My instincts have never told me that Wyclef Jean is a trustworthy nigga. Needless to say, my eyebrow has been raised from the moment I observed the massive Twitter campaign to give Jean money to help the Haitian earthquake relief effort.
In my humblest opinion, folks should be charitable for its own sake. Gifts of this nature should come from the heart and be devoid of the ulterior motive that characterizes public displays of awesomeness. People with the ability and desire to help tend to be aware of reputable charities such as the Red Cross. While I’m sure there were plenty of genuinely concerned people tweeting and re-tweeting “Yele 501501,” the campaign also saw plenty of folks taking the opportunity to be fashionably awesome to an online audience. I was alarmed to see the campaign spiral out of control and hoped that the funds given in this Kafkan hunger artist frenzy would go to doing some actual and immediate good.
Put a pin in that one. We’ll come back to it.
Jean’s Yele Haiti Foundation has been mired in fiscal calamity for years now. They hadn’t paid taxes for three years until this past summer. They’ve spent more money than they have generated. Jean has also been shuffling funding around into personal music projects, which is absolutely unethical and unacceptable. These should have been red flags for anyone considering giving money. We know that funds donated to charities are not always allocated in their entirety to the disasters in question. Foundations have expenses and salaries. I understand that much. However, it is the giver’s responsibility to be informed about the organization receiving his endorsements, both financial and tweet-ual. Unfortunately, many people were swept up in sensationalism surrounding the disaster and failed to understand this and a few other important things.
For starters, Jean’s organization will not have the entirety of funds donated from SMS message charges at their disposal until the next wave of cell phone bills clear. This means Yele will not be able to put all of this money toward actual relief efforts for weeks in many cases. No aid is coming until next week at the earliest–several days after the fact. Meanwhile, Jean has used his celebrity and influence therein to take away from more immediate relief efforts. As previously stated, we know the Red Cross will not give 100% of your donations to the earthquake victims. However, we do know they will be on site immediately.
Knowing the importance of timely response in matters like these, I’m amazed that Jean has even gone through with this. There is no reason why in the meantime he could not have used his celebrity to defer donations to groups who could actually help and raised his Yele money after the initial response. I’m no celebrity. I’m not even an Internets Celebrity. But, if I were, say, Usain Bolt and the same earthquake ravaged Jamaica, I’d be directing attention somewhere effective—not toward my own hot fucking ghetto mess of a charity. That’s how you really show love. Build up your little side pot at a later date.
Instead, Jean found it more important to become the face of the relief effort and get positive press for Yele. This is not to say he doesn’t care at all. I’m sure he cares plenty, but his ignorance and selfishness will prove costly. For those millions of text dollars that could have been effectively directed, there will be lives lost. Every drop of that blood will be on Jean’s hands. This was not the time for a massive cross-promotion with CLIF bars. Fuck load of good those CLIF bars will do when mass misdirection of funds assures there will be even more people who won’t be alive to enjoy their crispy chocolate deliciousness.
[Blogger’s Note: Is that what you wanted, CLIF?]
I can’t help but think of Jean’s famous “Armageddon” tweet and how it contains all the sensationalism of a Feed the Children commercial in 160 characters or less. Meanwhile, the nigga is going to fix his company’s books on your dime. He could have cleaned up his ledger and gotten his little shine a month from now after the rescue stage of the relief effort. Instead, he became the concerned neighbor who gets in the way when the fire department is trying to work.
This makes Wyclef Jean the bonehead version of Bono. I don’t know if I could ever support a charity this clueless no matter how awesome its intentions.
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