Joel "JD" Desroches

Antioch College

Jules Oral History Project: Joel Desroches from Digital Kenyon on Vimeo.

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00:00:24 - Early Life

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Partial Transcript: "There was a lot of mixture in like how we lived between like different cultural identities"; "It gives you a good story because you have a lot of different things to pull from";

Segment Synopsis: JD shares about living in Bowie and how he experienced family and culture. He talks about experiencing changes during his/our parents divorce.

00:02:08 - Family

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Partial Transcript: "Culturally, family is a big deal"; "Dad's side [which is] still Haitian though...if you're married in or whatever...you're family"; "Where moms it's kind of like that but it's more like everybody who acts this certain way and is related to us is our family"; "Now I'm kind of removed like I still love it- the identity and stuff-but I'm not as dependent on family I feel"

Segment Synopsis: JD talks about the importance of family from a cultural perspective, the different dynamics on each side of the family as well as his sense of removal and of being an outlier in term of his lack of dependency on family.

00:03:23 - What brought family from Haiti?

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Partial Transcript: "Grandpa had a radio show with his boys and...they were talking about the regime or whatever...then Grandpa had the option to go to Canada, France or America and he choose America...he brought moms and all that"; "Grandpa and grandma on dad's side, they just rolled through and... got some work, linked up with the fam";

Segment Synopsis: JD shares how the grandparents on each side came to the United States.

00:05:18 - How do you identify as Haitian

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Partial Transcript: "I got this Haitian flag on my head, I gotta a Haitian flag sticker on my phone because I rep my country; "I love my family, I love everything that its done with me and I love all the people out here supporting me"; "It's like really wholesome, we've been kind of groomed into it"

Segment Synopsis: JD was wearing a Haitian flag bandana the day of the interview (by true happenstance) and shares a bit about how much he values the family that supports him and mentions the cultural grooming that influenced this part of his identity.

00:06:04 - To be Black

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Partial Transcript: "You wear the skin of people who have been... hurt and attacked historically. It's not necessarily like where you're culture stems from but its from how you're treated it's how everybody else has treated you and your ancestors"

Segment Synopsis: JD explains Blackness.

00:06:59 - Haitianess and Blackness

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Partial Transcript: "It's something that I represent, you have to represent. You have to make sure it's known that you love you're culture. You say, "I'm Haitian"...because everybody else is going to look at you and just be like "Oh, look at this black kid"

00:07:37 - What does being a Haitian man to you

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Partial Transcript: "Haitian men are wild"; "You gotta wear your dress shoes everyday."; "I wouldn't even really know... a lot of our family has been Americanized"

00:08:49 - What does being a Haitian woman mean to you?

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Partial Transcript: "I'm going to sound sexist but I feel like it's a very big deal that women know how to cook"; "I think a lot of the women in our family have been really strong women...Strong minded and powerful. I see that and I respect that"; "We come from a pretty privileged group of Haitian people"

Segment Synopsis: JD says he thinks of strong minded, powerful women who can cook when he thinks of Haitian women.

00:09:34 - Do you feel a responsibility to Haiti?

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Partial Transcript: "I do what I can to like support and help"; "There's a lot of people around me that have shit that they could throw away that I could take, that could be very helpful for others"

Segment Synopsis: JD speaks briefly about a clothing drive that he had after the most recent Hurricane in Haiti.

00:10:26 - Has being Haitian changed over time

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Partial Transcript: "I hear about how like back in the day...it wasn't cool to be Haitian... now it's cool to be a Haitian person especially in music and media"; "I realized I loved music more than I liked a lot of other stuff"

Segment Synopsis: JD talks about hearing about a time when it wasn't cool to be Haitian and how Haitian people are more present in todays music and media. He also talks about his love fot music.

00:11:48 - Haitian Music

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Partial Transcript: "I think part of it was always wanting to listen to like fast paced stuff"

Segment Synopsis: JD talks about his freestyling skills and how Haitian music influences the music that he makes.

00:12:29 - Food and Traditions

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Partial Transcript: "Torch."; "Ma Tante Marie, makes anything. Torch."; "Haitians love their drink"; Culturally though there's a lot of drinking"; "It's sad when you have a funeral-that person passes away but afterwards it's time to bring that family closer";

Segment Synopsis: JD talks about how amazing Haitian food is, cultural drinking and the traditions around wakes, funerals and repasses.

00:14:24 - ''Haitian at Landon"

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Partial Transcript: "Fuck Landon.";"There's a lot of other people that just assume"; "I let everybody know that I am Haitian"

Segment Synopsis: JD talks about his experience at the private all boys school that I graduated from in 2014 and that he will graduate from in 2018.

00:16:12 - PG to Montgomery

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Partial Transcript: "We moved around a lot"; "I gravitated towards skating at that time and then my music too and that was just kind of like a good scapegoat for me."

Segment Synopsis: JD talks about his experiences at various places he moved to and what life was like when I first went to college.

00:19:08 - Haitianess and Spirituality

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Partial Transcript: "Haitians are wild about Christianity and believing and God and making that such a big scapegoat"; "The music was cool for bringing up in... even though I don't really like buy in to the message it sounds beautiful and also...snacks."

Segment Synopsis: JD talks about his experiences with church and religion.

00:20:43 - Haitianness and Sexuality

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Partial Transcript: "Of course there's going to be old heads in the family that aren't going to be cool if you were like gay or something but like for the most part I think nobody would really care- like they would still welcome you because--family over everything"

Segment Synopsis: JD talks about how sexuality is regarded in the family on the whole and speaks briefly about Haitian gender roles.

00:22:27 - Wavy Youth Dropping on Soundcloud

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Segment Synopsis: JD talks does a little bit of promotion for his project as part of the music group Wavy Youth. He talks about his collaboration with our cousin, Michael, and their share musical vision.