By Don Simpson | January 30, 2015
Director: Ben Patterson
Haiti gained its independence in 1804, making it the first independent nation of Latin America and the Caribbean as well as the only nation in the world established as a result of a successful slave revolt. Since declaring independence, Haiti has suffered 32 coups; and a long history of dictatorships has devastated the nation and its economy. The 7.0 earthquake that hit Haiti in January 2010 left it in utter ruins…just in time for Haiti’s next presidential election.
Ben Patterson’s Sweet Micky for President follows the very unlikely presidential campaign of Michel Martelly — otherwise known as Sweet Micky, a risqué compas musician who is known for being outrageous, naughty and outspoken. The primary goal of Martelly’s campaign is to disassociate the artist’s persona from the person (the candidate), all the while leveraging Sweet Micky’s notoriety to its fullest potential. Martelly has no political history or platform — though some of his songs do feature profound political lyrics — but who needs a political platform when you are one of Haiti’s best-known musicians?
If you followed the Haitian elections in 2010-11, you already know how Patterson’s documentary ends; regardless, Sweet Micky is a beguiling trip that follows the ebbs and flows of politics. With Pras Michel as a producer, it seems like Sweet Micky would essentially play like a 90-minute commercial for Martelly; yet, Patterson is certainly not afraid to reveal Martelly’s blemishes. If anything, Pras gets the raw end of the deal — he is the political hothead who Martelly must eventually distance himself from. Pras also seems to play a sometimes detrimental role in Martelly’s relationship with Wyclef Jean.
Sweet Micky is a surprisingly well-rounded political campaign documentary that showcases the influence that American celebrities have on foreign politics. Alongside The Fugees’ Pras and Wyclef, we find Sean Penn, Ben Stiller, and Bill Clinton with some involvement in the Haitian presidential elections. For better or worse, foreign involvement significantly assisted Martelly’s campaign — for one, Martelly would have never made it to round two of the elections if the OAS (Organization of American States) did not intervene.