V-Exclusive: Pras Chats New Haitian President, Rift With Wyclef, Fugees Reconciliation
Pras’ support of Haitian rapper-turned-president Michel Martelly (aka Sweet Micky) caused a rift between he and former Fugee group mate, Wyclef Jean for obvious reasons. However, in light of Martelly’s victory, Pras and Wyclef have declared a truce for the sake of rebuilding the earthquake-shattered country.
In a documentary entitled, Sweet Micky For Prezidan (in theaters this Fall), Pras narrates Martelly’s journey from an unlikely candidate for Haiti’s leader to the victor, and tells the tale of a country still fighting for renewal.
But no interview with any former Fugee would be complete without mentioning whether the group will reconcile for the sake of music. Pras is modest when he answers the question but says the possibility looks good. (Editor’s note: A reliable source told us that there’s a 98% chance it will happen).
Talk about Sweet Micky the movie.
The documentary is about the scope of Michel Martelly, who was sworn to come in as the president elected of Haiti. He’s a friend and musician, who I helped to get the election. I suggested to him that he should run for president. The documentary is about that, but also a country that has been so devastated for over a hundred years, but it still has a splendor of culture and history being the first Black republic ever in mankind. Yet it still couldn’t find its independence, economics or stability in the world. The irony is, it took a musician, who under normal circumstances wouldn’t have been able to run or been taken seriously. But, as the documentary focuses on the election, it also gives you a history and perspective on Haiti.It’s like hybrid history of Haiti through the eyes of the election.
Where is Haiti right now in terms of the clean up from the earthquake?
Haiti right now is at the level of, obviously there’s a new president; he’s been there for maybe two or three months. It’s just basically getting its footing together. The president is trying to get his government together. A prime minister still hasn’t been elected. The way it works, you have to nominate the prime minister. You can’t have a government until you have a prime minister, because the president is not the majority. Think of him the way Obama is right now and the Republicans are the majority so they control the house. Martelly is like that.
What do you feel Martelly can do for the country?
When you talk about politically, I can’t sit here and talk to you about how’s he’s going to govern or what his policies are going to be but I believe he’s going to be effective. The country is going to be moving in a different direction than it has normally, meaning, it’s going to be a lot more open. You’re going to see a lot more small businesses popping up everywhere. It’s basically going to be a free market, whereas before it wasn’t, it was controlled. There was a sector of people, families who really had a foothold on the Haitian government, Haitian politics, and Haitian society. You’re going to have more people involved.You have the Diaspora and people like me who are not natural born Haitians, who are able to come down there and give our expertise and support.
In the documentary, you address the tension that arose between you and Wyclef when you didn’t support him as president. Where’s your relationship now?
Wyclef and I are doing great now. It was just a matter of politics at the time. Right now we’re just focused on helping the country. We’re older now. He understood it was strictly political. But, who knows, in the next five years, maybe he could be president of Haiti.
Where do you see Haiti in 10-15 years?
Man, I love to see Haiti on a path of stability, as far as infrastructure wise, financially and job creation. I love for Haiti in 10-15 years to be one of the destination spots everyone in world would love to come to. I would love to see us impacting the globe. When you look at Japan, Italy, France, England, Brazil now, India, China, and even Singapore, which was Haiti, 35-40 years ago, worse, and look at them now, Singapore is one of the richest colonies in the world, with only 6 million people living there. I think Haiti can get there if we put our minds and networks together. Everyone has to play their part. My part as a musician by bringing this medium and product to people, so they can say, “Wow, I didn’t know this about Haiti because every time I see Haiti, I see gunshots and riots, but I didn’t know these are resilient people. They’ve been in a situation that made them stronger.” People have been in a desperate situation and now it’s time to move forward.
Speaking of moving forward, someone from your camp told me you guys were officially reconciling with Lauryn Hill for a Fugees reunion. Can you talk about that?
He told you that? Yeah, I was talking to him and basically, Wyclef, myself and all of us, it seems like over the years, we’ve said things about Lauryn Hill that aren’t really nice things to say, if you will. But, we felt like⎯just like you are asking me about my stance with Wyclef, I’ll tell you it’s great, because at the end of the day, we’re all still adults. We’ve been doing this, it’s been 15 years since The Score and we’ve been together since ’88. So, on Lauryn⎯congratulations to her by the way on her 6th child, a healthy beautiful baby boy⎯we’re all adults. Everyone has children or family needs so now we’re in the next stage of reconciling and I can say that I was wrong. I can sit here and tell you if it wasn’t for Lauryn and Wyclef, I wouldn’t be where I was at, even though I originally founded and started the group. But, I think I was blessed to have found as someone as incredible as Wyclef and someone as beautiful and talented as Lauryn Hill. Let’s keep it all the way real. Just like family, you get frustrated with each other sometimes. Right now, we just feel good about each other and we’re at a more stable state of mind and place in our lives. And I just feel like, reconciling with Lauryn Hill for anything I said publicly that was negative. At the end of the day, Lauryn Hill is the greatest, one the greatest that has come in the last 20 plus years. So, we’re just moving on and I know she’s doing a lot of work, she’s getting her mojo back and she would love the hear that. I know a lot fans are excited to see her get back and see what she does best. I know we’re excited and I’m a straight-up cheerleader, I’m a fan.
What would it take for ya’ll to do that reunion concert?
I don’t know, I guess everyone would have to come and be in the same frame of mind. That’s the thing about the group, we’re never going to do or say something unless we really feel a need. As long as we all feel good and we’re on the same page and the mood is right, we’ll do it.
On a scale of likely hood, of one to ten, what’s the likely hood it will happen?
All I can say to you is, I think everyone is in the right mindset. I can say we’re in a better position than one or five years ago. I’m always optimistic. I always feel like there’s going to be that light at the end of the tunnel. So, this tunnel, there’s a light at the end and I feel positive about reaching into that light.