Ben Jones, Caribbean, celebrity/statesman, fiduciary irresponsibility, Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier, Fred Grandy, Fugeeman, Fugees, Haiti, hereditary dictatorship, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier, Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il, presidential election, Rick Santorum, Sonny Bono, Wyclef Jean
Grammy winner Wyclef Jean announced recently that he was mulling a run in Haiti’s upcoming presidential election. The Haitian-born ex-Fugee is reportedly filing the necessary paperwork in the event he decides to make a bid in November.
This revelation is less shocking than it might at first appear. Jean is internationally renowned, both for his music and for his political activism, and is particularly beloved in his native Haiti. Moreover, the recent financial troubles involving Jean’s charity indicate that he possesses the requisite fiduciary irresponsibility to hold Haiti’s highest office.
In the United States, entertainers have for many years distinguished themselves in politics. Fred “Gopher” Grandy, Ben “Cooter” Jones and Rick “Santorum” Santorum are some of the best-known.
If Jean is serious about his bid, he’ll think of a good nickname. Everybody remembers the brutal hereditary dictatorship of the Duvaliers–the Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il of the Caribbean. First there was Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier, who ruled the country from 1957 through 1971. He was succeeded by his son, Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, who was finally ousted in 1986. The Duvaliers may have been brutal thugs, but they had cool nicknames.
Conversely, Jean-Bertrand Aristide was similarly despotic (although never matching the glorious excesses of the father and son tag-team), serving a couple non-consecutive terms before being chased out in 2004. Despite being only six years removed from the national scene, the former priest is virtually forgotten. A nickname may have been the only thing separating Aristide from historical immortality. Jean-Bertrand Aristide is eminently forgettable, but “Gris-Gris” Aristide sticks in the memory.
Wyclef Jean is a man capable of making the leap from celebrity to statesman. The right nickname will cement his place in history. With this in mind, Promethean Times extends its most heartfelt wishes for success to Wyclef “Fugeeman” Jean. Knock ’em dead, Fugeeman!