Well, well, Nelust Wyclef Jean just announced he will be running for president of Haiti. Personally, I would rather see Sweet Micky (real name: Michel Martelly) run because I think he is by far more talented, but then again: nobody asked my opinion.
It is, of course, not the first time that an artist decides his ego needs more room. We’ve got Panamanian crooner Ruben Blades try for the presidency. That didn’t quite work out the way he hoped. We had a mediocre film actor run and win not one but two terms as President of the World (as some see it). Yes, I do mean Ronald Reagan. We had a bodybuilder-gone-soft (am I cruel or what?) to serve for the six long years as the King (oops, a Governor) of California. There also is this “wanna-be” singer but “had-to-settle-for” fashion model who found her way to First Ladyship of a large European nation by wrecking a marriage of a then presidential candidate. It worked splendidly for her, although when his term expires he might find out that he outlived his usefulness.
So I say “Go for it!” to Wyclef Jean, as he likes to be called (and I don’t blame him; who wants to go through life with a name Nelust?) You already have name recognition. The fact that Monsieur Preval didn’t do squat for his country in his presidential capacity except for a few photo ops with his shirt sleeves rolled up – that ought to help. You also got the money – that comes in handy, too. After all, to renovate the center of that crumbled National Palace will cost quite a bit of change.
Sweet Micky sings: “Se le pwoblem lajan.” Yes, money most certainly was, is, and always will be a problem for just about everybody in that god-forsaken messed up country, but hopefully not for a world famous rapper. I can’t wait to hear his campaign promises. As a matter of fact, I already got a whiff of them when the future presidential candidate proclaimed that he will bring Haiti to the 21 century. That, of course, would mean to skip at least a couple of centuries, but – hey! – where there is a will …
Wyclef Jean was one lucky nine year-old when he was taken to the prosperous land up north by his family where the world of opportunities opened up to him. I am pretty sure that he fully appreciates that luck. I have heard stories of his generosity and his apparently genuine commitment to the people of his native Haiti. Will he make a difference, though? Does it really make any difference who is at the helm of this wretched place where you’d be hard pressed to find a mango tree that was planted in the past 40 years or a goat that is slaughtered after reaching full maturity? What can one man really do?
Since Toussaint L’Ouverture (original name: Toussaint Breda) led Haiti to independence and paid for it with his life, no leader was able to uplift its people and make them prosper. Some tried; most – like the Duvaliers – saw the presidency as means to personal enrichment. How will a rapper from Brooklyn (originally from Croix-des-Bouquets) fare? We can only wish him and the Haitians that no other calamities descend upon them any time soon, that other countries continue to be generous, and that the absolute power doesn’t corrupt Wyclef Jean absolutely. Kenbe fem!