January 19, 2010

Category: Real Talk

Wyclef Responds!

The same day I sent out a blast about my recent post Yelé Haiti, I received a note from a reader who asked if I had seen this?  I had not seen the tax papers or even heard the accusations about Wyclef Jean’s non-profit NGO. But as soon as I read it I quickly responded:

Oh no I didn’t …so disappointing. Well I hope he does right now in the face of such horrific disaster. His organization cannot be worse than The Red Cross who has squandered billions post-9/11, Katrina and Tsunami donations. It’s sad to say but at this point, it’s a matter of who and what is the least corrupt.

Whether it was true or not, I thought the timing of Smoking Gun was shady and unfortunate. It smelled like sabotage to me. People are dying under slabs of concrete. Bodies are rotting in the street– bodies that Clef and his wife, Claudinette, helped move and bury. Smoking Gun could not have dug this up last year or in ’06 when he brought Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt to Haiti to show them and, (through the craziness of the paparazzi), the world the plight of Haitian peoples. Now that his organization is raising money, and in fact for the first few days, more money than The Red Cross, they want to scream fraud. If the Smoking Gun or any other entity wants to investigate financial statements, please show me the paperwork and record keeping of The Red Cross. They received millions, if not billions, after 9-11 and post-Katrina and so much of that money disappeared only later to be found in bonus checks of the then President and other execs of the organization. So spare me. I have faith in Clef more now than ever. You cannot lift and touch the bloated and lifeless bodies of children and babies and not want to do the right thing. He is Haitian. He comes from the same suffering and the same streets and the same spirit of resilience. These are his people. Ayiti! I believe Yelé Haiti will be in Port-Au-Prince, Petit-Goave, Jacmel, et. al long after CNN, The Red Cross, and Bill Clinton have moved on. Now with prayer and supplication I move forward.

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10 Responses to “Wyclef Responds!Comment RSS feed

  • Karen
    January 21st, 2010 9:02 pm

    I love you more for this!!!!

  • naj
    January 22nd, 2010 11:36 am

    Word! And I agree but he needs to keep his nose clean-he’s black, he’s famous and he’s rich…..

  • Rob Fields
    January 22nd, 2010 11:47 am

    I’m not sure how to feel about this. On one hand, I can understand how things might’ve gotten a little loosey-goosey: Folks making stuff up as they go along. Whatever. I do believe that his desire to help his native country is real and I certainly hope that the money raised will go towards the ends to which it was intended. If not, this will be the end of Yele Haiti.

    Some additional perspective showed up on Jack & Jill Politics, and you can read it here:


    Food for thought, indeed.


  • Lisa
    January 22nd, 2010 12:49 pm

    Working with nonprofits 24/7, they ALL generally have some creative fiscal management issues. Although intentions are good, they often don’t have the infrastructure in place to manage unexpected influx of any kind of support–whether volunteers, cash, donations, etc,– without a hiccup here or there. So yes, pick the lesser evil. Somewhere you KNOW, at least 80% of the $ you give will impact the community you’re intending to make.

    Yele has a vested interest in Haiti. Wyclef has been raising awareness about the abject poverty and conditions of Haiti, well before this cataclysmic earthquake. Sure, there are some issues…but at the end of the day, who will likely be there when today’s top stories become yesterday’s news.

    Keep it conscious, Nicole!!! Love it!


  • Rob Fields
    January 22nd, 2010 1:59 pm

    OK, and just read this POV, which is not focused specifically on Wyclef, but he’s mentioned:


  • Trini
    January 22nd, 2010 2:55 pm

    What I first noticed before the direct attacks on YeteHaiti were comments around the internet world: “Please give to Legitimate organizations, I’m giving to the Red Cross.” I thought that it was interesting to link the thought of giving with suspicion about where the money was going; because Americans already have experience with past scams (and can be somewhat cynical) and now are pretty savvy with giving to global tradegies. Then I got it….A black man and Haitian was using some of the same technologies and gathering money and the established (white) organizations don’t want to share. Racism once again raises it’s ugly head. For Wyclef, he just needs to keep doing good work. He can take the lessons learned from this, i.e., money management is an important skill to master early, and keep moving forward. His commitment and focus will either confirm or shut up his distractors. Personally I choose to give to http://www.panamericanrelief.org. They have been in the region for over 40 years and focus on the Caribbean and Latin America. Please do due diligence and consider supporting them. Thanks

  • Trini
    January 22nd, 2010 2:56 pm

    Love the new look of your blog…(personal side note) 🙂

  • theHotness
    January 22nd, 2010 6:22 pm
    Author's Reply

    @Lisa, Naj & Karen: Thank you!
    @Trini: Yes, Clef’s work in Haiti and his bookkeeping are going to be scutinized more than ever now. This crisis is either going to make or break him on so many levels!
    @Rob: That Jack & Jill link has some very interesting and provocative comments! My favorite:

    “The kneecapping being done on Wyclef is not so much because of the eye-popping amounts of money he is raising, although that too is a factor. It is because he is challenging the paradigm of the humanitarian industry. He is seeking to EMPOWER the victims. He wants to move the victims to safe locations where they can begin to rebuild communities with the assistance of global donors. He wants the victims taking charge. His face being front and center is jarring to the default image we usually see of outstretched black and brown hands during disasters around the world being handed charity from Western and European hands. The status quo cannot have anyone challenge their paradigm of creating permanent dependency. Can’t. Have. That!”

  • Greg Tate
    January 26th, 2010 6:38 pm

    Dont get me started. Wyclef is a young man just getting started in this sketchy world of charity and may stumble. Even so, where most established charities reportedly set aside 25% of income for operating costs Clef’s company was setting aside 30%. Hardly a difference that spellls major fraud or theft. And trust if he was really out of line the Feds would be crawling up his ass with indicments

    The US Canada and other multinational concerns have been robbing the Haitian people for 200 years. And it dont atop. Check out all the reports coming to light now about all the huge mineral deposits–gold, copper iridium,hydrcarbons–that have been discovered in Haiti and kept under wraps from the Haitian people. This tragedy is going to reveal that Haiti wont need a Nike sweatshop contract to rebuild as Soros and clintl want –just debt relief and nationalized industry. One Canadian company’s worth was expected to rise by 5 billion pounds because of their Haitian copper extraction alone. This ‘Poorest nation’ pity party is all part of the scam.

  • Esther Armah
    January 26th, 2010 7:33 pm

    Aid is a plantation for the West. It is the place where devastation has met opportunity for centuries. Slavery was replaced by aid; its own peculiar and particular killing fields. Wyclef’s crime is the audacity of self-determination; that a people traumatized should not be further violated. American Red Cross’s proven history of failing to direct the entire $554 million raised post 9/11 from the Liberty Fund, but instead into a war fund has failed to surface on a single mainstream media outlet. I love journalists who turn the spotlight away from the usual scrutiny of blackness and shine it where it belongs. That is the power of an expanded media, citizen journalism, blogs, websites, and social media networks. Another issue, geothermal energy, a case started in December 2009, after geothermal systems caused a 3.4 magnitude earthquake in Switzerland, this form of drilling offers limitless clean energy – it is happening in Haiti. The poverty creation is not new to any of the African countries, the Caribbean islands or anywhere brown peoples flourish in numbers. Great work Nicole, and much needed.