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Director Phil Lord: Disgusted by Jay-Z & Beyonce’s Trip to Cuba

First it was Beyonce release of ” Bow Down” and now Jay-Z  “Open Letter”…hmmm Seem like this couple is displaying a power trip of sorts and arrogance at best. To come out with something like this is adding more fire to the negativity that the Obama administration is already having to deal with.   Director…

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First it was Beyonce release of ” Bow Down” and now Jay-Z  “Open Letter”…hmmm Seem like this couple is displaying a power trip of sorts and arrogance at best. To come out with something like this is adding more fire to the negativity that the Obama administration is already having to deal with.  

Director Phil Lord (“21 Jump Street,” “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs”) found himself feeling a bit uncomfortable when he read about Jay-Z and Beyonce’s trip to Cuba. The couple spent their fifth wedding anniversary in Havana, much to the disgust of conservative politicians who excoriated the trip and pledged to open investigations.

It has since been revealed that the trip was authorized by the Treasury Department (White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Barack Obama had no knowledge of the clearance). Jay-Z addressed the whole situation in “Open Letter,” a song which blasts politicians and includes the memorable refrain “Obama said, ‘Chill you’re going to get me impeached’ / You don’t need this sh-t anyway, chill with me on the beach.”

Lord’s not that amused. “When I saw that the Carters were in Cuba, I got that pang that I get when I hear friends say they are traveling there,” he told the Huffington Post. “At first I gave the Carters the benefit of the doubt, but after Jay-Z’s latest single dropped, I thought I had to speak my mind.”

Ahead, read Lord’s “open letter” to the rapper, in which the director explains why he finds the trip so offensive.

An Open Letter to Jay-Z

Dear Mr. Z,

 I just heard your new track, “Open Letter,” released today. 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. Speaking of defiant fantasies, I’ve been following news of your recent trip to the island nation of Cuba. 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.

So when I heard of your visit, I thought to myself, Jay Z seems like a smart, thoughtful guy. He doesn’t realize what he’s walking into. He probably just thinks Cuba is a chic place to relax with the family. He probably just doesn’t know the things I know. He likely doesn’t know that the Cuban tourism industry is run by the Cuban military, so when he spends money at an officially sanctioned hotel, or restaurant, he is directly funding the oppressors of the Cuban people.  

He doesn’t know that most Cubans have poor access to independent news sources, the internet, books, and food. 

He doesn’t know that Cuba has two health systems, one for the well-connected, and one for everyone else. 

He doesn’t know that before Castro, the Cuban peso traded one-to-one with the dollar, and that since then, the Castros have raided the nation’s coffers and introduced widespread poverty to a once prosperous nation. 

He doesn’t know that my ancestors fought to free Cuba from Spain, and to set up a democracy to ensure that they would always be free.  

He doesn’t know that in spite of those dreams, my mother and her family fled for their lives from this regime way back in 1960, as did *two million* other Cubans.  

He doesn’t know about the thousands of people executed by firing squads led by sexy t-shirt icon Che Guevara. 

He doesn’t know about the dissidents, artists, and librarians that currently rot in Cuba’s prisons, and the thousands more who live in fear. 

He doesn’t know about Orlando Zapata Tamayo, an Afro-Cuban dissident who died in a Cuban prison in 2010 after an 80-day hunger strike. 

He doesn’t know that a U.S. Citizen, Alan Gross, is currently serving a 15-year sentence in a Cuban prison for providing phones and computers to the members of the Cuban Jewish community. He doesn’t know that all attempts by our government and private citizens to secure his release have been scoffed at. 

He has likely forgotten about all those who have died in the Florida Straits, trying to float on makeshift boats to freedom. 

He doesn’t know that contrary to popular understanding, Amnesty International reports that repression of dissidents in Cuba is actually on the rise.  

He doesn’t know that when an international music luminary shows up in Cuba, his presence is unwittingly used as propaganda to support the regime.  

He doesn’t know that artists in Cuba, with whom he was supposedly having a cultural exchange, serve under the close supervision of the government, and don’t enjoy the freedom to defiantly name check the President, call out a few senators, threaten to buy a kilo of cocaine just to spite the government, or suggest that they will follow up their purchase with a shooting spree, as rapped about in “Open Letter.” 

He doesn’t know that just because our country applies a different, some say hypocritical policy to China, it doesn’t make either regime any less oppressive, or any more acceptable. 

He doesn’t know that when people say “I’ve got to visit Cuba before it gets ruined,” I think to myself, “It’s already ruined. And by the way, ruined by what? freedom of speech? walls that don’t crumble? shoes? Do you mean ruin Cuba? Or ruin your fashionable vacation in Cuba?” 

He doesn’t know that when I really start to think about all this, I get so mad I can’t sleep. 

He doesn’t know that when he’s wearing that hat, smoking that coveted contraband cigar, he looks like a dupe. 

He doesn’t know how much good he could be doing in Cuba, for Cubans, instead. Bearing witness, supporting artistic freedom, listening. 

He doesn’t realize that as someone privileged to be born in a free society, one in which someone could come from nothing and become a celebrated music, sports, fashion, business and political mogul, it’s not only his good luck to be able to bring to light the needs of the less fortunate, it’s his obligation. 

But then, Jay-Z, I heard your new song, and paid attention to the lyrics. 

I heard you bragging about your “White House clearance.” 

I heard you talk about how much you enjoy Cuban cigars. 

And I heard you tell the President I voted for, “You don’t need this shit anyway, chill with me on the beach.” 

You reject the responsibility to speak up for an oppressed people, even while you take up your own cause with gusto.

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. 

-Phil Lord.

 

Jay-Z: ‘Open Letter’s’ Full Lyrics

[Intro]
Ladies and gentlemen
Goddamnit
Let this shit knock

[Verse 1]
I done turned Havana to Atlanta
Guayabera shirts and bandanas
Every time you think they got me I switch the planna
Bulletproof this, radio scanners
Ballin’ ’til they ban us
You gettin’ too much bread, they tryna’ jam you
Boy from the hood but got White House clearance
Sorry y’all, I don’t agree with y’all appearance
Politicians never did s**t for me
Except lie to me, distort history
Wanna give me jail time and a fine
Fine, let me commit a real crime
I might buy a kilo for Chief Keef
Out of spite, I just might flood these streets
Hear the freedom in my speech
Got an onion from Universal, read it and weep
Would’ve brought the Nets to Brooklyn for free
Except I made millions off it, you f**kin’ dweeb
I still own the building, I’m still keeping my seat
Y’all buy that bulls**t, you’d better keep your receipt
Obama said chill, you gonna get me impeached
But you don’t need this s**t anyway
Chill with me on the beach

[Hook – Swizz Beatz]
Y’all gon’ learn today

[Verse 2]
Ya’ll almost want to start a revolution
You know whenever I’m threatened, I start shooting, bark
Catch a body, head to Houston
I’m in Cuba, I love Cubans
This communist talk is so confusing
When it’s from China, the very mic that I’m using
Idiot wind, the Bob Dylan of rap music
You’re an idiot baby, you should become a student
Oh, you gonna learn today
Where the f**k have you been
The world’s under new management
The new role model, f**k this Zoolander s**t

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Music

Lizzo Trying to Manifest Banging Drake After New Song Name-Drop

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Lizzo says she name-dropped Drake in her new song to turn the tables on an age-old trope of rappers doing the same for women — but it seems she’s actually trying to bang the dude.

During an interview with Zane Lowe, the singer mentioned Drake on her new song with Cardi B, “Rumors,” because she felt it’d be fun to give society a taste of its own medicine — and in this context, that means flipping the script on rappers/male musicians name-dropping fine women in their tunes.

If you didn’t hear the bar yet, it goes … “Last year, I thought I would losе it // Readin’ s*** on the internet // My smoothie cleanse and my diet // No, I ain’t f*** Drake yet (Ha).”

The Drake thing seems to have come out of left field … but Lizzo explained further in the ZL sit-down, jokingly saying she hasn’t quite been able to manifest some bedroom boom with Toronto’s Certified Lover Boy — even though it sounds like she’d love to take a dip.

All kidding aside, Lizzo says she included the line as a way to turn what rappers have often done in music — namely, name-dropping ladies/would-be sexual exploits — upside down on its head. It’s true … fellas have done that for a long time in the genre .

As far as their real-life relationship … Lizzo says she kinda knows Drake, and that he’s super cool.

Still, it seems she does, in fact, want some of what he’s got — at least based on her Twitter activity shortly after this interview aired. She tweeted right at Champagne Papi for the whole world to see, writing … “Hey big head @Drake.” Classic “wyd” vibes for modern dating.

Aubrey hasn’t publicly responded yet … but wouldn’t that be something if he did??? Unfortunately for her, he seems to have his hands full with
Johanna Leia and other things these days.

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Boxer Gervonta Davis Involved in Minor Plane Crash, Documents Aftermath

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Gervonta Davis just, miraculously, walked away from a plane crash relatively unscathed — and it sounds like what’s hurting him the most in the aftermath are his feet … and his caboose.

The professional boxer went live Saturday to document a terrifying encounter he says he and his crew had just gone through after boarding a private jet … which apparently failed to properly take off and crash landed back down to the airport grounds it was trying to leave.

Thankfully, it doesn’t appear the aircraft got very far up before coming back down to Earth — because Gervonta and other passengers seemed more or less okay … with their health and bodies intact.

That’s not to say Gervonta wasn’t feeling some hurt afterwards — on his live feed, he noted that his booty was aching like no other … this while he wrapped his feet in gauze. He’s pretty jovial about the whole thing, which is great to see, but this could’ve easily been way worse.

Gervonta also was able to get some shots of the downed plane, and it sure looks like something went wrong internally. There were also fire engines that showed up on the scene to evaluate the damage and tend to anyone’s injuries. Again, though, most everyone seems to be fine … which is absolutely incredible, because it appears there were even children aboard, based on a photo Gervonta posted shortly before getting on his flight. His video doesn’t capture any kids, though.

It’s unclear what exactly caused the malfunction — but you can hear Gervonta and his friends speculate on what happened … seems like there might’ve been some overheating of some sort. They also appear to be discussing some of the flight maneuvers the pilot(s) were using in the air … and the group seems to think that may have attributed to it going down.

Stay tuned while we here at Prestige try to get a hold of Gervonta’s team for more answers.

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Drake Takes Shot at Kanye in New Verse, Calls Him ‘Burnt Out’

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Drake is stirring the pot again on his rap beef with Kanye West — taking a new shot at the guy in a song he just dropped with Trippie Redd … and it might be the ultimate insult.

The rapper is featured on TR’s new track, “Betrayal,” and at one point in Drizzy’s verse, he brings up Mr. West by name … acknowledging that they are, indeed, still apparently beefing — while also going so far as to call Kanye “burnt out” … and noting it’s irrelevant to him.

Here’s how the Kanye bar goes … “All these fools I’m beefin’ that I barely know // Forty-five, forty-four (Burned out), let it go // Ye ain’t changin’ s*** for me, it’s set in stone.” He adds … “Rollin’ stones, heavy stones (PinkGrillz) // Precious stone, let me make my presence known.”

The “Ye” reference could possibly be interpreted as “they” or “you” — but based on Drake touching Kanye’s exact age (44) … it seems clear he meant the former with some clever word play. The folks over at Genius heard it too … they wrote out the lyric as “Ye.”

Now, for some analysis — as to why Drake is randomly bringing up Kanye again after years have passed since they beefed, with Pusha T in the mix, is anyone’s guess at this point.

However, some people have a theory on these old foes — there’s been speculation of late that Kanye is, perhaps, trying to set up his “Donda” release so that it lines up with Drake’s “Certified Lover Boy” album … which he’s on record as saying would be out by the end of summer at the latest. That’s just a few weeks away … and neither project has dropped.

There’s no evidence to prove it one way or another … but the fact that Kanye continues to delay the release date — with seemingly no end in sight — is curious in this context. That, coupled with the fact that Drake’s going after him anew, is even more eyebrow-raising.

In any case, we’re always here for some new beef. And, if it means more music from these two in the process … we’ll take it and then some. Ball’s in your court, Ye (we think).

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