Wyclef Jean for President! [AIM & Fire]

Wyclef Jean caused quite a stir earlier this month when he announced that he would be running for president of Haiti. In the weeks that followed, Jean faced a lot of backlash from critics, actor/activist Sean Penn and even his former Fugee’s partner-rhyme Pras about his political ambitions. Just last week the CEP, Haiti’s provincial election council, denied Clef’s bid to run for office, seemingly crushing the artist’s chances. XXL rounded up a group of respected music industry professionals—namely former editor for The Source and Vibe, Erik Parker, of MTV’s The Parker Report; esteemed writer Kris Ex; journalist Alvin “Aqua Boogie” Blanco; and editor for streetlevel.com, Andreas Hale, as well as XXL’s EIC Vanessa Satten and Wyclef Jean’s brother, entertainment lawyer Sam Jean, to speak on the topic over AOL Instant Messenger. Join the political carnival. —Jesse Gissen

Jesse Gissen: So I’d like to welcome everyone to this digital roundtable today – which we appropriately call AIM & Fire.

Jesse Gissen: I’d like to especially welcome Sam Jean, Clef’s brother, for joining us at such a last minute notice.

Sam Jean: No problem. Glad to be here.

Jesse: As you all know, today’s discussion is on Mr. Wyclef Jean and his ambitious prez campaign in Haiti.

Jesse: Now as you all are also aware the CEP, Haiti’s electoral board has shut down his prez bid, which many are saying is because he hasn’t lived in the country for the last five years which disqualifies him. Do you all think that’s fair?

Kris Ex: I think it’s legal, but not necessarily fair.

Jesse: How so?

Alvin “Aqua Boogie” Blanco: If you’re going by the letter of the law it was fair but with dozens of candidates, were all of them accepted or rejected by the same set of rules?

Kris Ex: I find it very arbitrary that Haiti is being “constitutional” at this point.

Erik Parker: Also more importantly, what does that mean? I don’t think anyone really thinks Clef can fight this thing.

Kris Ex: I think he’s right to bring the issues to light.

Andreas Hale: That’s my primary concern – the setting of rules for presidential candidates.

Sam Jean: And that is Clef’s issue as well. Based on the requirements and based on past CEP rulings. And based on the candidates they allowed to run there are some inconsistencies there. And Clef’s appeal is about bringing light to their standards and due process.

Aqua: We all know the US plays by its own rulebook.

Erik Parker: But this here is not really a US thing is it?

Kris Ex: Well, the US press is giving it a lot of ink.

Erik Parker: You can look far enough back and the US and the international community can be connected to all things. I think it is right that the US is giving it ink.

Jesse: Sean Penn is giving it a lot of ink.

Andreas: I’m with Erik on this. It’s not about the US.

Kris Ex: Sean Penn is putting in a lot of work in Haiti

Erik Parker: I think Wyclef is right to use the US press to shame some members.

Kris Ex: He’s the only candidate that had to run two campaigns.

Sam Jean: I think the decision of the CEP rests squarely with the CEP. The decision not to allow Clef to run was made by the political powers in Haiti. And they basically eliminated any candidate that they considered from the diaspora

Kris Ex: I find it hard to not look at this and say it’s not a US thing in many ways.

Jesse: Do you think the CEP is scared that Clef will win.

Erik Parker: Maybe we should explore that more Jesse. Why don’t they want Clef to run?

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  • sparkcity911


  • tha truth

    wyclef just want to be called PRESIDENT..thats pimping for him..

  • cracker

    How in the fuck is he going to lead a country whose language he DOES NOT SPEAK!!! Thats like if Obama didn’t fucking speak english. Could you amagine that shit. Yes people on the streets of Haiti speak creole but French is the official language and all official government agencies function in FRENCH!!! Furthermore he hasn’t lived in Haiti since he was a small child WTF does he know what the people of Haiti need? Wyclef is fucking insane if he thinks his dumb ass will save Haiti.

  • gosamjean

    Sam, you’re doing a great job of supporting your brother. Your points are right on.

  • dome shot

    “I find it very arbitrary that Haiti is being “constitutional” at this point.”-Kris Ex…um really, when should they be constitutional. Isn’t Wyclef’s agenda about presenting an alternative rule of law that functions within the constitution? Is Haiti meant to flout constitutional convention because a rapper is running? Or because some Haitian Presidents and candidates have ignored the constitution before?
    That statement is completely immature and of no real value to the topic. The USA had to wean itself of bad governing habits too and still does. Imagine if it was said that Lincoln’s slavery abolishment was ‘ very arbitrary’ because at that point Kris Ex felt that way. Nxh!

    • exo

      if you know anything about Haitian politics and law, you’d know that following the legal letter of the Haitian Constitution is an incredibly arbitrary (and random) occurrence. i went on to mention two separate occasions in which the US orchestrated gross violations of the the Haitian constitution in recent years. (those comments were cut from the final discussion for space–no big deal, it happens.) when those violations went down, the international community for the most part, remained silent. for instance, after Aristide was removed from power in 2004, Gerard Latortue (who had been basically living in Florida for 40 years) was put in as Prime Minister by the US. the US, UN, Canada and European Union recognized that administration as legal; Jamaica, Cuba, the African Union, St. Kitts and Venezuela did not. moreover, whatever opposition there was on the ground to this move was silenced by force.

      Haiti is a place where political assassinations go down with disturbing regularity, where murderers are set free from jail by government officials, where millions of dollars that flow into the government disappear or are handed out to ghost endeavors every year. so, yes, this is all very arbitrary. and if you’ve observed the CEP in action, knew who they were, or simply followed their movements, i seriously doubt you’d champion them as paragons of justice and constitutional defenders.

  • kzamats

    Good point dome shot. Kris Ex confused me with that statement. I just found it preposterous!

    • exo

      you can see my reply to dome shot above.

  • BeerGangsta

    Wyclef would have been the best President ever!! That Rap Shit don’t mix with President. Honkeys look a Rappers for negative message. Thats why they don’t won’t him to be President.

  • c billy

    good point exo! everytime you got a 3rd world leader who tries to do a little something for his poor people, he gets killed or exiled. Look what happened in Honduras under obama!!! Aristide tried to helped the poor in haiti and tried to raise the minimum waige to 3 fuckin $ A DAY, u.s. media will accused him of being a dictator, the banks cut off the aid, and the us government fund oppsition parties with millions of us tax $$$. and then we wonder why haiti is so messed up. wyclef dont work for haiti. he works for bill clinton and every other corporation in the u.s. or elsewhere who wants to squeeze the living life of poor sweatshop workers.

  • the G.OD.

    kudos all around. Funny when someone says Wyclef does not speak Creole I laugh, the truth is he speaks English the same way and cadence he speaks Creole; for each time he opens his mouth he shows how limited he is. Another point in terms of French, I recently mentioned the Rosetta Stone program and I see someone has enough sense to see that he is not trying. Forget that 10% comment, I have lived here for ten years, most of that 10% do not speak French, really, I have gone head to head with a few.
    Maybe he should have been more visble way before the Earthquake and right after.