At Your Home Without Me: Jerry Wonda Shares Music He Loves
When I connected via Zoom with producer and former Fugees’ bass player Jerry Wonda Duplessis, I was greeted with music and rhythm, Bowie’s Let’s Dance! Seated with his bass guitar at arms’ reach at his Minnesota studio, minutes away from Prince’s home and the sadly well-known street where George Floyd was choked to death, Wonda is doing what he loves the most, sharing the music he loves.
His music of course. That includes hits such as Fugees’ cover of Killing Me Softly, Shakira’s Hips Don’t Lie, Carlos Santana’s Maria Maria, Melissa Ethridge’s Pulse and more recently the viral success of Newark’s Mayor Ras Baraka’s What We Want.
Music from others as well. That day, Wonda was in the mood for the period-worthy Harold Melvin’s Wake Up Everybody and a song he and I both like dearly, The Eagles’ iconic Hotel California. With some of his musical friends, Wonda launched early May ‘Share Music You Love,’ an initiative to raise funds for MusiCares and help musicians while concerts are halted. A UN Goodwill Ambassador for Haiti, Wonda is also working on bringing music, voices and musicians, professionals or not, from all over the world into a song to symbolize unity.
Born in Haiti, Wonda has never forgotten the donkey he rode to school before he moved to East Orange, New Jersey, into the home of his cousin, Wyclef Jean. He now lives for sharing his luck and dreams with others, children who like him, are born into poverty. “I went to school to be a recording engineer,” Wonda told me, “but I wanted to be Quincy Jones. I wanted to make the music, I wanted to be a producer. I wanted to produce a lot of Michael Jacksons!”
And so, he did.
At Your Home Without Me with Leah Pisar
Donald Trump, Ambushed or Unmasked?
[Translated from French]
Over the last few weeks, the health crisis has morphed into a full-fledged socio-political crisis within the United States. An inevitable explosion in unemployment, resulting from these extra-ordinary circumstances, paired with the anti-racist protests and riots sweeping not only the nation, but the world, in the wake of George Floyd’s death, are proof that this is a turbulent period indeed.
In addition to the pandemic and the protests, the White House’s reaction to the upheaval has set the tone for the upcoming presidential election–it is a climate with which the American people have become very familiar over the past three months of quarantine. That is: utterly out of the ordinary.
It still remains difficult to determine whether Donald Trump has cannily taken advantage of a violent political situation mirroring a divided America, one which he does not seem interested in reconciling; or if he has gone too far and, finally, crossed a line. With declining approval ratings, some cracks in the heretofore seamless Republican support he used to enjoy, and disagreement seeping within his own administration, has Donald Trump begun to jeopardize his chances for re-election on Nov. 3rd? The 2020 presidential election will offer voters a stark choice between a divided, individualistic society; and a united America that is open to the world.
It is a struggle between “two visions of America,” in which “the soul of this country and the balance of the world” are at stake, explains Franco-American writer and former advisor to President Clinton Leah Pisar. Current President of the Aladdin Project—a NGO that works for intercultural rapprochement and the rejection of Holocaust denial, racism and anti-Semitism, Leah Pisar naturally sides with openness, humanity, and a shared world.