Cops Beat Down Professional Camera Man for Filming Them.. Very Scary

So this week we have all our so-called respectable news outlets rushing off to London to cover a Royal wedding.. While this is happening here’s what we are missing… Take a look at this Las Vegas cop beating up a professional camera man for filming him..Keep in mind there are numerous actors and celebrity types ranging from Sean Penn to Dennis Rodman who have faced jail time and made to p[ay serious fines for smashing on the paparazzi.. Apparently when it comes to the police, they can do whatever they want with impunity.. This is what Mitchell Crooks found out the hard way…Sad state of affairs..Whats the excuse for this?.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsR44NLu5f0

Just so folks know this isn’t isolated.. look what happened in Oakland 2 years ago. This incident caused a veteran ABC News camera man who been at his job 27 years to retire because of threats from police..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufHI4YRm6OU

12 Beefs We Should Remember from 2010

It’s that time of year again where we look back, remember and reflect on what went down this past year- 2010.. For me, there was so much making it hard to put it all in one essay.  But I figured, lemme try and reflect a bit at atime..So here ya go..

Here’s ‘12 Oh Snap, You Remember That Beef ? for 2010.. Some were funny, Some not so funny.. Some we just shouldn’t forget. And just so folks know, because I know y’all are gonna ask,  I didn’t include Oscar Grant vs Police, Shirley Sherrod vs the NAACP or the BP Oil Spill. Those will be for my year end write up.  I wanna go in on those topics in a different way..Also I forgot to include the conflict Bishop Eddie Long had with 4 young men in his church who accused him of sexual misconduct.  I’ll include in my end of year write up as well.. In the mean time enjoy-Enjoy

-Davey D-

12Trae the Truth vs the Boxx. This was an under-reported beef which could’ve and should’ve had far-reaching implications. At the core of  this beef was a nagging question: ‘What happens when a radio station not only decides to ban your music because of a disagreement, but fires it’s deejays and bans other artists who even associate with the artist? thats banned?

This is what happened with one of Houston’s most popular artists Trae the Truth. Earlier this year, he had an argument with an on air personality where she clowned him on air. He clowned her back  in a mixtape and the next thing you know he was banned.

Trae although not happy could deal with it until the station started insisting to local promoters and other artists that Trae not be included on their bills and songs.  Any one caught supporting Trae would be banned from the The Boxx. Several of the the Box’s deejays including popular host , Brandi Garcia were fired for supporting Trae or playing his records at nightclubs.

Such punitive actions prompted Trae to sue the radio station, which in turn set off all sorts of debates about the responsibility of those who control the public airwaves.

Here’s a video of the press conference along with an Open Letter to the KBXX

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4V4m-nXwa9s

Scarface

11Scarface vs VHI Hip Hop Honors.. I don’t know if this was a beef in the traditional sense with lots of animosity, but neverthless it was one that got a lot of people talking in 2010.

Hip Hop legend Scarface decided to address VH1 about their Hip Hop Honors show and how they were going about honoring Southern artists-which was this year’s theme.

Scarface who was to be honored, shocked everyone when he returned his invitation> he got major props from fans when he penned an open letter detailing the reasons for his decision. He felt it was important to stand up for a region that is often overlooked and clowned.  He wanted long term changes not just honors at an awards show. He penned the following words for Ozone Magazine

I was nominated [to be honored at the Dirty South Hip Hop Honors] but I declined to accept because I don’t wanna be classified as just “Dirty South.” I’m Hip Hop, man. I’m not going because I feel slighted. Even though it was a nice gesture, I feel like it’s just a pacifier. They’re like, “Let’s give these niggas down there a pacifier so they can stop feeling left out. We’ll make Luke and all these niggas down there look funny,” you know? “Let’s put a plate of fried chicken and some watermelon and let’s just do some nigga-ass shit.” (laughs) Quote, end quote. “Some nigga-ass shit.” Fried chicken and watermelon. “Shit, the faster we get this over with, the better.”

peep the rest of the letter HERE

10Al Sharpton vs Tavis Smiley: In 2010, many of us were waiting for boxers Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao to mix it up. That didn’t happen but we go the next best thing.. two Civil Rights leaders, Al Sharpton and Tavis Smiley going at on the airwaves.. Now in my opinion it wasn’t over trivial stuff although some tried to make it so..

It was a spirited debate over how President Obama was handling issues important to the African American community.  Tavis felt the President has not been on the case the way he should.. Al Sharpton who had just visited the White House along with other Civil Rights leaders, took issue with the way Tavis was coming at him..

He felt Tavis was grand standing and trying to act like his annual State of Black Union Roundtable was the be all end all..This played out on the air and generated tons of debate..

Many got sidetracked by the pairs respective personalities as folks weighed in on what they liked or didn’t like about both men. On the flip side, many vigorously debated the hard questions about Obama and whether or not he’s been responsive to Black America.Check out the story and the audio archives HERE-Tavis vs Sharpton

Eventually Tavis held his roundtable in Chicago under the name  ‘We Count’. Minister Farrakhan showed up and drop serious gems about President Obama and how we should view his presidency. He went in on whether or not African-Americans should publicly be criticizing him.. I think its worth a listen.. Check it out HERE-Minister Farrakhan Speaks on Obama

Related to all this,  are the videos put out by two of Tavis running buddies, Professors Cornel West and Michael Eric Dyson. Throughout 2010  both went in on Obama.. Cornel got at Obama for not addressing the poor during his state of the Union address..Apparently President Obama didn’t appreciate Dr West’s critique and stepped to Cornel about that.. Dyson got at Obama for waffling on important issue.. He suggested that he be more like Bush and stop bowing down to his enemies.

Actor Sean Penn went in on Wyclef said he's been MIA for the past 6 months

09Sean Penn vs Wyclef Jean:..Actor Sean Penn is never one to pull punches and he most definitely lived up to his rep  during a CNN Interview when asked about his thoughts on singer Wyclef Jean running for President of Haiti.

Penn went in on Clef and basically said that his campaign was fanciful and that while it excited many of his fans in the United States, there was little excitement on the ground in Haiti because Wyclef had been missing in action for the past few months.. Penn said he feared that Wyclef would be used and become a shield for corporate interests and policies that have resulted in Haiti’s extreme economic hardships which were exasperated in the wake of Haiti’s devastating Earthquake where over 100 thousand people perished  You can peep Penn’s comments HERE..-Sean Penn Goes In on Wyclef

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6UK8lf6o3c

Many of Wyclef’s supporters who saw this newscast and immediately accused Penn of being the ultimate Hater. Many  were still reeling and circling the wagons after see Wyclef endure what many felt were unfair attacks on his YELE Charity.

If folks recall shortly after the earthquake Wyclef set up a charity where you could donate by texting to a number. Your donation would be added to your cell phone bill. As money came rolling in there were all sorts of unflattering stories that surfaced that came accused Wyclef of shoddy book-keeping.

He was accused of keeping the money after he did a couple of events and it wasn’t long before  the criticisms levied at him took on nasty racial tones. Many took offense as they saw Wyclef tirelessly working on relief efforts and they came to his aid  especially after held a tearful press conference defending his charity.

Others nodded their head in agreement with Penn because they knew what time it really was politically speaking in the embattled nation . Many knew about Wyclef’s political leanings including the fact that him and his Uncle,  Ambassador Raymond Joseph supported harsh policies championed by former  President Bill Clinton which included the suppression and banning of Haiti’s largest political party the Lavalas and the harsh removal (overthrow) of democratically elected President Jean Bertrand Aristide..

What was really crazy about this situation was Wyclef’s cousin and fellow Fugee member Pras came out and endorsed Wyclef’s rival.. a popular musician named Sweet Mickey. He explains why he was not supporting his famous cousin HERE-Pras Says No to Wyclef Run for President

John Mayer

08- John Mayer’s Racist Remarks.. At the start of the year everyone loved John Mayer. He was a fufunky white dude  embraced by many in the hood especially after he did some skits on the Dave Chappelle show. He hung out with iconic musicians like Questlove and pretty much was seen as ‘that guy’. There were quite a few sistas who felt like if given a chance they would get at him.. Everything was cool until Mayer did an interview for Playboy Magazine and said the following;

“I don’t think I open myself to it. My dick is sort of like a white supremacist. I’ve got a Benetton heart and a fuckin’ David Duke cock. I’m going to start dating separately from my dick. …I always thought Holly Robinson Peete was gorgeous. Every white dude loved Hilary from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. And Kerry Washington. She’s super hot and she’s also white-girl crazy. Kerry Washington would break your heart like a white girl. Just all of a sudden she’d be like, ‘Yeah, I sucked his dick. Whatever.'”

Folks were stunned when they read these other remarks:

Someone asked me the other day, “What does it feel like now to have a hood pass?” And by the way, it’s sort of a contradiction in terms, because if you really had a hood pass, you could call it a nigger pass. Why are you pulling a punch and calling it a hood pass if you really have a hood pass? But I said, “I can’t really have a hood pass. I’ve never walked into a restaurant, asked for a table and been told, ‘We’re full

This was all said in addition to him bragging about his sexual exploits with exes like Jessica Simpson and Jennifer Anniston. People did not hold back and went in on Mayer and let him have it.. Among them was author Adam Mansbach who penned an widely read article reminding us that Mayer was no different from Senator Harry Reid who earlier this year attributed President Obama’s success to him not ot having a Negro Dialect.

He reminded us that Mayer was no different from former Vice Presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, radio host Don Imus, comedian Michael Richards and baseball player John Rocker along with a host of others who crossed the line and made over the top racially charged remarks. You can peep Mansbach’s column HERE-“And the Hood Pass..

As the firestorm erupted Mayer soon found himself twittering apologies trying to clean things up. He even stopped a concert to let folks know how wrong he was.. Not sure if Mayer got his ‘hood pass back.’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npASm6_8vLc

Solar

07Solar vs the World… The untimely death of Hip Hop legend Guru was sad enough. The beloved emcee had touched us all and his passing earlier this year left us all wanting to come together and collectively mourn. Unfortunately that was disrupted by Guru’s producer/partner Solar whose actions and words left a sour taste in everyone’s mouth.

Many were disheartened when a farewell letter Solar produced depicted Guru as someone on his death-bed who was bitter and vengeful. The letter stated that Solar would handle all his affairs control his business dealings. The letter also stated that his former deejay and partner DJ Premier should not be associated with him at all..

Folks were skeptical about the authenticity of the letter  and felt like Solar was out-of-pocket and being manipulative. Many accused him of isolating Guru from his family and was using his death as a way to uplift himself. Whatever speculation folks had about Solar was bolstered by this disturbing video from Guru’s nephew Justin.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TNkP4pH6-0

Folks were even more disheartened when reports came out accusing Solar of beating down Guru on numerous occasions and that the two were entangled in some sort of abusive love relationship.

Things got so bad Solar wound up going on MTV to deny the allegations..But even more stories came out about him beating Guru including this one from the mother of his child who went into great detail about what she had witnessed between the pair…

Sadly Guru’s death was marred by chant s and rally cries of ‘F–k Solar’. There was even a website set up http://www.fucksolar.com/ which professes to be documenting Solar’s downfall for Guru. The controversy surrounding Solar overshadowed the accomplishments of Keith ‘Guru’ Elam

06Helen Thomas vs Israel... She was considered the Dean of the White House Press Corps. 90 year old Helen Thomas was legendary. She sat in the front row and always asked sharp, pointed questions to more presidents than any other reporter. She was beloved by all the Presidents she took on until a video surfaced of her criticizing Israel..

What happened was Thomas was leaving the White House  after a celebration for Jewish Heritage Day when a reporter caught up with her  and asked her thoughts about Israel.

The feisty Thomas without hesitation said,  They (Israel) needed to get the Hell out of Palestine’.  She continued by saying the Jews that were there were occupiers and they need to go back home to Poland, Germany and America.

Now many of us weren’t clear if Thomas was referring to the settlements or she was talking in general. There was no opportunity to debate or ask. The reaction to her remarks were swift and punishing.

Within a day of her remarks, she was dropped by her agent. Her invitation to keynote at a university  was rescinded. Her book project was dropped. Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer condemned her. President Obama moon walked away from her and Thomas suddenly retired/ fired from the Hearst Corporation. She was labeled an anti-Semite  and her 57 years of reporting was forgotten about as she was quickly nicknamed Ms Hezzbollah and Ms Harmas. Thomas later apologized for upsetting folks but stuck by her remarks in interviews done after the incident. She said it was true Israel was a bully and was occupier and that any sort of criticism of the country was like touching the 3rd rail.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQcQdWBqt14

05Texas vs the US History… Leave it to the state of Texas to stir things up in such a way that the rest of the country gets impacted. Case in point, while most people ignored the election of folks to the Texas State Board of Education, a group of right-wing nuts got themselves on there and decided it was time to change things up. They started by proposing to remove important Black and Brown figures like Thurgood Marshall and Cesar Chavez and replace them with folks like conservative leader Newt Gingrich and the late Jerry Falwell.  They removed words like slavery and replaced it with a nice sounding name like Atlantic Triangular Trade. In short Texas decided to white wash history.

Sadly what many people failed to realize was that because Texas is such a large state, the changes it put in text books would impact 90% of the country because publishers would print books based on the huge amount Texas purchases. Related to this Texas Text Book controversy was Arizona passing a law to get rid of ethnic studies and teachers with accents.  Yep this all went down in 2010

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OUNw6SUt8k&feature=fvw

04- Epic Bearded Man vs Coolio (When keeping it real goes Wrong) … There was a crazy fight that took place earlier this year on Oakland’s famed AC Transit bus that caught the imagination of folks all over the country..  A senior citizen (Epic Bearded Man) 67 yrs old got into an exchange of words with a much younger man sporting braids  (he was dubbed Coolio). The argument stemmed from the Epic Bearded Man asking about a shoe shine and Coolio Man not appreciating the racial dynamics to the questions.. Words were exchanged. Epic Bearded man got up to leave.. but that wasn’t enough for Coolio who was being egged on a young woman filming the confrontation. Bearded man warned Coolio he was one white boy not mess and walked to the front of the bus and sat down in the senior citizen section.  Coolio didn’t head the warning.. He went up to the front of the bus took a swing ..the rest is history.

Coolio did not know Epic Man is also known as Vietnam Tom was said to be former special forces guy who served in Nam who is known for clocking fools including the police.His sister says he wasn’t in Nam.. Whatever the case Tom can fight..He’s no joke and put fools on notice.

After this incident went viral there was all sorts of follow-up interviews Also the young lady who filmed the clip and was seen stealing Tom’s wallet, got hacked and harassed for months … You can peep them here  Drama on AC Transit , Interviews with the Combatants

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wF6W3206l70

03-Dr Laura vs N**gers:  There’s not a whole lot one can write about this incident.. All you have to do is listen to the phone call and shake your head in utter astonishment.. Dr Laura reminded us just how backwards things can be at times in this country.. Her use of the N word 11 times was bad enough. What took it over the top was how dismissive she was to her troubled caller along with her overall analysis about race. Dr Laura basically told her caller there was no more racism because Obama was in office.  Y’all remember this call heard around the world?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAD-PipXGwA&feature=related

Debbie Riddle

Kind of in the same vein is Texas lawmaker Debbie Riddle who sort of looks like Dr Laura. Whereas Dr Laura went in on Black folks, lawmaker Riddle went in on Brown folks accusing them of having ‘anchor babies‘ and ‘terror babies‘.. Read about it HERE

Anchor babies are undocumented parents who have kids in the US so they can be citizens. Terror Babies are parents who have kids in the US take them back home, train them to be terrorists and then send them back to the US where they can supposedly enter legally and blow up stuff. Her assertions were so outrageous until you discovered that she is hard at work in the Texas legislature trying to pass 6 bills addressing these issues. She actually camped out in front of the capital to be first on the floor to get at these bills the day after the midterm elections

02 Arizona vs Brown Folks (SB 1070) This is an epic battle that is still being waged. Its one that all of us should be paying attention to because it shows what can happen when you get a few racist, backwards thinking people with a pen elected to office.

Arizona Lawmaker and White Supremacist supporter Russell Pearce sponsored the immigration bill

SB 1070 claims to be the toughest law in the country to stop the flow of undocumented folks from crossing the border. There are large numbers of White Supremacist forces behind this bill. Including long time Neo Nazi supporter Russell Pearse who is the brain child of behind this law. He’  successfully fought to ban ethnic studies in Arizona public schools and universities.

Sadly SB 1070 falls in line with Arizona’s sordid history of intolerance. Folks may recall this was the state that vigorously fought to NOT celebrate Martin Luther King‘s holiday. Only after a boycott pushed by singer Stevie Wonder which caused the state millions did they back off..

The passage of SB 1070 set off a slew of protests, boycotts and a number of songs and PSAs from prominent artists like Zack de La Roca, Talib Kweli, Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas, Cypress Hill, Johnny 5, Pittbull,  Toki Wright, Public Enemy and a number of Arizona based artists called Az Artists Unite. Many artists committed to boycotting the state in an effort called Sound Strike. The battle still wages shout out to all who have stood up.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjsqQvTooNc

Since we’re on the racism White Supremacist tip,  we can’t mention the hostility around SB 1070 and not talk about the drama around the Mosque at Ground Zero. As 9-11 drew close we saw innocent cab drivers stabbed in the throat, we saw Mosque get vandalized, we saw sitting Senators and Congressmen insist that American citizens who practice a religion remove themselves from an area that was populated with fast food joints and strip clubs.. We saw a Christian Pastor named Terry Jones threaten to burn Holy Qurans.

Islamaphobia is something else when it raises its ugly head and we should never forget how it’s close cousins to the racial intolerance displayed around undocumented immigrants. This video says it all

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwaNRWMN-F4

01Jimmy McMillan and Landlords Everywhere: We figured we end our year in beefs with one that everyone can relate to..NY Gubenatorial candidate Jimmy McMillan showed up at debate to remind folks what the real issue was in the middle of the worst recession in decades.. He repeated over and over.. he said The Rent is Too Damn High..McMillans words resonated with renters everywhere. Did rents get lowered as a result of this rallying cry? Not yet, but it sure feels good to say at the end of the month when handing in that rent check..

Although this is humorous this touched a nerve because it speaks to troubling underlying issues. Many of us had houses foreclosed on. Many could not get housing because of recently ruined credit. In some areas we saw rents skyrocket to the point of being more  than mortgages for houses.. Hello San Francisco??  We’ll leave you with this video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4o-TeMHys0

Bonus Beef: Chris Brown vs RazB: We had already completed our year end beef story and it was up and running when we got this strange tweet from former B2K member Raz B.. It read as follows..

Im just sittin here Thinking how can n@@as like @ebenet (Eric Benet) & @ChrisBrown disrespect women as Intelligent as @HalleBerry11 @Rihanna

Everyone reading this collectively said ‘Ooohhh’ and it was on.. Singer Chris Brown quickly retorted with a series of disses which referenced Raz B admission that he was molested as a young member of B2k.. Chris used homophobic terms terms like butt-plugged and homo-thug.. He also talked about the irrelevancy of Raz B’s career.

Raz B  returned fire and questioned Chris Brown’s sexuality with retorts like;

@Chrisbrown Do you hit your boyfriend @andre_merritt like you do your women?

These sorts of disses went on throughout the day resulting in Chris Brown looking like the bad guy even though he didn’t initiate the fight.  Many have noted Raz B as the one who is constantly seeking attention and by going after the embattled Chris Brown, who tweeted insults long after the initial outburst from Raz B.

Whatever attention Raz wanted, he succeeded in getting it. Ideally Chris should’ve ignored him… By responding, he not only made the national news (this was reported on Early Today )..He also brought into question his use of slurs offensive to gays. He also came across as one who was insensitive to victims of molestation.

Ideally it would’ve been good if the pair ended their beef and turned their venom to people like Fox News pundit Tucker Carlson who yesterday suggested that Eagles QB Michael Vick should’ve been executed.

Perhaps they could’ve went after racist Tea Party members or smashed on corrupt cops like the one who killed Oscar Grant.  Better yet.. they could’ve made plans to do a song together and set an example for young fans on how brothas can work together.  After all yesterday was the 4th day ofKwanzaa with the principle of the day being Ujamaa which means co-operative economics..

Imagine if the pair came together to raise money for those in need? Instead they raised money for comedians, gossip columnists and TV and radio shows who reported on their exploits. The beef between Chris Brown and Raz B was a fine example of ‘Negro Entertainment’.

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

Sean Penn Goes in on Wyclef, Cousin Pras Says No & Endorses Another Musician Activist for Haitian President

By now everyone has heard the big news about singer/humanitarian Wyclef Jean running for President of Haiti. It’s got everyone talking including many within the Hip Hop generation. For them the thought of  a Hip Hop artist of Wyclef’s stature becoming President of Haiti on the heels of Barack Obama becoming president of the United States is beyond exciting. People are already speculating what it would be like to have the pair as Presidents sit down and interact. People have already started talking about theme songs and perhaps new national anthems that Clef might pen. Others who have come to know about Haiti primarily through the songs, videos, stories and activism put forth by Clef, feel that him becoming President or even running is exactly what this impoverished nation needs. They feel Wyclef’s presence will put the country on the map in a good way and allow it to be seen in a new light.

Needless to say, when we let our imaginations run wild,  the possibilities of what Haiti can become with Wyclef at the helm are endless. Here’s what  Pittsburgh based Professor and artists Kimberely Ellis aka artist Dr Goddess penned in her essay ‘If I Ruled the World (Imagine That) where she lays out ten reason why Wyclef should run for President. Here’s a couple of them:

I have read and heard the criticism about Wyclef running and, while some of it is most certainly valid, like @FreedomTweet’s insistence that Haiti needs experienced leadership and can’t afford a gaffe at the Presidency, I am not sure that experience, alone, is necessary and it seems as though something more along the lines of a miracle is needed for Haiti. Divine intervention. I believe that, having seen these dead bodies and the extent of the destruction in Haiti up close and personal, Wycelf’s spirit was shaken to its core, his humanity was touched in a manner unparalleled and he feels “called” to do something much bigger than bringing in $10 million into Haiti via his foundation, Yele Haiti. I have no proof. It’s simply what I believe. There’s a reason why Wyclef was crying on television and that level of shamelessness in a hypermasculine culture is only brought about through divine intervention.

Professor Kimberley Ellis aka Dr Goddess believes that the devastation of the earthquake in Haiti has profoundly moved Wyclef and inspired him to a embrace a 'higher calling' of service for his country

Dr Goddess also raises up the question of what it would be like to have both Wyclef and Obama as president at the same time. These are two men who have captured the imagination of urban America’s Hip Hop generation.

It will be interesting to see what it will be like if Wyclef is the President of Haiti while Barack Obama is the President of the United States. After all, the U.S. offered temporary status swiftly, and humanely, I might add, after the earthquake. These are new and trying times. They are also times for new possibilities. I have read criticism that Bill Clinton wants to turn Haiti into a new colony (as if, in its tremendous poverty and need, it isn’t already), working in factories and engaging in tourism. Well, if I recall correctly, that’s exactly what drew Americans (especially African Americans during the Great Migration) to the North. We came for new opportunities, to work in factories, to have jobs and to make new dreams. Let the Haitian people grow and if they want those jobs, let them take them. Generally speaking, there is nothing wrong with working in factories and it’s 99% better than what they have now—which is next to nothing! As for the tourism, Royal Caribbean was still docking on Haitian water during the immediate post-earthquake period but how much of that revenue was shared and how much made it into Port-Au-Prince? We must stop fooling ourselves. There’s nothing wrong with tourism, as long as we have more fairness and opportunity for the Haitian people.

Dr Goddess’s essay emphatically speaks of new possibilities. She speaks of Hope and reflects a mindset that many feel which is ‘Haiti needs to be shaken up’. It needs new blood, new infrastructure, new everything. The real question is as follows: Is Wyclef Jean allowing his own imagination to go wild? Is he dreaming about ways to forge a bold, new and ambitious path for Haiti that allows for her true independence or is he gonna be a shining front man for US political and corporate backed interests which keeps Haiti stagnant as it has in the past?

Actor Sean Penn went in on Wyclef during an interview w/ CNN. He said Wyclef has been MIA for the past 6 months

This was a question raised last night (Aug 5 2010) by actor Sean Penn who has been doing humanitarian work in Haiti ever since the recovery from last year’s devastating earthquake kicked in. Penn who appeared on CNN was diplomatic but firm questioned Wyclef’s motives and expressed concern that larger corporate forces that are opportunistic and would come in on the back Wyclef and not treat Haiti right.

Penn went further in and  said he was suspicious of Wyclef because as he’s been MIA in Haiti for the past 6 months. He noted that Clef has an important voice that is needed in term of asking the hard questions that many on the ground are asking around the issue of money, contracts for rebuilding etc. Penn also pointed out that when Wyclef has shown up in Haiti he’s come on some elitist, bling bling status complete with entourage and fancy cars in tow which was glaring and borderline obscene in the face of extreme poverty.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6UK8lf6o3c

Many who are fans of Wyclef and saw him as the face of Haiti’s relief efforts were taken back by Penn’s remarks and immediately saw him as a straight up hater. Many heard Penn and were immediately reminded about the harsh and what many considered, unfair and racially motivated attacks launched at Wyclef and his Yele Foundation.Wyclef was accused of taking money and using it for his personal expenses. 

Many saw the attacks against Wyclef as outlandish especially when they recalled how larger so-called respected relief organizations like the Red Cross were ‘out to lunch’ and had questionable activities during Hurricane Katrina. Many wanted to know why the attacks on Yele while other larger relief organization who collected millions more yet still haven’t delivered what they collected were untouched. Many circled the wagon around Wyclef to oppose the perceived racism.

However, those who have been working in Haiti and following her politics long before  the earthquake could immediately relate to Penn’s criticisms.  The political connection and motives of the Wyclef have been under scrutiny for a long time. He’s been criticized for supporting the US backed coup that overthrow the popular President Jean Betrand Aristide and banned Haiti’s largest political party the Lavalas who will not be allowed in the upcoming elections that Wyclef is running in. This is major. For some it would be the equivalent to banning the the African National Congress from South Africa’s elections in the fight against Apartheid.

Here’s what the Black Agenda Report had noted in their February 2010 article..Haiti, Katrina and Why I Won’t Give to Haiti Through the Red Cross

Corporate media manufacture “celebrities” all the time, people who are famous for being well known.  We know more about the lives, tatoos and and personal business of celebrities than we know about the public affairs in our own cities and towns and school boards. Haitian musician Wyclef Jean used his celebrity, and the earthquake, to raise millions for his own Haitian charity.

We make no judgment on the allegations that its bookkeeping may be irregular. But it’s worth noting that Wyclef Jean has family ties to the group of gangsters and thugs that the Clinton-era CIA installed in office when it removed Haiti’s elected president, Jean-Betrand Aristide from office in the 1990s. Wyclef Jean has repeated the contemptible lie all over black radio that Aristide skipped the country with $900 million stolen from Haitians. We understand where this comes from. Wyclef’s uncle was the Washington DC representative of the short-lived 1990s un-elected gangster government of Haiti. He runs a right wing rag of a Haitian newspaper dedicated to spreading outrageous and self-serving falsehoods against Lavalas, the only Haitian party capable of winning free elections in that unhappy country.If Wyclef will lie about that, we wonder what else he’d lie about, and why we should trust him with our money.

Wyclef's uncle Ambassador Raymond Joseph

Concerns about Wyclef’s political leanings and family ties were brought up in 2004 where it was noted that he and his people were in lock step with the Bush policies on Haiti which included to overthrow President Aristide. Here’s what was written in 2004 by Haiti Information Project in their article It’s not All About That! Wyclef Jean is fronting in Haiti.

Peacemaker?

With all the aura of a superstar aside, Wyclef’s assertions that he can now play the role of “peacemaker” in Haiti might conjure illusions of a Nobel Peace prize in his mind but it does little to match the current reality on the ground. If he really wanted to bring to peace to Haiti he would start by checking the unlicensed hatred his own family bears towards the majority political party of the ousted president Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Actually, he was quite lucky that Lavalas militants did not remember his own statements before he recently entered the pro-Aristide slum for a photo opportunity. Many in Lavalas promise this won’t happen again.

Wyclef’s uncle is Raymond Joseph, the highest-ranking official abroad representing the U.S.-installed government in Haiti. He is the un-elected government’s representative in Washington. Wyclef’s uncle, who he has often praised, is responsible for fomenting outrageous lies about Aristide and members the Lavalas political party that has contributed to the current climate of witch-hunts, arbitrary arrests and murders in Haiti today. Wyclef’s uncle is also the co-publisher of Haiti Observateur, a right-wing rag that has been an apologist for the killers in the Haitian military going back as far as the brutal coup against Aristide in 1991.

On October 26th Haitan police entered the pro-Aristide slum of Fort Nationale and summarily executed 13 young men. Wyclef said nothing. On October 28th the Haitian police executed five young men, babies really, in the pro-Aristide slum of Bel Air. Wyclef said nothing. If Wyclef really wants to be part of Haiti’s political dialogue he would acknowledge these facts. Unfortunately, Wyclef is fronting. There is nothing substantial in his offer until he proves otherwise. HIP wishes Wyclef the best for his next concert in Haiti. We all want peace in Haiti. Most of us want peace with justice.

This is the backdrop that many who have been covering Haiti for a long time have come to understand about Wyclef. The concern is if he’s running for President does he bring this team of people with him? While many of us here in the states have come to like Wyclef and would probably see him as a strong and even outspoken ally in terms of some left leaning US politics, how does that translate over to politics in Haiti? Most of us are enamored with personalities but are we equally enamored with issues? Are we only listening to the Wyclef narrative or are there other more popular perspectives being ignored? Wyclef hasn’t been asked some of those hard questions yet around his politics.

In 2004 we caught up with Wyclef at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. There he spoke at Russell Simmon‘s Hip Hop Summit in Roxbury where he encouraged young people to get out and vote. We caught up with Wyclef backstage to get his perspective on things including his feelings on President Aristide who was ousted. Wyclef said he wasn’t down with Aristide and that he “was for the people”. That was sharp contradiction because the majority of the people elected Aristide.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPwRJB-1pFE

Pras won't be endorsing his cousin Wyclef. He's backing another popular musician turned politician who is running for President

Does Wyclef have a strong vision for Haiti? Does he even stand a chance in winning? Will his popularity as a singer translate to political popularity? Its interesting to note that Wyclef’s cousin and former bandmate  Pras has stepped out to say he will not be voting for Wyclef. He doesn’t think he’s qualified. Ironically Pras is supporting another musician/activist named  Michel Martelly who is better known as Sweet Mickey who according to some  Haiti activists also has right leaning politics in terms of him opposing Aristide. One might ask how all that will play out in the upcoming election.

Will leave off with what Clef said in this recent Wall Street Journal article

Why did you decide that Haiti would be best served by you running?

Well, my whole country, my whole life since I was a kid, the country has had political turmoil. The reason why is that there’s never been one person who can unite all parties and get them to work together. And Haiti has a history of coup d’états. And after Jan. 12, I felt there would be a new beginning and the international would be more involved, America would be more involved, and I call myself more connected. I’m someone who can connect the parties together and basically be a leader for the youth for what they’ve been crying for for years. If you have a population that can’t read and write that’s been around 200 years and the majority of the population is a youth population, it’s basically modern slavery. And for me to just sit back, and if you’ve watched my career, I’ve been singing about this my entire life, not just the Haitian cause whether it’s Tibet or human rights, the idea is to not just shame but to turn it into policy and to really engage in another manner. I always say that Wyclef Jean is not running for the presidency of Haiti, I’m being drafted by the people of Haiti.

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