Wyclef Jean encourages everyone to push lawmakers to renew post-earthquake benefits for Haitians on Tuesday, May 23rd.
This renewal means that Haitians can live and work in America legally. These Haitians were affected by the earthquake in 2010 where 300,000 lives and more were lost and an estimated 2 million displaced. The earthquake was measured at a 7.0 magnitude and occurred in the most populated area of the land according to Rescue.
Though he did grow up in New Jersey, Wyclef Jean is a native of Haiti himself.
In March, footage of Wyclef Jean being detained in Los Angeles was uploaded to his IG. The encounter happened at about 1 a.m. LA time, where he and his manager, a woman, were driving and were stopped as he was suspected of being involved in an armed robbery. He also posted to Twitter during, and after his debacle with the Los Angeles patrol unit mentioning that he had identified himself as he was being pulled out of his car and cuffed. Jean suggested it is another case of racial profiling.
To that, the Sergeant of the L.A.P.D. said, “Just because someone tells me their name I have to verify it through legal means”, according to NY Times.
Now, it is understandable wanting to find the person responsible for a man and woman being beaten and robbed- but people shouldn’t be targeted and inconvenienced for the sake of solving a case, right? After all, a “red flag” is not necessarily a Haitian flag. Jean was wearing a Haitian flag at the time of the ordeal- the police were supposed to be looking for someone with a solely red flag though according to NY Times. It was dark, but should crime solving tactic look like bobbing for apples? Shouldn’t “legal means” mean simply approaching the vehicle and asking for identification?
Further, Wyclef Jean was held by L.A.P.D. for about six minutes. That is, until the police stated that the battered couple had told officers the get away car did not have a female in it.
Wyclef Jean mentioned that there should be a class for youth taught by the police officers that are assigned to their communities. The classes, he said, should teach them how to respond in these situations.
“When the police stop you, stay calm. Do not react in a violent manner. Do not raise your voice. Stay very alert…And the minute the cops stop you, start rolling the camera.”- Wyclef Jean via NY Daily News
Wyclef Jean mentioned this situation with the L.A.P.D. when he encouraged supporters to advocate for Haitians facing deportation on Friday, May 19th via U.S. News. May 18th was Haitian flag day so it definitely was especially justified. On Tuesday, May 23rd, the Trump administration is to announce their decision of whether or not they will uphold a 2010 agreement with 500,000 Haitians, according to VIBE.
If natural disaster is not enough to explain why if anyone deserves our support it’s Haitians- let’s talk about the culture. For one, the Haitian Revolution.
This successful slave revolt defended and advanced the “universal citizen“. Further, Basquiat, Bernard Séjourné, Karen Civil, Usher, Jason Derulo, Blake Griffin, and so many other celebrity favorites are of Haitian descent. Wyclef and his brother were also members of the Grammy- award winning group, Fugees, with the incomparable Lauryn Hill.
To top it all off though, the late Basquiat recently broke records with a $110.5 million sale of his 1982 Untitled piece as stated in NPR.
So, if Trump, and lawmakers, are not wooed by the magnitude of historic economic contribution from the Haitian and Haitian American community- maybe they will renew, and dispense, post-earthquake benefits to Haitians, simply, for the culture.
“Haiti can’t take 50,000 in right now…Whatever commitment was made to Little Haiti, this is a great way to start — to say, you know what, we’re going to give you all more time to get this country back.”
– Wyclef Jean via U.S. News