Some Republican legislators having an issue with Jay Z and Beyoncé visiting Cuba, for their fifth wedding anniversary, is not a big deal on its own. It really doesn’t merit too much discussion. The embargo with its travel ban for average citizens is silly after fifty plus years of existence and is an easy way out for the Castro brothers to blame the U.S. for their mismanagement of the Cuban economy. Even the positive comments about the country by the music power couple could be forgiven as simple-minded comments from celebrities, who while they should know better, have to spout off on a political issue. What cannot be be forgiven, and what especially Jay Z has to be called to account for, is the rap song he created commemorating the trip.
While Jay Z and his diva wife are basking in the fond memories of their trip to the Caribbean island (and avoiding legal sanctions since the President, a good friend, cut them a break) and earning many Yankee dollars from the song extolling the virtues of this alleged paradise, a musician, a rapper like Jay Z though not as famous on the international stage or living in a free country where any fool can spout out opinions without consequence, is languishing in prison for wanting the freedom of producing his type of music.
A local rapper, Angel Yunier Remon — better known as “El Critico del Arte” — was jailed for doing exactly what Jay Z does in his music. It is disappointing that neither Jay Z nor Beyoncé made any attempt to plead for his release nor the release of any of the other political prisoners in Cuba held by the couple’s new best friend, Cuban President Raul Castro. They made no effort to use their existing friendship with President Barack Obama to intercede either. Jay Z is and, I am sure, will be happy to take in the dollars he makes off his new song about the virtues of Cuba, the utopia where government critics, including musical ones, end up in prison and not making money off their songs.
Recent reports indicate that ‘El Critico’ is on a hunger strike and is close to death. He started the hunger strike after receiving a severe beating in the prison where he has been held since late March.
It is said that he is willing to take it to the ultimate end—death—if necessary in the attempt to win his freedom.
So far, there has been no public comment on the situation from Jay Z or Beyoncé. Must be too busy counting the money earned from his Cuban love song or watching his Brooklyn Nets play or dealing with the fallout from the alleged racial profiling incident at Barney’s in New York with whom he is collaborating on fashion products