News / Americas

Wyclef Jean Expected to Declare Candidacy for Haitian Presidency Thursday

Wyclef Jean (file photo)
Wyclef Jean (file photo)

Haitian hip hop star Wyclef Jean is expected to announce his candidacy for president of Haiti on Thursday.

CNN reports the 37-year-old Jean told the network he will make the announcement on its Larry King Live program. Jean said last week he had filled out paperwork required for a potential candidacy in the November 28 presidential election, but had not made a final decision.

Background info

Jean left Haiti with his family at age nine and grew up in the United States but retained his Haitian citizenship. He rose to fame in the mid-1990s as a founder of The Fugees, a U.S. based hip hop group. He is popular among Haitians, particularly the young.

Jean was among the first celebrities to join aid efforts in Haiti following its devastating earthquake in January that killed at least 250,00 people. He already had been providing aid to his impoverished country through the Yele Haiti Foundation that he established in 2005.

His foundation raised millions of dollars for Haiti following the earthquake. But the organization faced criticism for alleged financial irregularities following the quake and hired a new accounting firm after the allegations surfaced.

In an interview with Time magazine, Jean said the earthquake made him realize that Haiti cannot wait another 10 years for a new leader to bring it into the 21st century.

He said that if he cannot take five years out of his music career to serve his country as president, then the issues he sings about, such as equal rights, have no meaning.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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