Thursday, January 21, 2010
Wyclef to Oprah: "Haiti Don't Need No More Photo Ops"
E-Online : Where Wyclef Jean goes, awareness of and aid for Haiti's earthquake- (and now aftershock-) wrought devastation, follows.
This morning, the erstwhile Fugee and briefly scandal-plagued Yelé Haiti founder appeared on TheOprah Winfrey Show, which was specially dedicated to the plight of the nation, and he wasted no time getting to the heart of the matter.
"The Haitian people told me specifically when I was coming on your show to tell people, 'Stop with the photo ops,'" he said. "Haiti don't need no more photo ops."
"We need logistics, we need people to go to the airport who can get stuff out of the airport and to the people."
And while the impassioned singer is currently stateside prepping for Friday's cross-network Hope for Haiti telethon, he plans on returning to his native country on Saturday, when he's hoping to revolutionize the well-intentioned yet undignified and at times wholly ineffective methods of food distribution.
The Haitian people, he urged, "are not animals." But that's exactly how he believes residents are being treated, judging by the news coverage of helicopter-assisted food drops that have been taking place since last week's earthquake.
Instead, he told Oprah that he wanted the U.S. military to set up tent camps for the displaced people outside Port-au-Prince, with the intention of turning them into housing at a later date.
He did not, he made clear, want them to build "refugee camps."
Jean was joined during the show by Rihanna, a fellow Caribbean native, and Maxwell, who was raised by his Haitian grandmother, both of whom performed songs whose entire proceeds will benefit Haiti.
Rihanna's "Redemption Song" and Maxwell's "Fistful of Tears" are now available for download on Oprah.com, iTunes and the artists' websites.
"Often in a tragedy like this, it's the children who suffer the most," Rihanna said, adding that she goes to sleep now thinking about the Haitian orphans. "They have no way to get food, they're helpless. The children are the future."
And it's the future that Oprah, and in turn her show, will be most concerned with.
"I want everybody to do what they can right now," she said. "But it's what's going to happen six months from now that's really going to count."