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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

1855 Slave Brochure Starkly Details Sale of Black Americans

Document lists entire families that were up for sale in New Orleans, offering graphic insight into the slavery trade More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs

More Americas News

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

During a conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed
More

Canada, White House Dismiss Candidate's Suggestion for Border Wall

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker says that northern wall on US-Canadian border is 'legitimate issue for us to look at'
More

Tropical Storm Erika Dissipates; 21 Dead

Storm flags over Cuba, could regain strength over Gulf of Mexico; death toll in Dominica, Haiti is 21
More

Video Cubans Embrace New Internet Connectivity Options

Government has approved use of prepaid cards for web access; some foresee construction of better infrastructure, with towers, fiber-optic cables
More

Brazil's Rousseff Faces Growing Impeachment Threat

President’s woes increasing as she now also faces angry rival who controls the possibility of impeachment proceedings against her
More

Cancer, Transplant Patients Rail at Drug Shortages in Venezuela

Currency controls, slumping production and smuggling have caused acute shortages of medical supplies in the socialist-led nation
More