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Wyclef Nelust Jean (born October 17, 1972) is a multi-platinum musician, rapper, and record producer.

Early life

The son of a Nazarene pastor, Wyclef briefly attended Eastern Nazarene Collegemarker, where his younger brother Sam graduated with a degree in history.

Wyclef moved with his family to Brooklynmarker, New York, when he was nine, before moving again to northern New Jersey. He worked briefly as Burger King crew employee as a teenager, before he was fired. Jean has been a resident of Saddle Rivermarker and South Orangemarker, New Jersey. Jean, who regrets dropping out of college, has announced plans to attend Boston's Berklee College of Music.

Musical career

Jean had previously been singing with a friend of his named Paulette Maurice while in high school.

Jean's musical breakthrough was as part of The Refugee Camp ("Fugees"), a three-member group that included Lauryn Hill and Prakazrel "Pras" Michel. Jean is Pras's cousin and a fellow Haitian immigrant. The Fugees signed to Ruffhouse Records, which released the group's debut album, Blunted on Reality. It sold fairly well, peaking at #49 on the U.S. Hot 100 and selling over 2 million copies worldwide. The follow-up album The Score sold over 18 million copies worldwide, eventually becoming a multi-platinum, Grammy-winning album.

Jean announced plans to begin a solo career with 1997's Wyclef Jean Presents the Carnival Featuring the Refugee All-Stars (generally called The Carnival). The album's guests included Lauryn Hill and Pras along with Jean's siblings Melky Sedeck and Farel Sedeck Guerschom Jean, the I Threes (back-up vocals for Bob Marley), The Neville Brothers and Celia Cruz. The album was a hit, as were two singles: "We Trying to Stay Alive" (adapted from The Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive") and "Gone Till November" (recorded with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra).

The Fugees remained in limbo during this time, with the follow-up to The Score being continually postponed as all three members cultivated solo careers.

At the concert Woodstock 1999, Jean paid homage to 1969 Woodstockmarker performer Jimi Hendrix by setting fire to his guitar after playing "The Star-Spangled Banner", and burnt his fingers while doing so.

Jean's second solo album, released in 2000, was The Ecleftic: 2 Sides II a Book. This was recorded with guests including Youssou N'Dour; Earth, Wind & Fire; Kenny Rogers; The Rock; and Mary J. Blige. With Blige he released "911" as a single. He was nominated for Best Hip-Hop Act at the 2000 MTV Europe Music Awards.

Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Jean participated in the benefit concert America: A Tribute to Heroes contributing a cover of the Bob Marley song "Redemption Song".

Jean's third album, Masquerade, was released in 2002. His fourth album, The Preacher's Son, was released in November 2003 as the follow-up to his first solo album, The Carnival.

In 2004, he released his fifth album, entitled Sak Pasé Presents: Welcome to Haïti (released in the United States by Koch Records). Most of its songs are in his native language of Haitian Creole like "Fanm Kreyol" with the French Caribbean Admiral T. He also figured on the album Mozaik Kreyol of this one in the song "Secret Lover". Then he covered Creedence Clearwater Revival's song "Fortunate Son" for the soundtrack of the 2004 film remake of The Manchurian Candidate and wrote the song "Million Voices" for the film Hotel Rwanda.

Jean also produced and wrote songs for the soundtrack to Jonathan Demme's 2003 documentary The Agronomist, about the Haitian activist and radio personality Jean Dominique. With Jerry 'Wonder' Duplessis, Jean also composed the score of the documentary Ghosts of Cité Soleil, in which he appears onscreen speaking by telephone in 2004 to a "chimere" gang-leader and aspiring rapper, Winston "2Pac" Jean.

During a period between 2004 and 2006 and fueled by a reunion performance in Dave Chappelle's "Block Party", it appeared that the Fugees were on track to record a new album, however Fugees member Pras claims to Billboard "To put it nicely, it's dead." He says the root of this animosity is the third member of the group, Lauryn Hill, saying to Billboard, "Me and Clef, we on the same page, but Lauryn Hill is in her zone, and I'm fed up with that shit. Here she is, blessed with a gift, with the opportunity to rock and give and she's running on some bulls**t? I'm a fan of Lauryn's but I can't respect that."

Jean released an album in September 2007 that he recorded in Atlanta, Georgiamarker, with the help of T.I.. Recently, Wyclef released a new song called "Sweetest Girl " featuring Lil' Wayne, Niia and Akon, which references the song "C.R.E.A.M." by the Wu-Tang Clan. The album also features a single, "Fast Car", whose video was made with the assistance of video game Burnout Paradise. In November 2008, an upbeat single 'Let Me Touch Your Button' featuring (of The Black Eyed Peas) was released in the UK in conjunction with Wyclef's invovlement with UK MOTOROKRSTAR (which sees Motorola UK on the search to discover British talent).

In 2009, he featured in a song called "Spanish Fly" with Ludacris and Bachata group Aventura in Aventura's upcoming album "The Last" which came out in June.

On June 17, 2009, Wyclef announced via Twitter that his new album will be called "wyclefjean" to be released sometime in February 2010. The first single off of wyclefjean is to be titled "Seventeen" and will feature Lil' Wayne.

In November of 2009, A track titled "Suicide Love" featuring rapper Eve leaked online prior to the release of his EP.

Wyclef Jean's new EP named "From the Hut, to the Projects, to the Mansion" was released on November 10, 2009. It includes 17 tracks, featuring Cyndi Lauper, Timbaland, Eve, and Lil' Kim. In this album, Wyclef uses the alias Toussaint St. Jean, his alter ego when he raps.

Jean's self-entitled studio album is due to be released in 2010. "Hold On," the lead single from the project will feature Dancehall artist Mavado. Rumored collaborations include Shakira, Timbaland, and Pharell. On May 9, 2009, a demo entitled "The Border" was leaked onto music blogs. This demo was credited as Wyclef Jean featuring Shakira, although the opposite may actually be true.

Wyclef at the ONEXONE benefit in San Francisco, October 2008

Yéle Haiti

In 2005, Jean established the Yéle Haiti Foundation. In its first year of operation, the foundation, with funding by Comcel, provided scholarships to 3,600 children in Gonaïvesmarker, Haiti, after the devastation by Hurricane Jeanne . In its second year of operation, it is almost doubling the amount of the scholarships and spreading them throughout Haiti, providing tuition in 5 regions . The foundation aims to provide 6,800 scholarships to children in Port-au-Princemarker, Gonaïves, Les Cayesmarker, Port-de-Paixmarker, and Cap-Haïtienmarker.

In a 2009 interview with writer Han O'Connor, Wyclef stated that his priority for the organisation was to raise money to build the Yéle Center, which would be a facility that consists of a sports center, Wyclef Jean School of the Arts, a cultural center focusing on the environment and an internet café. During the interview he claimed that he feels the key to improving the situation in Haiti is to build sustainable opportunity.

Together for Haiti

Created in response to the current food shortages and rioting in Haiti, Together for Haiti is a partnership between Yéle Haiti, the United Nations World Food Programme, and the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF). Both a fundraising and awareness campaign, its mission is to provide much needed resources for three crucial programs in Haiti:

  • Targeted Food Distribution - Expand WFP's existing food assistance program for children under five and pregnant women, continue existing school meal programs through summer vacation, and organize voucher-based food distribution of dry food to the neediest families.
  • Immediate Employment Creation - Create Labor-intensive employment opportunities that will support expanding agricultural production, with wages in cash and food.
  • Micro-enterprise Grants - Small grants and training for small-scale egg production, vegetable gardens, grain milling, bread production and other related activities.

The partnership was publicly launched on May 20, 2008, at a press event hosted by Wyclef Jean in New York City.

Wyclef performing at the Mezzanine in San Francisco to a full house, July 2008

Humanitarian efforts

Jean has been active in his support of his native country and created the foundation Yéle Haiti to provide humanitarian aid and assistance to Haiti. He describes Yéle as a non-political organization intended to empower the people of Haiti and the Haitian diaspora to rebuild their nation, saying, "The objective of Yéle Haiti is to restore pride and a reason to hope, and for the whole country to regain the deep spirit and strength that is part of our heritage". . Yéle Haiti was created in October 2004 with Wyclef's cousin Jerry 'Wonder' Duplessis and humanitarian experts Sanjay Rawal and Natabara Rollosson. Projects were launched in January 2005. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were present for the first anniversary of the launch in 2006.

In January 2007, Jean became a roving ambassador for Haiti, to help improve its image abroad.

May 20, 2008 – Yéle Haiti partnered with WFP (World Food Programme) the United Nations to launch

September, 2008 – Wyclef in conjunction with Yéle Haiti Charity delivered food to Hurricane Ike victims in Haiti. Matt Damon provided assistance in the food lines serving food.

Oct 23, 2008 – Wyclef Jean performed on stage with Carlos Santana in San Francisco on behalf of Yéle Haiti, OneXOne, and WaterPartners International to raise funds for clean water, education, health, environment, and community development in the USA and in the developing world.

June 2009 – Wyclef sang another version of "Gun Powder" and "No Woman, No Cry" to Support The Killed People of Iran, The Demonstrations, The Shooting of The 27 Year-old Woman Neda and The Struggles there. The Video Can Be Seen on YouTube

This year (2009), Wyclef Jean and the Timberland company have joined forces to help raise environmental awareness in Haiti. This duo "will be a multi-platform effort incorporating Timberland products, digital and social media, service events, music, and concerts that will promote environmental awareness." The campaign will push to support and educate the country as well as helping to improve healthcare and the environment, and the community.Wyclef Jean also plans to spread information about the joint efforts through social media outlets such as "Twitter, YouTube, Myspace, Facebook, imeem, and Social Vibe." He also aims to use social networking websites to help raise money to build the Yéle Center.

House foreclosure

Wyclef's waterfront mansion that was purchased through his corporation on Pine Tree Drive in Miami Beach, Florida, is now owned by a bank as of November 2008. The property is valued at US$1.4 million. He took out a US$2-million mortgage to purchase and renovate the property, but fell behind in payments. There are more than $100,000+ in construction and architectural liens associated with the property. The house was reported to be auctioned at the Miami-Dade Courthouse on December 12, 2008. Wyclef Jean's corporation that he and a few friends set up several years ago then owed the bank US$2.4 million.

In January 2009, Wyclef mentioned, in a walk-by interview, that the problems with their Miami-Dade property were due to a contractor's sitting on the job for two years, and that the court-ordered sale did not take place, and that he plans to sell the property later.

Television and film

  • Was a musical guest star on Nickelodeon sketch comedy show All That" during the 1990s.
  • In 1997, toured "Carnival" album on MTV's "Live from the 10 Spot" at the Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan.
  • Performed "Sweetest Girl" on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
  • Performed "President" on the second season of Chappelle's Show.
  • In 2001, he appeared in the made-for-television movie Carmen: A Hip Hopera alongside Beyonce and Mos Def, as a fortune teller.
  • Performed on the 2003 Source Awards with DJ Khaled.
  • Appeared for a second time on Chappelle's Show in a parody of Making the Band.
  • Appeared on the The Apprentice in 2005. Did a rap, "Rubble Man", with the winning team, Excel, as their reward for winning task five.
  • Also in 2005, he played gang leader Marcel Hollis who leads his group on an assault on the station house in the NBC television drama Third Watch.
  • In 2004, Jean, Pras and Hill reunited as The Fugees for an event filmed and released in 2006 as Dave Chappelle's Block Party.
  • He also starred in Virgin Mobile commercials as himself. In one commercial, a woman approaches him and tricks him into signing a contract which legally binds them in marriage. She drags him back to her trailer-park home where he is mistreated, forced to work and pleasure his wife. Eventually, he runs away and seeks police assistance, but is instead arrested for violating his contract and ultimately winds up in jail.
  • Appeared in 2002 Jamaican gangster film Shottas, released in 2006.
  • In 2005, he played the role of a Jamaican drug dealer in the movie Dirty.
  • He narrated the movie Full Clip, starring Busta Rhymes, Xzibit, Prodigy of Mobb Deep, Spliff Star, and others.
  • He has appeared and performed on the Source Awards with DJ Khaled, with Wyclef and his band and Khaled doing turntables.
  • He appears in the documentary film Ghosts of Cité Soleil, released in limited theaters on June 27, 2007.
  • In 2005, he appeared in the film One Last Thing.... His character is a cab driver named Emmett Ducasse. It is implied he is an angel due to being in the main character's "Heaven". Wyclef also has an original track that is the closing credits first song. The song is "Heaven's in New York".
  • In December 2007, starred in the four-part MTV exclusive online short-film Americlef
  • On April 26, 2008 he hosted the MTV Australia Awards
  • He appeared on a remix of his own track "Bubblegoose" for Chef Aid: The South Park Album, where he sings alongside the main characters of the show.
  • Created a music video at the University of San Francisco for the song "President" in February 2008.
  • May 20, 2008: At the Gansevoort Hotel, Wyclef Jean in partnership with the WFP and PADF launched TOGETHER FOR HAITI to address the hunger crisis in HAITI members of the American and international television and print media were invited to cover the news. UN envoy Jeffrey Sachs introduced Jean. Supermodel Petra Nemcova was on hand to support. A surprise appearance was made by Paul Simon.
  • August 25, 2008: Wyclef Jean goes "On The Record" with Greta Van Susteren of FOX News discussing his life and career, political coverage, Obama, McCain, Bush and 9-11.
  • January 11, 2009: Wyclef Jean is featured on 60 Minutes
  • January 30, 2009: Wyclef Jean is featured on The Musical Brain on CTV.
  • TV appearance on "30 Rock."
  • FIFA 10 Soundtrack "MVP Kompa"
  • Performed on David Letterman with Cyndi Lauper on Monday, November 16, 2009, singing "Slumdog Millionaire"



[p] - The name "Wyclef Jean" is pronounced as "Why-klef Zhahn".

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