Watch CBSN Live

Stars who have visited Cuba

Diplo and fellow DJs Walshy Fire and Jillionaire of Major Lazer became the first major American group to perform in Cuba since the U.S. eased relations with the Caribbean's largest island.

"I think the pressure is on us to do something, you know, it's kind of an amazing opportunity," Diplo told Charlie Rose.

"I also think it's very important to create something new, that's why I first started to make music you know," he added. "We first started to rent old VFW halls in Philly or whatever, we rented kegs and did parties and played our own music. We had to find a way to do it because nobody else was helping us, and I think now it's important to keep those dialogues happening, those parties happening. That's what we are doing here in Havana."

Beyonce and Jay Z

U.S. singer Beyonce and her husband, rapper Jay-Z, hold hands as they tour Old Havana, Cuba, Thursday, April 4, 2013. R&B's power couple is in Havana on their fifth wedding anniversary. Ramon Espinosa/AP Images

Beyonce and her rapper husband, Jay Z, created a stir as they toured the streets of Old Havana, with hundreds of Cubans turning out to catch a glimpse of the U.S. power couple.

The two visited Cuba for their fifth anniversary in April 2013 and ate at the famed restaurant La Guarida, where police had to step in to keep the crowds at bay. Both Jay Z and Beyonce's mothers came to Cuba with them.

The trip was not without controversy. Cuban-American politicians like Marco Rubio said the trip was being used as propaganda.


Singer Rihanna rides an old car in Havana, on May 28, 2015. Yamil Lage/AFP/Getty Images

Rihanna visited Havana in May 2015, where she shot a Vanity Fair cover.

The singer, like Jay Z and Beyonce, also paid a visit to the restaurant La Guardia.

Mick Jagger

Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones (not seen) perform during a concert at the Telenor Arena, in Fornebu, Baerum, in this May 26, 2014 picture provided by NTB Scanpix. Terje Bendiksby/Reuters

Mick Jagger was spotted partying in Havana in October 2015.

The Rolling Stones announced on March 1 that they will play a free concert in Havana on March 25, becoming the biggest act to play Cuba since its 1959 revolution.

The Stones will play in Havana's Ciudad Deportiva three days after President Barack Obama visits Havana. The concert is expected to draw a massive audience in a country where the government once persecuted young people for listening to rock music, then seen as a tool of Western capitalism. Along with dropping that policy, the Cuban government has increasingly allowed large non-official gatherings.

The band says in a statement that "we have performed in many special places during our long career but this show in Havana is going to be a landmark event for us and, we hope, for all our friends in Cuba, too."

Rolling Stone magazine reports the band is currently in the middle of its "Latina America Ole" tour, playing venues throughout Central and South America to rave reviews and packed stadiums.

Katy Perry

Katy Perry attends the Harper's BAZAAR ICONS event during Fashion Week on Septenber 17, 2015, in New York. Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

Pop star Katy Perry visited Cuba in October 2015, and wrote that the country is "one of the COOLEST vibes alive" and called it a "Disneyland for creatives minds."

She wrote that the highlight of her trip was visiting the La Colmenita school: "This after-school music program for children gave me a joy I have never experienced and a rhythm I have never felt before. It was a shakeup!"


Singer Usher attends the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors Reception at the White House in Washington December 6, 2015. Yuri Gripas/Reuters

Usher visited Cuba along with rapper pal Ludacris in September 2015, and learned how to roll Cuban cigars at the Partagas Lounge.

He also did the Nae Nae with locals.

🇨🇺 Nae Nae in Cuba #eachone

A video posted by Usher (@howuseeit) on


Rapper Ludacris performs at the 29th annual Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show on March 24, 2014, in Las Vegas. Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images

Ludacris spent his birthday with Usher in Cuba in September 2015 and called it his "Best Bday Ever." He posted a photo of himself smoking a cigar at the Partagas Lounge with Usher and wrote that the singer gave him the "Best Bday gift."

Birthday Pimpin. #cuba

A photo posted by @ludacris on

Best Bday Ever. #cuba #havanaheaven

A photo posted by @ludacris on

Conan O'Brien

Conan O'Brien speaks onstage at the Keynote Conversation during Tune In! Variety's TV Summit at Intercontinental Century City on August 6, 2014 in Century City, California. Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images

TV host Conan O'Brien spent several days shooting an episode of his late-night TBS show in Havana in February 2015. It was the first visit by a U.S. talk show host to Cuba in more than five decades.

The episode aired in March 2015 and showed O'Brien dancing in the streets of Havana in a white suit; he also introduced a man he called "Cuban Andy." TBS said that O'Brien wanted to take advantage of President Barack Obama's efforts to improve relations with the island country at the time.

Paris Hilton and Naomi Campbell

Paris Hilton and Naomi Campbell at the International Habano Cigar Festival on February 27, 2015. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Paris Hilton and Naomi Campbell visited Cuba for the International Habano Cigar Festival in Havana. The annual cigar festival attracted tourists from around the world to sample the islands world renowned tobacco.

Hilton wrote on Instagram that she loved the old cars in Havana.

In a #TimeWarp. Love all the 50's cars. 👌 #Cuba

A video posted by Paris Hilton (@parishilton) on


DJ Questlove arrives before the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in New York, November 10, 2015. Reuters/Carlo Allegri

Questlove turned his April 2015 trip to Cuba into an educational moment, both for himself and for his fans.

He spent two nights DJing at the Fabrica de Arte Cubano, a local club, and released a mini-documentary about music in Cuba and his trip on YouTube.

He explored classic Cuban-made vinyl and visited the legendary EGREM studios, where most of those classic sessions were recorded, per his YouTube description.

Questlove also learned about music groups Irakere and Los Van Van.

Carmelo Anthony

New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony (7) reacts after scoring against the Miami Heat during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Nov. 2, 2012, in New York. New York defeated Miami, 104-84. AP Photo/Jason DeCrow

Carmelo Anthony visited Cuba with Vice Sports in 2015 to explore street sport culture in the country.

He investigated the rise of soccer in Cuba, where baseball is the most popular sport, while exploring the country's culture by sampling cigars and riding a 1950s car.

Benicio Del Toro

Puerto Rican actor Benicio del Toro, talks at the press hall of a hotel in Havana on December 7, 2008. Juan Carlos Borjas/AFP/Getty Images

Benicio Del Toro visited Havana in 2008 to present two movies of filmmaker Steven Soderberh on revolutionary leader Ernesto "Che" Guevara for the 30th International Film Festival of Havana.

He also visited Cuba in 2011 with Josh Hutcherson.

The Puerto Rican actor has been vocal about his support for better relations between Cuba and the U.S.

Josh Hutcherson

Puerto Rican actor and director Benicio del Toro (L) talks to US actor Josh Hutcherson during a press conference, on March 10, 2011, in Havana. Adalberto Roque/AFP/Getty Images

"Hunger Games" star Josh Hutcherson visited Cuba in 2011 with Benicio Del Toro and other actors and directors to shoot "Seven Days in Havana," a film divided in seven short stories and directed by seven different directors, about life in the city.

Steven Spielberg

Cuban President Fidel Castro (R) and movie director Steven Spielberg (L) greet residents outside cigar manufacturer Partagas November 6, 2002, in Havana, Cuba. Jorge Rey/Getty Images

Steven Spielberg visited Cuba in 2002, and was later slammed for the trip and meeting with Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

In 2004, Robert Duvall called out the mega director, saying, "Now, what I want to ask him -- and I know he's going to get pissed off - 'Would you consider building a little annex on the holocaust museum or at least across the street to honor the dead Cubans that Castro killed?' That's very presumptuous of him to go there ... I'll tell him that. I'll never work at Dreamworks again, but I don't care about working there anyway."

Spielberg's spokesman, in a statement in response to Duvall's comments on "60 Minutes II," said the Hollywood director's trip to Cuba was authorized by the U.S. government as a cultural exchange program: "His trip to Cuba in 2002 was cultural, not political. It was an opportunity to share his films and his values with the Cuban people. In addition to screening eight of his films for hundreds of thousands of Cubans, he visited with the Jewish community, paid his respects at the Holocaust memorial in Havana and met with U.S. diplomats stationed there."

Kevin Costner

U.S. actor-director Kevin Costner answers questions during a press conference 11 April 2001 in Havana. Adalberto Roque/AFP/Getty Images

In 2001, Kevin Costner and Cuban President Fidel Castro watched together "13 Days" about the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, in which Costner plays a leading role.

The two ate dinner together and talked about Castro's real-life experience as it related to the film. Costner and Castro had a seven-hour meeting at Havana's Revolution Palace during the actor's visit.

Robert Redford

U.S. actor and director Robert Redford arrives at Cuba's Cinemateca in Havana, January 25, 2004. Niurka Barroso/AFP/Getty Images

Robert Redford visited Cuba for the premier of his film "The Motorcycle Diaries" about Che Guevara's trip through South America, at Cinemateca in Havana on January 25, 2004. Redford, executive producer of the film, travelled to Havana to present the movie to Guevara's family.

Marisa Tomei and Matt Dillon

Actress Marisa Tomei and Matt Dillon on December 9, 2002 in Havana, Cuba. Jorge Rey/Getty Images

Actors Marisa Tomei and Matt Dillon visited Cuba in December 2002. Tomei was there to promote her film, "In the Bedroom," which was screened at the Festival of Latin American Cinema in Havana. Matt Dillon's film "City of Ghosts" was also presented.

Danny Glover and Harry Belafonte

U.S. actor Danny Glover (L) and U.S. actor and musician Harry Belafonte (R) pose on September 18, 2009 in Havana during the opening of a Caribbean cinema exhibition. STR/AFP/Getty Images

Danny Glover and Harry Belafonte visited Cuba for the second time together in 2009; they also visited the country in 2002. They hosted a special opening for the new office in Havana, Cuba for the traveling Caribbean Film Festival.

The two visited the Festival of Latin American Cinema in Havana in 2002. Both stars have visited Cuba several times. Belafonte was friends with Fidel Castro.

Ry Cooder

Ry Cooder performs at 3rd and Lindsley for the Americana Music Festival at on September 17, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee. Beth Gwinn/Getty Images

Famed slide guitarist Ry Cooder produced the 1997 album "Buena Vista Social Club" and put previously unknown Cuban artists on the international stage.

Cooder traveled to Cuba in 1996 and recorded sessions with local musicians; many of whom were former performers at Havana's Buena Vista Social Club.

Cooder and his collaborator, Juan de Marcos Gonzalez, organized a large group of Cuban artists and recorded at Havana's EGREM studios. The album won the 1998 Grammy Award for Best Traditional Tropical Latin Album.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue