Wyclef Jean Opens Up About Lauryn Hill, A Fugees Reunion, Yele Haiti Controversy, and Chris Christie
Haitian American artist Wyclef Jean is back in the news, but he’s not just talking about his music.
In this recent article with The Daily Beast, Jean opened up about his romantic relationship with former band mate Lauryn Hill, his AIDS charity track, his controversial charity organization, his feelings about Jersey Governor Chris Christie and a possible Fugees reunion.
Here is a few excerpt from the interview.
Do you see a Fugees reunion happening anytime soon?
I mean… I think possibilities are always endless. For me, it just always has to be bigger than the music. And that band wasn’t just about the music; it was about the movement.
With the charity thing, I want to talk about your old controversial charity Yele Haiti, because I’m still not entirely sure what happened there. From what I’ve read, the New York Attorney General’s Office had launched an investigation into it and alleged that the charity had made improper payments to you and your family.
That is completely false. If you saw me on Oprah when we talked about the Yele situation, first of all, for there to be a misappropriation of funds and for funds to go to my family, there would have to be accounts of that, you know?
But Yele also came under fire for not filing tax returns for a number of years, so there wasn’t a paper trail.
First of all, I’m the founder of the charity. So, similar to any other celebrity that has a charity, I’m the foundation. Now, the foundation has presidents, boards, and accountants, and their job is to file. So when they didn’t file, they did their due diligence and filed all the paperwork that we were asked to provide. Everything we were asked to do, we’ve done it. Within every foundation, will there be mistakes and errors? Yes. If you’re in the middle of a crisis and there’s an earthquake and you’re trying to help 250,000 people, you’re just trying to get them water. That’s what I was thinking. It’s not my job to be filing paperwork. It would be impossible for me to be doing all that; I’m not that gifted
In your book, you wrote about your romance with Lauryn while you were in the Fugees, and how your break-up led to tension between you two and ultimately, the dissolution of the group. Was there lingering resentment over you choosing your wife over Lauryn?
I don’t know… you’d have to ask her about that. All I can say is that, in the course of history, this isn’t the first time something like this has happened, and yes, as human beings, there’s always some kind of resentment.
You once said you’re a “big fan” of Sarah Palin’s. Do you regret saying that?
I mean James Brown supported Nixon. At the end of the day, we have a voice and things can be taken out of context. Basically what I was saying is that these United States of America is a great place because even Sarah Palin can do Sarah Palin. The day that you take the speech away from someone’s mouth, then we’re no longer the United States of America. That’s what I was saying.
How do you feel about Chris Christie as a politician? You’re a Jersey guy and still live there.
I mean I followed the “Bridgegate” scandal and all of that. It comes with the territory. But at the end of the day, as a governor, you have to be stern and there are decisions you have to make. I feel his strong in what he does. Period. If you were to ask me if I think the governor is doing a great job in Jersey thus far, I’d say he’s handling things sternly, but the way they’re supposed to be handled.