Not long after the earthquake struck the small island of Haiti, Wyclef Jean spoke with CNN in an urgent plea to locate Haitian rapper Jimmy O, who was missing.
“I urge everyone who’s listening right now that knows how great this kid is in Haiti — I need y’all to verify this information,” Wyclef said during an interview with CNN. “It would be a terrible loss for us,” he continued.
CNN later confirmed on Friday, January 15 that Jimmy O, who was actively involved in Clef’s non-profit Yele Haiti foundation had been discovered dead. Thirty five year old Jean “Jimmy O” Alexandre, who was in Haiti working on a mixtape, had been crushed in his vehicle while driving downtown in Haiti’s capital, Port-Au-Prince. Jimmy O was an important figure in Haiti who helped run the Yele Haiti charity as well as develop new music artists in his native country.
Rapper Akon has expressed his condolences to Wyclef and showed support of his Yele Haiti organization during this tragic time. “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 also responded to the recent allegations that were brought upon Clef and his non-profit organization by The Smoking Gun. “A lot of times, things like [critiques of Wyclef’s organization] are really irrelevant,” Akon said in an interview with MTV. “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 going to be hard to keep an eye on everything with your foundation. Some things are going 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.”
Wyclef has donated $1 million of his own money to the foundation, and received $2 million in donations that have been collected through text messaging.