Wyclef Jean Protests Election Shutout With an Angry Song Calling Preval "Lucifer"
Shut out of the Haitian presidential race, attacked everywhere for his financial mismanagement, and embroiled in a nasty celebrity feud with Sean Penn, Wyclef Jean is not exactly in a friendly mood these days.
So when the Haitian authorities rejected his appeal and all but killed his presidential hopes Wednesday, Wyclef responded with the only weapon he had left: an angry, angry Kreyol-language song where he calls current President René Préval "Lucifer" and hints that Haitian youth might just rise up in protest.
Wyclef tweeted a link to the new song late Wednesday, soon after the Haitian electoral council rejected his appeal of their decision that he couldn't run for president because he'd left Haiti when he was 9 years old.
It's not a half-bad track, actually -- Wyclef sings in a slow cadence over a dubby, hollow drum beat and an accoustic guitar. The mellow-sounding song is in Kreyol, so at first, not too many folks outside Little Haiti picked up on just how pissed-off Wyclef's lyrics are.
Then yesterday, Newsweek asked a couple of Kreyol speakers to translate the lyrics. The result: one of the angrier protest songs you'll ever hear from a would-be political candidate.
We've pasted the full lyrics below, but Wyclef is especially furious at Préval, whom he accuses of personally rigging the electoral council's decision against him.
"Préval barred me. Even though you say that the decision came from the Provisional Electoral Council, I know you hold all the cards. I voted for you for president in 2006. Why do you reject my candidacy today?" Wyclef sings.
Later, he sings, "Lucifer is in control of the CEP. The Satan disqualified me. The children of God cannot be barred."
The reception to the track hasn't been great -- this morning, Gawker called Jean out for the song. We've been as harsh as anyone in writing about Wyclef's problems as a political candidate, but, to our ears, this seems like a heartfelt (and musically sound) protest. What say you?
The lyrics, as translated by Newsweek:
I am going to challenge, going to challenge, going to court to challenge
Look, they disqualified Wyclef, They say that Wyclef does not speak Creole.
He's the candidate from the diaspora.
Even my Haitian people, they curse me on Facebook, when they heard that I was running for president, they said Wyclef should be barred...
Even the priests of the Catholic Church were shocked. They said I left Petit-Goâve for Les Cayes...
All the weekend I was celebrated the feast of Our Lady. I disqualified. Port Salut disqualified, children cried
There are activists/militants who said I made a deal with Préval.
But I didn't do a deal with Préval, It was a president asked to see a candidate. I could not refuse it...
I only told him I'd come back. When I got there he served me coffee ...
He wanted to assure our friendship. He told me I was a good candidate. He put me on the phone with Jude Celestin.
We had a good talk. Afterward Préval barred me. Even though you say that the decision came from the Provisional Electoral Council, I know you hold all the cards.
I voted for you for president in 2006, why do you reject my candidacy today?
You didn't reject Wyclef. You rejected the youth. You didn't reject Wyclef. You rejected the people.
You didn't reject Wyclef. You rejected the fellow hawking sweets on the street. You didn't reject Wyclef.
You rejected the peasants. They rejected Wyclef. Some people say that I went to [the] Saut d'Eau [falls] to get some special powers.
But I just went there to bathe in the falls. If I had gone there to get special powers, perhaps I would not have been disqualified.
The CEP [Provisional Electoral Council] disqualified me. Don't forget my father was a Rev. Minister. The God who is with me is stronger than Lucifer.
Lucifer is in control of the CEP. The Satan disqualified me. The children of God cannot be barred.
Fas a Fas. Jen Kore Jen. Front to Front.
We want education for all for us to get there. In the schools, we want to get there. In the universities, we want to get there.
Youth sector, peasant sector, we will not allow them to trample on our rights. We must get there. Black bandanna. Red bandanna. Red and blue.
We're all the same. Haiti is our lady. Let it not break our hearts. Before I go to bed, I always read a psalm.
I pray to Hosanna: get the people out from under the rubble, and send Archangel Gabriel to protect the women living in the tents where they are being raped ...
Wyclef Jean, indeed, I will continue to challenge the CEP.
We must remain mobilized. I won't give up. Face to face, lies lose.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Miami New Times' biggest stories.