Harry Belafonte Extends Olive Branch, Asks For a Sit Down With Jay-Z & Bey

Written by tjbwriteratlanta in Blog
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Seems like Harry Belafonte is ready to end his alleged feud with the Carters. If you remember back in 2012, the then 85-year-old actor and activist Belafonte cited Jay Z and Beyonce as two artists that have dropped the ball on social issues. In an interview, he explained:

I think one of the great abuses of this modern time is that we should have had such high-profile artists, powerful celebrities. But they have turned their back on social responsibility. That goes for Jay Z and Beyonce, for example. Give me Bruce Springsteen, and now you’re talking. I really think he is black.

Jay didn’t take that too kindly and addressed Belafonte’s comments on ‘Nickels and Dimes’ featured on the Magna Carta Holy Grail album. During a recent in an interview with Elliott Wilson, he further explained his thoughts on Belfonte’s comments saying:

I’m offended by that because first of all, this is gonna sound arrogant, but my presence is charity. Just who I am. I felt like Belafonte, he just went about it wrong. Like the way he did it in the media. And then he bigged up Bruce Springsteen or somebody, and it was like, whoa, you just sent the wrong message all the way around. You know what I’m saying? You bigged up–Bruce Springsteen is a great guy, you know what I mean? You a civil rights activist and you just bigged up the white guy against me in the white media.

harry belafonte-wants to sit down with jayz and beyonce-the jasmine brand

In an interview with MSNBC, Belafonte responded to the New York rapper’s feeling of being attacked. He offered to sit down with the couple to hash out their differences:

I would be hard pressed to tell Mr. Jay Z what to do with this time and his fortune. All I can be critical is of what he is not doing. This conflict that is emerging was not from me as a direct attack on Jay Z or Beyoncé….And I made the observation that the highly powerful voice that our community has—Black America has—there is so much celebrity power that it was sad to see that the collective of the celebrity power had not been applied to bring consciousness to the inequities that we face. I would hope that Jay Z would not take personally what was said because it was not said about him personally.

He continued:

Having said that, I would like to say to Jay Z, to Beyoncé: My heart is wide open and filled with nothing but hope and the promise that we can sit and have a one-on-one. And lets understand each other rather than try to answer these questions and these nuances in a public place.

Should the three sit-down and clear the air? Or are Belafonte’s comments totally unfounded?


[email protected]_DeeRoberts

  • Haley

    The both of them are wrong. Harry should have asked first. He has no idea what Jay and Bey do with their money, and personally I feel like Bey is way more open about what she supports since her dad was fired as her manager. But the right thing would have been to keep your mouth shut before attacking anybody and that goes for the both of them. Part of me wonders why he had to go there and say “he’s black” like Bruce is white…and he gives his money to those in need that doesn’t make him “black” so the comment was already jacked up anyway. I don’t think Jay needed to go and say what he did in his Nickles and Dimes either. I would have just brushed that off and let that old man be. Or called him up and worked that out on their own. Last thing we need is for the youth thinking they can talk to elders any sort of way because lets face it, there are a lot of young men not all that take these lyrics literal and look up to these artist.

    • DIVA

      I agree well said!

  • vapariga

    I don’t think Mr. Belafonte’s comments were unfounded, I totally get what he’s saying but I think it came out the wrong way. I agree w/him. As for Jay saying he put a white guy up against him, well now he’s throwing out the race card to justify his own guilt. Bruce has been a very strong advocate and not just in song or by “showing up”… yeah, that definitely did sound arrogant Jay-z. You are charity? Wow.

  • vapariga

    @ Haley – good points as well. HB is old & set in his ways, I don’t think he meant it as an attack but perhaps picked two young & very influential people to name as an example, not specifically talking about money. Maybe a case of open mouth – insert foot!

  • DIVA

    Very good point.

  • Anonymous

    I think HB having done interviews for years should have been a little bit more careful with statements made. No one knows how Jay-Z and Beyounce spend their money. They have kept their life private for such a long time and do not get off on proving or showing to anyone what they give. In the Bible it does mention to be humble and not brag and boast. Don’t quote me on that. It is something to that effect. He is old and probably nees to talk with them and know them before passing judgement. THey can all learn something from each other.

    • Tan

      What does my presence is charity mean? Isn’t that a boast?

  • Anonymous

    No offense to anyone but I don’t see where HB said anything about Jay & Bey’s money & how they spend it. He refers to CELEBRITY POWER and SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY.

  • Anonymous

    HB actually does bring up the money when he says he would be hard pressed to tell JZ what to do with his time and his fortune. I guess the bottom line for me is HB as the “elder” should have expressed his thoughts and concerns directly to JZ and not the media.

    • Anonymous


  • Confused

    What does he mean by his presence is charity? WTH does that mean? Sounds stupid.

  • Miss AG

    Ok, Mr. HB did bring up.the couple’s $ (no no) but i got his point.

    I nevet heard JZ dong but.yjis rite here don’t do it. Plud I’m with everyone else asking Wats I’m charity? That just aounds ignorant standing alone without any decent clarification.

  • Kay

    I think Jay Z expressed actually how he views himself with that “his presence is charity” statement.

  • RisingSpivey

    HB, smh. I respect old people. But they are sometimes waaaay out of touch. I can’t speak for Jay. But I KNOW Beyonce does sooooo much giving back and charity. And she does it with class and grace, rarely showing the media. What do people want from that woman?? A KIDNEY!!?

    • hayley

      We know she gives to charity. She allows us to be graced by the amazing presence of her husband.

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