2005: Nora Gage in “Eyes”
  • 2001-2004: assistant D.A. Valerie Heywood in “NYPD Blue”
  • 2000: Ms Maya Bradley in “Opposite Sex”
  • 1996-2001: Francesca “Fancy” Monroe in “The Jamie Foxx Show”
  • 1994-1995: Cynthia Nichols in “Models Inc”

Her break came with “Models Inc”, but she is best remembered as the female lead in “The Jamie Foxx Show”. In 2008 it is still on American television in endless reruns.

She was born in Haiti to a well-to-do family, the youngest of five sisters and two brothers. Her parents split up when she was young. At seven her mother brought her to America. Garcelle went to boarding school in Massachusetts while her mother studied to be a nurse in New York. At 16 the family moved to Miami where she acted in high school plays.

At 17 Beauvais came to New York to become a model, where she signed with Ford Models. You saw her in print ads for Avon, Mary Kay and Clairol and in catalogues for Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus. I remember her from those days: there are only so many black models in those catalogues. She has also done some fashion modelling for Calvin Klein and Isaac Mizrahi.

In the 1990s she was in television ads for Diet Coke and American Express.

Although she was born in Haiti, she has American Creole roots: her family came to Haiti from New Orleans after the civil war. They did not mix much with the Haitians.

She speaks French, Haitian Creole and English. She learned English at seven from watching “Sesame Street”.

She has married twice. Her first husband, of six years, was Daniel Saunders, a producer. In 2001 she married Mike Nilon, an agent.

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Lisa Bonet (1967- ) is an American actress best known for playing Cosby Kid Denise Huxtable on “The Cosby Show” and “A Different World” in the 1980s. On the day she turned 20 she ran off with a rock musician, Lenny Kravitz, to get married. It did not last but they had a daughter, Zoe Kravitz, in 1988.

Since then she has had some small parts in mostly small films, but she did star with Will Smith in “Enemy of the State” (1998 ) and appeared in “High Fidelity” (2000).

I loved her as Denise Huxtable. I was into her. She was not just beautiful and great to look at, she was also like me back then: confused, well-meaning but hopelessly self-centred, the same ISFP personality. In “Enemy of the State” I could not take my eyes off of her.

She had a fashion sense of her own, so even her clothes were interesting to look at. It makes her seem less dated than the other Cosby characters.

Like Lenny Kravitz she is half-black, half-Jewish: her father, a music teacher, is black and her mother is Jewish. They split up when she was little. She was born in San Francisco but grew up mainly in New York and Los Angeles.

She felt like the black sheep of the family: after her father left, she was a black child in a white family. Her grandmother was racist.

Although her parents were atheists, her two best friends growing up were God and her dog. She is Jewish by race but not by religion.

At 11 she started appearing in television ads. In 1984 when she was 16 she was on “The Cosby Show”, which became the number one television show in America.

In 1987 she wanted to get rid of her good girl image, so she appeared in “Angel Heart” in love scenes with Mickey Rourke, some of which had to be cut to keep the film from becoming X-rated. She lost her good girl image but she also lost her part on “Cosby”.

Bill Cosby, however, put her in another show, “A Different World”. Same character but this time away from home at college. After awhile she started coming in late to the studio or not at all. In 1991 she was fired. This was at about the same time she was breaking up with Lenny Kravitz.

When she met Lenny Kravitz she was famous, he was not. He only became famous later. His first two albums, “Let Love Rule” (1989) and “Mama Said” (1991), are partly about her. His star was rising just as hers was falling.

They split up in 1991 and divorced in 1993. It was a rough marriage. She said he was not faithful. That is the trouble with rock stars.

She got sick of Hollywood and cut back on her acting to spend more time with her children. She has at least two: Zoe and Lola, born in 2007 with actor Jason Momoa

For palindrome fans: “Lisa Bonet ate no basil.”

She says, “It’s okay to be a freak”. (Not a palindrome.)

She practises yoga and does not eat meat.

– Abagond, 2008, 2015.

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Creoles, in the American sense of the word, are the French who founded New Orleans and Louisiana, whether they be white, black or mixed in colour. Many are part French, Spanish, African and Native American. Many light-skinned black Americans with French names are Creoles. Among other things, Creoles gave us jazz, zydeco, Mardi Gras, the paper bag test, the old New Orleans and creole cooking. Audubon was Creole. Beyonce is part Creole.

Creoles are not the same as Cajuns. The Cajuns are French too, but they came to Louisiana later, coming from Canada. They are whiter and more country.

Creole roots go back not to the four Englands that created America, but back to the Caribbean, France and even Senegal in Africa, back even to the Mali empire. They are Latin, not Anglo. That is why the old New Orleans is in some ways more like Havana or Rio than New York or Chicago. That is why it does not seem like such a grey place.

The Creoles were a separate people in the 1700s and 1800s. They were Catholic and spoke French, not English. But these days most have become ordinary Americans.

Where Americans came in two main colours – black and white – Creoles came in three colours: black, white and mixed. Like in Brazil, they did not follow the One Drop Rule. Between the white Creoles at the top and the dark-skinned slaves at the bottom was a broad middle made up of free people of colour.

Most mixed Creoles were not slaves but free. They were shopkeepers, dressmakers, silversmiths and traders. They owned houses and could read. Many had been sent to France to get an education. In war they fought under their own commanding officers. These are the people who would later give the world jazz music.

But they were not completely equal to whites: they could not vote or hold public office; they could not marry a white person or sit in the white part of the opera house.

There were not many white women in Louisiana in the old days. Yet white Creole men thought quadroon women, who were one-fourth black, were very beautiful. Often a white man in his 20s would take a quadroon lover, buy her a house, have children by her and support the family. This was known as plaçage (rhymes with massage). Later in his 30s he might marry white and have a second family. If he did not, then his wealth would go to his mixed children.

Creole law saw slaves as humans while American law saw them as property. Under Creole law a slave could take his master to court or even earn money and buy his freedom.

Napoleon sold Louisiana to America in 1803 to raise money for his wars. It was largely left alone till the late 1800s. Then white Americans started to take over. They brought in their One Drop Rule. Some Creoles stayed and became black Americans or Cajuns. Others moved away, especially to Texas, California and Chicago.

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Sabrina LeBeauf (1958- ), commonly misspelled as “Le Beauf”, “LaBeauf” or even “LeBeuf”, is an American actress. She is best known as a Cosby Kid, playing Sondra Huxtable, the oldest daughter on “The Cosby Show” from the 1980s.

She played Sondra Huxtable from 1984 to 1992. Her character was added later. Bill Cosby wanted to show children at all stages, but there was no character who was married with children. Sondra was loosely based on his own daughter Erika.

In 1987 Sondra married Elvin Tibideaux, who always seemed a bit lost. They had twins in 1988, Winnie and Nelson, named after the Mandelas.

LeBeauf was only ten years younger than Phylicia Rashad, who played her mother. Rashad was playing a slightly older character while LeBeauf played one six years younger than herself.

Bill Cosby offered the part of Sondra to Whitney Houston, but she was too busy becoming a singer. So LeBeauf got it instead.

It was the first big part she got after coming out of Yale School of Drama. She has not been able to match it since.

Being a has-been, maybe you think LeBeauf has become a bitter, washed-up drunk who is stuck on herself, living in the past. Nothing like that. She seems to be very down to earth and accepts what life gives her with good grace.

When she walks down the street these days some people know who she is, but some think she is someone they grew up with! Which is true in a way. It was not till long after “Cosby” that LeBeauf saw how deeply the show had affected people.

After “The Cosby Show” she went back to school to learn interior design. She now lives in New York and runs an interior design business.

She still does stage acting, especially Shakespeare. She once played Rosaline in go-go boots in “Love’s Labour Lost”. She also played sweet Cordelia in “King Lear”. As it turns out, it is closer to what she learned at Yale than “The Cosby Show”.

She was once on “Star Trek”. She played Ensign Giusti on the two-part episode “Gambit” on “Star Trek: The Next Generation”. It first appeared on television in October 1993.

She also played the voice of Norma Bindlebeep in the animated show “Fatherhood” (2004).

She knows Angela Bassett and Charles S. Dutton from her days at Yale.

She grew up in Los Angeles but was born in New Orleans. She is Creole like Lisa Bonet and Beyonce, meaning part of her family has been in Louisiana since the days of the French. Her father is black and her mother is white (according to mixiechick.com).

She lived in India for a month. She credits that with making her a stronger woman and a stronger person. But even before she went to India she said she could see the guru in a blade of grass or the sunrise.

She loves Indian food and does not eat meat. She supports animal rights. And Barack Obama.

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The Lord’s Prayer in Haitian Creole:

Papa nou ki nan sièl la,
Nou mandé pou yo toujou réspékté non ou.
Vi-n tabli gouvènman ou,
pou yo fè volonté ou so latè,
tankou yo fè-l nan sièl la.
Manjé nou bézouin an, ban nou-l jòdi-a.
Padonnin tout mal nou fè,
minm jan nou padonnin moun ki fè nou mal.
Pa kité nou nan pozision pou-n tonbé nan tantasion,
min, délivré nou anba Satan.

Haitian Creole (1700- ), also known as simply Creole or even Kreyol, is the main language of Haiti. About 8 million speak it. Most live in Haiti but some live in Miami, Cuba and elsewhere.

Creole grew out of the broken French of the African slaves in Haiti. The slaves came from different parts of Africa and had no common language other than pidgin French, the simple sort of French that the slaves masters spoke to them in. But the French was too simple to use as a full language. The children of the slaves, growing up knowing nothing else, made it into a full language, making pidgin French into creole French. This became Haitian Creole.

Haitian Creole can do anything that French can do. But because it is the language of the poor in Haiti – the rich speak French – many look down on it.

Haitian Creole is like French but much simpler. The grammar does away with things like gender and word endings that make French hard to learn. It is more like English: word order and short little words put here and there help you to make sense of it.

Most words come from French:

English Latin French Creole
sing cantare chanter chante
goat capra chevre kabrit
cheese caseus fromage fromaj
key clave clef kle
night noctem nuit nuit
place platea place kote
bridge pontem pont pon

The difference is not as bad as it seems on paper: Creole spelling is way more up to date than French spelling.

What makes Creole different is the way these words are put together.

It is no more bad French than French is bad Latin. French itself is simpler than Latin in many of the same ways that Creole is simpler than French. It merely takes French one step further.

But is it a separate language? Some, out of pride for the Haiti they grew up in, say that it is. And because the grammar is so different, it is hard to think of it as French. Yet if you go by the simplest test to tell if two languages are the same – whether a speaker of one can understand the other – then Creole is, in fact, just a form of French.

It is a form of French by its very nature: for society to function those at the top, who spoke French, had to be able to understand it, even if they could not speak it themselves.

If you speak French, you will not understand Creole right away, but once you hear it enough you will. It is not like learning a whole new language, but rather getting used to a different form of a language you already know.

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Vilayna Lasalle is an American model. According to this blog she is the most beautiful black woman in the world famous enough to be in the Wikipedia, and the third most beautiful woman of any race. Only Elizabeth Taylor and Sophia Loren in their prime were better.

She appears mainly in print advertising, swimsuit calendars and music videos.

She has also had bit parts in film and television.

She plays for New York Euphoria in the Lingerie Bowl.

She is black, Brazilian and Creole. She grew up in Killeen, Texas near the Fort Hood army base north of Austin. She was the youngest of five children and went to Ellison high school where she was in the marching band.

At 16 she started modelling in nearby fashion shows. Elite said she should go to New York or Los Angeles to model. She knew she wanted to be a model, but her mother did not want to move. Later, when she was old enough she went to California to become a model and an actress.

Modelling is a dream come true for her. She loves it, especially travelling to new places and meeting interesting people. She just wishes she could keep the clothes they put on her!

She would like to do high fashion modelling for top designers in Paris and Milan. Failing that she would like to go back to school and become a psychologist to help troubled children.

She wants to become a singer, something she is working on. She is good, but it is a hard business to break into.

When she is not working she likes to shop and shop, be with her friends, sing, write songs and poetry, exercise and do graphic design. She knows PhotoShop, Illustrator and even some Flash!

She likes a man who is physically fit, dresses well, has self-confidence without being overbearing, has a sense of humour, is honest and down-to-earth and is even a bit geeky – because she is a little geeky too!

She has a wide taste in music: from Korn and Coldplay to Janet Jackson and Sade to Mobb Deep.

Her advice to young models: have faith in yourself, go at it with full force and do not give up! Get an agent and take good care of your appearance: picture quality these days is merciless.

Vilayna: “Anyone who believes in themselves can create their own destiny.”

She likes what Diderot once said: “Only passions, great passions, can elevate the soul to great things.”

Some music videos that she has been in:

“Hot in Herre” by Nelly

“Pretend” by Nate James

“Yummy” by Chelo and 2 Short

“Conteo” by Don Omar

“Give it to me” by Mobb Deep

In “Conteo” she has a part by herself and in Mobb Deep she has one with Prodigy. She liked “Hot in Herre” and “Pretend” the best.


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