In case you missed it, over the weekend Wyclef Jean spent his weekend defending himself and his foundation, Yele Haiti, via a YouTube video in response to critics alleging that Yele Haiti has administrative expenses that exceed those of most other charities.
As you can see in the video, Jean addresses his critics by saying that he’s not only just returned from Haiti, but that he’s always been committed to helping the people of Haiti. The singer-songwriter continues by saying that he is saddened and disappointed to return from his trip to hear that there has been an “attack on [his] integrity and [his] foundation.”
Jean talks about why he started Yele Haiti and some of the expenses. According, to the Washington Post
But an analysis of the charity’s tax returns raises questions about how it has spent money in the past, with administrative expenses that appear to be higher than comparable charities and payments to businesses owned by the musician and a board member, including $100,000 for a performance by Jean at a 2006 benefit concert.
$100,000 is a lot for a charity to pay for an artist to perform … especially if the artist in question is the head of said organization. However, that being said, where there were very few “for” Haiti before, with the exception for Hope for Haiti, for example, there was Wyclef and THAT IS a big deal.
On a more personal and side note, I’m from Miami where we have a very large Haitian population and when I was doing my MA at the University of Miami (part of which was in IR), we studied Haiti for a few weeks and I learned that 1) Haiti is the only 3rd World Country in this part of the world 2) It doesn’t get nearly half the amount of relief as other 2nd World nations in the Western Hemisphere, or that of some 3rd World Nations in the Eastern Hemisphere and 3) (living in Miami, as I do) there is a huge problem with Haitians in general, where they rarely get the type of support that other “refugees” etc. do.
Back in 2002, I want to say, there was an entire vessel of refugees that washed ashore in South Florida, around the Keys I believe, and many of them were detained, treated in the hospitals and SENT BACK. They never got political asylum or anything — even though they come from a highly unstable country.
That being said, you have other refugees from other nations here in the Western Hemisphere, that wash upon our shores, some of whom whose homelands are not as much in disarray as Haiti, and we DO grant them political asylum.
So at the end of the day, my personal public relations take on this matter is, that while, yes, there are some issues, with the amount of dollars being spent within Yele Haiti, where I do think, yes, that there should be some reevaluating, no one could say that Wylef has not been a champion for his country when no one else has been.
To continue to prove that he’s taken the reigns and decided to speak out for himself on something that is very important to him, personalizing and humanizing the situation. Sure, his video seems defensive — but I think at the end of the day, right now, the “good” that he’s done and continues to do is what matters.
Little Pink Bookâ€™s Rule of PR #36:
Sometimes the “good” in fact, out weighs the “bad.”
Questioning things are great, trying to delve deeper is good;
but sometimes, we have to overlook the things we do not necessarily like,
or approve of, for the greater good.
It makes us the bigger the person; remember that.
You might also be interested in Haiti Relief Information (plus Robertson & Olbermann videos).
Sasha Muradali runs the â€˜Little Pink Bookâ€™ . She holds a B.S. in Public Relations from the University of Florida with a minor in Dance (â€™07) and an M.A. in International Administration from the University of Miami(â€™08). She loves Twitter and all things social media, so you should find her @SashaHalima or get a copy of the â€˜Little Pink Bookâ€™ delivered to your Kindle.