Since last Tuesday’s devastating earthquake, [artist id="1162"]Wyclef Jean[/artist] has been his homeland’s most vocal supporter to ensure that aid is being sent to the country. He sat down with Oprah Winfrey on her show Wednesday (January 20) to discuss the current state of the nation, and shared footage he shot while visiting Haiti in the days after the 7.0 earthquake.
“It’s just like the seventh hell, and walking [around] there’s two things: There’s what you see at the airport and then there’s inside the belly of the beast,” he said. “The best I can explain it is for you to walk into a city and the entire city feels like walking into a morgue. For every two blocks, [there are] 15, 16 bodies on the floor — no plastic. People running through the city, babies in their hands, while their baby is dead. They’re out of [medicine] at times. People are saying, ‘My baby’s gonna die,’ not knowing their baby’s already dead.”
Using a flipcam, he shot footage while visiting the nation with his wife and cousin. In it, he notes: “Bone-chilling screams — it’s the first sound my wife Claudette and I hear. My entire hometown has become a morgue. My cousin Jerry was with us. Everywhere we walk bodies are abandoned in the streets. We spend hours in the heat piling up the dead. The smell is overwhelming. The cemeteries are already overflowing, so these survivors are digging shallow graves. Most of these bodies will never be identified. Every two corners you at least find 12 or 13 people. And under the rubble, we don’t even want to talk about it.”
Despite the carnage, Wyclef says that the people of Haiti are trying their best to remain optimistic. “You know what I thought while I’m watching this footage is, I remember every night they were singing,” he recalled. “You can hear them chanting and still singing the words of God — it’s unexplainable. The thing about the Haitian people is their … determination.”
During the show, Rihanna performed her version of Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song,” proceeds from which will benefit relief in Haiti.
During the interview, he also addressed criticism regarding financial improprieties
for his Yele Haiti foundation. “When I was starting my charity, I put my first million dollars in the charity,” he said. “I have never from any form taken any payment for myself. I put money into my foundation when I was starting. I think as a chairman — I am the chairman. I think it was poorly run. We have learned from our mistakes and I think that moving forward we’re going to be stronger.”
Right now, Wyclef is busy getting the final preparations together for Friday’s “Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief,” but he said he plans to return to Haiti very soon.
“I’m trying to get back in Saturday and the reason why I’m going back I want them to know the Haitian people are not animals [and the way food is being distributed is disrespectful]. I want to go back in the country and work on some logistics for better distribution. … I need a task force and if they put me in charge I can help facilitate. We need to get aid and food to the people. Haiti don’t need no more photo ops.”
Learn more about what you can do to help with earthquake-relief efforts in Haiti , and for more information, see Think MTV. Join George Clooney and Wyclef Jean for MTV’s “Hope for Haiti” telethon , airing commercial-free Friday, January 22, at 8 p.m. ET.