Wyclef Jean is still waiting to find out whether he's actually eligible to run for president in Haiti, a nation that doesn't recognize dual citizenship. But that doesn't mean his campaign isn't already in full swing.
Jean has released his first campaign video (apparently, he decided the "If I Were President" music video didn't count). It's a documentary-esque take on a boisterous Port-au-Prince street scene of young Haitians in "Fas to Fas" (Face to Face) T-shirts, waving stylized murals of Wyclef, and -- disturbingly -- blasting away on vuvuzelas. Didn't Wyclef learn anything from the World Cup? People hate those things.
Here's the video, which in just a few days has already picked up 20,000 views on YouTube:
All vuvuzela rage aside, it's an effective ad.
As the Root points out this morning, Wyclef is counting on Haiti's nascent youth movement -- a grassroots web of activist organizations -- to carry him to the presidency. In the ad, Wyclef doesn't make any promises or lay out any grand strategy. He just visits Port-au-Prince and lets his young supporters' energy take over.
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To the extent that a musician with a chronically mismanaged nonprofit and a shady tax history can offer hope in a place like Haiti, it's in the optimism and energy Wyclef could harness among young Haitians who have spent their lives idolizing him as a the pinnacle of diaspora achievement.
If the video reflects what a Wyclef presidency could actually represent -- young Haitians excited about their government for the first time -- maybe there's a reason to back his bid after all.
But let's hope they lose the vuvuzelas.