MANHATTAN — Haitian-born rapper Wyclef Jean broke into tears at a news conference on Monday while discussing the situation in Haiti and addressing rumors that funds from his charity, the Yele Haiti Foundation, were misused.
“I do not cry for myself, I cry for them,” he said after addressing Haitians in French. “[I told them] just permit us a little time, we’re going to be back on the ground on Saturday."
Jean’s foundation has come under fire for misusing donated funds after The Smoking Gun released a 2006 tax return that showed more than a third of the foundation's total revenue went to miscellaneous expenses.
“Yele’s books are open and transparent," Jean said at the press conference. He said the organization had been given "a clean bill of health by an external auditor" every year since it started.
“The reality is my people are dying,” the teary-eyed rapper said, “and I have to go back to the ground in a few days for a mission relief.”
Jean, is scheduled to co-host a benefit telethon with George Clooney, which has confirmed several big name guests, including Bono, Alicia Keys, Sting and Justin Timberlake.
It’s schedule to air Friday on NBC, HBO, CNN and MTV with proceeds benefiting Partners in Health, the Red Cross, Oxfam and Jean’s foundation.