Friday, January 15, 2010

MUSIC:Akon Supports Wyclef And His Yele Haiti Organization

By Jayson Rodriguez

'At the end of the day, you know where his heart is,' Akon says.

Akon and Wyclef are not only musical brothers-in-arms, but the two international superstars also share a passion for humanitarianism as well. The Senegalese crooner has lent his time and money to efforts in Africa and beyond.

On Friday (January 15), Akon rallied his support around 'Clef and the former Fugees frontman's Yele Haiti organization.

"A lot of times, things like [critiques of Wyclef's organization] are really irrelevant," Akon told MTV News. "Because it's obvious he's trying to do good. Especially for Haiti, his loyalty to Haiti, you can't really question. In the beginning his foundation was in the start-up stages and he had to get the team together, he had to find the right staff and crew that could actually handle those things. He had a lot on his plate. Naturally, of course, when you have a lot on your plate, you're an entertainer and you're moving around performing and doing humanitarian acts through the world, it's gonna be hard to keep an eye on everything with your foundation. Some things are gonna slip through the cracks. But I don't think that's fair to put him under the gun for things like that because at the end of the day, you know where his heart is."

According to a report by the Smoking Gun, the Yele Haiti organization's accounting practices have hardly been meticulous. The nonprofit was incorporated 12 years ago but only began filing tax returns in August of 2009, documents obtained by the site show. In addition, some of the monies may have been directed to companies that Wyclef also has interests in, such as a for-profit production outlet based in Haiti.

So far, Wyclef has help to raise $2 million in aid through his organization via text-message contributions. He's rallied support around his cause through multiple TV appearances and a steady stream of Twitter dispatches from Haiti. Wyclef is also scheduled to host a telethon on January 22, partnering with actor George Clooney and a host of outlets including MTV Networks.

"I know how much passion and love he has for his country and that's why he does so much for Haiti in general," Akon said. "And I can understand it — I feel his pain in all aspects because if it happened in Senegal, I'd be in the same position. So that's why we do whatever we can and assist him in whatever it is, including him and everyone else, they all need help. I think we should put our hands in that same pot and try to find a way to stir that soup [together]."

Akon applauded Wyclef for his instant outreach, which included the hip-hop star flying to the earthquake-ravaged country right away.

'Clef spoke with Fox News while he was in Port-au-Prince and he described the scene as an "apocalypse." His sister Melky Jean spoke to MTV News on Thursday and echoed her brother's comments.

"The reality here at the airport has nothing to do with what's going on on the ground right now," Wyclef said. "We spent the day picking up dead bodies — all day that's what we did. There's so much bodies in the streets that the morgues are filled up, the cemeteries are filled up. So we participated in picking up the bodies and finding a place that we could put the bodies."

Source: MTV

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