Wyclef Jean arrested at hip-hop education protest
First Cynthia Nixon, now Wyclef Jean. The former Fugee followed the ”Sex and the City” star’s example by getting arrested yesterday during a protest at New York’s City Hall of proposed cuts in the city’s public schools budget. Jean was cited for disorderly conduct, as were 12 others at the rally, which was co-organized by hip-hoppers and drew a crowd of 20,000, many of them students, according to the New York Daily News. He had tried repeatedly to perform at the rally, in violation of the protestors’ permit that allowed only speech and taped music.
The event was organized by the United Federation of Teachers and rap impresario Russell Simmons’ Hip-Hop Action Network. (Simmons had said it was Nixon, arrested at an earlier City Hall protest over the same issue, who urged him to act.) Jay-Z had done radio spots in the days leading up to the event, urging kids to join the rally once school let out.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has proposed education budget cuts as high as $356 million. The city, still reeling from recession and terrorism, faces a deficit of $5 billion.
Jean may not have gotten to perform, but other stars, including Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, Erykah Badu, and Sean ”P. Diddy” Combs, rocked the crowd with speeches. Referring to the financial news mogul-turned-mayor, Public Enemy rapper Chuck D told the students, ”You’ve got a mayor who’s a billionaire who wants to take the opportunity away from you to become the same kind of person.”