Hello Wyclef Jean   1 comment

As I write this I’m sitting in a bus, watching the world pass me by in a blur of green and the grey of concrete.
I’ve never blogged on a bus before, and I don’t think I’ve ever really written anything on a bus either. I’m on a Bolt Bus, which is pretty snazzy. There is wifi, power outlets, nice leather seats and hula girls that juggle flamethrowers every hour until we get to our destination.
I’m on my way back from New York, and the events of the last few days seem like a dream.
If anyone read through my New York blogs, they’ll know that I spent many a day wandering around the Lower East Side, bar hopping and meeting random people. On one such night, I ended up spending a few hours with some cool Trinidadians, who I later found out did event planning.

Fast forward a few months later, and this is what happened:

Oct 30th, 2008:

I’m standing in the VIP area. In front of me, are a dozen or so gorgeous women. They are all wearing designer dresses, high heels and have flawless skin. They are cheering loudly, and a sea of hands of all colors ripple in the low light of the Prince George Ball Room, in the middle of Manhattan. In front of them, wearing a tank top while holding his shirt in his hand, is Wyclef. On stage with him are no less than twenty women (the stage is no more than seven feet across).
“This part of the crowd. These are the people I perform for every night!” he says, pointing to his left.
“But these motherfuckers, they too cool for school.” He says with a smile. He raises an eyebrow furtively, as beads of sweat dot his forehead.
“Okay he says, I know you see me on the TV. You seen me on CNN, and I honestly don’t curse that much. But if you aren’t gonna get live tonight, then you are a mother fucker.”
The crowd erupts into laughter, and Wyclef launches into one of his smash hit, 2007’s “Hips don’t lie”, and the venue is transformed. Voices roar the chorus, women scream and sing along with gusto, and even in the VIP, people raise their hands, nodding and singing along to the song. Behind me, Shaggy is dancing with a girl, his trademark smirk plastered over his face. He is holding a glass filled to the brim with Appleton.
A few feet away from me, is Jocelyn Gonzalez, the winner of 2007’s America’s Next Top Model. In the background, looking Frosty in glistening shades with diamond earrings and a watch, is Rupee, Mr. “tempted to touch”.
I’m taking this all in while I watch Wyclef perform. He tells the DJ to stop the music.
“Okay, I’m gonna play something on my guitar for you before I leave. You want to hear me play something on my guitar?”
The crowd chants yes, and then I say no. I say no because like everyone I was caught up in his performance, but I have a job to do.
I’m one of the media personalities of this event. I’m at the Antilia 2008 Carnival experience, and I’m the resident VJ. I’ve been interviewing people all night, and I realize my biggest interview, with the headliner Wyclef, might be slipping through my fingers. I walk back to the camera crew and let them know he’ll be leaving soon. The director gives me the positive nod.
I make my way through the throng of revellers, narrowly missing cute feet in expensive heels and I head backstage. I pass a group of models with amazing bodies dressed in carnival clothes. I nod to one of the security men, I know him from a pre-production meeting.
Down the entrance hallway are a series of tables with flyers and posters with information about various Trinidadian carnival bands (three of them were in a Fashion show for this event).
I find my other half, a tall kind-faced fellow named Marcus. “What’s the word on Wyclef?” I say.
He looks slightly confused. “You didn’t talk to Clef’s people?” he says. “Well I’m trying to snag this interview and I think he’s about to leave.” I say to him.
“Okay, let me see what we can do.”
I follow his tall figure as he deftly dips through the crowd. Every now and then he whispers to someone nearby, they nod, and then we move somewhere else. Now we are back stage, and Wyclef is on stage with a few other people.
The hosts tonight are AJ (formerly of 106 & park), and the Lovely Vashtie Kola, of music video directing fame. Wyclef’s performance is over, and he is soaking up the last rays of the limelight. He looks like he’s ready to leave. He comes off stage, and I gesture to Marcus.
There he is, my eyes say.
Marcus eases him up to his full height and then leans over to Wyclef. I hear snippets of the conversation.
“We…. Wondering…. Do interview…cool?”
Wyclef barely nods.
“Yeah, as long as we do it on the way out.” He says, walking away from Marcus. Wyclef walks past me calmy but assertively. His shirt is back on, and his jacket is in his hand. He takes a left turn into the main ballroom and I head to the media area.
It is a large, well lit space with a white canvas emblazoned with the logo of Antilia and a few sponsors. The crew is already there, and they are setting up. I breath a sigh of relief, behind me, Wyclef and a few guys appear.
Tim, the Ceo of the production company, says something to Wyclef as he approaches, he nods. Wyclef isn’t very tall, but not short. He still has the warm approachable face that is known to tens of millions and his outfit is modest.
“Hey man, how’s it going. “I say, extending my hand. He shakes it and we chit-chat as they camera people set up.
“I know you are a busy man, with things to do, so we appreciate this.” I said.
“Yeah, I have to get home to my daughter, the little one.” Wyclef says with a smile.
I tell him that I’m Jamaican and that I enjoyed some of his performances at Fully Loaded among other things, he smiles as I say this. In the corner of my eye, I see one of the camera man give me the thumbs up, I turn to the camera and say—

OCT 31, 2008.
I’m sitting on the E train heading from Queens to Manhattan. I’m sitting quietly, listening to the old train screech and wail against the tracks as we rumble through stop after stop.
I’m thinking of the night before, and it really does seem like a dream. Not only did I interview Wyclef at the end of the show, but during the course of the night, in my first every run at this type of thing I had interviewed: Shaggy, AJ (formerly of 106& park), Anya Ayoung-chee (miss T&T universe 2008), Jocelyn Gonzalez (America’s next top model winner), the Mad Stuntman (“I like to move it move it!), Rupee (tempted to touch), Kess (T&T star), Beniton the menance(“ Pop you head and dutty wine) and a slew of others.
I’m a little tired. At the after party I drank a lot of Alize and snapped pictures. At about 3 a.m, my cousin (Beniton), gave me a strong look. “You are doing BIG thing eh nuh Marcus. Proud of you man, Proud man.” He said.
The train screeches to a halt at Penn Station. As I walk out, jostling through the turnstiles with my two bags, I think wow, maybe I can be proud of myself too.

One response to “Hello Wyclef Jean

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  1. Bigga man! after a night like that, i’d feel proud too !

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