- Shirley Menard is an attorney and entrepreneur in the area of entertainment. Ms. Menard has worked as an entertainment attorney and artist manager for almost 20 years. She has worked with renowned world music and reggae artists as well as in the areas of film and television. She currently serves as label manager of Jatta Records, an independent record label owned by internationally acclaimed reggae artist Taj Weekes.
After working for entertainment conglomerates such as Viacom, Worldvision Enterprises and Hallmark Entertainment, she opened her own entertainment law office. Her extensive experience working in the industry resulted in a practice that encompassed virtually every component of entertainment in both the domestic and global arenas: production, record distribution, artist management, merchandising, licensing and agency protocol. Ms. Menard negotiated with the likes of Sony, Warner Bros., Elektra, and Tuff Gong International,
For the small and large screen, she has coordinated the presentation and submission of scripts for film and television projects for aspiring screenwriters; negotiated film and television options, as well as production and television distribution agreements; and secured copyright and trademark registration for various clients.
SJM Media was created as a result of her representation of Boukman Eksperyans, the Haitian World Music group. She decided to offer her services to other artists because she had already run the proverbial gamut, overseeing the group’s legal and financial affairs, organizing their national and international tours, and establishing their independent record label. SJM Media allows her to utilize her extensive legal faculties to further the careers of all her performing clients.
Her roster includes new artists, entrepreneurs, established media conglomerates and international businesses. Ms. Menard is co-owner of Jatta, LLC – an entertainment company which divisions include a record label, music and book publishing, film and merchandising. She also co-founded They Often Cry Outreach (TOCO) – a children’s charity dedicated to helping the children of the Caribbean through sports, health and enrichment programs.
Ms. Menard received her undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College and her juris doctorate from Fordham University School of Law.
- Alice Backer is a social media professional, lawyer and free culture curator. In 2015, she launched Afrocrowd, a multilingual initiative to increase Afrodescendant participation in crowdsourcing initiatives such as Wikipedia. She was an editor at Global Voices Online and a founder of Global Voices Lingua which today translates selected blog content of the world in 20 languages. She curates and promotes the weekly La Caye Musically Thursday which showcases up-and-coming Haitian acoustic acts whose music values the Haitian heritage.
She has been aggregating and disseminating Haitian online expression since 2005 at her websites www.kiskeacity.com and www.haitianbloggers.com and through social media and a newsletter.
She interviews notable Haitians who further the Legacy of 1804 on a weekly live podcast of the same name.
Alice holds a B.A. from Barnard College of Columbia University and a J.D. from New York University School of Law.
She has been interviewed on MSNBC, Al Jazeera, Télévision Suisse Romande, the Voice of America, Afrobeat Radio and on Jamaican, Haitian radio on her citizen media campaigns in Africa, the USA and Haiti.
- Cynthia Karaha a multifaceted entrepreneur who wears several hats within the arts industry as artist manager, music promoter, event consultant, apparel designer and founder of World Music Promotions. Growing up in an artistic family has facilitated the tricks of trade in the music industry for Cynthia. By the age of 13 she began to organized concerts throughout her native homeland Haiti for hundreds of under privileged children which validated her as the first female and youngest promoter in Haiti. At 16, she co-produced alongside Master DJI the first "Rap Kreyol" concert in Haiti. Living in an era of dictatorship made it very difficult to promote and advertise her events without raising a red flag; however, this has given her the creative edge, which she possesses today in marketing and adverting.
Cynthia Karaha attended York College as Pre-Med and studied Biology and Computer Sciences. After realizing her heart was not into becoming a doctor she decided to go back to college to study Fashion Design at FIT, and followed studies in Marketing, Advertisement and Promotions.
For 41 years Cynthia’s love and commitment to present Haitian music and culture to a broader audience has allowed her to produced and staged many major world class events such Phantoms at Roseland (1994), Limelight and MTV (2006); Lakol,“Ole, Ole” music video aired on MTV International and nominated for best Caribbean Music Video (1992); Lataye at the Brooklyn Academy of Music Cafe (2005); Boukman Eskperyans’(Grammy nominee) documentary aired on MTV (1993). Cynthia also worked as a stage producer for many Caribbean events at venues such as Madison Square Garden, Roseland, Apollo Theater and Carnegie Hall. As an entertainment consulting manager, she worked with Papa Jube and the Jubelation, Rara Machine, Kajou, Skandal, Sakaj, Phantoms, Zin, Lakol, Djevo, Boukan Guinan, Zhea, Sheila Degraff, Rapadou and Dola. While launching her career as an active apparel designer for “MTV’s the Grind” has given her the opportunity to work on sets with artists/actors as Eric Nice, Amanda Lewis, Julie Brown, Shabba Ranks, Patra and many more.
On World Music Day June 21, 2005, Cynthia launched her own promotion company World Music Promotions in order to continue to market and promote the Caribbean and Afro music artists at a global level. World Music Promotions creates an outlet for underground talents to share their music with the world through event planning, grass roots promotions, e-marketing and advertising services. World Music Promotions uses digital technology and social network to promote their artists. Cynthia finds that personal attention always works well for her community. She believes that creating a company that fosters a nurturing relationship within the community is essential in promotions. World Music Promotions has promoted clients like Kassav (French Caribbean), Stevy Mahy (Guadeloupe), Taj Weekes & Adowa (St Lucia), Emeline Michel (Haiti) and Paul Beaubrun & Zing Experience (Haiti) etc. World Music Promotions’ mission is to open doors for Caribbean arts and entertainment “Keep the Music Moving” . World Music Promotions also specializes in artist career development, album release planning, promotions, writing bios, press kits and EPK.
As a general manger Cynthia is currently working with a Haitian international social conscious singer/composer BelO’s. BelO is the winner of the Radio France International "Découvertes" Award (2006). She is also manager and visual director of Nadia Dieudonné & Feet of Rhythm Haitian folkloric dance company. She has worked diligently with these two artists to help promote and share with the world the beautiful culture of Haiti through music, song and dance.