Two Florida Republicans are prompting the Obama administration to open an investigation into Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s recent trip to Cuba, arguing that the couple may have violated sanctions against the communist country.
Former House Foreign Affairs Committee chairwoman Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and her colleague Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart sent a letter to the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control on Friday, calling for an investigation into whether any laws were broken during the celebrities’ trip:
We write to express concern and to request information regarding the highly publicized trip by U.S. musicians Beyoncé Knowles-Carter (Beyoncé) and Shawn Carter (Jay-Z) to Cuba. We would like to respectfully request, within all applicable rules and guidelines, information regarding the type of license that Beyoncé and Jay-Z received, for what purpose, and who approved such travel.[…]
Cuba’s tourism industry is wholly state-controlled; therefore, U.S. dollars spent on Cuban tourism directly fund the machinery of oppression that brutally represses the Cuban people.
Despite the clear prohibition against tourism in Cuba, numerous press reports described the couple’s trip as tourism, and the Castro regime touted it as such in its propaganda.
Beyoncé and Jay-Z did recently travel to Cuba for their fifth anniversary, a move that has upset many in the Cuban-American community. Ros-Lehtinen in particular represents a large Cuban population, and has been a major factor in preventing lawmakers from lifting the fifty-year old embargo on Cuba, despite both international and domestic support for such a measure.
Both Beyoncé and Jay-Z have been outspoken in their support for Obama, making them easy targets for Republicans. The couple hosted a star-studded fundraiser for the Obama campaign in 2012, and both have performed for the President on numerous occasions.
The puritans are up in arms against Beyoncé’s Super Bowl performance, which included a reunion with her 1990s R&B group, Destiny’s Child. It wasn’t “family friendly”. They say their kids can’t watch the Super Bowl anymore if women are going to dress like that and lick their fingers.
I hope these same people don’t take their kids to that bastion of family values, Hooters.
Here’s Beyoncé’s smoking hot performance, in which we are told she sang live (talent is sexy, no?):
It astounds me that anyone living in this culture could be offended by Beyoncé’s performance. Is it offensive that women can’t play football and that they are served up as objects of lust who cheer on the men? Yes, that’s offensive. But that is hardly Beyoncé’s fault. Is football a sport that attracts the sort of male energy that objectifies women? Often, yes. Again, NOT Beyoncé’s fault.
Is it offensive that these same puritans are okay with Smiling Barbie cheerleaders’ costumes but offended by the same coverage when done in leather? It’s okay to show off your breasts and bottom in order to cheer the men on, but if you are fierce and awesome in black leather while showing your tummy and bottom as your own act, you are no longer family friendly.
After the performance, the focus of America’s criticism for being too sexy/sexist left an inspiring letter for her fellow female performers, Kelly Rowland, Michelle Williams, Alicia Keys and Jennifer Hudson. Beyoncé wrote that it was “an honor” to perform with the “phenomenal ladies… You are all beautiful, talented and showed so much class!”
This is a nation that calls Hooters a family restaurant, so spare me the puritanical outrage over Beyoncé.
That this is a sexist, misogynistic culture is not up for debate among sane people. I don’t blame mothers who don’t like it, but it’s a bit short-sighted to blame Beyoncé for this fact. Is she making money off of her sexuality? Yes. So are the women anchors at Fox News. So are the girls at Hooters. Models. Sarah Palin when she had it. And so many more. Because of our culture, almost all women in media have to sell their sexuality, even if by withholding it (so rare) and creating a more valuable commodity. Some of those people also have talent to back up their sex appeal. Some of them don’t, which should be offensive but somehow we don’t seem to mind a girl selling herself short or bemoan the women with talent who are ignored by our culture because they aren’t “hot”.
This culture is offensive to women and bad for young girls and it’s not fixed by cheering women in the front lines of combat, because even that, while progress, is still an attempt to catch the approval of the American male centric value system in which power is equated with being like a man.When a woman is seen as an equal because of her more feminine traits (not sexual traits; feminine traits, like cooperation – and I note that Beyoncé demonstrated one such feminine trait by praising her female co-performers) we will have advanced into post-knuckle-dragging days.
Beyoncé is actually a strong, talented woman making the most of her short shelf life as an object of desire and using that sexuality to empower herself. In 2010, Knowles was ranked first on Forbes list of the “100 Most Powerful and Influential Musicians in the World”. She designs clothes and markets perfumes because she’s smart enough to know where this is going to land.
Hey, the First Lady enjoyed Beyonce’s performance, as did most of the country. Michelle Obama tweeted, “Watching the #SuperBowl with family & friends. @Beyonce was phenomenal! I am so proud of her!”
Here’s the family friendly argument: Cheerleaders, who make a lot less money, have no power and often wear less, are a great model for their daughters but Beyoncé isn’t. Here’s a hint, puritans of America — if the men aren’t watching the NFL expecting sex, then why do the cheerleaders dress like strippers, albeit American sparkly strippers? Maybe if Beyoncé had put some Sarah Palin sparkly stars on her leather, she wouldn’t have been so darn scary, eh?
Some people seem to have a real problem with a woman being center stage in her own life. Who would you rather your daughter emulate in her career: Beyoncé or a cheerleader?