Wyclef Jean has never been one to shy away from politics. Whether it's imagining himself as a world leader on his song "If I Was President" or actually trying to become a world leader in his unsuccessful campaign for Haiti's presidency, Clef has always been on the forefront of looking at ways to improve the world. But in a new video, he is looking backwards at some of the darkest and most painful times in our nation's history, in order to begin to figure out how to move forward from them.
Wyclef's new video for "Baba," a Kofi Black-featuring track from his upcoming album Wyclef Goes Back to School, out March 15, finds the rapper/singer/musician/producer delivering the majority of the song while hanging from a tree, in a callback to the U.S.'s horrific history of lynchings. According to the NAACP, there were over 4,700 recorded lynchings in the country between 1882 and 1968, and even today there is a movement to make lynching a federal crime.
For Clef, it was important to examine this history in order to figure out how to have a viable future.
"In order to make the future better for the next generation, we must always tell the children the truth," he told Complex. "It is difficult to think about and to forgive what has happened in the past, but we do have to live in the present. And, that means dealing with reality of the past and the present in hopes of building a better future."
The album on which "Baba" appears had its genesis during visits Wyclef made to a number of colleges and universities while promoting his 2017 album Carnival III: The Fall and Rise of a Refugee. As he stopped at schools like Howard, Temple, and NYU, he gave masterclasses, but quickly found out that he was learning as much as he was teaching. The album features students from those schools as players and singers.
You can watch the "Baba" video above. For more information about Wyclef and Wyclef Goes Back to School, visit here.