Hip-Hop World In Action with Haiti Crisis
The Hip-Hop has mobilized and joined relief efforts in the wake of Haiti’s devastating earthquake that’s left the nation’s capital Port-au-Prince in shambles.
The efforts are led by Haitian-born Wyclef Jean, who reached out on CNN immediately after the magnitude-7 quake hit on Tuesday (January 12).
“I’m in the process of looking for a young rapper who went to Haiti to do a mix tape. His name is Jimmy O - it came through on a text that he died,” Wyclef explained to journalist Anderson Cooper. “He was part of my foundation Yele Haiti. I’m trying to verify this information — it would be a terrible loss for us. I was on the phone to a friend in Haiti and she said ‘I think an earthquake is coming ….’ Then the phone went off. After that I texted and it took 45 minutes to get a text back. She told me she was outside with her kids and the buildings had started collapsing. The over 2 million people in Port-au-Prince tonight face catastrophe alone. We must act now.”
Jean’s organization has been accepting donations at www.Yele.org, and automatic $5 donations by texting “Yele” to 501501.
As of today (January 14), humanitarian relief from other nations such as the U.S., Cuba, and China have begun arriving.
The International Red Cross estimates 3 million people are in need of help, and many of the dead litter the streets and rubble of collapsed buildings.
“This is much worse than a hurricane. There’s no water,” doctor’s assistant Jimitrre Coquillon told the Associated Press. “There’s nothing. Thirsty people are going to die.”
Although Haiti President Rene Preval declined to commit to a casualty total, estimates are as high as 500,000 fatalities.
The Rev. Al Sharpton announced that he is traveling to the country on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, for a “mercy mission.”
"There will be no better way to say happy birthday to Martin Luther King," Sharpton said in front of the Haitian Consulate in Manhattan yesterday (January 13). "We all have some Haitian in us, and we stand in solidarity with the Haitian people until Haiti is restored."
Haitian rap legend Kangol Kid of UTFO is also an Ambassador of Hope for Haiti. He almost missed the chance to visit the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, due to media portrayal and stereotypes.
"This is an absolute tragedy for my brothers and sisters in Haiti,” Kangol Kid said. “These are people that made the best of having nothing and circumstances still find a way to take even more away from them. That’s just real evil and plain wrong…I had the pleasure of visiting Haiti this past October for the first time since I was 8 years old. I feared the visit because I was ‘Media-Washed’ (in other words I was brainwashed by the media) and believe every stereotypical rumor society had to offer about the country. My manager, Shaunda Lumpkin, convinced to go and that visit changed my world so much that I’ve become proud to be Haitian! Moreover, I am currently an Ambassador of Hope for Haiti.”
The incident has affected Kangol Kid personally, as his father has been missing in the country since the earthquake hit.
"Today, I feel great sadness for my people as my mother who lives in Miami, Florida, is frantically trying to reach my Father who is currently visiting Port Au Prince with no word of his condition. I asked that my Hip-Hop Community, my fellow Haitian-Americans and people alike pray for the safety of Haiti and for my father," Kangol Kid stated.
Rap mogul Russell Simmons called upon the Hip-Hop community to act immediately to help the millions of people affected by the devastating earthquake, the worst to ever strike the country.
“We must do all that we can as individuals and collectively to help save the lives of our brothers and sisters in Haiti,” Simmons stated. “We know Haiti will need increased attention and resources from the international community to help it recover from this disaster, so let us ensure that our country does right. My thoughts and prayers are with the Haitian people whose suffering I can only imagine, and the Haitian Americans who have lost their loved ones.”