Wyclef Jean lectures, performs at Bell Tower

Hip-hop artist Wyclef Jean spoke in an African American studies class on Friday and also performed at the Bell Tower.

Wyclef Jean performs for a crowd of more than 100 Temple students and community members during the homecoming pep rally at the Bell Tower on Friday afternoon. | SYDNEY SCHAEFER / THE TEMPLE NEWS

What would normally be a typical day in Timothy Welbeck’s Hip Hop and Black Culture class turned into a public event when a famous hip-hop artist stopped in for the 50-minute class.

Wyclef Jean, who is featured on many top hip-hop tracks of the 2000s and known for his work in hip hop group The Fugees, gave a lecture during Welbeck’s class on Friday. He talked about his latest album, “Carnival III: The Fall and Rise of a Refugee,” and his childhood.

He also performed at the Bell Tower during the Homecoming Pep Rally.

At the pep rally, Jean surprised passersby who didn’t expect to see him perform. He performed a few songs from his new album, as well as some of his better-known tracks, like “Hips Don’t Lie.”

At the Bell Tower, he also recorded a music video for “Warrior,” a song from the new album.

“The term ‘legend’ gets thrown around a lot,” Welbeck, an African-American studies professor said during the lecture. “But we have a true legend here today.”

Rapper Wyclef Jean speaks with Timothy Welbeck, an African American studies professor, in an Anderson Hall lecture room on Friday afternoon prior to his performance at the Bell Tower. | LIAM NIELSENSHULTZ / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Jean heard about Welbeck’s hip-hop class and wanted to help inspire future musicians.

“The exchange of information brings inspiration, and if I even taught one person in this room to think different or to think big, that’s what it’s about,” Jean said.

Jean said that because the music industry is so large, it’s important for older generations to reach out to the up-and-coming generation of musicians.

During the lecture, Jean spoke about his Haitian roots. He lived in Haiti until he was 9, and then immigrated to Brooklyn with his family. He also discussed how he was inspired to run for president of Haiti in 2010 after a deadly earthquake and tsunami. He volunteered in Haitian morgues after the natural disaster. At least 220,000 people died, according to CNN. He was disqualified because he did not meet Haiti’s five-year residency rule.

Jean then went on to discuss his latest album, a sequel to “Wyclef Jean Presents The Carnival,” which was released 20 years ago. For one of the album’s tracks, he used sounds from NASA’s Juno spacecraft, which has been orbiting Jupiter since last year.

“At the end of the day, I just do music,” Jean said. “I never know where it’s going to land.”

Welbeck asked Jean questions and opened it up to an audience Q&A. Students asked about topics ranging from the biggest challenges of being a famous musician to his experience with running for president of Haiti.

After the lecture, Jean invited aspiring rappers to stay and show him their skills. Welbeck even joined in, followed by Jean himself. Jean told The Temple News he enjoys giving new artists advice on their future careers.

“The will means to sacrifice everything for what you want, and that’s a different kind of belief,” Jean told The Temple News.

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