The amount of support of prayers and donations for the country of Haiti and its people has been astounding. The Red Cross and scores of other organizations have banded together to gather money and other essentials for the shell-shocked Haitian citizens. And while the outpouring of charity and goodwill towards Haiti is commendable, there’s been one organization that has been there from the beginning. Rapper, producer, and philanthropist Wyclef Jean has been raising money and awareness concerning Haiti’s struggles since 1994.
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The Wyclef Jean Foundation also known as Yele Haiti has raised support for the impoverished country using Jean’s star power. In addition to putting on charity concerts, Jean has also used his celebrity to get A-list celebrities onboard with his cause. On January 22, the rapper will be co-hosting a "Hope for Haiti" all-star telethon that will air on nearly every network with actor George Clooney.
Jean is doing more than rubbing elbows with Hollywood A-listers however. He has also been asking for people to donate five dollars to the rescue and recovery effort by texting “Yele” to 501501 and that’s where the trouble’s been brewing. According to The Smoking Gun and the Washington Post, Yele Haiti’s financial records are questionable, even insinuating that Jean has been using the charity to line his own pockets.
The artist, who has been in Haiti helping recover the bodies of the dead, responded to his detractors Saturday via a six minute YouTube video. In the video, Jean calls the accusations an “attack on my integrity and my foundation.” To date the Wyclef Jean Foundation has raised over two million dollars in the wake of the natural disaster and looks to raise a lot more in the upcoming days.
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