Review:  ‘Sweet Micky’ follows Michel Martelly’s unlikely path to the Haitian presidency


The documentary “Sweet Micky for President” traces the campaign that led to the election of Haitian leader Michel Martelly, the politician formerly known as Sweet Micky, a provocative, anarchistic and sometimes profane compas musician.

After decades of brutal dictatorships, military coups and the devastating magnitude-7.0 earthquake in 2010, Haiti was in shambles. President René Préval picked Jude Célestin as his successor, but Haitian American rapper Pras Michel persuaded Martelly to join the fray, launching his candidacy in Montreal to focus attention on the Haitian diaspora. Sweet Micky’s celebrity and populist lyrics proved advantageous, but his crass shtick and lack of political experience also seemed like liabilities.

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Filmmaker Ben Patterson doesn’t even feign objectivity; he downplays the heavy involvement by the rapper known simply as Pras, one of the film’s producers, in the Martelly campaign. After Wyclef Jean also announces a bid for the presidency, Patterson details the ensuing beef between the two former bandmates, complete with cameos from Sean Penn. “Even though you don’t want to support me, I got love for you,” Wyclef sings about Pras. “Even though you only kicked eight bars in the Fugees.”


With Préval accused of voting fraud to ensure Célestin’s victory, there’s no shortage of political intrigue even with the outcome a foregone conclusion.


“Sweet Micky for President”

MPAA rating: None.

Running time: 1 hour, 29 minutes.

Playing: Laemmle’s Music Hall 3, Beverly Hills.