The Fugees In Haiti Part II

KURT: Welcome back to "The Week In Rock."

Haiti, where the Fugees played a benefit concert last weekend, is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. And yet, as is often the case in unstable countries with a rich tradition of political corruption, a small number of Haitians are quite rich, and inhabit a walled-off and guarded world of their own.

This not-wildly-popular elite had its own reasons for welcoming the Fugees to Port-Au-Prince last week, although there was no question on which side of the Haitian social divide the Fugees' own sympathies resided.

WYCLEF, in front of the Presidential Palace: Live, I'm at the White House baby! This is real, Yo! We up in Haiti, 'Clef going to see the President. This is real baby, we shining!

WYCLEF, delivering a speech at the Palace: I'm the kid who stands behind the palace who cannot come in here today to see the Fugees, that's who I am.

MTV: In a country famous for class-driven

warfare, the Fugees were a small bridge between the fenced-in elite, and Haiti's lower class majority.

LAURYN HILL: Wylef said something really powerful. He said that, you know, in a normal day or in a day where we hadn't sold 15 million records, you know, he wouldn't have been in the palace. You know, and that's a really significant statement, because we recognize who we are and where we came from.

WYCLEF: I just let them know to keep their head up. If I did it, I'm from the ghetto. And we are really from the same area, as long as they have a mentality and they stay strong, they can accomplish anything they want to.

FAN: It was in a concert that he put the Haitian flag on his back. There are a bunch of Haitians that would never do that and pretend that they're American. He came here, he said he was Haitian, he came to talk to us just like he was one of us, just like he's our brother.

WYCLEF: I came to play for the people. The message I bring is

for the people.

MTV: While the Fugees spent most of their free time visiting refugees and orphaned children, they also recognized that without support from the country's wealthy class, their message would never get through.

WYCLEF: If you rich, it's cool, I don't knock that, I don't playa hate. Which means that I have to find a way through my music to make people aware that, can we find a middle class? You know what I mean? Can we get jobs, can we, 'cause there is money, you know what I mean?

MTV: Some of that money was spent on hundred dollar benefit tickets to an exclusive concert at Haiti's posh Club Med.

LAURYN: It's all about giving the people what they want, and letting them hear the things they need to hear, you know, hopefully when you have a diverse agenda on the two extremes, maybe that'll bring everybody more closer to the middle, you know. Maybe they'll understand each side a little better.

PRAS: This concert, is not gonna change Haiti in a day, I mean that's obvious. It'll give people a sense of pride and hope [concert footage, QuickTime, 858K].

KURT: The Fugees are hoping to make that Haitian concert an annual event. And by the way, the group will be the subject of an "MTV News Presents" special that's set to air here on Sunday, May 4th, at 10:30 pm. [For more videos and images from their concert in Haiti, check out MTV News Online's "The Fugees in Haiti".]