Popstars Sweet Micky and Wyclef Jean Vie for Haitian Presidency

By Angela Wang
Angela Wang
Angela Wang
August 10, 2010 Updated: October 1, 2015

Haitian popstar Michel Martelly announced he is running for the country's upcoming presidential election. (THONY BELIZAIRE/AFP/Getty Images)
Haitian popstar Michel Martelly announced he is running for the country's upcoming presidential election. (THONY BELIZAIRE/AFP/Getty Images)
Michel "Sweet Micky" Martelly, 49, one of the most popular musicians and composers of the compas music genre, a of type Haitian dance music, announced that he is running for the country’s upcoming presidential election in November.

He became the second musician in line for presidency alongside Grammy-winning American-Haitian artist Wyclef Jean. Jean, who made his fame in the 1990’s with hip-hop band Fugees before going solo, announced his candidacy Aug. 5.

In a marked change from his usual look as an outspoken, engaging—known for wearing diapers or wigs on stage—Martelly donned a suit before filing his last bits of paperwork.

For the past 22 years, Martelly has been a popular artist of compas music in Haiti. His hit debut “Ooh La La,” featured innovative changes to the genre.

While touring across Haiti and abroad, Martelly and Jean became acquainted years ago.

"Me being on top of Haitian music, them being on top of the world, we started hanging out," Martelly said of Jean’s band. Later, Martelly was invited to join the Fugees at the MTV Awards in London.

Though he acknowledges his friend’s enthusiasm, Martelly believes that Jean’s inability to speak French, one of Haiti’s official languages and that fact that he spent all his adult years in the U.S. play against him in the campaign.

“He doesn’t know the country. He doesn’t know who are proper political allies, who he can trust. He doesn’t know our culture, he doesn’t know our way of life, he doesn’t know what we expect. He doesn’t know our needs. He doesn’t realize that some people may never truly accept him,” said Martelly about his opponent during an interview with AllHipHop.com.

{etRelate 40350} Jean was born in Haiti, but moved with his family to Brooklyn, New York at the age of nine and has lived in the U.S. since then.

Jean, however, has been an active advocate of development in his homeland. In 2005, he founded Yéle Haiti Foundation to provide scholarships for Haitian kids after Hurricane Jeanne tore across Haiti.

Martelly had brief stints in three colleges but never got a degree. While Martelly has no experiences in politics, he says his mind was made long ago. “If I run for anything someday – if – I'm going to aim straight at the presidency," he told The Palm Beach Post three years ago.

Martelly told AllHipHop.com that his priorities after becoming the president will be employment and education assistance for the homeless who suffered from the deadly 2010 earthquake.

“We need to talk about jobs, because 80 percent of our population is unemployed. We need to talk about education, because without education, the people can’t be expected to govern themselves or move the country forward,” he said in the interview.

Martelly also proposed to rebuild the people’s trust for the government. “You need to restore the people’s trust, you need to restore their confidence. You need to show that you are out to eliminate corruption.”

Angela Wang