What Came Of Usher And Kal Penn’s Cultural Mission To Cuba?

If you’re wondering about the possibilities of a cultural exchange with our Caribbean neighbors in Cuba, look no further than a recent U.S. mission trip to Havana made by a delegation of cultural leaders that included Usher, actor and producer Kal Penn, Dave Matthews, Cuban-American dancer Lourdes Lopez and many more.

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As part of a four-day artistic exchange, the 33-person body of representatives visited culturally-significant pockets of the island, including Cuba’s renowned University of the Arts, where musicians put on a concert of classical music and folkloric dance numbers.

“Our hope is that we´ll not just have the chance to be here these four days,” said Penn to Reuters, “but come back regularly, and work with some of our Cuban counterparts and maybe make some movies together, make some art together, I think that will be great.”

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According to Usher’s Instagram account, reps made their rounds visiting schools and local galleries. “The students in Cuba were amazing to talk and listen too,” he said in one post. 

The students in Cuba were amazing to talk and listen too.

A photo posted by Usher (@usher) on

Usher even had the pleasure of meeting with Cuban artist Michel Mirabal, who schooled the “Chains” singer on the underground Cuban hip hop culture, while deliberating over future collaborations.

Kal got to partake in an “awesome session with La Comidita youth arts program” during the first-ever U.S. cultural delegation to Cuba. A few of his highlights included Dave Matthews and Cuban protest singer Carlos Varela sharing a stage and rocking out together. “So much great art & culture there,” he said. “Very excited to continue collaborating w/ our new Cuban friends.”