Documentaries are my absolutely favorite thing to watch. There isn’t a documentary I haven’t seen on Netflix. But instead of a night with Netflix, I was invited to the exclusive Friars Club for cocktails and a private viewing of “Sweet Micky for President,” a film following Pras Michel as he backs a candidate in the Haitian election. This is a documentary and music buff’s dream come true.
Musicians and politicians have been intertwined since the two have existed. During election seasons, some simply state who they’re voting for, while others hit the campaign trail for their candidate. After the deadly earthquake in Haiti in 2010, the political landscape was changed, and all eyes were on the upcoming presidential election. One famous musician stepped up to back an unlikely candidate in the historical election in Haiti.
Filmmaker Ben Patterson follows Pras Michel, former member of the hit group the Fugees, as he backs the campaign of Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly for president. The documentary captures the entertaining yet controversial dynamics of the Haitian election. The 2010 earthquake drew substantial international aid to the country, as well as increased attention to replace outgoing chief executive Rene Preval after two terms in the office. Preval was Haiti’s second democratically elected president, although his regime was surrounded by allegations of corruption, much like that of predecessor Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who was deposed in a 2004 military coup. To a bit of a disappointment to me, the film doesn’t cover the actual policy differences of the candidates, but rather the drama. While you don’t exactly know where he stands on policy issues, the Martelly candidacy definitely drew some heavy hitters backing him besides Pras Michel. Actor Sean Penn and Former President Bill Clinton appear in the film. They seem to be trying to diffuse the controversies the campaign can’t seem to get away from.
The main controversy captured in the film was when Pras Michel’s former group member Wyclef Jean enters the race with substantially more resources and a higher profile. The documentary highlighted the estranged relationship the former group members share even to this day. Wyclef eventually was knocked out of the race by a technicality and throws his support behind Martelly.
Though lacking policy substance, the documentary was extremely entertaining, funny and full of twists. If you weren’t familiar with Pras Michel’s tenacity and influence, after seeing the film you will be. During the Q & A after the film, Pras spoke to his passion for helping others find their passion. While people knew him as a member of the Fugees, most didn’t know that he founded the group and he has his hand in many different projects. “Sweet Micky for President” received an Audience Award for Documentary Feature at the Slamdance Film Festival this year and has made a special appearance at The Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival. The film debut in theaters in Los Angeles on November 13th and in New York City on November 20th.
Twisted Talk: Are you familiar with the politics happening in Haiti? What’s the last documentary you watched? Discuss below!