When the singer and musician launched a highly-publicized bid for president of Haiti in August he had a lot of support, but also some very vocal detractors — namely actor and fellow activist Sean Penn and Jean's former Fugees bandmate Pras. Both stars publicly questioned 'Clef's political credentials and at a New York City on Friday, Jean lashed out against the critics.
"I got a message for Sean Penn: Maybe he ain't see me in Haiti because he was too busy sniffing cocaine," Jean sang at Hot 97's On The Reggae Tip concert, switching up the lyrics to his 2004 song "President." "I got a message for Praswell, even though you don't want to support me, I got love for you, even though you only kicked 8 bars in the Fugees." A few weeks after announcing his plans for the presidency, Jean was declared ineligible to run by Haitian electoral officials.
Wyclef's lyrics are the latest swipes in a series of public comments between the musician and Penn and Pras. When Jean spoke about his plans to run for Haiti's head of state on CNN, Penn, who was also a guest on the show, expressed his concerns about the singer's motivations for seeking political office.
"Right now, I worry that this is a campaign that is more about a vision of flying around the world, talking to people. It's certainly not one of the youth drafting him. I would be quite sure that this is an influence of corporations here in the United States and private individuals that may well have capitalized on his will to see himself flying around the world," Penn said. The actor also wrote in a Huffington Post column that despite Jean's public support for the island nation, the MC wasn't around during critical moments after Haiti's devastating January earthquake.
"I was there for those six months after the earthquake and so many of us on the ground wondered where he was when that kind of attention was so necessary and absent, and why he was NOT helping to keep this desperate situation in the news," he wrote. "None among us felt or expressed anger toward it, but rather a universal sadness for his silence, as he is America's most admired cultural link to Haiti."
Pras questioned 'Clef proposed strategy -- or lack thereof -- for revitalizing the country after the distaster.
"He talks about health care, he talks about education, he talks about infrastructure," Pras told MTV News last month. "But that's in any society. That's right here in America, we need that. But how are you gonna get to that point? There's a short-term goal that needs to be addressed and there's a long-term goal. To be honest with you, the short term is probably more important than the long term. And he didn't even mention the short term."
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