News: Fugees' Pras Defends Endorsing Wyclef Jean's Haiti Presidential Rival, "We Need A Real Leader" [Video]
Saturday, Aug 7, 2010 8:35AM
The Fugees' Pras has defended his decision to back Haiti presidential candidate Michel Martelly against cousin and group member Wyclef Jean heading into the November election.
Promising his decision is not ill will toward Clef, Pras believes Martelly exemplifies true leadership.
"Basically, I went down to Haiti yesterday to endorse a friend of mine named Michel Martelly. He's an ex-musician, very, very popular down in Haiti," Pras explained in an interview. "He used to go by the name 'Sweet Micky.' ... Listen, 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, but a transformative leader. Someone that's gonna be able to galvanize 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." (MTV)
Jean's choice to launch a presidential run has also drawn skepticism from Hollywood actor Sean Penn.
"The last thing in the world Haiti needs -- and I'm not accusing Wyclef Jean of being an opportunist, I don't know the man ... I worry that this is more a campaign about flying around the world talking to people, as he said. I would be quite sure it is of an influence of businesses here in the United States. One of the things Haiti needs is a leader who is genuinely willing to sacrifice." (CNN)
Following Penn's remarks, Clef swiftly issued a response and defended his run.
The singer also fumed when aides told him that actor Sean Penn, who has been managing an earthquake-survivor camp in the Haitian capital since the spring, had accused Jean of not spending enough time in Haiti after the quake and misappropriating $400,000 of the $9 million his charity, Yele Haiti, raised after the disaster. "I just want Sean Penn to fully understand I am a Haitian, born in Haiti and I've been coming to my country ever since (I was) a child," he said. "He might just want to pick up thephone and meet, so he fully understands the man." (Washington Post)
The Haiti presidential election will take place at the end of November.
Haiti is scheduled to vote on a new president on November 28. Jean has long been socially active, and he took a prominent role in raising relief money after the Haitian earthquake in January. His charity the Yéle Haiti Foundation came under fire after critics accused him of misusing funds from the organization. He denied the charges and pledged to be more vigilant. (Wall Street Journal)
Check out Pras speaking on Wyclef Jean below: