Haitian-American rap icon, Wyclef Jean, recently participated in the Cannes Lions Festival’s “Facts, Fads, and a Fugee” panel, where he talked about how his political disqualification didn’t stop him from continuing his efforts to make a difference for his home country.
During the panel, The 49-year-old revealed that he became interested in politics because of his uncle’s book, ‘For Whom the Dogs Spy.’ “At a very young age, politics in Haiti has always been in the back of my mind, and I knew 80 percent of a population is living on less than a dollar a day. They talk about me running [for president] but five years from that I was at the Congress — there were a few bills that I got passed for my country,” Jean said.
One of those bills was the Hope Bill, which dealt with textiles. “I’m all about job creation,” he said. “That’s my whole thing within my country.” So after the devastating earthquake took place in Haiti, Jean ultimately decided to run for president in 2010. Election officials disqualified him from the race shortly after with no explanation or official statement. However, Jean knows he still had an impact.
“What I did in Haiti, it has galvanized the youth around the entire world because sometimes our job is not to get there, but our job is to inspire the next generation to get there.” He joked that none of his friends took his presidential run seriously and acknowledged that many people don’t believe celebrities are intelligent. “I need people to understand that rappers have brains. I really don’t think they understand how smart celebrities are. Not all of them, you know, but a lot of them.”
He later continued, “I really can hear when I called up some of my rap friends, and I was like, ‘Yo, you know I’m going to run for president of Haiti.’ I could hear them go, ‘This n**ga crazy.’”