Ludacris Said George W. Bush Was America’s Worst President. Now He’s Performing at Gitmo.
Nothing says Fourth of July like a free Ludacris concert at Guantanamo Bay.
The Fourth of July: a time for fireworks, hot dogs, and...Ludacris performing at Guantanamo Bay?
The Fourth of July: a time for fireworks, hot dogs, and…Ludacris performing at Guantanamo Bay?
Wait, what? Yes, American rapper Ludacris, who in 2008 released a mixtape track endorsing then-presidential hopeful Barack Obama and asking to be named his vice president, will perform at the U.S. Navy base’s “Freedom Festival,” a day of no-cost celebrations for the 6,000 troops and civilians who live on the facility.
This is the same American rapper who in that 2008 song, “Politics as Usual,” called then-President George W. Bush mentally ill. It was Bush’s administration that established the controversial island prison on Guantanamo Bay, which Obama repeatedly promised to close during his 2008 campaign.
“McCain don’t belong in any chair unless he’s paralyzed,” Ludacris rapped about former prisoner of war and career Republican Senator John McCain. “Yeah, I said it cause Bush is mentally handicapped/Ball up all his speeches and just throw ‘em like candy wraps/Cause when you talkin I hear nothin’ even relevant/And you the worst of all 43 presidents.”
The Obama campaigned condemned the song, saying Ludacris “should be ashamed of these lyrics.”
But if the excited announcement from the Navy communications office in Gitmo indicates anything, a lot of the military officials living on the base have forgotten about all that by now.
“Every year we get a special guest around the Fourth of July, but Gitmo hasn’t seen a star with as big a name as Ludacris in several years,” Monique Hilley, a Navy communications officer, said on Radio Gitmo on Monday. “The base is really looking forward to it.”
The extrajudicial prison at Guantanamo has held almost 800 Muslim men and boys since it was opened in 2002. Today, 692 of them have been released or transferred to other countries, and another 79 remain. Nine have died in custody. Obama will likely leave office with the prison still open.
But maybe Luda is willing to perform there because he’s changed his mind about the Bush family since the politically charged release of “Politics as Usual” in 2008. Last year, he met with Bush’s brother, Jeb, when the rapper’s philanthropic efforts were honored at a ceremony in Georgia.
“I appreciate the fact that there are people engaged in assuring that children gain a year’s worth of knowledge in a year’s time, that we have high expectations for every child, and the fact that Ludacris is involved in supporting charter schools here in Georgia is something to be admired,” Bush said at the time.
Photo Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Siobhán O'Grady was a staff writer at Foreign Policy from 2015-2016 and was previously an editorial fellow.
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