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

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor 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.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

More Americas News

US State Dept Official: Cuba Aims to Ramp Up Internet Access

Cuba, a few decades late to the Internet era, is committed to getting the web into 50 percent of its households by 2020, a senior official said on Monday
More

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

World's largest gamma ray observatory will be situated high in Sierra Negra Mountain to discover secrets about black holes and supernovas
More

Drownings of Migrants Along Rio Grande Increase

Increased patrols are pushing immigrants, desperate to avoid detection, to choose more dangerous and remote crossings into South Texas, leading to surge in drownings
More

US, Cuba Teams Discuss Telecommunications Issues

US delegation visited Cuba this week as the two nations continued efforts to restore diplomatic relations broken over 50 years ago
More

Egyptian Court Adjourns Trial of Al Jazeera Journalists to April 22

Two journalists are charged with aiding a terrorist organization, a reference to the Muslim Brotherhood, which Egypt banned following 2013 army takeover
More

Rio Exhibition Dramatizes Olympian Bay Cleanup Task

Display highlights problem of trash in Guanabara Bay, where sailing, windsurfing events are to take place in next Summer Games
More