Haitian-American Hip-Hop superstar Wyclef Jean, has been compared to a modern-day Moses.
The musician, producer, and politician believes that it is his destiny to return to his homeland of Haiti and lead his people out of bondage. He will attempt to do so by becoming the president of the poorest country in the Western hemisphere.
Haiti’s Jan. 12 earthquake, which killed more than 200,000 people, was the turning point where Jean realized he truly needed to do something drastic to help his country. He declared his candidacy for president on Aug. 5 just days before the Aug. 7 deadline. “If not for the earthquake, I probably would have waited another 10 years before doing this,” Jean says. “The quake drove home to me that Haiti can’t wait another 10 years for us to bring it into the 21st century.”
Although some believe this to be just a publicity stunt, Jean has been at the forefront of many efforts to improve the conditions in Haiti even before the hurricane.
Jean runs a non-profit organization, Yele Haiti (Haiti Freedom Cry), which was established in 2005. The program uses music, sports and the media to reinforce projects that are making a difference in education, health, environment, and community development.
Yele Haiti’s first order of business was to provide 3,600 students in Gonaives with scholarships, after the devastation of Hurricane Jeanne, and in its second year, the organization doubled that amount.
Last month, Jean created Yele Corps, a new program that will provide jobs to almost 1,000 people a day to clean the streets and clear rubble and garbage still left months after the earthquake. The program was funded in part by Help for Haiti Now Fund and BET’s Saving OurSelves (SOS) telethon, and will go into effect this month.
In an effort to improve access to quality health care for all Haitians, Jean also presented a check to Project Medishare–an organization founded in 1994 by Drs. Barth Green and Art Fournier that is dedicated to sharing its resources with Haiti in a quest to achieve quality health care and development services–for the purchase of a high-resolution computed tomography (CT) scanner.
The machine will provide quick and accurate diagnoses of preventable health issues and will be available to all patients regardless of their income.
It seems that Jean is already doing the work of a president, diligently serving a country that he left at the age of 9. Experts say that in addition to all of his charitable efforts for the country, Jean’s chances of winning the election are extremely high because half of the population is under the age of 25, making him relate very well to the masses. It is also likely that his running will encourage a high level of youth participation in the Nov. 28 election.
Jean will run as part of the Viv Ansanm (Live Together) political party.
“If I can’t take five years out to serve my country as president,” he argues, “then everything I’ve been singing about, like equal rights, doesn’t mean anything.”