Grammy-winning musician, Haiti presidential hopeful, American immigrant, controversial philanthropist, Wyclef Jean is now also an author. In Purpose: An Immigrant's Story, Jean sets out to set the record straight about his life.
"You go from being loved to being like the worst person on the planet," said Jean, whose family immigrated from Haiti to New York when he was nine years old. Living in poverty, Jean staked out a name for himself participating in local freestyle rap battles. Eventually, he went against his dad's wishes and decided not to go to theological school, but to pursue a music career. For about a decade, his pastor father cut ties with him.
But Jean played out the American dream, becoming famous as one third of the Grammy-winning group the Fugees. He and the other two members -- Pras and Lauryn Hill -- also forged successful solo careers after the group's demise.
Outside of music, some consider Jean a polarizing figure. After a devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010, which on the low end of the estimate spectrum killed tens of thousands of people, Jean wanted to help. He started the Yele Foundation and announced that he would be running for the Haitian presidency.
Both acts became controversial. It's these controversies that Jean tries to clear up in his book.
His foundation folded amidst accusations of financial impropriety, leaving rebuilding projects unfinished.
"The mistake with my charity was not foul play with funds," Jean told George Stroumboulopoulos. The problem, he says, was that a charity needs to be run by the right people. "Saying that Wyclef Jean took money from his charity is ludicrous."
As for his presidential run, Jean says he knew he was going to win, but says he was never given the chance. "I was being attacked before I could even enter the race," he said of nay-sayers like Hollywood actor Sean Penn, who publicly challenged his bid.
Despite these controversies, Jean said he has no complaints. After all, he was given the chance to come to America, turn music into a career, and drive a Ferrari.