The Problem With…”We Are The World 25″ And More

My second “The Problem With…” piece is up. This week, I took on We Are The World 25 For Haiti.

A great chunk of my political content for the post got cut. I understand why the editor chose to cut all that stuff –DC9 At Night is an entertainment blog, not a political soapbox– so I’m okay with it. My editor put it this way roughly “The tone we’re looking for here is dinner party conversation, politics and religion screws up any dinner party”. However, I fell I needed to back up my hipster snark towards a well-intentioned charity song with information. Where else to put it  but my personal  soapbox.

The following excerpt was on my original cut. Opinions expressed below represent my own, not those of the Dallas Observer, Village Voice Media or related print and online publications.

…Now let’s look past the video into something I want to mention. You may have heard of the financial irregularities of Jean’s charity Yele Haiti and his tearful defense of his fund.

There is another thing I want to look back on. Let’s go back to the year 2004. Nickleback had more fans than a random pickle, Maroon 5’s This Love had taken our patience and Outkast’s Hey Ya! put a smile on everyone’s face.

Haiti was shaking too, but not like a Polaroid picture. The country was rocked by violence instigated by reactionaries funded and armed by U.S. conservative think tanks (who were a bit cocksure after their con game in Iraq) and staffed by former elements of the tyrannical Duvalier dynasty. Who would even think of sharing their lot with this awful bunch? Wyclef, that’s who!

Also suspicious. Wyclef’s uncle Raymond Joseph was given the cushy appointment of Ambassador to the U.S. after the coup against a democratically-elected leader succeeded.

All of Wyclef’s commendable and no-doubt sincere acts toward his country of origin, his evocative rags-to-riches story and his Bob Marley Lite, feel-good ideals curb a lot of these uncomfortable questions.

The last point is that the We Are The World Foundation only came into existence this month.

So, you’re telling me Lionel Richie and Quincy Jones had charity on their mind twenty five years ago, and it only crossed their mind to start a fund this month?! If Yele Haiti’s example of inexperience in charity makes you hesitate, We Are The World Foundation should also pull up red flags.

If you are one of the saps who donated to Yele Haiti or We Are The World Foundation, absolve yourself by donating again to a more reputable and experienced humanitarian aid group working in Haiti at the moment, and do some research this time.

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