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Wyclef Jean tells Oprah he started Yele with $1 million of his own money ( watch video)

Haiti-born, Grammy-winning musician Wyclef Jean appeared on today’s Oprah Winfrey Show, during which he showed personal videos from his trip to Haiti following the Jan. 12 devastating earthquake. Jean also further denied claims that he had used funds from the Yele Haiti foundation for his personal gain. “The attack on me, it basically came because once we started our movement, no one was focused on Yele until they noticed that we [were] raising $1 million a day after the earthquake,” Jean told Oprah. “What that did was it rose a lot of eyebrows.”

He reiterated: “I have never in any form taken payment for myself. As a matter of fact, when I was starting my charity, I put my first million dollars in.”

Jean did admit that mistakes had been made with Yele. “I think definitely when you’re starting a business, it’s important to have the right people around you. When you’re starting a foundation, it’s even more important,” he said. “I think that it was poorly ran, and I think that we have learned from our mistakes. Moving forward, I think we’re going to be stronger than ever.”

He described his hometown of Port-au-Prince after the quake as “an apocalypse” and said “the entire city feels like walking into a morgue.” Still, he did tell Oprah that the spirit of the people was still evident when he visited with his wife and cousin. “People were singing every night. Despite what they were going through they were still singing ‘Amazing Grace,’” he said.

Oprah also welcomed singers Rihanna and Maxwell to perform on today’s episode. Their performances are now available on iTunes to benefit relief efforts in Haiti.

Jean will also co-host Friday’s Hope for Haiti telethon with George Clooney.

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Comment by Tonia C. Martin on January 21, 2010 at 8:58am
I agree totally with Ebony. Wyclef's heart has always been in Haiti and I applaud his efforts. I have donated through Yele towards the earthquake relief fund and will do it again. Babylon is always attempting to bring down those who do well and are trying to make a difference.

@ PK - Wyclef attempted to do a Fugees reunion but Lauren Hill refused to participate.
Comment by pk on January 21, 2010 at 7:21am
Is Wyclef Cleff bringin Back da Fugees Massive??
Comment by ebony on January 21, 2010 at 1:02am
In regard to the statements made that Wycklef used money form his foundation for his own personal gain: It is typical of people to criticize something or someone when they are doing well. Thid young man never forgot where he came from and gave back to his country even when they were not publicized because of the earthquake. Give him a break, when you start a business or foundation, mistakes are going to be made no matter who you are. What is more important than the mistake being made is how you learned from it and correct it to prevent it from occurring again. I applaud Wyckleff and his foundation is the only one I will contribute to for the Haitian relief efforts. I trust and believe in him.
Comment by Mich on January 21, 2010 at 12:59am
luv Wyclef for his dedication...he was chosen for real

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