Haiti hip-hop star turns presidential contender

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Author: JOSEPH GUYLER DELVA | REUTERS

Saturday 7 August 2010

PORT-AU-PRINCE: Haitian hip-hop star Wyclef Jean registered as a presidential contender on Thursday, in a move into politics that generated an outburst of popular enthusiasm in his poor, earthquake-ravaged homeland.

“I would like to tell (US) President Barack Obama that the United States has Obama and Haiti has Wyclef Jean,” the three-time Grammy award-winner told cheering supporters in a downtown area of Port-au-Prince.
He filed papers at the electoral council to run as a candidate for the Viv Ansanm (Live Together) political party, as excited young supporters packed the surrounding streets.
The registration was required ahead of a Saturday filing deadline and authorities now have until Aug. 17 to approve or reject his candidacy.
It was an extraordinary homecoming for Jean, who had flown into Haiti with his wife and young daughter and other relatives on a private jet from their home in the United States.
Singer-songwriter Jean has never held elective office but is widely admired in Haiti and credited with never having forgotten his Haitian roots.
The former Fugees star, best known for his work with Colombian pop star Shakira and their 2006 mega-hit “Hips Don’t Lie,” was born in Haiti but grew up in New York.
He has long been active in raising money for his homeland through his Yele Haiti Foundation, especially since the Jan. 12 earthquake that killed as many as 300,000 people.

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