In an interview with "Good Morning America" Monday, Beyonce defended her trip to Cuba last month with her husband, Jay-Z, saying she was shocked by the backlash it caused.
"It was such a beautiful trip. I met some incredible children. I visited some incredible entrepreneurs. I learned so much about so many people and the country and it was actually quite shocking," she told ABC's Amy Robach.
Beyonce and Jay-Z's visit to Havana, where they celebrated their fifth anniversary, drew criticism from some politicians who objected to what appeared to be a celebrity tourist jaunt to the embargoed country.
Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., petitioned the Treasury Department to explain what qualifications Jay-Z and Beyonce met to visit Cuba, and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., added to the criticisms. The Treasury Department responded to concerns about the trip, saying that Jay-Z and Beyonce participated in an authorized education exchange program.
Nevertheless, the controversy went all the way up to the White House, as Jay-Z and Beyonce had campaigned for President Barack Obama's re-election. The White House denied any involvement in granting permission for the couple to travel to Cuba.
Obama told the "Today" show, "My understanding is I think they went through a group that organizes these educational trips down to Cuba. You know, this is not something the White House was involved with. We've got better things to do."
Jay-Z also addressed the criticisms launched by lawmakers, albeit less demurely than his wife. In "Open Letter," a song released last month, he rapped: "Politicians never did s--t for me/except lie to me, distort history/ wanna give me jail time and a fine/fine, let me commit a real crime."