Florida Senator Marco Rubio schooled rapper Jay-Z on several Sunday morning political shows this weekend. Rubio complained about Jay-Z and his wife Beyoncé Knowles’ recent trip to Cuba and also criticized the rapper for wearing Che Guevara t-shirts.
“I think Jay-Z needs to get informed,” Rubio said during an interview on ABC’s “This Week.” “One of his heroes is Che Guevara. Che Guevara was a racist. Che Guevara was a racist that wrote extensively about the superiority of white Europeans over people of African descent, so he should inform himself on the guy that he’s propping up.”
The self-identified conservative newspaper The Examiner points out there is truth to Rubio’s comments but “what Rubio failed to disclose, however, was that Guevara had written such when he was in his twenties. In his later years, Guevara openly confessed to being a changed person.”
As Afro Punk points out, Guevara does have a complex history. It’s a subject many scholars have written about but the blog offers some succinct context:
He’s one of the poster children of revolutionaries. He’s on t-shirts, posters, coasters, the works. But I have to ask myself, why would any self respecting black person, African American, person of color, self proclaimed nigger, revolutionist or whatever deem themselves, honor or respect Che’ Guevara, after reading the following passage from his diary?
[Excerpt from Guevara’s journal entries:]
“The blacks, those magnificent examples of the African race who have maintained their racial purity thanks to their lack of an affinity with bathing, have seen their territory invaded by a new kind of slave: the Portuguese.”
“The black is indolent and a dreamer; spending his meager wage on frivolity or drink; the European has a tradition of work and saving, which has pursued him as far as this corner of America and drives him to advance himself, even independently of his own individual aspirations.”
It hurts reading that doesn’t it? And I’m sure by now you’ve already set in motion the plot to spread the news of what you’ve just learned. Well before you get you daily exercise of flying off the handle, jumping the gun and jumping to conclusions, those passages where written when he was around 24 years old and first had contact with blacks (what an observation to make of a black person after just meeting us, sheesh!!) and in his later years openly confessed that he was a changed person. He went so far as to fight with an all black army as well as pushing for racially integrating the schools in Cuba, years before they were racially integrated here at home.
Rubio, a Cuban-American, went on to say if the rapper really wanted to take an interest in what’s going on in Cuba, he should have met with oppressed people.
“I think if Jay-Z was truly interested in the true state of affairs in Cuba, he would have met people that are being oppressed, including a hip-hop artist in Cuba who is right now being oppressed and persecuted and is undergoing a hunger strike because of his political lyrics,” Rubio said. “And I think he missed an opportunity.”
The Washington Post reported Rubio may have been referring to Angel Remon Yunier Arzuaga, whom the senator tweeted about last week. The Cuban rapper was put in jail for lyrics protesting against the Cuban government.