Wyclef Jean is a Haitian musician, record producer, and politician. He first received fame as a member of the acclaimed New Jersey hip hop group ‘the Fugees’. Along with being a world famous and highly respected performing artist, he is now a visiting fellow at Brown University in the Department of Africana Studies.
On August 5, 2010, Jean filed for candidacy in the 2010 Haitian presidential election, although the Electoral Commission subsequently ruled him ineligible to stand as he had not met the requirement to have been resident in Haiti for five years.
Jean’s musical breakthrough was as part of The Refugee Camp (The Fugees), a three-member group that included Lauryn Hill and Prakazrel “Pras” Michel. The Fugees signed to Ruffhouse Records, which released the group’s debut album, Blunted on Reality. It sold fairly well, peaking at #49 on the U.S. Hot 100 and selling over 2 million copies worldwide. The follow-up album – The Score – sold over 18 million copies worldwide, eventually becoming a multi-platinum, Grammy-winning album.
Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Jean participated in the benefit concert America: A Tribute to Heroes contributing a cover of the Bob Marley song “Redemption Song”. He also produced and wrote songs for the soundtrack to Jonathan Demme’s 2003 documentary The Agronomist, about the Haitian activist and radio personality Jean Dominique. With Jerry ‘Wonder’ Duplessis, Jean also composed the score of the documentary Ghosts of Cité Soleil, He also helped produce the film and he appears briefly onscreen speaking by telephone in 2004 to a “chimere” gang-leader and aspiring rapper, Winston “2Pac” Jean.
In November 2009, a track titled “Suicide Love” featuring rapper Eve leaked online prior to the release of his EP.
In 1994, he married Fusha designer Marie Claudinette In 2005, they adopted their daughter, Angelina Claudinelle Jean. The couple renewed their vows in August 2009.]
On March 19, 2011, Jean claimed that he was shot in the palm of his right hand in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The police reported otherwise saying that Wyclef was not wounded by a bullet but was cut by glass. Police Chief Vanel Lacroix said “we met with the doctor who saw him and he confirmed Wyclef was cut by glass.”
In 2005, Jean established the Yéle Haiti Foundation. In its first year of operation, the foundation, with funding by Comcel, provided scholarships to 3,600 children in Gonaïves, Haiti, after the devastation by Hurricane Jeanne. In its second year of operation, it is almost doubling the amount of the scholarships and spreading them throughout Haiti, providing tuition in 5 regions. The foundation aims to provide 6,800 scholarships to children in Port-au-Prince, Gonaïves, Les Cayes, Port-de-Paix, and Cap-HaïtienAfter the earthquake on
January 12, 2010 in Haiti, Jean called on others to donate to his foundation’s Yéle Haiti Earthquake Fund, imploring “We must act now.”
In January 2007, Jean became a roving ambassador for Haiti, to help improve its image abroad. May 20, 2008 – Yéle Haiti partnered with WFP (World Food Programme) of the United Nations to launch www.togetherforhaiti.org September, 2008 – Wyclef in conjunction with Yéle Haiti Charity delivered food to Hurricane Ike victims in Haiti. Matt Damon provided assistance in the food lines serving food.
On August 5, 2010, Wyclef confirmed the rumors that he was running for office by telling CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that he was running, though Blitzer had questions about Jean’s actual citizenship and passport. In an article written by Exclaim! Magazine it was mentioned that Jean will be stepping down as the chairman of Yéle Haiti. On August 5, Jean formally filed papers as a candidate for the 2010 Haitian presidential election, following media speculation that he would make his announcement that evening on Larry King Live. Wyclef would have run as a candidate for the Viv Ansanm (Live Together) political party. On the topic of his candidacy, Jean has stated, “I am being drafted to serve my country’
On August 20, 2010, his bid for candidacy was rejected by Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council. He was turned down because he did not meet the residency requirement of having lived in Haiti for five years before the November 28 election.