News / Americas

Wyclef Jean's New Single is Call to Action on Haiti

Singer-activist's new song recalls January Haiti quake and the continuing bleak situation after six months

Wyclef Jean in Haiti after the January 2010 earthquake
Wyclef Jean in Haiti after the January 2010 earthquake

Multimedia

Audio
Faiza Elmasry

It's been six months since a devastating earthquake struck Haiti, killing more than 200,000 people, leaving one million homeless and shattering the nation's already fractured economy. 



Grammy Award-winning musician Wyclef Jean is using the six-month mark to release a new song called, "The Day After." The song is a call to action, as the humanitarian and economic conditions in Haiti worsen.

"I don't think he intended to write the song. The song sort of wrote itself," says Sam Jean, the musician's brother, who is also spokesperson for Yele Haiti, the non-profit group Wyclef Jean founded five years ago.

Wyclef Jean is pushing for rubble removal, saying nothing can be rebuilt until that happens.
Wyclef Jean is pushing for rubble removal, saying nothing can be rebuilt until that happens.

Sam Jean says his brother and members of his charitable organization flew to Port Au Prince just hours after the January earthquake to offer help. That, he adds, was the inspiration for the song, "The Day After."

"It details his experiences dealing with finding loved ones who had been killed, the rubble that hasn't been cleaned, the destruction," says Sam Jean. "To see the streets littered with dead bodies, orphans running around the streets...and he talks about holding his friend's daughter who lost his life in the earthquake. All of that contributed to essentially this song writing itself."

"The Day After" is the first track from Wyclef Jean's upcoming album, "The Haitian Experience."  

"It's going to talk about being a Haitian in America, all of Wyclef's experiences being Haitian, and (the experience of) Haitian people in the world."

More importantly, Sam Jean says, his brother wants his music to draw the world's attention to the situation on the ground in Haiti.

Water distribution in Haiti following the January 2010 earthquake
Water distribution in Haiti following the January 2010 earthquake

"Things are bad. They've gotten worse. He's asking for the Interim Haitian Recovery Commission to release $150 million of pledged fund to deal with some of the security concerns in Haiti. He's also asking them to release another $150 million to deal with rubble removal," he says. "Construction can't really happen, rebuilding can't really happen until Port Au Prince at least is cleared of debris and rubble."

Also, the international community has pledged millions of dollars in aid and Wyclef Jean would like the UN, the Interim Haitian Recovery Commission, and former presidents Bush and Clinton to commit to collecting these funds that have been earmarked for Haiti.

While Sam Jean spoke with the Voice of America from California, his brother was in Port Au Prince, where he continues to oversee the implementation of Yele Haiti's emergency relief programs.  

"In that regard, we've created Yele Corps, which is about 1,000 people a day given jobs by Yele Haiti. They go around the community, specifically now in Port Au Prince, and the area they live in. They aid with rubble removal and whatever the authorities need. They also distribute aid."

In the long run, he says, Yele Haiti is focused on building a more stable, thriving future for the country.

"What we'd like to address are the long term goals of rebuilding the country's infrastructure by creating jobs, reinstituting the educational system, providing vocational training to people and also having a sustainable community."

That's what Wyclef Jean hopes to achieve through his work on ground and, of course, through his music.

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

New Brazil Poll Shows Silva Beating Rousseff in Runoff

Outcome seemed unimaginable just a few weeks ago; would put an end to 12 years of Workers' Party rule
More

Argentina Desires Deal Grouping All Holdout Investors Together

A deal is now not seen likely before next year's October presidential election, in which Fernandez cannot run
More

Hurricane Cristobal Kills Four, Moves Toward Bermuda

Storm is not expected to threaten US, but could cause deadly surf and rip currents from Florida to North Carolina
More

Peru's Congress Narrowly OKs Humala's New Cabinet on 3rd Vote

Lawmakers ratify president's embattled cabinet after ruling party offers to suspend rule requiring independent workers to pay into a pension program
More

Brazil's Deadly Prison Riot Ends

Officials say two inmates were beheaded during the Cascavel riot; two others were thrown to their deaths from the roof, and police are investigating how a fifth inmate died
More

Amid Slowdown, Chileans Adjust to New Economic Reality

Most economists now predict overall growth in country's economy of between 2.0 and 2.5 percent this year, down from 4.1 percent in 2013
More