Jay-Z Defends Cuba Trip in 'Open Letter', White House Responds
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In reaction to politicians questioning if his recent trip to Cuba with wife Beyonce Knowles was officially licensed, Roc Nation boss Jay-Z wrote and released Thursday, April 11 a new song entitled "Open Letter", produced by Timbaland and Swizz Beatz. The 43-year-old rapper penned his new composition in reaction to Cuban-American U.S. Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart, who expressed concerns about the trip.
Saying "Politicians never did (expletive) for me / except lie to me, distort history," Hov hit back at the two Florida reps, daring the Republican lawmakers to "want to give me jail time and a fine? Fine, let me commit a real crime."
The rap mogul and his diva spouse's trip coincided with their fifth wedding anniversary, which may have prompted people to readily assume that the trip was for mere tourism/pleasure, but U.S. Treasury officials, who issued the couple's clearance to go to Cuba, said it was apparently meant for cultural exchange. U.S. citizens are only allowed to visit Cuba if the trip is for academic, religious, journalistic or cultural purposes.
Jay-Z may have also unintentionally gotten President Obama into the controversy when he rapped, "Boy from the hood but got White House clearance," and might have misled listeners to believe that the president may have issued the license as a special favor for the celebrity power couple, who are both known to be his staunch supporters. He even dropped the line "Obama said, 'Chill, you gon' get me impeached, you don't need this (expletive) anyway, chill with me on the beach."
In response, White House's press secretary Jay Carney declared, "I am absolutely saying that the White House, from the president on down, had nothing to do with anybody's travel to Cuba. That is something the Treasury handles." He further emphasized, "The president did not communicate with Jay-Z over this trip."
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