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Jay Z Slammed For Arrogance in Harry Belafonte Feud: ‘My Presence is Charity’

Jay Z has been heavily criticized by social activist Harry Belafonte and other prominent figures in the black community for what they believe is a lack of social responsibility, but according to Jay Z, his very presence is charity.

Jay Z and Beyonce were voted as one of the most influential celebrity couples, but after exchanging words with Belafonte through the media, one can only hope that Jay Z’s influence isn’t as strong as it used to be.

Many activists have been urging their communities to do more than just voice their opinions, they need to fight for action and change in peaceful but powerful ways. Change won’t happen until the community demands it instead of asking for it.

That was the point Belafonte was making when he said that he felt that Jay Z and Beyonce weren’t as socially responsible as they should be. And now that HOV is speaking out against the remarks, it seems as if he may be proving Belafonte right.

“I’m offended by that because first of all, and this is going to sound arrogant, but my presence is charity,” Jay Z responded in an interview with Rap Radar. “Just who I am. Like Obama’s is.”

The comparison to President Barack Obama is proof that Jay Z’s arrogance may come close to matching that of his longtime best friend Kanye West.

He went on to suggest that recent criticisms of the president are out of line as well, but not for the reasons most people were offering.

The “Open Letter” rapper stated that as long as the president speaks on a topic, he has done enough and the same rules apply to him as well.

“Obama provides hope,” he continued. “Whether he does anything, the hope that he provides for a nation and outside of America is enough. Just being who he is. You’re the first black president. If he speaks on any issue or anything, he should be left alone.”

So is this a part of the new rules? Is the black community supposed to simply grab a position of power and then become lazy and complacent? Is the African-American culture supposed to slowly but surely wither away at the feet of pseudo-equality as we promote our mere being and speech as a solution and push action to the wayside?

The New York hip-hop mogul also seems to be creating some sort of dividing line between blacks and whites, and is almost suggesting that the goal for civil rights activists in America isn’t actually to strive for equality. Instead they are supposed to make sure that the black community is simply the winner in the war against the “white man.”

“I felt Belafonte. He just went about it wrong,” he continued. “Like the way he did it in the media, and then he big upped Bruce Springsteen or something. And it was like ‘whoa,’ you just sent the wrong message all the way around… Bruce Springsteen is a great guy. You’re this civil rights activist and you just big upped the white guy against me in the white media.”

He immediately tried to clarify the statement by saying he wasn’t “saying that in a racial way.”

Meanwhile, Belafonte is still keeping an open mind and asking for Jay Z to come sit down with him in person so they can stop having their exchange in the media spotlight.

“I would hope with all my heart that Jay Z did not take personally what was said,” Belafonte said. “I would like to take this opportunity to say to Jay Z and Beyonce: I’m wide open, my heart is filled with nothing but hope and the promise that we can sit and have a one-on-one to understand each other.”

In Jay Z’s interview with Rap Radar, he also addressed how angry he was when he first heard about the not guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman trial.

“I was really angry, I didn’t sleep for two days,” he said. “I was really angry about it, that the thing that we all knew that there was still a bit of racism in America, but for it to be so blatant.”

This is the type of anger and passion about racism that is used to drive major movements that lead to both social and political change.

Despite his anger and disappointment with the Zimmerman trial, Jay Z has decided not to boycott the state and will take to Florida to perform along with Justin Timberlake in August.

During the interview the “Holy Grail” rapper posed the question, “Didn’t Trayvon have the right to stand his ground?”

Well it’s about time Jay Z asked himself another question, “What are you going to do about the injustice… other than provide your presence?”

This by no means suggests that boycotting Florida is the only answer or that Jay Z shouldn’t perform in the Sunshine State. It’s a mere reminder to the African-American community that we can’t rely on our mere presence to fix things.


What people are saying

10 thoughts on “Jay Z Slammed For Arrogance in Harry Belafonte Feud: ‘My Presence is Charity’


  2. Ron Becoate says:

    why does Harry Belafonte have the right to question what anyone is doing? I just don't see how that is right? I saw that, last weekend when they had rallies in most major cities,, JayZ & Bey repped in NYC. I didn't see Harry Belafonte nowhere? So, according to Belafonte's style,, Jay & bey should call him out? right? I mean, really…I just feel in all fairness that Jay is in a CAN'T WIN situation. No matter WHAT he does,, no matter WHAT he says, there can be somone that can say: you should have done this instead? That wasn't enough (hind sight 20/20) But the reality is,,(and maybe Belafonte needs to note this for future reference?) if you come at a rapper,, just know that they are going to reply the way they do, and have access to,,,,,,, I guess Jay & bey is suppossed to go Ohh Yes Sir,,, Sorry Sir? and now that Belafonte wants to talk? NOW? WHY , didn't he reach out to them for a one on one chat in the beginning? Sorry, but Belafonte was wrong in blasting them publicly #give&take.

  3. Jose Correa says:

    Harry Belafonte don't have to march today , He marched with MLK every day back in the day .Harry Belafonte never sold crack or drugs to the community Jay-Z did.

  4. Ron Becoate says:

    ??? Soooo,every mistake you have ever made in your life (ESPECIALLY the ones you did as a Kid) should be a stamp forever in your life?? Hhhhmmm,,wasn't there a recent national murder trial, where a child (very young Man) was murdered??and a "hot topic" was the fact that he smoked weed?? WoW,,,i get where you're going here. NEWS FLASH !: there was (1) one, perfect man that ever lived,,,,,,,,,they executed him?? This isn't about (TO ME, Just my opinion??) to march, or not march. My view is, especially since Belafonte is the elder statesman ,,HE should have sought out a talk with them? WHY, blast them in the media?AND THEN, when Jay replies??(In the way that a rapper would ?and I'm NOT saying his choice of words were right??)all of a sudden its: How can you speak to HB like that? ETC. Shawn Carter, is flesh & blood Man, just like HB is. If you want respect,,deserve respect, ,,then that should be the way you approach another person. Its funny to me (I mean really, you just gotta laugh??) I guess HB & the world feels that Jay & Bey should have bowed their heads,,Ohh were so sorry mister HB,,Please tell us , the acceptable acts of Charity, the correct verbage, the media outlets, the rallies ETC that you feel are Black enough,social concious enough,ETC?? #RespectIsATwoWayStreet

  5. Keith Ponder says:

    Ron you're a bigger idiot than Jay-Z is. Jay never marched for anything. He was drug dealer that ruined lives climbing to the top. Belafonte saved lives worldwide. Jay was a criminal. Harry marched with MLK. He put his life and career on the line so idiots like you would have the rights to free speech.

  6. Ron Becoate
    I'm assuming that by your post that you're probably in your 20s. What you young people take for granted today is the sweat, courage, dignity , social conscience of people like Harry Belafonte who along with others put their lives on the line sacrificing their livelyhood to take a stand so people like you and Jay-Z could make ignorant statement on FB or the press. Harry was calling Jay-Z out for not taking a stand, you can't sit on the fence sometimes you have to get your feet wet to accomplish something so, Before you Blast Mr. Belafonte you need to realize that a lot of the rights and life you have today is due to the courage of people like him. Read about life before you were born and see the changes that have been made but it's not the end of the fight!!! It's not enought to show up at a rally, make a statement that really counts that people will respect and admire you for!!!

  7. Ron Becoate says:

    Keith Ponder,,,"idiot" ?? WoW. Do you know me?? NO. But this is precisely what I am saying about this situation. We as Black People, are so judgemental of other brothers & sisters. If someone is doing/saying/dressing the way that whomever feels isn't according to their standards?/that person is considered,,,,,,,"an idiot"?? Really Mr.Ponder?? You actually called me an idiot?? that is hilarious to me. I , in no way was "questioning" what HB has done. To me, thats not the issue,,,I was tyring to draw attention to the fact that there is a "way" to do so? And it continues to bugg me out,,,how for tthe rest of his life,,,Sean Carter will be nothing more than a drug dealer that sold (key word SOLD) drugs in his PJ's?? There isn't anything you have done as a teenager, young Man, or even as an adult, that if given a chance, you wouldn't want a do over? sorry for doing saying it?? ETC. J & Bey was at the Travon March Rally in NYC ?? But isn't there a way that we can discuss our differences, no matter how passionately we may feel about a subject , W/O name calling. I found that to be so rude Keith Ponder. Also, look at JayZ & Beyonce. How would you personally like to live your life,,where everything you say, do?is public knowledge? I feel , all things considered,,from what I have seen & heard,,he should be commended. He doesn't still sell drugs. (Geesh,,Travon Martin was potrayed as a weed head in his murder trial? Does that fact JUSTIFY his execution?)This Man,,married his Love?? Isn't that the American Dream?? He isn't abusing her,,taking advantage of the situation.? He isn't in the media & clubs ,,wildin out? You dont see Police activity in his life??I mean,,all things considered,,this story,,HIS STORY,,could be so much more negative?? And THEN what would you say?? This is insane. Victor Guirma…I'm NOT in my twenties lol. Its like y'all are saying that since its HB,,,it must be accurate,,he must have spoken correctly,,AND,,you can't have a different opinion, or question him,,,because he is an Elder Statesman?? To me,,it is that very fact, that is the reason WHY you should be able to. HB, should have used his influence/ power/connections, and spoken to Mr&Mrs.Carter personally,,and NOT blast them publicly in the media. The media,,,where Mr&mrs Carter have every right to rebuttal???????Finally: I just saw a post my cousin put up,,that is amazing,,it says "Sorry that "my sins" aren't like your sins. Or something to that effect. we as black people must do better in being so judgemantal of each other

  8. Ron Becoate says:

    I am "LIKING" both of your posts,,so that maybe you can both see & read my reply.But real talk: (especially Mr. Ponder & his name calling??) isn't very likable at all

  9. Jay-Z is a negative force to the black community like countless other rappers. Their doctrine is one self centered arrogance, violence and misogyny. His charitable gestures to the Katrina victims pales in comparison to a decade-plus long career of propagating negative values to the black community. He would be delusional to think that he is comparable to Mr. Belafonte as humanitarian and activist, he is also no Obama. He is a symbol of a kind of modern black social illiteracy and money and financial success does not diminish that fact.

  10. Jay-Z transcribes every negative stereotype perpetuated about modern black youth, yet he is no youth. His commentary constantly screams of self-loathing and a completely illiterate historical perspective combined with little to zero moral turpitude. It will not end well for him.

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