Pras not supporting Wyclef in Haiti election: 'We need a real leader'

WyclefImage Credit: Adriana M. Bar; Jamie McCarthy/WireImage.comHe may be fond of his former Fugees bandmate Wyclef, who recently announced his candidacy for Haiti’s presidential race on CNN, but Pras (nee Prakazrel Michel) won’t be killing him softly at the ballot box.

The Brooklyn-born Haitian-American told MTV News (via London’s Guardian), “I love Wyclef to death … We came up together, we grew up together, we basically called each other cousins. But the reality is this, we need a real leader.”

“Not just a regular leader,” he continued, “but a transformative leader. Someone that’s gonna be able to galvanise the Haitians down on the field, the Haitian-Americans, the international community. It’s a collective support—to take this country to the 21st century. And I’m just not convinced Wyclef is the one for that.”

In his “good guy, wrong goal” sentiments, Pras has found an ally of sorts in actor/activist Sean Penn, who is far less gentle in his indictment of Wyclef’s qualifications and intentions—saying, in part, “This is somebody who’s going to receive an enormous amount of support from the United States, and I have to say I’m very suspicious of it, simply because he, as an ambassador at large, has been virtually silent. For those of us in Haiti, he has been a non-presence,” Penn (who became a celebrity face of sorts for humanitarian aid there following the earthquake) said.

Penn also brought up Wyclef’s alleged mishandling of funds at his Yele Haiti foundation, saying, “He claims he didn’t do it. That has to be looked into it,” Penn said. “I’ve been there. I know what $400,000 could do for these people’s lives.”

“I haven’t seen or heard anything of [Wyclef Jean] in these last six months that I’ve been in Haiti,” Penn continued. “I think he’s an important voice. I hope he doesn’t sacrifice that voice by taking the eye off the very devastating realities on the ground,” Penn said. “I want to see someone who’s really, really willing to sacrifice for their country, and not just someone who I personally saw with vulgar entourage of vehicles that demonstrated a wealth in Haiti that, in context, I felt was a very obscene demonstration.”

What do you think, readers—is this all just a hail of pebbles in glass houses? Or do Pras’ and Penn’s concerns have real merit?

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Comments (39 total) Add your comment
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  • Bree

    I agree with Pras. I dont think that Wyclef is the right guy for the job. He is very passionate about Haiti but not the right guy to be a leader of a country that needs some serious help.

    • Fas

      Wyclef,is the man for the time. we need to think outside the Box.

  • D2

    But at the same time, who else is stepping up? its nice that someone is showing sincere interest, experience or not

    • Chris

      The person Pras endorsed, Michel Martelly, is stepping up.

      • Jo

        Michel Martelly, aka “Sweet Micky”, is also a musician, and probably has no more experience than Wyclef, except for residing in Haiti a lot longer. But that don’t make him anymore qualified than Wyclef is.

  • i think clef could help play a ROLE in the rebuilding of haiti but no way on earth should he be the leader. he needs to step up and let us know why most of the money raised hasn’t reached haiti.

  • Duvalieris

    I agree with all the comments, but Who else? That is the question. To me “Out of NONE, He is SOMEONE. If you want to comment about Wyclef not being the Leader, just name me ONE. I dare you…..At least, money can be collected with his name. Others, I don’t know…..Stealing, I know…..

    • Chris

      Michel Martelly

  • Duvalieris

    The question about “Info on The money” needs to be addressed to EVERYBODY, included Clinton’s Association. Are they waiting and for How long? Do you imagine how much they collect throughout the world donations for the Earthquake. soyons serieux….

  • couchgrouch

    WJ was interviewed on CNN this AM and seemed to know of Haiti’s problems but didn’t have a single solition to any of them. (it’s doubtful anyone does or ever will) he appears sincere but being born there and being famous for rapping over machines doesn’t qualify him to run the worst country in the western hemisphere.

  • Duvalieris

    PRAS, I learned long time ago “Les linges sales se lavent en famille” I know you were not born in Haiti, but your parents should have taught you that. Next time, talk to Wyclef ONe on ONE eventhough I share your opinions, but come on. That’s your pal.

  • Duvalieris

    Wyclef needs a good entourage. Now, where is he going to find it? Hard in Haiti, especially when they keep the intellectual class out in Miami, Newyork and so on….

  • FugeesFan

    That song “If I was president” he wrote might come true.

  • Duvalieris

    The Haitian Constitution needs to change……Diaspora feeds the country, but not welcomes to participate. What an abberation?

  • steven cernas

    I think that Wyclef would be good for Haiti because they need something new and having Wyclef as president would bring Global attention to Haiti. Wyclef would also inspire young Haitians to take part in the rebuilding process which Haiti needs badly.

  • Janizzle

    I say give him a chance to run, see what he has to say/offer…obviously his heart is in the right place.

    And gee EW, if this was about Pras, why was more than half the article about Sean Penn?

    • lovehatti

      Jan…because Sean Penn is bigger than Pras!

  • Lala

    Sean Penn needs to go away.

    • Mike

      You need to go away. What have you done to help haiti compared to Sean Penn. I suspect nothing

  • Chris

    Haiti isn’t the only country in need of a ‘real leader’ (Hint, its initials are U.S.A).

    • couchgrouch

      The US has its problems like any other nation but it’s not a total catastrophe in every social sense of the word.

  • couchgrouch

    I checked out the “lyric” to If I Was the President”…unbelievably weak. WJ would need to be a much better leader than a songwriter and from his interview this AM, that looks pretty shaky.

    • v

      couchgrouch r u jealous. what r u doing to help someone and can u sing.

      • couchgrouch

        what does singing have to do with anything? WJ can’t sing. all I heard was rapping nonsense over machines when they played a clip of his “song”. I’m a published poet and songwriter and WJ’s “song” looks like it was written by a ten year old. I’m not aware of WJ helping anyone. just that he’s doing the talk show rounds scaring up attention for his political ambitions. he seems sincere but he has nothing I want.

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