Wyclef Jean On ‘Hope For Haiti Now’: ‘The World Is Compassionate’

'We are loving people, and this [event] is a great example of that,' Wyclef says of telethon, airing tonight at 8 p.m.

It’s well known that Wyclef Jean, who helped organize Friday night’s “Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief” telethon, has a deeply personal connection to the earthquake that devastated the country: He grew up in Haiti. Through the years, he’s proudly represented his country and has spent many hours raising money to help its poverty-stricken residents via his Yele Haiti foundation. He said he’s elated to see so many people banding together to help the country in the wake of the earthquake.

“People [are] stepping up — the world is compassionate,” Jean told MTV News during a break from rehearsals for the telethon on Thursday night. “Despite what many may think, the hearts of men and women are warm. Sometimes I think that we are distracted by so much war that we forget that we are loving people, and this [event] is a great example of that.”

He pointed out that relief efforts will not end with the telethon — rebuilding Haiti will take years — and he urged everyone to “keep awareness alive.”

George Clooney, who helped to organize “Hope for Haiti,” said that the telethon was spurred into action by a call from Wyclef .

“I was in New York the evening it happened,” he told MTV News on Thursday. “It happened at four or five o’clock, and I got a message from Wyclef that he’s gonna go into the Dominican Republic and that it was much worse than what’s initially been reported. We knew it was bad, but who knew how bad? And he said, ‘Is there anything you can do?’ So the next morning, I woke up and called Judy McGrath at MTV, and Judy said, ‘We were thinking about doing something too,’ so I said, ‘Let’s do it.’ ”

For his performance during the telethon , ‘Clef will be joined onstage by his sister Melky and cousin Jerry “Wonder” Duplessis, as well as producer/musician Papa Jube.

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 Now” telethon , airing commercial-free Friday, January 22, at 8 p.m. ET, and visit HopeForHaitiNow.org or call (877) 99-HAITI to make a donation now.