Wyclef Jean's charity organization Yéle Haiti faced an onslaught of criticism for the mismanagement of funds in the wake of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and, according to a recent report in the New York Times, has effectively ceased operations as of last month. But the Fugees founder isn't sweating any naysayers. In an interview yesterday with MTV News, Clef insisted that he and Yéle will be vindicated by history.
"When you start an organization, there are gonna be mistakes, but the mistakes were never us banking money in our pockets to get rich on behalf of our people," he said. "When those kind of mistakes are made within governance, you bring in new accountants, new governance, and that's what we did. The legacy of Yéle Haiti and why people trust in Yéle Haiti is because it's not something I created when the earthquake came. This is something I created in 2005. This is something that when you run the footage back you see me on MTV with my Haitian flag on me like 'We takin' over!' This is natural to me because it's where I'm from," he said.
Clef said that he had a target on his back because he is a rapper, but insisted that his aims were pure.
"Always remember this: if you decide that you're not just gonna be a musician, you're not gonna just be a rapper, you're gonna stand up for something and be in the forefront of it, you're gonna get challenged constantly. It's just the way of life," he said. "But I have to stand up and say, 'No, I'm gonna have my own NGO. Why should you be the only people in my country? You were there when I was born and you haven't changed nothing... This isn't the way I want my country to be.'"
Yéle Haiti received an estimated $16 million in donations for relief efforts in Haiti beginning in 2010, but was quickly found to have a history of tax evasion and usage of funds for self-serving purposes. Defending the organization, Wyclef said that when the final chapter of the saga is written, the truth will be on his side.
"As history goes it will protect me," he said. "So there's one thing that you might feel now, but 70 years from now, a hundred years from now, when you're not around, facts come out. So history will always be on my side because the truth eventually ends up coming out."
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(Photo: Courtesy of Yele)