Praskazrel Michel is more than a two-time Grammy award-winner and founding member of the critically acclaimed group internationally known as The Fugees. The Haitian-born artist, politico, and social activist spoke with EBONY about his new documentary entitled, Sweet Mickey for President, a close look Michel Martelly, who was elected president of Haiti following the devastating earthquake of 2010. EBONY caught up with Pras on his new ventures, why he's still making good money and his thoughts on a Fugees reunion
EBONY: You were one of the first to endorse President Martelly of Haiti during his inaugural campaign. What's been the main focus of this documentary on him?
Pras: I think the focus of the documentary is the behind of the scenes, you get to see what goes on inside a campaign. You get to get a sense of an evolution of this guy that one would argue is one of the most provocative singers in Haiti. As far as what he's done in his career, as far as entertainment and to see him do that transformation from going to practice on stage to becoming head of state. It's one of those stories if you wrote a script and made a narrative movie out of it, people would say, "get the f*ck outta here" but you know this story is just one of those things that actually happened.
EBONY: You seem to have connect with the political realm just as much as the music world, where do you fit in between the two?
Pras: I'm an artist, first and foremost. We artists do what we do first love. We establish ourselves and then we venture on things thats kind of like an extension on who we are. For example, you got people who are into beverages. You got people who are into clothing lines, apparel, people in the restaurant business. I think my business, I'm into financial, private equity, you know, politics. Those are things that interest me most. What's going on and has global status around the world. You know, how I could make a change and also obviously do good while making money too.
EBONY: Tell me more about your private equity group, How did that all come about?
Pras: [Myself and my two partners] decided to start a fund. We had an opportunity to raise about a billion dollars. We were successful in locating the finances and we decided we're gonna try to do something interesting. You know try to create jobs, explore renewable energy, and do something that you're helping people. At the same time, helping to play our part and helping the planet on where it's going in this next century to come. Just a bunch guys got together. We all have something in common. We love finance and we said "Hey let's start this fund". Great things to come out of that.
EBONY: What do you think the importance of renewable energy and where do you see foresee it going?
Pras: Renewable energy is obviously the future. Whether or not you believe in global warming, I think it's been countless evidence that where Mother Nature is going with the planet is [majorly] different in the last twenty years. I mean, look at the typhoon that just happened in the Phillipines. Look at what just happened in the Midwest, in our country--tornadoes. So the way we've been treating this planet we've been abusing this planet. People gotta understand the planet is no different than our bodies, right? The whole mass body, two thirds of it, is composed of water. Just like the planet. Two third of the planet is composed of water. And everything else is land. One third of it is land. So if you mistreat it and abuse it these are the things that happened. The planet gets sick, just like if you mistreat your body, you get sick. That's why you may have noticed a lot of people are now eating gluten-free foods. A lot of people are eating green, organic foods. Free-range chicken because all the side products and the things that are added to it are harmful to your body. That's no different from the planet. So renewable energy is like feeding the planet organic food. Instead of wasting energy, we do renewable energy where its safe for the planet, safe for our health, and it can ease the tension. We're not going to change what we've done, but we can ease it and make it better. That's my philosophy on it, that's how I look at renewable energy.
EBONY: What inspired your entry into a healthy lifestyle?
Pras: You know, I think my entry is just me becoming aware of different people who I encounter in my life who left an impact on me. You know, whether it be my parents, but then also different people like peers or constituents. I remember when I first met Madonna.