In August, Haitian election officials ruled that Wyclef Jean could not run for president.
As the country’s presidential election unfolds, Jean is releasing new music from an album that talks about his own failed run, his ongoing efforts in Haiti and his hope for the future.
Jean will release a six-track EP album If I Were President: My Haitian Experience next month. He said he was inspired to produce the new album not only by the events in his native Haiti, but after he saw Fela performed on Broadway.
The Grammy-award winning artist and activist recently visited Haiti to assist the country’s efforts to combat an outbreak of cholera. Haitian health officials say the infection has claimed more than 1,000 lives since October.
“People don’t know enough about what cholera is,” Jean recently told theGrio. “The first thing that we have to do is…we have to educate.”
And for Jean, music is a part of that education. He said his music can challenge institutions far beyond Haiti.
“I don’t have a therapist, my therapist is my guitar,” Jean said.
Jean said he has no plans to run for president of Haiti again, though he did admit he “didn’t know” what the future could hold for him.
“The only [two things] that can save Haiti…[are] the diaspora, which is outside of Haiti and the youth population that is inside of Haiti,” Jean said. “If the two could join forces together, I think the future will be a little different.”
His latest single, “Election Time,” was shot in Haiti and encourages Haiti’s youth to become more active in the political process. It also showcases what Jean calls the “two parts” of Haiti.
“You see the green, [the mountains]…you see how pretty it is…and then you see Port-au-Prince and the destruction,” Jean said. “What we wanted to do is show that the country has potential. Whenever we’re showing Haiti, we need to show it as a whole [island].