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Watch: Gen Z Meets OG in Wyclef's Financial Education Jam

Rapper Wyclef Jean, 54, ventures into a new domain — financial literacy — with the release of "Paper Right." Collaborating with Pusha T, Lola Brooke, Capella Grey, and Flau'jae, Jean seeks to emphasize the importance of building generational wealth and financial acumen.

"Paper Right is about building a financial legacy for future generations and the reward and gratification this brings. The most important thing I hope people take away from the song and my partnership with TIAA is that saving earlier can set you and your family up for long-term success," said Jean, a founding member of the legendary hip-hop group the Fugees, in a statement about the release. "As a father, when I look at my financial legacy and impact, I want to make sure my daughter is taken care of and has the tools needed to understand why saving early and preparing for the future is crucial."

This musical endeavor transcends mere catchy beats; it represents a strategic partnership with TIAA, a financial services giant and advocate for its ongoing "#RetireInequality" campaign. TIAA's focus on cultural relevance aligns with Jean's mission, evident in its previous initiatives like "The Dre$$," a couture gown symbolizing the retirement gender gap.

However, partnering with Jean raises eyebrows for some, casting a shadow from his past financial controversies. His Yéle Haiti Foundation, co-founded in 2001, faced investigations by the New York Attorney General over concerns about financial mismanagement and potential misuse of funds exceeding $9 million.

While specific claims of misappropriation haven't been proven in court, reports detailed significant expenses on travel, salaries, consultants, and related costs, raising questions about how donations were allocated. Haitian lawsuits seeking to recover unpaid debts from Yéle vendors and contractors further add to the cloud of uncertainty.

TIAA, however, views Jean's past as an opportunity for a relatable narrative. By partnering with an artist who has navigated financial complexities, TIAA aims to offer a story of overcoming adversity and achieving financial security.

"We're doubling down on keeping culture at the core of creativity," Danny Robinson, Chief Creative Officer at The Martin Agency, told Fast Company. The collaboration, he states, tackles the pressing issue of retirement insecurity, particularly affecting 54% of Black Americans who cannot maintain their standard of living post-retirement.

Jean acknowledges the challenge of engaging listeners, especially younger generations. "I know the message has to start with the Gen Zs and then on to my generation," he says. To bridge the gap, the song features Flau'jae, a Gen Z artist and the first millionaire in her family, Lola Brooke, a young rapper addressing social housing realities, and Capella Grey, offering his unique perspective. OGs Pusha T and Jean add experience and credibility.

But "Paper Right" isn't just about lyrics; it's an action-oriented initiative. Every stream of the song benefits First Generation Investors, a non-profit empowering underserved high school students with financial literacy tools.

Wyclef Jean's "Paper Right" transcends the typical hip-hop narrative, aiming to be a powerful financial education tool. While Jean's past with Yéle casts a shadow, the initiative's potential to inspire financial awareness and empower underserved communities offers a glimmer of hope. Only time will tell if "Paper Right" strikes the right chord, both financially and ethically.

Watch the music video for the single above.

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