The Blueprint to Cuban Travel

In this lesson, students will explore US-Cuba relations of the past and present through the use of Jay Z’s song “Open Letter.”

After making a trip to Cuba with his wife Beyonce, Jay Z received criticism from politicians and lawmakers. In response to this criticism, he recorded a song called “Open Letter.”

Using selected lyrics from the song, students will be asked to analyze Jay Z’s rhymes and discover how his words are related to ongoing issues between the United States and Cuba. Students will also write their own open letters about US-Cuban relations.


Some media may contain mature content. Discretion is advised when viewing with students.

Lesson Plan

To implement this lesson, students should have prior knowledge of US-Cuban relations. Two links to articles with background information on US-Cuban relations are provided below.

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Lesson tags: Eighth, Music, Ninth, Seventh, Social Studies, Tenth


MrJeffDess MrJeffDess is a writer, professor, public speaker and emcee of Haitian descent and currently serves as the Assistant Director of Campus Life at New Jersey City University. Born and raised in Jamaica Queens, MrJeffDess stayed in New York City and hit the poetic and leadership scene full force in 2001 at St. John’s University. Along with receiving a B.A. and M.A. in English Literature his career at St. John’s would mark the beginning of a journey towards a variety of literary genres and leadership types.