Photo Credit: Ben Hider/Getty Images
Many know Wyclef Jean as a successful rapper and cofounder of the '90s hip-hop group, The Fugees. But soon, millions on the world stage might simply know him as President Jean.
Jean, 37, confirmed to Time.com that he will be running for President of Haiti in this year’s Nov. 28 election. Jean just got in under the wire, as the deadline to announce candidacy is Aug. 7. EW.com reports that Jean may also "announce his candidacy on Thursday’s Larry King Live once he has arrived in Port-au-Prince from New York."
Jean, a native of Haiti (his family moved to the U.S. when he was 9 years old), said he was compelled to step in and help in the wake of January's devastating earthquake in Haiti. "If not for the earthquake, I probably would have waited another 10 years before doing this," Jean said.
Jean spent 2010 devoting himself to helping Haiti in terms of public awareness and raising relief funds, but he explained to Time, "I knew I'd have to take the next step," adding, "The quake drove home to me that Haiti can't wait another 10 years for us to bring it into the 21st century."
The fledgling presidential candidate ran into controversy earlier this year when he was accused of misusing donations from his charity Yele Haiti. Jean denied the allegations in late January during a tearful press conference: "Have we made mistakes? Yes. Did I ever use Yele money for personal benefit? Absolutely not." He added, "The fact that these attacks come as we are mobilized to meet the greatest human tragedy in the history of Haiti only serves to perplex me even further."
Jean is now addressing the scandal again with Time, saying that money management problems within Yele Haiti are resolved ("I took responsibility. I took the bullet."). The controversy hasn't tarnished his image in his struggling homeland. Marvel Dandin, a popular Port-au-Prince radio broadcaster, told Time, "A lot of Haitians are excited about this. Given the awful situation in Haiti right now, most people don't care if the President speaks fluent Creole."
The musician, now joining a long list of celebrities-turned-politicians, even addressed how his role as a public figure played into his decision, telling Time.com, "If I can't take five years out to serve my country as President, then everything I've been singing about, like equal rights, doesn't mean anything."
Do you think Wyclef Jean will become President of Haiti? Chime in below!