Rocking "guayabera shirts and bandanas," Jay-Z may have "turned Havana to Atlanta" momentarily this past May when he and Beyoncé visited Cuba.
But if Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee get their way, the couple's first Treasury Department-approved cultural exchange trip to the Caribbean island may have also been their last.
A subcommittee chaired by Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-Fla.) approved a 142-page bill yesterday that would, among other things, make it even more difficult for Americans to legally visit Cuba.
"[The trip] was an example of how the guidelines are not being enforced," Crenshaw said. "I think that if we're going to say that we have this policy in place that relates to travel in Cuba that it ought to be enforced, and that becomes a gray area where they're probably not really following the guidelines."
In Miami, the couple's short visit to Cuba triggered outrage. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said the trip was nothing more than a "wedding anniversary vacation not even disguised as a cultural program," while Sen. Marco Rubio accused the Carters of "funding the regime's systematic trampling of people's human rights."
But not everyone agrees.
House Appropriations Committee member Rep. Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.) opposes the new bill, derisively dubbing it "the Jay-Z, Beyoncé Bill."
"Absolutely [it's a response to the trip], and it's playing to the audience in Miami," Serrano told Politico. "The mistake they made was being seen in public; by that, I mean they being who they are walking down the street. We may consider Cuba a closed society, but even if it is -- it's not closed enough so they don't know who Jay-Z and Beyoncé are."
As for Jay-Z, he thinks the controversy's silly.
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SHOW ME HOW
"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."