Nine years ago, Wyclef Jean announced his trek to become president of Haiti. The public decision was made after the country endured a damaging earthquake that altered its external and internal infrastructure. Now, during the Cannes Lions Festival, Jean is revisiting that time he stepped into the world of politics.
“What I did in Haiti, it has galvanized the youth around the entire world because sometimes our job is not to get there, but our job is to inspire the next generation to get there,” the “Gone Till November” singer said, according to Page Six. He continued, “I need people to understand that rappers have brains. I really don’t think they understand how smart celebrities are. Not all of them, you know, but a lot of them.”
In a 2010 interview with TIME, Jean, 49, outlined his reason for seeking the presidential seat. “The quake drove home to me that Haiti can’t wait another 10 years for us to bring it into the 21st century,” he said. “If I can’t take five years out to serve my country as President, then everything I’ve been singing about, like equal rights, doesn’t mean anything.”
According to The Guardian, the country’s electoral council rejected Jean’s ballot for office but opted to not give a reason as to its decision. Still, the desire to be involved in politics in his home country has remained prevalent since his youth. “I’m all about job creation,” he noted. “That’s my whole thing within my country.”