Wyclef Jean Contemplates Pop Music Misogyny

Lead Fugees rapper and sometime guitarist Wyclef Jean was the first member of his group to embark on a solo career, and he proved even more ambitious and eclectic on his own. As the Fugees hung in limbo, Wyclef also became hip-hop's unofficial multicultural conscience; a seemingly omnipresent activist, he assembled or participated in numerous high-profile charity benefit shows for a variety of causes, including aid for his native Haiti.

The utopian one-world sensibility that fueled Wyclef's political consciousness also informed his recordings, which fused hip-hop with as many different styles of music as he could get his hands on (though, given his Caribbean roots, reggae was a particular favorite). In addition to his niche as hip-hop's foremost global citizen, Clef was also a noted producer and remixer who worked with an impressive array of pop, R&B, and hip-hop talent, including Whitney Houston, Santana, and Destiny's Child, among many others.

  • Transcript


Question: Is pop music culture disrespectful to women?

Wyclef Jean:  Well, I think that, you know, first of all, the women that are portrayed like that in the videos, they wanna be portrayed like that in the videos or they wouldn’t come to the video shoot.  So that means that there’s a gang of women out there that wants to be portrayed like that.  You understand what I’m saying to you?  Because the women that don’t wanna be portrayed like that, they won’t be nowhere by those videos.  You understand what I’m saying to you?  And I think that the idea of degrading women and making women look like they’re sluts, they’re ‘ho’s, they’re nothing, they just, you know -- it’s not a great example, you know I’m saying, because we all got a mom, you know I mean, and we wouldn’t wanna portray our moms like that.  You see what I’m saying?  So the bottom line is you have to be conscious of what you portraying because when you end up having a daughter, I’m sure you ain’t gonna want your daughter jumping around like that and acting like that.  So you have to make sure that you put a thin line.  And if you’re doing a video like that, I think you should basically do it in a smart way.  Like, you could be way more clever with it opposed to, “All right.  Now time to drop champagne on her head.”  I think it’s corny.  I think the smarter way of doing it is check out my video, “The Sweetest Girl,” baby.  And you see how you wanna portray women?  Get those strong women in those videos.