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

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL 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.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Judge Criticizes Argentina for 'Half-truths' at Hearing

US District Judge Thomas Griesa orders nation to stop making misleading public statements, 'half truths' concerning status of their debts
More

US House Passes Border Security Bill

Measure passes 223 to 189, though the Senate is not expected to consider the bill
More

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

Program gives street kids not only food and safety, but a chance for a better life without crossing US border
More

US Senate Kills Immigration Bill, House to Vote Friday

Earlier Thursday, Republican-led chamber abandoned plans to vote on $659 million bill that addresses influx of more than 57,000 unaccompanied Central American children
More

Argentina Defaults Again on Debt

Negotiators failed late Wednesday to reach an agreement with New York investment companies to avert the default
More

Cameroon’s Coffee Farmers Blame Government for Production Drops

Cameroon's growers, dealers and experts mourn declines in a nation that once ranked 12th in the world.
More