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Haiti Activist Wyclef Jean

Haiti activist Wyclef Jean has spent a great deal of time working on behalf of the people of his native country in previous years, but recently he has stepped up efforts even further, announcing a run for president until he was prevented from registering for the election due to his failure to meet the country's residency requirement. A Haitian born musician, music producer, and political activist, he moved to the United States from his native Haiti when he was nine years old. He first achieved notoriety in the U.S. for his participation in the New Jersey based group The Fugees (Refugee Camp). He made news alongside the Buffalo Bills' release of Trent Edwards as on August 5, 2010, he filed for candidacy to become president of Haiti. However, the country's Electoral Commission later ruled against his eligibility to participate in the election, citing its requirement that all candidates must have been residents in Haiti for five years [1]. Since he has mostly lived in the U.S. ever since arriving here, he did not meet that requirement.

Family of Wyclef Jean

Married to Maria Claudinette, Wyclef Jean has an adopted daughter with her named Angelina Claudinelle Jean. He also has a politically significant uncle who has been influential over him, especially in the time since the Haiti earthquake of 2010. His name is Raymond Alcide Joseph, a diplomat and the country's ambassador to the U.S. After the devastating earthquake rocked their home country, Joseph and his nephew together appealed for international aid to help Haiti [1]. Wyclef Jean seems to have been awakened to a greater sense of purpose in working on behalf of Haiti in the time since the earthquake; although he was politically and socially active prior, his efforts seem to have redoubled in the time since.

Wyclef Jean and The Fugees

His musical career took off when he became a member of a hip hop trio known as the Fugees (Refugee Camp). The other two members of the group were Lauryn Hill and Pras Michel. Wyclef Jean and Pras are cousins and are both originally from Haiti. The Fugees' debut release sold over two million copies, but it was their second record The Score, that solidified their name among the heavy hitters. The Score sold over 18 million copies around the world [1].

Whereas ordinary folk might be worried about how to make ends meet and come up with funds to buy groceries and pay for low cost car insurance, for Wyclef Jean it was a matter not of finances but of finding the next challenge. He chose to go solo and released some music that proved to be popular, though not at the level of the Fugees' success.

In the mid 2000s, rumors surfaced that the Fugees were heading to the studio to record another album. But nothing ever came of it, with Pras complaining that Lauryn Hill was to blame [1].

Solo Music of Wyclef Jean

Continuing to record rather regularly, he has released new albums or EPs nearly every year since The Score topped the charts and The Fugees inexplicably went their separate ways. His music as time goes by becomes more plaintive and political in nature, and it is clear that as he gets older his interest in Haitian politics keeps growing. Wyclef Jean has spent a lot of time in the United States, but he has not forgotten the place where he came from. He is an example of a celebrity attempting to use his social status for the good. Wyclef Jean is an activist who will evidently continue to work for his home country in spite of being kept from the elections.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wyclef_Jean Retrieved 2010-09-30.

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