Los Angeles Times – Album review: Wyclef Jean’s ‘From the Hut, to the Projects, to the Mansion’
Entertainment Weekly – Wyclef Jean on his new album, the future of The Fugees and being confused for will.i.am
The Wall Street Journal – Wyclef Jean To Appear…On a Debit Card?
Forbes.com – Wyclef Jean: Thought Leaders: Screaming For Freedom
CBS Radio The Street Date – Wyclef Jean – From The Hut, To The Projects, To The Mansion
The Boston Herald – The Education of Wyclef Jean
AllHipHop.com – Wyclef: Leading the Revolution
DJBooth.net – Wyclef Jean Interview
Gregory Schwarz Blog – My Travels, My Life, My Story: Thankfulness
TheBoomBox.com – Wyclef Teams With DJ Drama on ‘From the Hut’ Mixtape
Straight from the “A” – Wyclef Jean & DJ Drama Promote New Mixtape EP
WooHa.com – Wyclef Jean x Western Union Gift Cards
Good News Now – Wyclef Hands Out $50 Gift Cards in NYC
Planet Green – Help Wyclef Jean and Timberland Reforest Haiti
Sea Coast Online – Wyclef Jean, Timberland collaborate on boots
Celebrity Good Life – Wyclef Jean Giving Money Away for the Holidays
Wyclef’s Hopes for Haiti
(CBS) This story was first published on Jan. 11, 2009. It was updated on July 31, 2009.
To live the life of Wyclef Jean is to believe that almost anything is possible. Wyclef is a Grammy Award winning multimillionaire rock star who comes from Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. He’s one of thousands of Haitians who immigrate to the U.S. And many never return. But not Wyclef.
As 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley first reported in January, he goes back to Haiti often, using his personal wealth to help his impoverished country. Wyclef’s passion and determination have made him a hero to millions of Haitians. Pelley got to see firsthand how they feel about Wyclef Jean when they visited Cite Soleil, one of the most infamous slums on Earth.
Cite Soleil is a sprawling slum by the bay of Port-au-Prince. Half a million people live there, many of them next to a garbage dump. The name means “Sun City,” but despite its name, this is a breeding ground for disease and despair, gangs and violence.
“They know you’re here,” Pelley remarked, hearing the cheers. “Man, they are coming by the hundreds, by the thousands.”
They’re coming for Wyclef. When he’s around, it’s as if he’s the only ray of hope in “Sun City.”
“Yeah, they’re not gonna give up. Yet. So we gonna get out and do a little walking,” Wyclef told Pelley, as the crowd around them grew and grew.
They found themselves in the middle of a spontaneous homecoming for a Haitian icon who left the island nation nearly 30 years ago.
Wyclef Jean is one of the world’s most recognizable stars, performing before sold-out audiences, selling more than 50 million records in a 20-year career. His music is an eclectic mix, rooted in his Haitian DNA. Known primarily as a hip hop artist, he has a gift for guitar that reminds many of Jimi Hendrix.
“I came from Haiti. English is not my first language. I came to the land of the free, the land of the opportunities. I made somethin’ of myself,” Wyclef told Pelley.
Asked what he thinks would have happened had he never left Haiti, he said, “I think about that all the time. I always think ‘Why you, Clef? There’s close to ten million people in that place. Why you?'”
He comes from a country both beautiful and destitute. The average Haitian lives on less than $300 a year. Half the people scratch out a meager living on the land. The others are packed into cities like the capital, Port-au-Prince. When 60 Minutes came with Wyclef, he was greeted like a head of state. To most Haitians, he’s the living incarnation of their dream, someone who got out, struck it rich, but didn’t forget where he came from.
“These kids, they could identify with me, ’cause they say, ‘He looks like us, and he talks our language,'” he told Pelley.
In 2005, Wyclef created a charity that seems designed to attack all of Haiti’s problems at once. It’s called “Yele Haiti”. He spent nearly a quarter of a million dollars of his own money to start it. And now, with donations and sponsors, it has an annual budget of $3 million.
Wyclef on Haiti and how music saved his life
THEGRIOT.COM – Wyclef Jean, best known as a Grammy Winning artist who has sold over 50 million records and toured the world both with The Fugees and as a solo artist, has a lesser-known side. He is a humanitarian – giving back to his native country, Haiti, where he is said to be so popular that if he were to run for president, he could win.
But Wyclef has no intention of running for office. Rather he involves himself in the improvement of his native country through a charity called Yéle Haiti. The help is much needed in a country whose majority of residents live on less than two dollars a day and unemployment is close to 80 percent. Haiti is the poorest nation in the western hemisphere.
“[A] lot of times people say that they want to help poverty, but you cripple poverty by constantly providing aid without it being sustainable,” Wyclef said.
One of Yéle Haiti’s goals is to improve education – a daunting task considering the government cannot afford to sponsor public schools, so 95 percent of parents have to pay tuition for their children. Many families cannot afford it, so up to an estimated one million children do not receive a formal education. Yéle Haiti gives school supplies, trains teachers, provides scholarships for 4,500 children, and even donates water reservoirs to schools to ensure clean drinking water for the students.
“When we started it, we said it’s not going to be a charity, it’s going to be a movement,” Wyclef said. “I was sort of tired of seeing these naked kids running around saying ‘please give us money.'”
Wyclef feels that lack of opportunity in Haiti could cost Americans money.
“If you don’t care, people will constantly take boats and come over to Miami, land in Florida and all of a sudden your like, ‘Aww man we got to ship these people back,'” Wyclef said.
But Wyclef’s humanitarianism doesn’t stop with Yéle Haiti. He also is using new technology to encourage young people to get involved in their community through what he calls “the clefzone” on Wyclef.com, a music site that combines social networking with giving back to the community.
“Any big endorsement deal I do it there got to be a charity component. If you sell me 50 CD’s the first week, I ain’t really satisfied with that. But if you sell 50 CD’s in your neighborhood, you took five homeless people to go eat, and on top of that you just collected a box with all clothes in it, this is what Obama is talking about, social responsibility,” the musician said.
Even with all of Wyclef’s charity work, music is still his first love. He told theGrio.com that it’s his form of expression during the difficult times. Music is also a tool he uses to inspire others.
In a rhyme exclusively for theGrio.com, he said, “By the time I’m sixty, I want to see a trillion, give it all back to the African children.”
Wyclef and Twitter Make Beautiful Music
July 28th, 2009
By Sherri L. Smith, BlackWeb20.com
BET.COM – As Twitter continues to grow and assert its social media dominance, we’ve watched as the 140-charcater messaging tool build networking bridges that might not have formed otherwise through online interaction or offline events called Tweetups. With its quick and easy interface we’ve seen some of our favorite celebs get in on the act, even the “Big O,” herself.
While some celebrities use Twitter as a quick and easy way to keep fans up on the latest, others use it as an avenue to connect with fans on a more personal level for better or worse. One Twitter TMI moment came when Diddy (@iamdiddy) disclosed he was taking a break from a 36-hour tantric sex romp. Another infamous moment came via Baby Spec (@IAMSPECTACULAR) from Pretty Ricky as he issued a grindoff challenge to other male artists. And while those were some cringeworthy moments. Artists like Wyclef Jean choose to use his Twitter powers for good.
Clef recently wrapped up his “More Bottles Remix” contest. The world renowned producer and artist reached to his fans via his web site and Twitter account (@wyclef) to find out who could take his new song, “More Bottles,” and make the best remix. Participants created a 30 second Bubble Tweet with thier reimagined version of the track. Bubble Tweet for those of you that might still be a Twitter n00b, is a third-party application that lets users add video to their twitter stream. Once the tracks were submitted, it was all up to the fans to listen to the tracks and choose the winners. Out of the many entries that were submitted, only eight people had the skills to impress the fans and Wyclef. Those lucky few recently travelled to meet the Grammy-award winning artist at his studio, Platinum Sound, to lay down a track that will be available on a mixtape featuring DJ Drama scheuled for an September release as well as a self-titled LP set for a January 2010 release. And to add a cherry to the proverbial top, those that made it to the winner’s circle will also have their music made available to the world on iTunes in August.
Wyclef currently has 617,601 followers on his twitter account which only took three short months to accumlate. The automatic response should and will be, “So? He’s famous, of course people will follow him in droves.” It’s important to note how Jean interacts with his followers. A common complaint amongst the regular folk that make Twitter tick is that celebrity tweeters only follow fellow celebrities and rarely speak to the legions of fans that follow them. Jean not only bucks the trend, but he actually encouraged his followers to contribute to his music. As the eight winners were in the studio laying down their tracks, the whole session was being streamed live via Wyclef’s website. Every so often he would stop the session to check out fan feedback and tweek the winner’s performance based on that feedback.
While it’s obvious that all this activity is building hype for the upcoming projects, and it’s a smart move, especially in this climate where even the most established artists have to get creative about bring in the sales. By engaging his fans in this manner, Jean has the potential to create something totally new that fans can totally get behind because technically, it’ll be a project made for the people, by the people.
BlackWeb20.com covers website and application launches; culturally relevant Internet industry news; and mainstream Internet industry news from an African-American perspective. They also analyze emerging web trends and how they apply to web properties that target African-Americans or African-American culture.
Wyclef Jean Reaches Over 600,000 Fans on Twitter
THE NETWORK JOURNAL -When Twitter founder Evan Williams and investor Chris Sacca set up a Twitter account for multi-platinum recording artist Wyclef Jean on stage during an April performance in San Francisco, Jean’s followers on Twitter proceeded to grow rapidly to well over 600,000 in just 12 weeks.
There is no denying the amazing power of what Fast Company calls the “viral expansion loop” where one user on a social network like Twitter or Ning multiplies very quickly like the Tribbles on the old Star Trek episode. Because each Tribble was born pregnant the little furry creatures multiplied so quickly that they took over The Enterprise in a short span of time. It’s like that with social networks because everybody and I mean everybody knows someone else who knows someone else and so on.
Jean — who came to prominence in the 1990s as part of a hip hop trio, The Fugees — is one of a growing number of celebrities who have embraced the idea of building an online network. In May to celebrate reaching100,000 followers, Jean treated his Twitter fans to a virtual jam session from his Platinum Sound Recording Studio. The session was broadcast on his wordpress blog via youtube. It’s not just about getting people to “follow” him, Jean says he really wants to connect. “I love telling y’all stories” he said during the brief performance. “What can I say, I’m a Twithead.”
Take a look at Jean’s Twitter page and you know he means what he says. The “@” symbol in front of his posts shows that he’s not indulging in a one way advertising blitz, he’s actually engaging his Twitter network.
Regarding his success on Twitter, Jean explained in an email to TNJ.com that
“It happened so quickly because I actually engaged in the interest of other people. One girl got raped in Spain, I helped get them to the hospital. One person had cancer, I went to visit them. I think it is a success story because I really care about what people are asking me. If I send you a song, you get it immediately. I like it because you can see who is on line. You begin to know who they are. I met one of my ‘wyclef warriors’ in a studio in LA. I had no idea he worked at that studio, and he didn’t know I was coming. Last week, I was in line at JFK at the Swiss Air check in counter, and one of my Twitter Warriors was in front of me.”
As a result of this personalized attention Jean has gained worldwide praise and recognition for his new and innovative ways of communicating with his music fans, and for his candidness and willingness to share thoughts on spirituality and politics.
While Jean is a musician there is a lesson here for the small African American owned business. While your niche following might not quickly reach the heights of the rock stars and athletes, you can reach thousands as in the example of Beverly Davis — who drives traffic to her cosmetics website by tweeting 140 character success stories to over 6,000 followers. And as blogger Melinda Lewis told us, if you’re a small business you have to have a “face” and let people know the story of you and your business. With Twitter there is no bar to entry. Anyone can set up an account and distribute a message to thousands free of charge.
In his song, “Fast Car,” Jean sings: “You don’t have to be a billionaire/to get a ticket up to the moon.” And you don’t have to have a dime to build a following on Twitter. For more information visit www.wyclef.com or https://twitter.com/wyclef.
Score With Wyclef
BOSTON HERALD – Three-time Grammy-winner Wyclef Jean rocked the stage at the Berklee Performance Center with a performance and Q&A with students.
Jean took to the stage with a student and faculty band to play ‘Gone to November’ and ‘911’ – with less than an hour to rehearse!
The singer, who has a solo album coming out in January, told the kids he had hoped to enroll in Berklee before the Fugees hit it big. But the Haitian-American musician refuses to give up on the dream! Word is, Wyclef discussed with the administration types about taking online courses and putting in some classroom time to earn a degree.
Former Fugee plays Berklee