Spase Cadets Foundation, headed by Jermell Jenkins, is planning to give South Floridians a look at a different side of Haitian Americans with a new play written and directed by Yonel Aris.
Lil Haiti – The Untold Story explores the obstacles that early Haitian American immigrants faced and the adversities they had to overcome when they arrived in the U.S., especially in the 1980s and 1990s.
The focus is on how they became unified and motivated as a community and earned respect and acceptance.
That is done by following a slew of funny but talented characters as they wrestle with prejudice, love and eventual triumph. The show will be staged at the Little Haiti Cultural Center in Little Haiti.
Aris, 26, is well on his way to becoming an accomplished playwright, director and actor. He started writing plays at age 15 and pursued his dream through college, graduating from Florida A&M University in Tallahassee with a degree in theatre.
Aris has written and directed several plays and has worked with some established playwrights, including Angela Dunlap Borrows, who wrote Why do Good Girls Like Bad Boys and, more recently, Gossip, Secrets and Lies which was directed by Clifton Powell.
Jenkins, president of the Spase Cadets Foundation and executive producer of Lil Haiti – The Untold Story, has more than seven years in the marketing and advertising field.
He started his first company, Spase Designz Inc., a promotions agency, in the living room of his home in 2003 and has since produced and overseen the marketing of more than 200 events, according to a statement announcing the opening of the play.
Jenkins and Damien McKnight founded Brainspeed Productions, which is based in Miami Beach. He says Spase Cadets Foundation will promote the fine arts and call on the untapped talent available in South Florida to bring high-quality theatrical productions to the stage.
Lil Haiti – The Untold Story will come alive at the Little Haiti Cultural Center, a 20,000-square-foot multi-purpose cultural facilitiy that brings together people and ideas to promote, showcase and support Haitian and Afro-Caribbean cultures in South Florida.
The three-year-old city of Miami venue offers a unique opportunity for local and surrounding residents, as well as visitors, to gain exposure to Haitian and Afro-Caribbean traditions, entertain and develop new talent and expand their knowledge of the arts.
The play will be staged at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19, at the center, 212 NE 59th Terrace.
Tickets cost $20 each and may be purchased by calling 786-413-8045. or online at wantickets.com.
To view a two-minute trailer of the play, visit youtube.com/watch?v=sovsOxctCqA.