Wyclef Jean is going to be campaigning till November.
Putting to rest the speculation that's been circling in political and entertainment circles, the former Fugee confirmed today that he is running for president of Haiti in the wake of January's devastasting earthquake, which left his impoverished homeland in desperate need of inspired leadership.
Jean was cheered in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince on Thursday when he arrived with his wife and daughter to file the paperwork to make his candidacy official.
A native of the Port-au-Prince suburb of Croix-des-Bouquets, Jean, 37, spearheaded the celebrity world's relief efforts following the Jan. 12 quake, immediately teaming with George Clooney to organize a star-studded telethon. Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief was ultimately carried by dozens of broadcast and cable networks and raised $61 million.
One of the rapper's first acts as a presidential candidate, however, was to step down as chairman of his Yelé Haiti Foundation to avoid a conflict of interest.
"You can either live trying to do something or die having done nothing," Jean told the New York Times yesterday, adding that he did not want history to remember him as "somebody who, after the devastation of the country that he claimed he loved so much, just kept singing more songs."
"I'm not running for president so much as I'm being drafted," he said. "The youth, in their mind if I don't come and put a perspective to things, they feel there's no future for the country, and I have to agree with them."
Jean moved with his family to Brooklyn when he was 9, but he has a Haitian passport and a greencard allowing him to live and work in the United States.
Haiti requires electoral candidates to have maintained residency in the country for at least five years. The upcoming presidential election is Nov. 28.
Interestingly, Jean's fellow former Fugee, Pras Michel, also showed up at the election office today, but he was there with Michel "Sweet Micky" Martelly, a famous Haitian singer who is also running for the presidency.
"I hope politics will not divide us," Martelly said in welcoming Jean into the race.
Check out the celebs seen helping Haiti this year.