Are Critics Being Too Hard on the Carters?

April 9th, 2013

(Photo: REUTERS/Enrique De La Osa)

Last week, hip hop’s first couple, Jay-Z and Beyoncé, created a firestorm of controversy by going where few Americans have gone before: Cuba. Now politicians and critics are calling for an investigation into a trip they made to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary.

Citizens of the U.S. are forbidden from traveling to the tropical island for tourism purposes as part of a 53-old-embargo aimed at preventing U.S. dollars from funding a Castro-centric regime that, among other things, suppresses many of the most basic civil liberties. Mauricio Claver-Carone, D.C. director for the US-Cuba Democracy PAC, told TMZ they “should have educated themselves about what’s really going on before taking photo ops.” He went on to emphasize how disappointed he was in their choice to vacation in Cuba where people are fighting for freedom and women are getting beaten every day.

With all due sensitivity to the people, both in Cuba and in America that are fighting these atrocities, Cuba is not the only vacation destination whose locals face challenges such as this. Anyone that has visited Cancun, Acapulco or Cabo can attest to the fact that outside of the Americanized tourist zones, people are working all day just to be able to afford food, and some cannot even do that. Even corporate mainstay McDonald’s pays their employees  in Mexico approximately seven to eight dollars a day. Not per hour, but for an entire day’s work.  The Dominican Republic is no different. If you ever want to re-up your appreciation for America, just take that ride from the airport to your hotel or resort in most vacation destinations and you will experience a renewed sense of patriotism.

This so-called controversy appears to be more of a convenient excuse for right wing pundits to take shots at President Barack Obama for allowing the couple (who he’s known to be friendly with) into Cuba.

It makes you wonder, does Mr. Claver-Carone criticize tourists from other lands that legally visit Cuba every single day? The only thing I would consider criticizing the Carters for is if they don’t tip their staff, which probably doesn’t make enough in a week to buy Jay’s latest album.

Should they have put more thought into where they went to celebrate their union? Absolutely not! Both of them are unparalleled trendsetters and with the way things are looking in Cuba, Castro’s rule might soon be coming to an end, at which point talks could open up about lifting the embargo. Jay-Z and Beyoncé just made it exponentially more desirable to go there and learn more about Cuban culture which (particularly in parts of Florida) has also become a significant part of American culture.

It’s amazing, Jay’s predecessor, Notorious B.I.G. has been gone for more than 15 years, yet one of his most famous sayings rings more true today than ever: Mo’ Money, mo’ problems. The positive is that hip hop has become so big that Jay-Z’s problems actually affect the President of the United States!

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