Wyclef Jean blasts Sean Penn after Haiti presidency bid failure

Rapper and singer uses appearance at New York reggae concert to criticise actor along with former Fugees bandmate Pras

After an abrupt end to his Haitian presidential campaign, Wyclef Jean has resorted to singing nasty songs about his critics. The singer-turned-politician-turned-singer took aim at Sean Penn and former bandmate Pras at a concert on Friday, alluding to alleged drug use and general musical ineptitude respectively.

"I got a message for Sean Penn," Jean sang at New York's On Da Reggae Tip concert. He was performing his 2004 track If I Was President, a song that received a major boost from Jean's attempt to be, er, president. "Maybe [Sean] ain't seen me in Haiti because he was too busy sniffing cocaine," he said.

Although he added new lyrics about his detractors, Jean didn't seem to have found rhymes about eligibility rules and formal residency – the issues that saw him disqualified from the Haitian presidential race. Instead, Jean chose the ad hominem route, lashing out at the two celebrities who were his most vocal critics. "I got a message for [Pras]," he sang. "Even though you don't want to support me, I got love for you – even though you only kicked eight bars in the Fugees."

Back when Jean was still in the running, Pras questioned his ability to get things done "in the short term". "He talks about healthcare, he talks about education, he talks about infrastructure," he told MTV News, "but that's in any society ... How are you gonna get to that point?"

Penn, a Hollywood star who has been active in Haiti since the earthquake, suggested to CNN that Jean merely saw himself "flying around the world, talking to people".

"For those six months after the earthquake, so many of us on the ground wondered where [Jean] was when that kind of attention was so necessary and absent, and why he was not helping to keep this desperate situation in the news," Penn said. "None among us felt or expressed anger toward it, but rather a universal sadness for his silence, as he is America's most admired cultural link to Haiti."

A representative for Sean Penn released a statement through justjared.com: "Mr Jean is clearly unfamiliar with the physical demands put upon volunteers in Haiti. As aid workers there, the notion of depleting the body's immune system through the use of illicit drugs is ludicrous. More specifically, J/P Haitian Relief Organization (aka JPHRO) has a ZERO tolerance policy for any and all illegal drugs. As the leader of this organisation, Sean Penn has not only set this policy, but adheres to it. That Mr Jean would make such a false accusation is reckless and saddening, but not surprising."


Sean Michaels

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Wyclef Jean's ex-bandmate supports rival in Haiti election
Former Fugees rapper Pras Michel criticises Jean's bid to be president of Haiti, saying 'we need a real leader'

Sean Michaels

09, Aug, 2010 @9:26 AM

Article image
Wyclef Jean cannot appeal against Haiti presidency ruling
Electoral council tells singer its decision to disqualify him from the Haiti presidential race is final

Sean Michaels

26, Aug, 2010 @10:47 AM

Article image
Wyclef Jean ends effort to be Haiti president

Singer, who said he would exhaust all legal options to get on ballot, will focus on promoting his new album

Haroon Siddique

21, Sep, 2010 @7:33 PM

Article image
Wyclef Jean runs for president in Haiti

Hip-hop star Wyclef Jean arrives in Haiti to launch his campaign for president

06, Aug, 2010 @11:09 AM

Article image
Wyclef Jean to run for president of Haiti

Former Fugees singer expected to announce his candidacy for Haiti president later today on American TV

Sean Michaels

05, Aug, 2010 @9:48 AM

Article image
Exhausted Wyclef Jean in hospital
The singer's publicist says he is suffering from stress and lack of sleep following his bid to become Haitian president

Sean Michaels

28, Sep, 2010 @10:40 AM

Wyclef Jean becomes Haiti ambassador
The Haitian musician Wyclef Jean has been appointed as a roving ambassador for the country in an attempt to improve its image abroad.

Duncan Campbell

05, Jan, 2007 @11:57 PM

Article image
Wyclef Jean: 'Fans are calling me the new Dylan'
What scuppered Wyclef Jean's bid to be president of Haiti? Well, it wasn't modesty. On the eve of the election result, the rapper talks death threats and dirty tricks with Dorian Lynskey

Dorian Lynskey

05, Dec, 2010 @9:30 PM

Article image
Wyclef Jean defends his Haiti charity
Haitian-born singer denies profiting from Yele Haiti Foundation, saying that accusations of corruption are 'baseless attacks'

Sean Michaels

18, Jan, 2010 @10:05 AM

Article image
Wyclef Jean changes his tune over run for Haiti's toughest job

Former Fugees star responds to months of rumours with statement that he may enter November's presidential election

Rory Carroll, Latin America correspondent

27, Jul, 2010 @7:23 PM