Earlier this week Sean Penn blasted Wyclef Jean for running for the president of Haiti, as did Wyclef’s former Fugees band mate Pras. Sean and Pras seem to think that Wyclef’s run is more self-serving than anything. Sean was quoted as saying, “This is somebody who’s going to receive an enormous amount of his support, if he continues this campaign, from the United States. I have to say, I’m very suspicious of it, simply because he, as an ambassador-at-large, has been virtually silent. For those of us in Haiti, he has been a non-presence.”
Wyclef has now responded to Sean’s remarks, which was probably good practice, because it seems like he’ll be having to defend himself quite a bit throughout this campaign.
“The first thing I’d like to say to Sean Penn is that the area which he operates in Haiti is one area in particular. He hasn’t seen me for six months—I’ve been going to Haiti for over five years…I am not absent in Haiti, maybe the tent city you’re in, maybe I’m absent in that…My country is not a city of tents, meaning I can’t use the excuse of people living in tents to say that I’m going to make Haiti a better place. I would like to tell Sean Penn I do not react on emotions when it comes to the Haitian people. I do not have to sacrifice my life and live inside of the tents to prove I am for the Haitian people.”
Ummm, well. I don’t know if that’s the most convincing argument, but it’s a valid one. Personally, I’m not for celebrities blending into government because I just know that more often than not, celebrities are a little bit removed from “the people” in exactly the way that a politician shouldn’t be. Even if they do everything in their power to stay down-to-Earth, after someone has experienced a certain amount of fame (not success, fame), it’s nearly impossible for them to remove themselves from it or even scale back on their lifestyle. That may not be what a recovering country needs in a new prez.