Wyclef Jean: Wikis


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Wyclef Jean

Wyclef Jean performing at a UNAIDS concert.
Background information
Birth name Neluset Wyclef Jean
Also known as Wyclef
Born October 17, 1972 (1972-10-17) (age 37)
Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti
Origin Newark, New Jersey, United States
Genres Hip hop, reggae, compas, R&B, folk, Bachata
Occupations Musician, singer-songwriter, social activist, record producer, actor
Instruments Vocals, guitar, piano, drums
Years active 1987–present
Labels Ruffhouse, Columbia, J, Koch
Associated acts Fugees, Shakira, Akon, Serj Tankian, Tarkan, Aventura, Lil Wayne , Sizzla
Website www.wyclef.com

Neluset Wyclef Jean (Haitian Creole pronunciation: [wajklɛf ʒã], English: /ˈwaɪklɛf ˈʒɑːn/; born October 17, 1972) is a Haitian-American multi-platinum musician, rapper, and record producer.


Early life

The son of a Nazarene pastor,[1] Wyclef briefly attended Eastern Nazarene College, where his younger brother Sam graduated with a degree in history.[2]

Wyclef moved with his family to Brooklyn, New York, before moving again to northern New Jersey. He worked briefly as a Burger King crew employee as a teenager, before he was fired. Jean has been a resident of Saddle River and South Orange, New Jersey.[3] Jean, who regrets dropping out of college, has announced plans to attend Boston's Berklee College of Music.[4]

In 1994 he married Fusha designer Marie Claudinette.[5] In 2005 they adopted their daughter, Angelina Claudinelle Jean. The couple renewed their vows in August 2009.[6]

His uncle, political activist, journalist and diplomat Raymond Alcide Joseph, is the Haitian ambassador to the United States since 2005, and came to prominence as a spokesman for his country after the devastating 2010 Haiti earthquake and together with Wyclef issued an appeal for international aid.[7][8][9]


Jean's musical breakthrough was as part of The Refugee Camp (The Fugees), a three-member group that included Lauryn Hill and Prakazrel "Pras" Michel. Jean is Pras's cousin and a fellow Haitian immigrant. The Fugees signed to Ruffhouse Records, which released the group's debut album, Blunted on Reality. It sold fairly well, peaking at #49 on the U.S. Hot 100 and selling over 2 million copies worldwide. The follow-up album The Score sold over 18 million copies worldwide, eventually becoming a multi-platinum, Grammy-winning album.

Jean announced plans to begin a solo career with 1997's Wyclef Jean Presents the Carnival Featuring the Refugee All-Stars (generally called The Carnival). The album's guests included Lauryn Hill and Pras along with Jean's siblings Melky Sedeck and Farel Sedeck Guerschom Jean, the I Threes (back-up vocals for Bob Marley), The Neville Brothers and Celia Cruz. The album was a hit, as were two singles: "We Trying to Stay Alive" (adapted from The Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive") and "Gone Till November" (recorded with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra).

Solo career

At the concert Woodstock 1999, Jean paid homage to 1969 Woodstock performer Jimi Hendrix by setting fire to his guitar after playing "The Star-Spangled Banner", and burnt his fingers while doing so.[10]

Jean's second solo album, released in 2000, was The Ecleftic: 2 Sides II a Book. This was recorded with guests including Youssou N'Dour; Earth, Wind & Fire; Kenny Rogers; The Rock; and Mary J. Blige. With Blige he released "911" as a single. He was nominated for Best Hip-Hop Act at the 2000 MTV Europe Music Awards.[11]

Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Jean participated in the benefit concert America: A Tribute to Heroes contributing a cover of the Bob Marley song "Redemption Song".

Jean's third album, Masquerade, was released in 2002. His fourth album, The Preacher's Son, was released in November 2003 as the follow-up to his first solo album, The Carnival.

In 2004, he released his fifth album, entitled Sak Pasé Presents: Welcome to Haïti (Creole 101) (released in the United States by Koch Records). Most of its songs are in his native language of Haitian Creole like "Fanm Kreyol" with the French Caribbean Admiral T. He also figured on the album Mozaik Kreyol of this one in the song "Secret Lover". Then he covered Creedence Clearwater Revival's song "Fortunate Son" for the soundtrack of the 2004 film remake of The Manchurian Candidate and wrote the song "Million Voices" for the film Hotel Rwanda.

Jean also produced and wrote songs for the soundtrack to Jonathan Demme's 2003 documentary The Agronomist, about the Haitian activist and radio personality Jean Dominique. With Jerry 'Wonder' Duplessis, Jean also composed the score of the documentary Ghosts of Cité Soleil,[12] in which he appears onscreen speaking by telephone in 2004 to a "chimere" gang-leader and aspiring rapper, Winston "2Pac" Jean.[13]

During a period between 2004 and 2006 and fueled by a reunion performance in Dave Chappelle's "Block Party", it appeared that the Fugees were on track to record a new album, however Fugees member Pras claims to Billboard "To put it nicely, it's dead." He says the root of this animosity is the third member of the group, Lauryn Hill, saying to Billboard, "Me and Clef, we on the same page, but Lauryn Hill is in her zone, and I'm fed up with that shit. Here she is, blessed with a gift, with the opportunity to rock and give and she's running on some bulls**t? I'm a fan of Lauryn's but I can't respect that."[14]

Jean released an album in September 2007 that he recorded in Atlanta, Georgia, with the help of T.I.. Recently, Wyclef released a new song called "Sweetest Girl (Dollar Bill)" featuring Lil' Wayne, Niia and Akon, which references the song "C.R.E.A.M." by the Wu-Tang Clan. The album also features a single, "Fast Car", whose video was made with the assistance of video game Burnout Paradise. In November 2008, an upbeat single 'Let Me Touch Your Button' featuring will.i.am (of The Black Eyed Peas) was released in the UK in conjunction with Wyclef's invovlement with UK MOTOROKRSTAR (which sees Motorola UK on the search to discover British talent).[15]

In 2009, he featured in a song called "Spanish Fly" with Ludacris and Bachata group Aventura in Aventura's upcoming album "The Last" which came out in June.

On June 17, 2009, Wyclef announced via Twitter that his new album will be called wyclefjean to be released sometime in February 2010.[citation needed] The first single off of wyclefjean is to be titled "Seventeen" and will feature Lil' Wayne.[16]

In November 2009, A track titled "Suicide Love" featuring rapper Eve leaked online prior to the release of his EP.

Wyclef Jean's EP named From the Hut, to the Projects, to the Mansion was released on November 10, 2009. It includes 17 tracks, featuring Cyndi Lauper, Timbaland, Eve, and Lil' Kim.[17] In this album, Wyclef uses the alias Toussaint St. Jean, his alter ego when he raps.

Jean's self-entitled studio album is due to be released in 2010. "Hold On," the lead single from the project will feature Dancehall artist Mavado.[17]

Yéle Haiti

Wyclef at the ONEXONE benefit in San Francisco, October 2008

In 2005, Jean established the Yéle Haiti Foundation. In its first year of operation, the foundation, with funding by Comcel, provided scholarships to 3,600 children in Gonaïves, Haiti, after the devastation by Hurricane Jeanne. In its second year of operation, it is almost doubling the amount of the scholarships and spreading them throughout Haiti, providing tuition in 5 regions. The foundation aims to provide 6,800 scholarships to children in Port-au-Prince, Gonaïves, Les Cayes, Port-de-Paix, and Cap-Haïtien.[citation needed]

The Foundation filed its tax forms for 2005–2007 all in August 2009, a delay Charity Navigator characterized as "odd" even among charities, and "beyond late".[18] Much of Yéle Haiti's money has been paid out to Wyclef Jean, his relative and fellow Yéle Haiti director Jerry Duplessis, or companies they own. For example, the Foundation claimed about $1,000,000 in revenue for 2006, but paid $250,000 to Telemax, a television station controlled by Jean and Duplessis, $31,000 to rent its own offices from Platinum Sound owned by Jean and Duplessis,[19] and $100,000 for Jean's own performance at a benefit concert in Monaco, when Jean had been paid only $40,000 as headliner at 2002 festival at the top of his career with the Fugees.[20]

Hugh Locke, president of Yéle Haiti, said "I think people should be very comfortable that any money given to Yéle Haiti is going 100 percent to emergency relief." and that the group hopes to increase the percentage of its budget on services as it gains experience.[19] He described the concert payments as "not our finest hour".[20] A spokeman for Yéle Haiti's public relations firm described paying Jean's and Duplessis' companies as an opportunity to receive services at a "severely reduced" rate and a "significant discount".[19]

Yéle Haiti, and its predecessor the Wyclef Jean Foundation, have been involuntarily dissolved by the Florida Division of Corporations on multiple occasions for failing to file required state disclosure reports.[21] Of the $1,142,944 in total revenue the foundation collected in 2006, at least $410,000 was paid directly to Jean and his business partner for rent, production services, and Jean's appearance at a benefit concert.[22]

In a 2009 interview with Allhiphop.com writer Han O'Connor, Wyclef stated that his priority for the organization was to raise money to build the Yéle Center, which would be a facility that consists of a sports center, Wyclef Jean School of the Arts, a cultural center focusing on the environment and an internet café. During the interview he claimed that he feels the key to improving the situation in Haiti is to build sustainable opportunity.[17]

After the earthquake on January 12, 2010 in Haiti, Jean called on others to donate to his foundation's Yéle Haiti Earthquake Fund, imploring "We must act now."[23][24]

Jean has been active in his support of his native country and created the foundation Yéle Haiti[25] to provide humanitarian aid and assistance to Haiti. He describes Yéle as a non-political organization intended to empower the people of Haiti and the Haitian diaspora to rebuild their nation, saying, "The objective of Yéle Haiti is to restore pride and a reason to hope, and for the whole country to regain the deep spirit and strength that is part of our heritage".[citation needed]. Yéle Haiti was created in October 2004 with Wyclef's cousin Jerry 'Wonder' Duplessis and humanitarian experts Sanjay Rawal and Natabara Rollosson. Projects were launched in January 2005. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were present for the first anniversary of the launch in 2006.

In January 2007, Jean became a roving ambassador for Haiti, to help improve its image abroad.[26]

May 20, 2008 – Yéle Haiti partnered with WFP (World Food Programme) of the United Nations to launch www.togetherforhaiti.org

September, 2008 – Wyclef in conjunction with Yéle Haiti Charity delivered food to Hurricane Ike victims in Haiti. Matt Damon provided assistance in the food lines serving food.

Oct 23, 2008 – Wyclef Jean performed on stage with Carlos Santana in San Francisco on behalf of Yéle Haiti, OneXOne, and WaterPartners International to raise funds for clean water, education, health, environment, and community development in the USA and in the developing world.

In 2009, Wyclef Jean and the The Timberland Company joined forces to help raise environmental awareness in Haiti. This duo "will be a multi-platform effort incorporating Timberland products, digital and social media, service events, music, and concerts that will promote environmental awareness." The campaign will push to support and educate the country as well as helping to improve health care and the environment, and the community. Wyclef Jean also plans to spread information about the joint efforts through social media outlets such as "Twitter, YouTube, Myspace, Facebook, imeem, and Social Vibe."[27] He also aims to use social networking websites to help raise money to build the Yéle Center.[17]

In January 2010, along with his uncle Raymond Joseph, Haitian ambassador to the US, Wyclef issued an appeal for international aid following the devastating 2010 Haiti earthquake. Yéle Haiti also came under "fiscal scrutiny" for some questionable payments made to Wyclef and his businesses.[19][28] The tax returns can be seen on thesmokinggun.com website.[29]

Also following the Haitian earthquake, ABC News uncovered how e-mail spammers posed as Jean to siphon money from potential donors to his foundation. Thousands of people reportedly received the message, which software security groups and charity watchdogs said was a scam.[30]


Wyclef performing at the Mezzanine in San Francisco to a full house, July 2008

Wyclef's waterfront mansion that was purchased through his corporation on Pine Tree Drive in Miami Beach, Florida, is now owned by a bank as of November 2008. The property is valued at US$1.4 million.[31] He took out a US$2-million mortgage to purchase and renovate the property, but fell behind in payments. There are more than $100,000 in construction and architectural liens associated with the property. The house was reported to be auctioned at the Miami-Dade Courthouse on December 12, 2008. Wyclef Jean's corporation, which he and a few friends set up several years ago, then owed the bank US$2.4 million.[32]

In January 2009, Wyclef mentioned, in a walk-by interview, that the problems with their Miami property were due to a contractor's sitting on the job for two years, and that the court-ordered sale did not take place, and that he plans to sell the property later.[33][34][35]

Appearances in television and film

  • Was a musical guest star on Nickelodeon sketch comedy show All That" during the 1990s.
  • In 1997, toured "Carnival" album on MTV's "Live from the 10 Spot" at the Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan.
  • Performed "Sweetest Girl" on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
  • Performed "President" on the second season of Chappelle's Show.
  • In 2001, he appeared in the made-for-television movie Carmen: A Hip Hopera alongside Beyonce and Mos Def, as a fortune teller.
  • Performed on the 2003 Source Awards with DJ Khaled.
  • Appeared for a second time on Chappelle's Show in a parody of Making the Band.
  • Appeared on the The Apprentice (US Season 4) in 2005. Did a rap, "Rubble Man", with the winning team, Excel, as their reward for winning task five.
  • Also in 2005, he played gang leader Marcel Hollis who leads his group on an assault on the station house in the NBC television drama Third Watch.
  • In 2004, Jean, Pras and Hill reunited as The Fugees for an event filmed and released in 2006 as Dave Chappelle's Block Party.
  • He also starred in Virgin Mobile commercials as himself.[36] In one commercial, a woman approaches him and tricks him into signing a contract which legally binds them in marriage. She drags him back to her trailer-park home where he is mistreated, forced to work and pleasure his wife. Eventually, he runs away and seeks police assistance, but is instead arrested for violating his contract and ultimately winds up in jail.
  • Appeared in 2002 Jamaican gangster film Shottas, released in 2006.
  • In 2005, he played the role of a Jamaican drug dealer in the movie Dirty.
  • He narrated the movie Full Clip, starring Busta Rhymes, Xzibit, Prodigy of Mobb Deep, Spliff Star, and others.
  • He has appeared and performed on the Source Awards with DJ Khaled, with Wyclef and his band and Khaled doing turntables.
  • He appears in the documentary film Ghosts of Cité Soleil, released in limited theaters on June 27, 2007.
  • In 2005, he appeared in the film One Last Thing.... His character is a cab driver named Emmett Ducasse. It is implied he is an angel due to being in the main character's "Heaven". Wyclef also has an original track that is the closing credits first song. The song is "Heaven's in New York".
  • In December 2007, starred in the four-part MTV exclusive online short-film Americlef[37]
  • On April 26, 2008 he hosted the MTV Australia Awards
  • He appeared on a remix of his own track "Bubblegoose" for Chef Aid: The South Park Album, where he sings alongside the main characters of the show.
  • Created a music video at the University of San Francisco for the song "President" in February 2008.
  • May 20, 2008: At the Gansevoort Hotel, Wyclef Jean in partnership with the WFP and PADF launched TOGETHER FOR HAITI to address the hunger crisis in HAITI www.togetherforhaiti.org http://think.mtv.com/044FDFFFF009898BA00170098F67D/ members of the American and international television and print media were invited to cover the news. UN envoy Jeffrey Sachs introduced Jean. Supermodel Petra Nemcova was on hand to support. A surprise appearance was made by Paul Simon.
  • August 25, 2008: Wyclef Jean goes "On The Record" with Greta Van Susteren of FOX News discussing his life and career, political coverage, Obama, McCain, Bush and 9-11.
  • January 11, 2009: Wyclef Jean is featured on 60 Minutes
  • January 30, 2009: Wyclef Jean is featured on The Musical Brain on CTV.
  • TV appearance on "30 Rock."
  • FIFA 10 Soundtrack "MVP Kompa"
  • Performed on David Letterman with Cyndi Lauper and DJ Rekha on Monday, November 16, 2009, singing "Slumdog Millionaire"
  • Performed on the Nobel Peace Prize Concert In Oslo(Norway), December 11, 2009.
  • Was a guest speaker on Hope For Haiti Now telethon, January 22, 2010.
  • Was a guest speaker on the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards, January 31, 2010.



  1. ^ Rolling Stone interview: "Wyclef Jean Q&A: How the Ex-Fugee Got His Groove Back"
  2. ^ "The James R. Cameron Center for History, Law, & Government at Eastern Nazarene College: Our Graduates". http://www.enc.edu/history/alumni.html. Retrieved January 12, 2010. 
  3. ^ Century, Douglas (February 11, 2007), "Alpine, N.J., Home of Hip-Hop Royalty", The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/11/arts/music/11cent.html, retrieved 2008-02-16 .
  4. ^ http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/10/02/wyclef_jean_to_attend_berklee_college_of_music/ Boston Globe: Wyclef Jean to attend Berklee Conservtory
  5. ^ http://myayiti.com/2008/09/fusha-by-marie-claudinette-jean/ Fusha By Marie Claudinette Jean
  6. ^ http://www.contactmusic.com/news.nsf/story/wyclef-and-wife-renew-vows_1114517
  7. ^ "Wyclef Jean Appointed Haitian Goodwill Ambassador". XXLmag.com. 19 October 2007. http://www.xxlmag.com/online/?p=15152. Retrieved 13 January 2009. 
  8. ^ http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16459449/
  9. ^ http://www.haitipressnetwork.com/news.cfm?articleID=12632
  10. ^ Peisner, David (February 2007). "Rock Stars Who've Caught Fire Onstage!". Blender Magazine Online. http://www.blender.com/guide/articles.aspx?ID=2531&src=blender_ed. Retrieved 2007-03-02. 
  11. ^ BBC News (October 2, 2000): "MTV Europe Music Awards: The nominations"
  12. ^ Ghosts Of Cité Soleil - Casting Info (2005)
  13. ^ Film Journal International (June 27, 2007): Ghosts of Cité Soleil (review by Frank Lovece)
  14. ^ Pras Goes Homeless On Film, Says Fugees CD Is 'Dead'
  15. ^ Wyclef Jean interview by Pete Lewis, 'Blues & Soul' December 2008
  16. ^ Lil Wayne Will Be Joining Wyclef Jean On His Next Single “Seventeen”
  17. ^ a b c d e "Wyclef: Leading The Revolution" by Han O'Connor (Allhiphop)
  18. ^ Miniutti, Sandra (2010-01-16). "Wyclef Jean's Yéle Haiti Foundation". Mahwah, New Jersey: Charity Navigator. http://blog.charitynavigator.org/2010/01/wyclef-jeans-Yéle-haiti-foundation.html. Retrieved 2010-01-21. 
  19. ^ a b c d Kinzie, Susan (2010-01-16). "Wyclef Jean's Yele Haiti Foundation under fiscal scrutiny". The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/15/AR2010011504024.html. Retrieved 2010-01-21. 
  20. ^ a b "Wyclef's Funny Money, Part II". The Smoking Gun. Turner Broadcasting System. 2010-01-19. http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2010/0119101wyclef1.html. Retrieved 2010-01-21. 
  21. ^ http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2010/0115102wyclef1.html
  22. ^ http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2010/0114102wyclef1.html
  24. ^ "Wyclef Jean Haiti Earthquake Appeal". 3threat Media. 2010-01-13. http://3threatmedia.wordpress.com/2010/01/13/wyclef-jean-appeal-following-haiti-earthquake/. Retrieved 2010-01-18. 
  25. ^ yele.org
  26. ^ BBC News (4 January 2007): "Wyclef becomes Haiti 'ambassador'"
  27. ^ Wyclef, Timberland Join Forces to Assist Haiti Through Social Media
  28. ^ http://money.cnn.com/2010/01/18/news/international/wyclef_haiti/
  29. ^ [1]
  30. ^ Drew Sandholm. "Wyclef Jean or Spammer? E-Mail Scammers Pose as Yele Haiti", ABC News. January 26, 2010. Accessed 28 Jan. 2010.
  31. ^ http://www.page2live.com/2008/11/20/foreclosure-hits-music-star-wyclef-jean/
  32. ^ http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/riptide/2008/11/wyclef_jeans_foreclosed_mansio.php
  33. ^ http://www.tmz.com/2009/01/26/wyclef-home-a-loan/
  34. ^ http://www.miami-dadeclerk.com/civil/docketinfo.asp?pCase_Year=2008&pCase_Seq=3018&pCase_Code=CA&pCase_Loc=01&id=AAAHgHAAOAAAaZ/AAv
  35. ^ http://www.miami-dadeclerk.com/civil/docketinfo.asp?pCase_Year=2008&pCase_Seq=16954&pCase_Code=CA&pCase_Loc=01&id=AAAHgHAAOAAAa5VAAK
  36. ^ Partizan - Commercials - Doug Nichol
  37. ^ MTV Online

External links

Simple English

Wyclef Jean
Birth name Wyclef Neluset Jean
Also known as Wyclef
Born October 17, 1972 (1972-10-17) (age 38)
Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti
Origin Newark, New Jersey, United States
Genres Hip hop, reggae, compas, R&B, folk
Occupations Musician, singer-songwriter, producer, actor
Instruments Vocals, guitar, piano, drums
Years active 1987–present
Labels Ruffhouse, Columbia, J, Koch
Associated acts Fugees, Akon, Shakira, Serj Tankian
Website www.wyclef.com

Wyclef Neluset Jean (born October 17, 1972) is a multi-platinum Haitian-American musician, actor, producer and former-member of the hip hop trio The Fugees. Wyclef has sold more than 31 million albums[1] throughout his career, together with his album sales with The Fugees.


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