Ex Bandmate: Wyclef Jean Isn't Qualified to Be Haiti's President

Entertainment Aug. 6, 2010 AT 4:43PM
Ex Bandmate: Wyclef Jean Isn't Qualified to Be Haiti's President Credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images for AFI; Soul Brother/FilmMagic

Two days after Wyclef Jean confirmed his plans to run for Haiti's presidency, hip-hop star Pras says he won't be casting his vote for his former Fugees bandmate.

"I think he brought Haiti a lot of national spotlight and attention where people are concerned and really want to help out," Pras, 37, tells UsMagazine.com. "But to be the President of Haiti, I don't see it because I don't see what his real plans are. His plans are so general."

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And although Pras (real name: Prakazrel Samuel Michel) says Jean is "like my brother," he worries that the "Sweetest Girl (Dollar Bill)" singer is merely "trying to seize a moment of opportunity" after a series earthquakes left the country devastated in January.

"If he really wanted to help Haiti, he should have chosen his influence and champion and go around these countries that have pledged money to Haiti who have not given a single dime yet. You don’t even see 3 percent of what's been pledged," Pras complains. "You need to say, 'Listen, we need money!'"

But Jean, 37, recently told Time that his intentions were pure: "I knew I'd have to take the next step. If not for the earthquake, I probably would have waited another 10 years before doing this."

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Still, Pras isn't wholly convinced.

"At one point, two million people are living in a tent city. These people need water; they need the basic healthcare like band-aids, like alcohol to clean the wounds. Just basic, just the fundamentals," he says. "We're not even going to talk about the fact that there’s not a trauma unit there. I just think he’s exhausting his energy in the wrong places."

As for ex Fugees bandmate Lauryn Hill, Pras tells Us that he "can imagine she would think this is just theatrics."

The musician -- whose working on a new CD with his band Axixs -- also warns that while the publicity Jean has brought to Haiti's plight has been beneficial to relief efforts, his judgment may be clouded by the circle of people surrounding him.

"He's probably got some corporate people behind him that really want to come in there and exploit the country and basically control it," Pras tells Us. "So my thing is that right there disqualifies him to be the leader of the country."

Instead, Pras plans to support Michel Martelly -- who, like Jean, is also not a politician -- in the upcoming elections.

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"He's the only guy in Haiti who can unite the bourgeoisie, which is the elite, and the masses, which is the youth. They have such an affinity for this guy. They admire him so much and will do anything for him," Pras says. "A good leader is somebody who can make someone do something, right? A great leader is someone who can make someone say, 'I need to do this, and I believe I can do this.'"

And though he remains wary of Jean's proposed foray into politics, he does praise one celebrity for his undeterred relief work in Haiti: award-winning Milk actor Sean Penn.

"Sean Penn has not exhausted. That means you really care. All of these people are what is going to help Haiti go to the next level," Pras tells Us. "And that moment is now. If it doesn’t happen now, Haiti is forever done."

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