Jay-Z and Beyonce spent their fifth wedding anniversary visiting the Communist nation, even though the government bans tourist travel to the island by U.S. citizens.
It later turned out that the power couple traveled to Cuba under an educational exchange program, which are allowed by the government. But their trip hardly looked educational and conservative critics claimed it was a propaganda coup for the Cuban government, which is still considered a leading violator of human rights.
The White House deflected criticism by claiming that the president was unaware of the trip and had no role in arranging, or singing off on, the educational exchange. But if the two are in contact by text and sometimes by telephone, did Jay-Z tip the president about his trip?
That question didn’t come up during an interview this week with New York City radio station HOT97. But Jay-Z said he has both sent and received text messages from the president.
“I’ve spoken to him on the phone and had texts from Obama. Of course,” the rapper said. “Yes, that’s happened, and it’s amazing,” he said.
Jay-Z and Beyonce played a major role in Obama’s election campaign. They hosted a $40,000-a-head fundraiser for the president’s campaign organization, Obama For America, and raised an estimated $4 million, according to news reports.
Obama said in 2010 that Jay-Z’s music was on his iPod along with other rappers like Lil’ Wayne.
The White House press office didn’t respond to an email from London’s Daily Mail seeking to confirm whether he texts Jay-Z or other celebrities.
But during his first campaign in 2008, Obama drew heat after Scarlett Johansson revealed in an interview that she was exchanging emails with him. “You’d imagine that someone like the senator, who is constantly traveling and constantly ‘on’ – how can he return these personal e-mails?” she said. “But he does.”
Obama told reporters that Johansson did not have his e-mail address. He only recalled receiving one message that, he said, was forwarded to him by his assistant. Johansson said they exchanged multiple emails.