Haiti’s Reigning Hip-Hop Star Is Putting the Spotlight on Female Power
Enide Edouarin, better known as Princess Eud, is often hailed as Haiti’s reigning queen of hip-hop. But her road to the top has been challenging, especially in a country where influential roles are often assumed by the opposite sex.
“Rapping in Haiti is done mostly by men. So to be a female rapper, you need to have strong character and be a yon fanm solid—a strong woman,” Edouarin, 34, writes TakePart in an email. “It is very important to me to make a difference in my community and show all women that if you want something, you can get it.”
From the moment Edouarin sashays into the latest episode of Resilient Cities—a five-part docuseries airing on Pivot, TakePart’s sister network, that explores the underground arts in locales around the globe—it’s easy to see why she’s a star. Although the rapper once admitted she hates giving interviews because she has “so many things going on in [her] head” and is “kinda shy,” Princess Eud’s confidence is palpable.
“ ‘If you want to hear me, take a seat,’ ” she commands during the on-camera freestyle, before describing herself in the lyrics as a “sweet woman” with a “heart like a coconut.”
Like her country, Edouarin is full of contradictions—a self-proclaimed shy woman who regularly performs in front of thousands, a star who doesn’t really care for the limelight. While Haiti’s challenges—the pervasive poverty, the massive 2010 earthquake, the political upheaval—are well-known, when it comes to the Caribbean nation, Princess Eud says there’s far more than meets the eye.
“Despite all the negative things you see on TV about Haiti, it is not all that we have to offer,” she says, calling the media’s one-sided portrayal of the island nation “unfair.”
“Haiti has so many beautiful things to offer, from our art, music, and so much more. We do have a lot to work on, like any other society, but we are a resilient nation that is not scared to work,” Edouarin explains.
Haiti’s defiant spirit can be traced to Toussaint L’Ouverture, the former slave who led a revolution beginning in 1791 that not only expelled the French from the island, but also inspired antislavery rebellions throughout the Americas—a history Edouarin wants people to know.
“We are a brave and strong nation,” she says. “Never forget we are the Nou se Manman Libete—the Mother of Liberty.”
Haiti’s beautiful complexities are on full display in the Port-au-Prince episode of Resilient Cities. Though Haiti’s challenges have always been big, the 2010 earthquake plunged the country into despair. According to estimates, somewhere between 200,000 and 300,000 people were killed during the magnitude 7.0 quake that also injured hundreds of thousands more and displaced 1.5 million. Since the earthquake, Haiti has been making progress, reducing its extreme poverty rate from 31 percent to 24 percent, increasing access to primary education, and attracting 20 percent more tourists over the past few years, The World Bank reports.
Still, the effects of the quake remain visible around the country and have left a lasting mark on its people. For Edouarin, who began rapping professionally in 2000, the disaster forced her to hustle even harder.
“After the earthquake, I started to take my music and my life more seriously,” she says. In addition to songwriting, She owns a fashion design house called the Eud Collection, which specializes in colorful pieces with an African-inspired twist. “I saw that, in just a couple of seconds, all can end. I needed to spread more love, more positive energy, and never stop telling those that are close to me how much I love them, because the next moment is not guaranteed,” she says.
Edouarin’s goal to inspire women is evident in her music. The singer and rapper believes artists are “messengers,” and it’s her mission to share inspiring messages in an effort to provide hope and heal emotional wounds.
“I speak for the kids that are in the street and that are mistreated,” she says. “That is what we need more of today in this world. We need to love each other more and to be kind.”