President Wyclef?

Well, the man did pen a song titled, “If I Was President,” but I think Wyclef Jean meant president of the United States, not president of Haiti at the time. He may, however, soon be the actual president of the latter. He, indeed, has confirmed that he was running for president of the earthquake-quaked nation, saying today that he was “compelled” to stop making music for a period and make a run for the top position. Here is The New York Times’ account of the story:

Credit: Peter Hapak for TIME

Wyclef Jean, a Haitian-American hip-hop artist who left his homeland for Brooklyn at the age of 9, confirmed Wednesday that he planned to run for president of this earthquake-battered country.

Mr. Jean, 40, said in an interview on Wednesday night that he felt compelled by the urgency of Haiti’s situation to interrupt his life as a musician and make a bid for the presidency in the Nov. 28 election.

“You can either live trying to do something or die having done nothing,” he said, adding that he did not want history to remember him as “somebody who, after the devastation of the country that he claimed he loved so much, just kept singing more songs.”

Mr. Jean, the son of a Nazarene minister, described his candidacy as a calling.

“I’m not running for president so much as I’m being drafted,” he said, speaking by telephone from New Jersey. “The youth, in their mind if I don’t come and put a perspective to things, they feel there’s no future for the country, and I have to agree with them.”

Since the earthquake, which killed as many as 300,000 people according to some estimates, Jean’s Yélé Haiti Foundation has drummed up some $9.1 million to help Haiti.

And of his song, “If I Was President,” the tune, according to The Times:

underscored the need for elected officials to seize the moment, he said. It talks about a president who “gets elected on Friday, assassinated on Saturday, buried on Sunday” — and then the country goes “back to work on Monday.”

Here is a live performance of the song:

Interestingly, Time’s NewsFeed conjured up a “mixtape” on some popular Jean lyrics, which may shed light on the singer’s potential platform as head of a nation.

About the Author

Jeremy Styron
Jeremy Styron
I am a newspaper editor, op-ed columnist and reporter working in the greater Knoxville area. This is a personal blog. Views expressed here are mine and mine alone.

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