Posted on Friday, 04.12.13
Jay-Z ignores Cuba's real heroes
By Fabiola Santiago
It's not difficult to clear up the confusion the "street cred"
self-conscious Jay-Z expressed in the rap he quickly penned upon his
return from Cuba, Open Letter.
Jay-Z can't understand why it's so wrong to kiss up to the Communist
Cuban regime if the microphone he's holding is made in China, a
Communist country too.
Let me boil it down to one thought:
The repressed people Jay-Z doesn't mind keeping chained to a white,
geriatric dictatorship of five decades — the Fidel and Raúl Castro
dynasty that has already prepped and designated another white heir — are
Talking down at them from his rich man's stogie-smoking perch rings of
What's difficult to understand is not where China fits in, but why
there's little or no sympathy for Cuba's dissidents among the civic
black leadership of the United States, among the literati and the
entertainers, when many of the leaders of the Cuban dissident movement
Want to talk "revolution" and "jail time"?
Talk to Berta Soler, the black leader of the Ladies in White, who
marches every Sunday to church — despite the government mobs that accost
her — with other mothers, daughters and wives of political prisoners
imprisoned for their beliefs.
Talk to her. She'll be in Miami soon, traveling here from Europe, where
pro-Castro mobs have stalked her and disrupted her forums.
Or Google any of these brave black Cubans who have paid dearly, with
real jail time, for peacefully standing up to the human-rights abuses of
the regime that Jay-Z finds so acceptable: Dr. Oscar Biscet, Jorge Luis
García Pérez "Antúnez," and the man who gave his life to call attention
to Cubans' plight, Orlando Zapata Tamayo.
And let's not forget Jay-Z's rapper brothers. Angel Yunier Remón Arzuaga
is on the 17th day of a hunger strike to protest his jailing over the
rap lyrics that call for the people of his town to stand up to abuse.
Do you get it, Jay-Z, that when you take the side of the dictatorship,
you negate yourself?
No? Then it's not about truth or ethics, is it?
It's about merchandising at all costs.
That cliché of a T-shirt you wear with the iconic image of a racist, a
homophobe and an executioner — aka Ernesto "Che" Guevara. That rap of
yours — "I'm like Che Guevara with bling on, I'm complex" — is not
complex at all.
It's endorsing a self-obsessed adventurer who penned observations about
European supremacy over "the Negro," and who sought to marginalize black
Cubans from the Revolution because he thought they hadn't earned a place
in the battlefield.
While clueless millionaire performers traipse through Cuban streets in
caricature mode, Cuban dissidents take real risks and make real revolution.
The only reason to care is because Jay-Z and wife Beyoncé gave the
Castro dictatorship just what it needed — a diversion from the travels
of the Cuban dissidents circling the world and lifting the veil on
But you can't hide from truth forever. Not even when you've got bling.China, dissident, Zapata