Wyclef Jean revisits Fugees, politics in 'Purpose'
FILE - This June 28, 2005 file photo shows Wyclef Jean, left, and Lauryn Hill performing during the 5th annual BET Awards in Los Angeles. Jean has written an autobiography, “Purpose,” on sale Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, file)
MIAMI (AP) — Anyone who needs to catch up with hip-hop star Wyclef Jean just has to refresh his Twitter feed.
"You know I'm direct about everything," says Jean, 42.
Some things need more than a tweet to explain, though, so Jean has written an autobiography, "Purpose" (It Books) on sale Tuesday, that explores his political, financial and personal turmoil, including an extramarital affair with fellow Fugee Lauryn Hill.
The book opens with Jean hearing the news that a catastrophic earthquake has struck Haiti, the Caribbean country where he was born. The Grammy-winning multimillionaire returned home the next morning, trying to make sense of the chaos and overwhelming loss of life.
He kicked his Yele Haiti Foundation into overdrive to help survivors, and the urgency to get Haitians back to work drove Jean to announce his candidacy during Haiti's 2010 presidential elections.
Both efforts, though, eventually left him reeling from criticism over his methods and motives. His presidential campaign was cut short, while Yele faced allegations of financial improprieties that benefited the singer.
This book cover image released by It Books shows "Purpose," by Wyclef Jean with Anthony Bozza. (AP Photo/It Books)
In his book, Jean dismisses the problems at Yele as complications of a small charity's sudden growth. After a restructuring, Jean writes, "We are a completely transparent organization and I invite the world's curiosity."
In a conversation with The Associated Press, Jean compares those setbacks with the success he achieved with the Fugees, whose second album "The Score" remains one of the best-selling hip-hop records of all time.
AP: Do you think you're going to run for president of Haiti again in a couple years?
Jean: (chuckling) ... Keep in mind, right, that y'all always say "my run for the presidency" but there's something you all must add — Wyclef never even got a chance to run for the presidency. It was sort of like, before I could even spit out who my technicians are, what are my policies, it was like, "Yo, this guy don't have no technicians, this guy don't have no policies, he's not running, get him out!" Right now, it's definitely, like, not in the focus.