Wyclef Jean, currently running for the Haitian presidency, sat down with The Wall Street Journal to discuss his campaign. Quickly, the interviewer got down to the all-important question, the one that really speaks to whether a former member of the Fugees is qualified to govern a nation: What does Wyclef think about Sean Penn and his former bandmate Pras saying he’s not prepared for the job?
“Well, this is politics, so everyone’s entitled to their own opinions, and I respect it. Sean Penn went into Haiti 6 months ago. I commend all the work that he’s doing. Wyclef Jean has been in Haiti for a very long time. If you follow my career, you will see I go into Haiti when it’s the roughest times. Meaning when Jean-Bertrand Aristide got ousted from Haiti, I went into to deal with the gang situation and calm the kids down in the slum, and started a program, give back your guns, and you’ll get a job. The area which Sean Penn occupies, Pétionville golf club, which turned into a camp center. The reason that Sean Penn has not seen me is because I work in heavy populated slum areas where they say it’s not safe for NGOs to go to. This is how Yele got started. It’s like somebody saying, “That’s living in Brooklyn in Ave J,” and they’re like, “Yo, I’m in Avenue J all the time and I don’t see Wyclef.” It’s because Brooklyn is a very big place … The other issue with Pras, I’m not surprised at all. Coming from a group called the Fugees, and the idea of the transformation, of naturally what I’m feeling as a man, and not having conversed with him, in dialogue, in the past 10 years of a conversation for more than 30 seconds, he’s entitled to that opinion.”
So, Wyclef’s celebrity candidacy should not be undermined by other celebrities’ doubts, because he hasn’t spoken to one in ten years, and the other lives in the Haitian equivalent of Park Slope.