Wyclef Jean, Neil Young, Beck, Stevie Wonder, George Clinton Celebrate 1999 Rock The Vote! Awards

Rock The Vote’s Sixth Annual Patrick Lippert Awards were held at the House Of Blues in Los Angeles on Tuesday night, and a cavalcade of musicians and entertainment heavyweights came out to fete this year’s recipients — Neil Young and Wyclef Jean.

Beck presented an award to Neil Young and his wife Pegi for their work with Farm Aid and The Bridge School Benefit concerts, as well as their community activism.

“Pegi and Neil are amazing people,” Beck said, “and I’m honored to be presenting this award, and I just wanna say how important [Neil's] music is and the world that he’s created. It’s made a big impact on myself and a lot of people I know.”

Upon accepting the award, Young thanked the artists that had played at his past Bridge school benefits, but reserved a special thank-you to Pegi, his wife of more than 20 years.

“I’m proud of Farm Aid,” Young said, “but I’m especially proud to be part of the Bridge School, which my wife Pegi thought up. She said, ‘Well, y’know,
why don’t we have a concert, and then we’ll get a bunch of money, and then we’ll start a school for kids like our [son] Ben and other kids that need computers to communicate.’ So, without [Pegi], it never would’ve happened.”

Stevie Wonder presented the other Rock the Vote award to Wyclef Jean for his work with the Wyclef Jean Foundation and his continued involvement with in Haitian benefit concerts.

“In 1997 [Wyclef's] newfound fame gave him a platform for which to speak out on behalf of his birthplace, Haiti,” Wonder said. “By taking advantage of this, he founded the Wyclef Jean Foundation, which seeks to raise awareness of the problems that face the Haitian people, as well as to contribute to its economic, social and cultural development. He still remains a strong activist on behalf of his native land.”

For his part, Wyclef talked about how the award reminded him that there were things more important — and longer-lasting — than just record sales.

“This is really
the most important award to me,” Jean said, “the reason why is because this is what I want to be remembered for. You know, all the gold and all the platinum is gonna eventually go away.”

“Every song that I write,” he continued, “it comes straight from my heart, and basically I wanna accept this award not on behalf of myself, but on behalf of all the refugees around the world that goes through the struggles and through the frustration of life.”

The final award of the evening was presented to first lady, and possible New York Senatorial candidate, Hilary Rodham Clinton who accepted the first ever Rock The Nation award via videotape.

The fundraiser event, sponsored by MTV, featured a live performance from Wyclef — who was accompanied onstage by the Refugee All-Stars, Stevie Wonder and George Clinton. Aside from renditions of “Gone Till November,” the hip-hop ensemble also offered up “Fu-gee-la” and Lauryn Hill’s “Ex-Factor,” with Hill’s vocals provided on both numbers by
vinyl.