LargeUp Exclusive: Pras Speaks! On Wyclef, Haitian Politics + His New Film 'Sweet Micky For President'
In case you had Prakazrel Samuel Michel AKA Pras--down as the Lost Member of The Fugees, then LargeUp has a hell of an update for you. In a new exclusive interview with our Caribbean channel partner, Pras reveals that since he and fellow Fugee Wyclef Jean got caught up in the politics of their native Haiti in the hotly contested post-earthquake election cycle of 2010-2011, he has been spending most of his time in Hollywood--behind the camera, as he makes a move into the director's seat. Pras already has documentary projects focused on Somalia and Los Angeles on his reel, but it's perhaps not surprising that his most-anticipated project (which just screened at the highly-rated Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival) is Sweet Micky For President, a b0undary-pushing look behind the scenes of the campaign trail in that Haitian election, which put Pras firmly in the camp of the eventual victor, former Haitian pop-star Michel "Sweet Micky" Martelly, coming out against his former bandmate Wyclef. Suffice it to say Five Heartbeats got nothing on this story.
The exclusive LargeUp interview is packed with revelations, including--but not limited to--declarations like: "I don't totally believe in full-blown democracy" and the admission that Pras now sees he "...would have been better off supporting Wyclef. He might’ve even made me Prime Minister and Lauryn Hill Secretary of State [laughs]" not to mention the insightful observation that Sweet Micky (famous for wearing a diaper onstage during his musical career--actually one of his least shocking scatological onstage stunts) may be best understood as the Donald Trump of Haiti. If Pras' description is to be trusted, his documentary on the election and its winner will be at least as revealing and comfort-zone-violating:
"That’s the beauty of the film, I think: people are responding to it because it’s so raw. They’re saying, 'If he’s the filmmaker, he could’ve easily deleted this scene or that scene.' There are certain parts where you’re cringing. And you have to ask, Did he sign off on this?"
Read another choice excerpt below and click through to get the full Q&A (and exclusive photoshoot) via LargeUp:
LU: What is your relationship like now with President Martelly [aka Sweet Micky]? He’s come under a lot of criticism. What’s your view of his time in office?
PM: Well, my relationship with him is different from my views of him as the president. He and I will always be boys, but when it comes to politics, you don’t have to be a political scientist to know that he did a horrible job [laughs]. The writing is on the wall. He knows he didn’t do a good job. He may front like he did, but he knows he didn’t. The country’s no better off than before he came into office.
Maybe he can say that the number of people living in tents after the earthquake is down to 50,000 from a million, but I think any president — especially with all that aid coming in — would’ve been able to do at least that, so I can’t bust my gun to salute him for that. Look, could he have made Haiti into Miami Beach in four years? No, but I think there are some fundamentals that could have been handled: there’s still no real infrastructure, no proper education as we know it in the modern world, no irrigation, and there are no jobs. It’s not me hating. Those are just the facts.
You have to understand something: the reason that I didn’t support my bandmate, who I have a longer relationship with, is because my concern has always been for the 15 million Haitians on the island. I firmly believed Michel Martelly would’ve done a better job than Wyclef Jean.
He’s about to be done at the end of this year. When we see each other, it’s going to be laughs. But when it comes to politics, I could never agree with what he’s done. He hasn’t accomplished what I envisioned. At this point, I think I would have been better off supporting Wyclef. He might’ve even made me Prime Minister and Lauryn Hill Secretary of State [laughs].