Greetings from Havana, Cuba, where I am on a week long cultural exploration.
Cuban history is rich and it’s fascinating to be in an “Unamericanized” society with no hint of American brands, products or entrepreneurial hustle. Innovation has barely taken place since the late 1950’s. Wifi is spotty at best, I have no cell service, and it’s the longest I’ve gone without my Snapchat fix all year. I’m starting to break out in ghost shaped hives.
It’s sad to think how the Cuban people have suffered during the past half a century while the world has rapidly adapted and evolved. But Cuban pride is refreshing and every street corner is filled with a flag and artistic spirit.
What’s most amazing is that it’s all about to change and artists are leading the charge. Diplo performed earlier in the year and 500,000 people turned up for The Rolling Stones last month. This week Chanel is doing a fashion show in the old city and Fast and Furious 8 is filming throughout the streets.
Cuba is ripe for innovation but the cultural collision will work in both ways. Cuban art is going to be truly appreciated globally and I have heard some of the best jazz music ever on these Havana nights. The artists here are brilliantly talented, I want to bring so many home with me. Although truth be told I did expect the high level of talent as I’ve been appreciating Cuban music since Nue Agency did a campaign with Bacardi/Pandora a few years back blending a Cuban band and Wale. It turned out really fresh and that is just a taste of where this can go.
Anyway I’m making the most of time here and accumulating quite a few tips and recommendations in case anybody is heading out here. Also I very much appreciate all my compadres who have been here before and shared their great suggestions. Salute!
Music Is The Future
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Pandora’s Masterplan: Be The Netflix Of the Music World
by Janko Roettgers / Variety
A Final Visit With Prince: Rolling Stone’s Lost Cover Story
by Brian Hiatt / Rolling Stone
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