Jay-Z might have thought he one-upped the critics over his whirlwind Cuba trip — with wife Beyoncé — in his defiant song "Open Letter."
"I turned Havana into Atlanta," Jay-Z raps on the track. "Boy from the 'hood, I got White House clearance/Obama said, 'Chill, you gonna get me impeached.'"
However, no one is impressed — not President Obama, and especially not director Phil Lord. The brains behind 21 Jump Street and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs penned his own open letter to the Brooklyn-born rapper, blasting him for making light of Cuba's decades-long struggle.
"I just heard your new track, 'Open Letter,' released today," Lord wrote, according to The Huffington Post. "It's got everything I love about your music: looping internal rhymes, an infectious beat, and imagery that draws me into a kind of swaggering, defiant fantasy."
"As the son of a Cuban refugee, and cousin and nephew to many Cubans on the island, I cringe when Americans visit Cuba for a fun island vacation. For one thing it's illegal (which nobody seems to care about), but more importantly, it's either ignorant of or calloused to the struggles of Cubans on the island. I actually encourage my friends to travel to Cuba, to bear witness to one of the great tragedies of our time, to learn about the real Cuba, to put a human face on the caricature of Americans that the Castros propagate. Exchange and travel between our two nations should be a catalyst for change, as it has been even in my own family. But for me, Cuba is not the place to have a fun, sexy vacation. Because for Cubans on the island and living elsewhere, it's not."
He goes on to write that Jay-Z probably doesn't know about the political oppression and poverty that go on in the island country.
"He probably just thinks Cuba is a chic place to relax with the family," Lord wrote of Jay-Z. "He probably just doesn't know the things I know."
Ultimately, though, Lord says Sean Carter knows all of those things.
"You reject the responsibility to speak up for an oppressed people, even while you take up your own cause with gusto," he added. "Then I figured it out. You actually know all of this stuff, you just don't care. That's not just being a bad citizen, or a bad neighbor. It's being a bad artist. It's Nihilism with a beat."
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