- Faith & Family
Haitian-American rapper Wyclef Jean was recently honored by the city of North Miami for his dedication to humanitarian work across the world. Jean received the Key to the City award and was also inducted into North Miami’s Hall of Fame He is the first and only Haitian-American to receive that honor.
“I want to thank all of the dignitaries that came from all over,” Jean said. “I really appreciate you all 100 percent. I would like also to personally recognize the mayor of North Miami for giving me this honor.”
Jean has been widely recognized for his work with his foundation Yele Haiti. In 2005, Jean established the Yéle Haiti Foundation. In its first year of operation, the foundation provided scholarships to 3,600 children in Gonaives, Haiti, after the devastation by Hurricane Jeanne. In its second year of operation, it almost doubled the amount of the scholarships , spreading them throughout Haiti to provide tuition in 5 regions. The foundation aims to provide 6,800 scholarships to children in Port-au-Prince, Gonaïves, Les Cayes and Port-de-Paix. After the earthquake on January 12, 2010 in Haiti, Jean called on others to donate to his foundation’s Yéle Haiti Earthquake Fund. Jean has been active in his support of his native country and created the foundation Yéle Haiti 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.
“I just want to say thank you so much Mr. Jean for continuing to show and continuing to put your words in to action to show this world just how much you really care,” said Mayor of North Miami Andre Pierre.
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.
By Randy Grice