Toppa Top ’15: Fifteen Ways The Caribbean Impacted Pop Culture In 2015

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December 28, 2015

1. Cuba Opened Its Doors Again

In what was likely the single biggest development to occur in the region this decade, Cuba and the U.S.A. resumed diplomatic relations this year, setting the stage for an anticipated avalanche of changes to the largest, and least modernized, Caribbean island. The shift was felt immediately, as land speculators, media and tourists descended on Havana in numbers not seen since before the Revolution in 1959. Within months Rihanna had posed nude in a Havana hotel for a cover story in Vanity Fair, Conan O’Brien had taped TV specials there, and Mick Jagger was seen in town, allegedly scouting venues for a Rolling Stones concert. An October article on Havana in the Associated Press painted a picture of a city โ€œfilled with celebrities coming to party and hedge-fund managers sizing up their chances to make millions in one of the last bastions of communism.โ€

The question now is, how much will Cuba be able to retain its identity โ€” and its distinctive, celebrated and highly romanticized culture โ€” in the face of impending modernization and foreign influence? –Jesse Serwer