By Christine Jean-Pierre
Famed T-vice front man Roberto Martino was involved in a club incident on Saturday September 9, 2009. An unidentified suspect had thrown a broken glass bottle at Martino when the band T-vice had just finished performing along side Harmonik at the Ramada hotel in Downtown Miami Beach. During the incident, fans and friends of the band that usually stayed to take pictures with the band members were asked to be evacuated from the scene to leave room for the police and ambulance crew to make their way on stage to help the injured musician. Martino suffered several head injuries and witnesses said Martino had suffered from massive blood loss on his forehead.
What could’ve caused someone to throw a broken glass bottle at Roberto Martino after he had just performed? Well according to Kompamagazine.com, many kompa music critics suspected that it may have something to do with jealously surrounding T-vice’s recent growing popularity and success over the past three years in the European and Island music market with band performing in places such as New Caledonia, Belgium, Switzerland, France, and England. Other insiders in the Haitian Music industry blame the incident on racism in the Haitian community because of two front men, Reynaldo and Roberto Martino, are Haitians of Italian and Lebanese decent.
Furthermore, this is not the first time T-Vice has been the subject of controversy. There was one incident during the spring of 2007 when Roberto Martino was assaulted outside of famous Haitian club Marbou Café by a club promoter, claiming Martino had owed him money from a settlement deal over a carnival song but later the charges were dropped. Another incident happened in New York around early 2008 when the band bongo player Ti Edy Vlau was beaten up by two people from the band Carimi outside of a Haitian night club due to harsh words being said from both parties.
The Haitian music industry needs to bring out more awareness about the safety of all Haitian musicians while performing on stage, no matter what skin color or money they may have. As Haitians, this type of jealously because of skin color and success needs to stop. The recent incident of what happened to Roberto is just a constant reminder that money still matters in the industry. Instead of being united in order to get our music to a more international platform—now that Kompa is gaining steam in many corners around the world—we spend our time quarrelling. When are we going to move beyond the sphere of working with low budget promoters who look to just scam musicians out of their hard earned money?
Note: This picture was taken from www.kompamagazine.com