OP-ED: Kanye West Will Not Save Haiti
Last Friday, the news of Kanye West’s surprise visit to Haiti swept through social media. Images and videos released on different platforms detail the itinerary of the American rapper. From the tarmac of the Hugo Chavez airport in Cap-Haïtien, an impromptu encounter with tennis star Naomi Osaka at the salon diplomatique, to dancing with a folkloric troupe at Le Cormier Hotel after a boat ride with Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, the star’s schedule was busy. According to the Haitian Ministry of Tourism, West travelled to the Caribbean nation simply to visit a germplasm center, the popular cruise port of Labadee, and Tortuga Island. Yet, one of the videos circulating reveals a clue as to the real reason for the American rapper’s trip: “we’re building a city,” Kanye West tells Naomi Osaka.
Who is this “we” Kanye West refers to? Perhaps it includes Shervin Kordary Pishevar, a venture-capitalist featured in this year’s Forbes Midas List for “The World’ Best Venture Capital Investors,” who accompanied West on the trip to the Caribbean nation. Pishevar, whose success is rooted in his visionary investment in companies like Uber and Airbnb, as well as trendy companies like Postmates, Warby Parker, and the Virgin Hyperloop One, among others, is a notable philanthropist. Pishevar’s personal website claims that the capitalist man is “a devoted, influential philanthropist who donates money, time and leadership to numerous global and local charities.” However, it has been demonstrated that corporate philanthropy is simply a game of smoke and mirrors in which plutocrats yield and exert power through seemingly charitable endeavors while securing tax breaks.
A rape allegation made against Pishevar resulted in his arrest in London in May 2017. Later that year, five additional women came forward and accused him of sexual misconduct, and detailing how Pishevar “used his position of power to pursue romantic relationships and unwanted sexual encounters.” Following those accusations, Pishevar announced he would step down from his position at his firm Sherpa Capital.
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