Haiti

Wyclef Jean in Haiti to support his candidate for president, Jude Celestin

A motorcade greets Haiti-born hip-hop artist Wyclef Jean as he arrived in Port-au-Prince on Friday.
A motorcade greets Haiti-born hip-hop artist Wyclef Jean as he arrived in Port-au-Prince on Friday. jcharles@miamiherald.com

Five years after throwing his support behind Haitian President Michel Martelly, Haiti-born hip-hop artist Wyclef Jean arrived in Port-au-Prince Friday to close out the campaign with his new candidate.

Earlier this week, Wyclef endorsed Jude Celestin for the Haitian presidency. He announced the news in a rap song that immediately triggered a rap war on the eve of Sunday’s highly-anticipated vote. The first responder was Martelly’s son and sometimes budding rapper, Olivier, who dropped his own song. Olivier Martelly then soon got a response from a local rap artist, Mono.

“Apparently I hold some kind of weight,” Wyclef joked with the Miami Herald, just hours after dropping a mixed tape of five songs on behalf of Celestin. “I’m still baffled by the fact Olivier Martelly would put a song out about me when I never even said anything bad about him or his family.”

But Wyclef said he doesn’t want the music to become a distraction. His support of Celestin, whom he shrugged off in 2010 after he was banned from running, has nothing to do with Martelly, he said.

“I feel Jude is the man after Martelly to push Haiti forward,” he said, noting Celestin’s work as the former head of the government construction company in transforming women’s lives by hiring them to drive tractor trailers.

“He’s a stand up guy,” he said.

But in addition to supporting Celestin, Wyclef says his visit is also about pushing for fair elections and exercising his right to vote.

Jacqueline Charles: 305-376-2616, @Jacquiecharles

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