There’s a long history of performers and entertainers that have made it big in areas of music, television, film and stage that have gone on to, or at least tried to, be public servants. A short list would include the likes of Sony Bono from music and television variety show fame, Arnold Schwarzenegger from the Hollywood Screen, and Jesse “The Body” Ventura of WWF/WWE prominence.
Recently, Wyclef Jean, one of the biggest names in all of music over the past 20 years (yeah, his career stretches back THAT far!) made a public and televised announcement that he would seek the candidacy for President of Haiti. The announcement got a lot of media attention, both good and bad. It also got the attention of many a performer and actor, also good and bad. While Clef was praised by many, especially in his home country, both actor Sean Penn and former bandmate Pras Michel came out against Clef in his run for the top spot in Haiti. Penn criticized Clef for being a “non-presence” in the country and called him an opportunist, while Pras publicly stated that he doesn’t believe Wyclef has what it takes to be the next President of the country.
And most recently, another blow came to Wyclef’s bid, with authorities and officials over the Haiti elections formally declaring him ineligible to run for President, citing a few standard legal requirements that have not been met by Clef’s campaign. And though this is probably not the news that he wanted to hear, Clef released a statement saying that he is disappointed, but will continue to do what needs to be done to help his country.
We’re all aware of the devastation that is currently plaguing Haiti, with the massive earthquake that did substantial damage to the country earlier this year. Many of us are also well aware that Haiti has hand many problems for many years, with much of the population living in abject poverty, rampant government corruption, large-scale racism, basic needs such as running water and shelter not had by many Haitians, and so much more. And while talking to a friend of mine on the other side of the world (yes, on Facebook!), I was certainly schooled on many more issues that Haiti has and needs fixed expeditiously.
Whoever ends up being the next leader of the country of Haiti will certainly have a lot to deal with. And though that person will not be Wyclef Jean, I will say that I was glad to see somebody that’s had so much success in Hip hop and music try taking a stand for the land that he loves. To me, it’s just another sign that the Hip hop generation as a whole is moving into a new direction, one that takes more responsibility and does more to ensure that all people are accounted for and made to feel like they really are human.
I can’t say whether or not Clef was truly genuine in his bid for Haiti’s presidency, or whether he was using the opportunity to advance his own agenda. This is mainly because, of course, I don’t know the man personally and I received my news about this occurrence like everyone else. And even if he had gotten voted in by some stroke, maybe because he has been in the U.S. for such a long time, he would have tried to impose the will of America and Americans onto Haiti. Again, not quite sure about that either way.
But the way I see it, if Wyclef does live up to his word and continue to try doing the things that are necessary to make Haiti what it really can be, that might just be better than doing so as an elected official. The man has the resources to do some amazing things for his homeland by many different means. Let’s just hope he’s up for the task and ready to continue putting in the work needed to help our Haitian brothers and sisters.
As always, please pass this along, make comments, share your views and make your voice heard. Thanks again and take care!