Miami: The “SOS Saving OurSelves—Help for Haiti” Concert

Last weekend Wyclef Jean opened the “SOS Saving OurSelves—Help for Haiti” concert and telethon with the Haitian Creole phrase for “It’s all good.” His performance began two hours of pleas for donations and pledges of unity with earthquake victims just 700 miles from the American Airlines Arena in Miami. Before the telethon, “Heroes” actor Jimmy Jean-Louis said Haitians needed to be in charge of their own recovery, saying that “We have to get Haiti moving by itself, and not just relying on the donors.”

In a night of celebration of Haitian culture and pride, “Haiti didn’t seem that far away” says the article. The effects of the January 12 earthquake have been felt even in Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood, just north of the arena. Local Haitian-Americans who survived the earthquake or went to assist the relief efforts were highlighted in the audience. Many celebrities contributed to the telethon and participated actively in fundraising for Haiti. For example, former President Bill Clinton took the stage just after stepping off a plane from Haiti.

Artists and public figures such as Mary J. Blige, Chris Brown, Justin Bieber, Robin Thicke, Trey Songz, Busta Rhymes, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Nas, Drake, Ludacris, Akon, Queen Latifah, Pharrell, Gloria Estefan, tennis player Serena Williams, filmmaker Spike Lee, and former boxer Mike Tyson, among others, were on hand to lend a helping hand. “We’re all in the same boat,” said singer Trey Songz, making an unintentional pun in a city that is the destination for countless Haitian and Cuban migrants.

Aware that “donor fatigue” may be setting in, hosts Sean “Diddy” Combs, Queen Latifah and Pharrell urged viewers and concertgoers to remember Haiti’s need for investment in its infrastructure, along with food, water, shelter and medicine. Proceeds of this fundraiser will go to aid agencies Yelé Haiti, CARE, Project Medishare, Children’s Safe Drinking Water, and The Clinton Foundation.

For full article, see http://www.bostonherald.com/news/international/americas/view.bg?articleid=1231037

Photo of Wyclef Jean and former President Clinton from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/07/AR2010020701303.html

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