Frankétienne Bares All


In “Frankétienne se met à nu,” Samanda Leroy and Lord Edwin Byron [Le Nouvelliste] interview Frankétienne, who, now approaching his 77th birthday, agreed to answer questions to reveal “the man he really is.” Byron and Leroy write: “Famous writer, poet, painter, comedian, and singer, the great man tells us about the feelings and emotions that traverse his being.” Here are excerpts:

Le Nouvelliste (LN): Could you explain your motto “Ose ta cause et ta symbiose avec toi-même” [Dare to take on your cause and to live (harmoniously) with yourself”].

Frankétienne (FE): One must always dare to take on one’s personal cause with conviction and certainty of one’s origins. I dared to produce a work in which the first aim was not to please others. So I tried it and I dared take on my cause. That was my quest for the spiral. As for harmony with myself, I pushed so far that it made ​​me look like the biggest megalomaniac. I say to you, break the mirrors as well as the idols. If someone wants to be Frankétienne, it will only result in mimicry and caricature. Be yourself: “Osez votre cause et votre symbiose avec vous-même.”

LN: You say you wish to live 7 more years—no more and no less. Why?

FE: I have a huge fear, a terrible feeling of helplessness in face of the degradation of the body. I do not want to live beyond 84 years and become a cripple; I do not want them to bring children to see the old Frankétienne, although I can use all my faculties. I am reasonably sure that I have time to finish my art, writing, painting and theater. So, I will not leave with regret for not having completed my work. I hate impotence; that is why I worked hard when I had all the intellectual vigor and I worked like a monster, so that’s why I think I will leave without regret. I chose to talk to the God in each one of us and I asked him about this. There are those who will seek God in temples, but God is first in all of us, and woe to him who has lived his whole life without finding the shadow of the Creator, the Great Master.

LN: Do you have any particular beliefs?

FE: Too often when people talk about faith, they see a mystical-religious entity. They believe in Ogou Feray or Papa Gede … Me? I start by first believing in myself, and I am the god of myself, because the God of the universe is in me. I am a man of faith, but faith in myself first. I believe in the ability to dream and to act so that my dreams will come true. I don’t have a religious belief. I am deeply mystical, that is to say with a conscience in which there is a sort of magma [a mélange]—a world of mystical sensibilities, like Japanese Zen Buddhism, Chinese Taoism, Hindu Tantrism, or Haitian Vodoun. All the while acknowledging that I have been influenced by Jansenism, by the Jesuits, and therefore Catholicism; by Martin Luther, therefore, Protestantism…

So I am a result, but I am not a shapeless unconscious mass. I am the result of all these cultures, because when I was a child, I grew up in a Vodoun lakou; I was an altar boy, so then a Catholic; I had Protestant friends, I met quite a few mystics, and through the books I have read, I am influenced by foreign cultures and beliefs. But this mix [of beliefs] did not leave me empty. I am Frankétienne, who believes first in what he can accomplish from deep within himself. So, I will always follow my cause, and better yet if my cause joins that of others.

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