Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart has stepped forward to speak out on reports claiming Jay-Z, Kanye West and more have united to boycott the state of Florida.
Diaz-Balart appeared on a radio show to address the boycott buzz and even took a jab at Jay’s recent trip to Cuba with wife Beyoncé Knowles-Carter.
“Look, thank God we live in a free country, and people can opt to be silly and foolish, but that’s a contrast — they go to Cuba, and that’s okay,” Diaz-Balart said Tuesday on the Laura Ingraham radio show. “They hobnob with the regime; that’s okay. But they won’t go to Florida, where we’re free. That’s their choice, but I think their priorities are a little bit off.” Jay Z and wife Beyoncé vacationed in Cuba earlier in 2013. They were criticized by Republican lawmakers who said the trip might have been a violation of the U.S. embargo on the communist country. (The Hill)
While Jay-Z has not addressed his alleged involvement in the boycott, artists like Rihanna and Rolling Stone have reportedly parted ways from the reports.
Representatives for both Justin Timberlake and Jay Z have not responded to repeated requests for comment from Complex, nor have they issued comment to any other news outlets. That hasn’t stopped an unnamed “executive affiliated with the ‘Legends of the Summer’ tour” from denying the news. The report originated from American Urban Radio Networks’ national affairs and White House correspondent April Ryan, who–in addition to Jay Z and JT–also cited the Rolling Stones, R. Kelly, Rihanna, Kanye West, Usher, Madonna, and many more who would be joining Wonder in his protest of Florida’s Stand Your Ground laws. Since it was picked up and repeated by the Huffington Post, reps for both the Rolling Stones and Rihanna have denied any part of a boycott. (Complex)
Additional reports claim Young Hov has not yet nixed an upcoming Florida concert.
Justin Timberlake and Jay Z were also rumored to be part of the boycott but a Florida news outlet reported that the Legends of Summer tour would not be skipping its August date at Florida’s Sun Life stadium. Rihanna is another rumored boycotting celeb that has since been denied by a HP source. (Philly)
Buzz behind the number of artists getting involved has reportedly sprouted overnight.
Artists joining Wonder reportedly include Rod Stewart, Madonna, Usher, and Justin Timberlake. Rappers Jay Z, Kanye West, Trey Songz, Young Jeezy and Wale have also signed on to the boycott threat, as have pop acts like R. Kelly, Rihanna, and Alicia Keys. Wonder announced his intended boycott the day after a Florida jury acquitted George Zimmerman of second-degree murder charges stemming from the death of Trayvon Martin. “I decided today that until the ‘stand your ground’ law is abolished in Florida, I will never perform there again,” he said. “As a matter of fact, wherever I find that law exists, I will not perform in that state or in that part of the world.” (The Hill)