There is no question that Wyclef Jean loves his homeland Haiti. And after the nation’s 7.0 magnitude earthquake in January– leaving thousands dead and even more without homes–I am certain the artist’s love has quadrupled. What’s more, the people of Haiti love Wyclef. Let’s face it, if it weren’t for the former Fugees front man’s tireless efforts to bring attention to the torn country, from texting “Yele and “Haiti” to 501-01, meetings with former President Bill Clinton, and dozens of interviews on global news stations, it’s likely that Haiti’s state of emergency could have been yet another obscured particle swept under the rug. It was largely the efforts of Wyclef’s Yele organization that generated a Twitter frenzy. Almost daily for months #Haiti was a top 5 trending topic. Wyclef even galvanized superstar singers producing a remake of “We Are The World.” Although slammed by most critics and bloggers, it was the thought and funds rounded up that counted. Supporting Haiti was not only the right thing to do, Wyclef Jean made it cool.
On today, the rapper and producer reveals he not only will he remain an activist for Haiti, he will become a presidential candidate. Reports confirm the hip hop mogul will officially announce his candidacy for the November 28th election, days before the August 7th deadline.
The question is, does it take more than passion to run a nation?
I am sure Wyclef is somewhere feeling called by the Haitian people–a modern-day Moses. The artist tells Time magazine–a seemingly Pro-Wyclef for Haiti President outlet, “If not for the earthquake, I probably would have waited another 10 years before doing this.” Has Wyclef always had presidential aspirations for the home he left 28 years ago?
The artist reveals to Time that he doesn’t speak Haiti’s national languages fluently. Wyclef barely knows French, and his Creole is “rusty.” But some would argue that these things don’t matter. Wyclef to Haiti youth is somewhat of a superhero. The artist is more than likely to secure the under-25 vote–approximately half the Haitian population.
Naturally American Wyclef supporters will compare his chances to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California–formerly “The Terminator,” and the guy who played Detective John Kimble in “Kindergarten Cop.” But Haiti is no California, and it’s a far cry for sunny Hollywood. Even before the tragic earthquake struck, Haiti had a host of problems.
Even though many of us question Wyclef’s competency to manage the Haitian debt, national poverty, violence, and ongoing relief efforts–and some even suggest he can barely run a non-profit, let alone a third-world nation– the artist’s love for his country is not up for debate.
Wyclef’s run for Haiti presidency is not about ego, the man is truly moved to lead. He’s seen piles of dead bodies, hungry children have reached out their arms out to him, elders feel hopeful when he comes around. In Wyclef’s mind this is the right thing to do. “If I can’t take five years out to serve my country as President, everything I’ve been singing about, like equal rights, doesn’t mean anything,” Wyclef tells Time.
But does Haiti deserve a president equipped with the education, experience and know-how to lead a precarious nation?
Perhaps Wyclef Jean is who the Haitian people want. In this case, let us step aside, and wish them luck.