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Jay-Z Responds To Harry Belafonte’s Challenge: ‘My Presence Is Charity’ (My Thoughts)

Jay-Z Responds To Harry Belafonte's Challenge: 'My Presence Is Charity' (My Thoughts)


“I’m offended by that because first of all, and this is going to sound arrogant, but my presence is charity. Just who I am. Just like Obama’s is. Obama provides hope. 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…I felt Belafonte he just went about it wrong. Like the way he did it in the media, and then he big’d up Bruce Springsteen or somebody. 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’d up the white guy against me in the white media. And I’m not saying that in a racial way. I’m just saying what it is. The fact of what it was. And that was just the wrong way to go about it.”

My one-word reply: Sigh.

Well, actually, I have a lot more than one word to say about this.

While some would argue that maybe Harry Belafonte could have handled his public challenge to Jay-Z and Beyonce differently, when you’ve lived for 86 years on this planet, fought through the many immense obstacles he and those of his generation had to on practically a daily basis, becoming a prominent face/figure, and fearless, unrelenting voice in the fight for civil, human and political rights globally, I’m willing to give him a pass.

Here are Belafonte’s words, spoken in 2012, taken out of context I’d say, that led to Jay-Z’s reply, a year later, verbatim:

“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 Beyoncé, for example. Give me Bruce Springsteen, and now you’re talking. I really think he is black.”

This emerging “conflict,” as Mr Belafonte said in a recent interview with MSNBC, wasn’t a direct attack on Jay-Z and Beyonce. He was at a press conference in Switzerland, and the press who were present, asked him about the level of activism, political/social engagement of artists today, compared to artists of his (Belafonte’s) time, decades ago. And he made the observation that the power that lies in the collective black celebrity voice (with so many influential black celebrities today), was sadly not being utilized and exploited in bringing attention to matters that ail our community, as well as in acting decisively, communally against those injustices – certainly not the way his generation used their celebrity for social/political/economic activism, and did so absolutely.

And in response to what was essentially a call to action by Mr Belafonte, a number of other black artists, like Jamie Foxx, Chuck D, and others, took his words in the spirit in which they were delivered, and have since gotten behind him on his various recent efforts to affect real change, hands-on, unlike Mr Jay-Z here, who instead responds with insolence. And I’m not referring solely to the fatuity in the above quote; in a track called Nickles And Dimes on his new Magna Carta Holy Grail album, he reserved the following lyrics in response to Belafonte: 

Mr. Day O, major fail;

Respect these youngins boy, it’s my time now

My suggestion to Jay-Z, no matter how relevant he might be, or believes he is, and the amount of money he’s reportedly given to charity, would be, simply: you can’t fight them all, so choose your battles wisely. And this is not one that I’d choose to fight – certainly not publicly, and definitely not in the manner and tone that he’s chosen to go about it.

My presence is charity.” Really. And then you refer to him as “boy” on one of your tracks – something that’s going to be listened to, and repeated by likely many millions of your young fans?

Come on son! This certainly isn’t the way to win any votes in your favor. This isn’t a rap battle! Belafonte isn’t going to now rush into a recording studio, to put together a diss track in response to your diss

Or maybe you just don’t care.

Man-up!

Check your ego Hov. Swallow your pride. Respect these old folks, BOY. ‘Cause, without THEIR time, your “time now” may never have been realized.

Alright, so I’m no rapper, but you get the point!

And in response to Jay-Z’s cry (yes, cry), Belafonte had this to say:

“I would hope with all my heart, that Jay Z not take personally what was 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.”

After all, it’s not like they’ve never met, and conversed. The above photo of both men was taken in 2010, two years before Belafonte’s observation and call to action that started this so-called “conflict.”

And with that, I say goodbye…

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Comments

Africa Sena

I thought jay z was smarter than that. He holds up the signs of the pyramids which our ancestors built

Africa sena

All rich blacks have not done enough to help black society. There should not be any inner city schools that are unaccredited. There should be excellent performing art schools in every ghetto.

Educated

You know the devil always did think he was better than GOD… But we see what happened to him! Don’t worry, there’s a HELL for jay z too!

Aj

That was a direct attack towards him and yes, his presence is a charity in ways that many people probably don’t think about. I have been in his presence several times while working. Every time I left feeling better than when I arrived. And the person who commented above saying that the people who are inspired by him are shallow, is a complete idiot in every way imaginable. I’m inspired by Jay z and have been for over 20 years. I’m a combat vet of several years, former law enforcement, and I now own my own company. My entire life has been about giving back to my community, selfless service and sacrifice. But this asshole has the nerve to call me shallow and materialistic because I’m inspired by someone that he is incapable of understanding. Please!

Aj

I understand where jay z is coming from.

MARDI MADD

IM FROM THE HOOD…& WE CONSIDER JAYZ A SELLOUT….HE ARROGANTLY STATES THAT HIS PRESENCE IS HOPE….THAT IS STRAIGHT "BS" …BECAUSE HE KNOWS IT'S ACTIONS THAT MAKE YOU WHO YOU ARE….SO BASICALLY WE AS POOR BLACK PEOPLE ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF A FIGHT…& YOU'RE JUST GOING TO STAND THERE & HOPE WE WIN OR BE A PILLAR OF HOPE…NAH…THROW A PUNCH U COWARD….BEYONCE IS JUST FOLLOWING HIS LEAD …IF SHE HAD A BETTER MAN SHE'LL BE A BETTER WOMAN…BUT SHE IS ALSO CONSIDERED A SELLOUT BY US IN THE HOOD…

zerze

So. An African American actor, singer, activist and UN-ambassador urges famous African-Americans to use their power to speak out on social causes, mentioning two of them by name. One of them takes offense and replies by insulting the former and simultaneously pretending to heed his call, making a preposterously narcissist claim that compares him to the first partial African-American president of the United States and adding that his mere presence is a form of charity for… Well, that's not in the quote. I think that speaks for itself as a non sequitur. However I guess it's fair to say that the presence of Mr Carter does indeed instill hope in the human heart. Everytime I see him, I hope he goes away real quick.

Leah Tunkara

Aloha from the Hawaiian Islands, Good Job Tambay A. Obenson

braulio

WELL WRITTEN….

braulio

WELL WRITTEN….

Steve

what did Jay-Z say about Obama, "whether he does anything, the hope he provides for America and outside America is enough"then he goes on to say that just because he's the first black president he should be able to speak on any issue about anything and be left alone. In other words, I'm a complete and total racist who believes that Obama should be able to do anything and everything he wants just because he's black. And folks, that is the very view from all blacks in America and the very ignorance that got him elected..skin color..forget all the lies..it doesn't matter because he's black..forget Benghazi..it doesn't matter because he's black..just pitiful!

Steve

what did Jay-Z say about Obama, "whether he does anything, the hope he provides for America and outside America is enough"then he goes on to say that just because he's the first black president he should be able to speak on any issue about anything and be left alone. In other words, I'm a complete and total racist who believes that Obama should be able to do anything and everything he wants just because he's black. And folks, that is the very view from all blacks in America and the very ignorance that got him elected..skin color..forget all the lies..it doesn't matter because he's black..forget Benghazi..it doesn't matter because he's black..just pitiful!

Steve

what did Jay-Z say about Obama, "whether he does anything, the hope he provides for America and outside America is enough"then he goes on to say that just because he's the first black president he should be able to speak on any issue about anything and be left alone. In other words, I'm a complete and total racist who believes that Obama should be able to do anything and everything he wants just because he's black. And folks, that is the very view from all blacks in America and the very ignorance that got him elected..skin color..forget all the lies..it doesn't matter because he's black..forget Benghazi..it doesn't matter because he's black..just pitiful!

Steve

what did Jay-Z say about Obama, "whether he does anything, the hope he provides for America and outside America is enough"then he goes on to say that just because he's the first black president he should be able to speak on any issue about anything and be left alone. In other words, I'm a complete and total racist who believes that Obama should be able to do anything and everything he wants just because he's black. And folks, that is the very view from all blacks in America and the very ignorance that got him elected..skin color..forget all the lies..it doesn't matter because he's black..forget Benghazi..it doesn't matter because he's black..just pitiful!

Steve

what did Jay-Z say about Obama, "whether he does anything, the hope he provides for America and outside America is enough"then he goes on to say that just because he's the first black president he should be able to speak on any issue about anything and be left alone. In other words, I'm a complete and total racist who believes that Obama should be able to do anything and everything he wants just because he's black. And folks, that is the very view from all blacks in America and the very ignorance that got him elected..skin color..forget all the lies..it doesn't matter because he's black..forget Benghazi..it doesn't matter because he's black..just pitiful!

Steve

what did Jay-Z say about Obama, "whether he does anything, the hope he provides for America and outside America is enough"then he goes on to say that just because he's the first black president he should be able to speak on any issue about anything and be left alone. In other words, I'm a complete and total racist who believes that Obama should be able to do anything and everything he wants just because he's black. And folks, that is the very view from all blacks in America and the very ignorance that got him elected..skin color..forget all the lies..it doesn't matter because he's black..forget Benghazi..it doesn't matter because he's black..just pitiful!

Steve

what did Jay-Z say about Obama, "whether he does anything, the hope he provides for America and outside America is enough"then he goes on to say that just because he's the first black president he should be able to speak on any issue about anything and be left alone. In other words, I'm a complete and total racist who believes that Obama should be able to do anything and everything he wants just because he's black. And folks, that is the very view from all blacks in America and the very ignorance that got him elected..skin color..forget all the lies..it doesn't matter because he's black..forget Benghazi..it doesn't matter because he's black..just pitiful!

Steve

what did Jay-Z say about Obama, "whether he does anything, the hope he provides for America and outside America is enough"then he goes on to say that just because he's the first black president he should be able to speak on any issue about anything and be left alone. In other words, I'm a complete and total racist who believes that Obama should be able to do anything and everything he wants just because he's black. And folks, that is the very view from all blacks in America and the very ignorance that got him elected..skin color..forget all the lies..it doesn't matter because he's black..forget Benghazi..it doesn't matter because he's black..just pitiful!

Steve

what did Jay-Z say about Obama, "whether he does anything, the hope he provides for America and outside America is enough"then he goes on to say that just because he's the first black president he should be able to speak on any issue about anything and be left alone. In other words, I'm a complete and total racist who believes that Obama should be able to do anything and everything he wants just because he's black. And folks, that is the very view from all blacks in America and the very ignorance that got him elected..skin color..forget all the lies..it doesn't matter because he's black..forget Benghazi..it doesn't matter because he's black..just pitiful!

Steve

what did Jay-Z say about Obama, "whether he does anything, the hope he provides for America and outside America is enough"then he goes on to say that just because he's the first black president he should be able to speak on any issue about anything and be left alone. In other words, I'm a complete and total racist who believes that Obama should be able to do anything and everything he wants just because he's black. And folks, that is the very view from all blacks in America and the very ignorance that got him elected..skin color..forget all the lies..it doesn't matter because he's black..forget Benghazi..it doesn't matter because he's black..just pitiful!

Steve

what did Jay-Z say about Obama, "whether he does anything, the hope he provides for America and outside America is enough"then he goes on to say that just because he's the first black president he should be able to speak on any issue about anything and be left alone. In other words, I'm a complete and total racist who believes that Obama should be able to do anything and everything he wants just because he's black. And folks, that is the very view from all blacks in America and the very ignorance that got him elected..skin color..forget all the lies..it doesn't matter because he's black..forget Benghazi..it doesn't matter because he's black..just pitiful!

Steve

what did Jay-Z say about Obama, "whether he does anything, the hope he provides for America and outside America is enough"then he goes on to say that just because he's the first black president he should be able to speak on any issue about anything and be left alone. In other words, I'm a complete and total racist who believes that Obama should be able to do anything and everything he wants just because he's black. And folks, that is the very view from all blacks in America and the very ignorance that got him elected..skin color..forget all the lies..it doesn't matter because he's black..forget Benghazi..it doesn't matter because he's black..just pitiful!

Kwilly

Jay Z and his wife care nothing about the community, nor about people. He is like he says he is, a business man. Only fools buy their albums, and of course the lyrics are all the same. On every track, he brags about getting unintelligent people to buy his album and getting super rich because of it. But hey, I guess they are the real ghetto king and queen.

John

Many of these celebrities in the entertainment industry are hypocrites because many are left-wing yet act greedy and stuck up.

Money changes people.

John

Many of these celebrities in the entertainment industry are hypocrites because many are left-wing yet act greedy and stuck up.

Money changes people.

sjaen95

It is nice to find a blog that written by a human, rather than auto posting garbage. I am very enjoyed for this blog. Keep up the excellent work!
how can i make my ex love me again

Ian

He's sounds a little too indifferent. Maybe that's his personality. Beyonce and he probably go together well. I remember seeing Beyonce on Punked and some girl was crushed by a christmas tree (it was fake of couse) and she just kind looked down like, wow that really sucks for you. I hope someone comes to help.

kat

"I’m offended by that because first of all, and this is going to sound arrogant, but my presence is charity."
Way to go! This just reinforces my bodies incredible urge to puke every time I see you or your wife. Ive said for years that the no one will ever love them as much as they love themselves…..
By all means people go buy more terrible music from them and send more money to them….

truth

Your stupid as shit ergo we ignore you.

Tamrika

This is really sad. Man up, Grow up! You are not what you think you are in your head to many, many people. Do your part. Stop the hate and separation of human beings.

Tamrika

This is really sad. Man up, Grow up! You are not what you think you are in your head to many, many people. Do your part. Stop the hate and separation of human beings.

jeanettesdaughter

gag. seriously? his presence.

Phil

This is a really interesting generational conflict. Kind of reminds me of Jesse Jackson vs Obama back in 2007-2008. Let me say that Mr. Belafonte is a personal hero and he, along with Bill Cosby, gets a pass to say whatever he wishes regardless of how abrasive it may be.

I listened to the Jay Z song, Nickels and Dimes, and in it he speaks of anonymous donations and the proverbial 'teach a man how to fish' type of assistance. In the end, I think this is much ado about nothing. In the 60s, we needed the Belafontes to fight for our civil rights. In the 2010s, we need the Jay Zs to tell us to stand on our feet and compete with the rest of the word. I hope both men will hash it out over a beer and shake hands.

I always find the comments the most interesting part of any article I read. I guess one never really knows who is behind the posts but it frightens me to think that there are those among us who believe we are unable to accomplish anything on our own or without being handpicked by those in power.

MIZZ

They both used horrible, despicable judgment. They both have done incredible things for american black people both directly and indirectly. Every American black person can do more to increase our collective righteousness, consciousness, morals, respect, dignity, LEGAL hustle, and intellect.

MrEFilms

I wish people would do there research before you opening your mouths. Mr. Carter has been doing just that. When Katrina hit Jay sent trucks with food, clothes,shoes and clothes to New Orleans. And brought the issue to the for front with a video. Jay when to Africa and made sure African village had running clean water himself. And countless other charites he has give too and made effort to give without getting credit, award, or recognition for doing it. I give Mr Belafonte a pass for his 2pac moment.

CareyCarey

"Mr. Belafonte is not winning anyone over with his attitude. We can feign shock and awe all we want. But no grown man is going to bow down to Belafonte's insults" ~ Rocket

HELLO! I could start there but I defer my opening thoughts to Tambay who said "some would argue that maybe Harry Belafonte could have handled his public challenge to Jay-Z and Beyonce differently… but… I'm willing to give him a pass"

Oh my, a pass… for what? Well, I believe, like many others in this thread, that Mr. Belafonta is not without fault. And, I've found a silver lining in this debate which many have poo-pooed.

"Most of you need to realize that a lot of the younger generation know NOTHING about Belafonte, which makes him irrelevant to someone like myself."

Ut oh, I believe that's a fact which deserves a deeper consideration than what I've witnessed (from the comments below ). Well, some would blame those words on "ignorance", but I am reminded of a few lines from the song "I Can't Make You Love Me" here-> "don't patronize me

Cause I can't make you love me if you don't
You can't make your heart feel something it won't.

That right, it's not ignorance's fault that this generation has little or no connection to Harry Belafonte. It's just a fact. Therefore, I believe it's unwise to force said generation to love him. On the other hand, Jay-Z fits right in their groove zone. Granted, we can parade out a list of things (his alleged indiscretions) that we wouldn't want our children to emulate, but the fact is, as Anonymous pointed out, he is a beacon of light to many. Consequently, it's safe to say he has inspired more of today's youth, in a positive way, than Mr Belafonte has. As I love saying, the devil is always in the details. Look there and y'll find them fair.

That right's, I am suggesting Jay-Z IS a name of real importance and influence. We can agree or disagree with his choice of words and how he donates his time and money, but that is no reason to impugn his "charity" or marginalize his significance in this thang called the black experience.

"I respect Harry as a trailblazer for civil rights. But his challenge also contained wording that could be taken as an insult, and that's probably what Jay Z responded to"

YEP!

"Most of you obviously haven't heard all of Jay Z's work, therefore are judging him off of his hit singles or a stupid article like this. Do your homework before you come out and comment like you know what's going on. His presence IS charity to the younger generation."

YEP… excellent point!

"Mr. Belafonte should have chosen his words wisely, calling out Jay-Z & Bey in public because they're not taking on the responsibilities (black people problems) he believes they should is a cowards move. Pick up a phone, set up a meeting, come together as one. Mr. Bel's way only divides blacks even more."

HELLO! Talk about it, say what's real.

"This time he responded after being asks about it and now some folk are butt hurt. Like he was suppose to say 'thank you sir' for the insult. Pure stupidity" ~ GARY S

That makes sense to me. And, the commenter FieldNegro may have brought it home:

"Belafonte's grand children may have 99 problems but being black ain't gonna be one of them, so I suggest he stop worrying about black people. He talked about it but hates being it. Thats hypocrisy. At least Jay-Z and co insist on their Blackness."

But you know what, that reminds me, why do we give so much power and respect to entertainers? Hell, here we are at a film blog discussing a rapper and a what? I mean, even if the subjects were filmmakers, why do we give so much credence and attention to those who have chosen that path as a means of earning a living? Surely we can agree that the most intelligent, wise and deepest critical thinkers do not chose filmmaker as a career path. Yet, we put them in the most unenviable positions of speaking on serious subjects other than films. Over and over again, we hang on the words of actors, musicians and entertainers alike, expecting words of wisdom that we can take to the bank. Damn, something is definitely wrong with that 'cause as I implied, they're just entertainers, not Socrates, Epicurus, nor brain surgeons.

JTC

I grew up in the age when HIP HOP went pop and gave birth to rap music. COMMON immortalized the moment in his classic song, "I USED TO LOVE HER." I can lament the past with the best of them but for what purpose? I image that we sound to younger cats like our parents sounded to us. The problem is deeper and more direct.

I spent several years working with at risk youth. One day this young brother comes up to me looking distraught. I asked him what was wrong. He confided to me that he shot someone. He told me that he had the realization that he was a bitch because he could not stop seeing the person's face. I told him that nearly everyone who commits a horrible act goes through a similar process. He struggled to believe, it was only my relationship with him which opened him up to the possibility.

I lived for several years in the BAY AREA. I was working on a film (during the day) and I see these girls dressed suggestively. I realized that the girls were young. Expensive cars would come up and the girls would drive away in them. Down the street, I saw a group of young brothers dressed up in the kind of gear that was considered FLY in Oakland. I was told that they were the pimps. When I told people what was happened, they already knew. They were completely desensitized. Many people were admiring of the pimps.

The reasons of how these events happened are numerous but the thread uniting them is rap. Rappers who celebrate pimping in their songs, but who fail to tell the part of the story of how pimps kidnap women, forcibly hook them on drugs, threaten to hurt them and/or their families if they don't comply. Rappers who speak about violence, but not about the post traumatic stress disorder which follows, or the endless nightmares, or the self loathing, or the permanent anxiety. I have no problem with rap being the CNN of the street when that depiction is accurate but with few exceptions, we all know this is not the case.

Unfortunately, when the songs of individuals such as JAY-Z, 50, and others has been the soundtrack to your life, it is hard to look at them objectively (particularly, when you feel the sense of power you get when listening to these kinds of songs) But this being a site about film and television, it should obvious that the rappers don't have strength to do this work. As filmmakers, we have to be the ones to show our community and our world a deeper truth about what the depth of our stories is really about.

Rocket

Mr. Belafonte is not winning anyone over with his attitude. We can feign shock and awe all we want. But no grown man is going to bow down to Belafonte's insults. Belafonte knows better. If we are going to hold Jay Z to a higher standard than normal due to his money then lets be consistent. Let's hold Mr. Belafonte to a higher standard due to his age the degree of respect people say he deserves.

Yes, Jay Z made some dumb comments about himself. Still Mr. Belafonte got what he really wanted out of all this: Attention.

Anonymous to Anonymous

Most of you need to realize that a lot of the younger generation know NOTHING about Belafonte, which makes him irrelevant to someone like myself. We look up to people like Jay Z because he someone that showed and proved that he made it out, with the most "class" a RAPPER could. Most of you obviously haven't heard all of Jay Z's work, therefore are judging him off of his hit singles or a stupid article like this. Do your homework before you come out and comment like you know what's going on. His presence IS charity to the younger generation. He is a 43 year old black man that went from rags to riches. He is successful music business man. Why does he need to make a list of where he donated his money? It will always be a lose-lose for him because if he told you what he has done, you'd just say "oh…now he's just bragging". Most of these journalists have nothing better to do, but to chose sides and make money off of it. They get you to spread hate towards everything. People need to stop hating.

Anonymous to Anonymous

Most of you need to realize that a lot of the younger generation know NOTHING about Belafonte, which makes him irrelevant to someone like myself. We look up to people like Jay Z because he someone that showed and proved that he made it out, with the most "class" a RAPPER could. Most of you obviously haven't heard all of Jay Z's work, therefore are judging him off of his hit singles or a stupid article like this. Do your homework before you come out and comment like you know what's going on. His presence IS charity to the younger generation. He is a 43 year old black man that went from rags to riches. He is successful music business man. Why does he need to make a list of where he donated his money? It will always be a lose-lose for him because if he told you what he has done, you'd just say "oh…now he's just bragging". Most of these journalists have nothing better to do, but to chose sides and make money off of it. They get you to spread hate towards everything. People need to stop hating.

Anonymous to Anonymous

Most of you need to realize that a lot of the younger generation know NOTHING about Belafonte, which makes him irrelevant to someone like myself. We look up to people like Jay Z because he someone that showed and proved that he made it out, with the most "class" a RAPPER could. Most of you obviously haven't heard all of Jay Z's work, therefore are judging him off of his hit singles or a stupid article like this. Do your homework before you come out and comment like you know what's going on. His presence IS charity to the younger generation. He is a 43 year old black man that went from rags to riches. He is successful music business man. Why does he need to make a list of where he donated his money? It will always be a lose-lose for him because if he told you what he has done, you'd just say "oh…now he's just bragging". Most of these journalists have nothing better to do, but to chose sides and make money off of it. They get you to spread hate towards everything. People need to stop hating.

Daryl

The Harry Belefonte and Jay – Z so called beef should be an eye opener to black folks on this new generation of black celebs. This is something I 've been saying for a minute up here these new generation of black celebs are selfish. Jay- Z presence is not charity, let's get real about this. I don't think young black kids should be looking at rappers and athletes as role models in a sense that this is going to be them, remember less than 1 percent are able to do this for a living, instead they should be looking at the college graduates and the small business owners in their community that made it as role models, there is more of a reality of attaining that type of success than being a rapper that strike it rich. Another point Jay-Z success has more of a negative affect on black youth than anything, for every one black youth that is inspire from his rags to riches story to do something constructive, it's a more than hundred that do something destructive, believing you got to be a hustler to make it or get your hustle on that end up in jail or dead, that's not charity that's a crisis. These corporations back people like Jay -Z instead of people like Chuck D because they want to make black folks a permanent underclass. Jay – Z puts on a charade that he helping an dhe dwon for black folks, get past the videos and look behind the curtains and see who respresents him nothing but white folks, the head of rock nation sports is a white woman but he trying to lift black folks up, Okay I will let Jay – Z defenders believe that because I know better. Also that samsung deal was not genius that deal was another case of giving hip hop away to corporations, what's next rappers albums getting released at mcdonalds. The samsung deal and the other deals that are going to come afterwards is about control because artist where gaining to much freedom through the internet and able to have a real voice with corporate interference. I hear people talking about Harry Belafonte messing with white women, how can he talk, he can talk because he been on the front lines for civil rights for black people for almost 50 years. He could have easily made more money if he had just shut his mouth and played the game but he understood this is not real success, it's the illusion of success that these corporations give to so many black celebs and the black audeince that is bigging them up because they got paid while in reality the masses of black folks are struggling or getting sterotype when they are sucecssful because of the images these black celbs keep going along with by these corporations.

Michelle

somebody need to boycott f%*king Jay Z and Beyonce, gimme a break. My presence is my charity!!!???How DISGUSTING and ridiculous. Need to stop spending our money making stupid people rich. Disrespectful ignoramus.

Danice

It's funny because we are arguing and Jay Z really said NOTHING if you asked me. It shows me he is NOT the brains behind his success. He makes no valid argument… "My presence should be a charity"?? WTF is a bunch of malarkey!

You say Jay does NOT owe anyone anything then you're f*cking wrong! Jay Z is the one entering into the territory of BIG BUSINESS and POLITICS trying to connect with these people that are clearly out of reach to even have a decent convo (check Forbes mag… When Warren Buffet interviewed him .. He couldn't even answer questions no depth). I'm a fan of Jay but he had a part to which I am a fan of his OLD music this new I'm bigger than God music sucks. Jay Z is seen as the little nephew/niece (and his wife) that can dance in front the family and amuse you… That how these corporations view them … I assure you they are not making made decisions.

But anyway Belafonte Didnt have to reach out to have a convo… Who does that these days? Half of these celebrities are groupies of the people and places they brag about. The Obamas used Jay Z and Beyonce … DUDE THEY DIDNT NEED YOU!

But if you are trying to come into the political realm just have a better voice and better stance on your views because the response made sounded like a lil' B!tch crying that someone hurt their feelings.

One of Tupac's lyrics – "Currency means NOTHING if you still ain't FREE!" They are just media slaves. If people wake up and stop feeding into the foolishness most artist push down your throat these days entertainment could get back to the basics and authenticity of the craft. Too many d!ck riders these days and I bet you all the money in the works while you going hard for these fools if you saw them out THEY WOULDN'T EVEN SPEAK TO YOU! Smdh…

onyx

I truly, truly do not get why Harry Belafonte would phrase a call to action like that. in 1965, when he appeared as a guest on Petulia Clark's special (her hits include Downtown, Don't Sleep in the Subway Darling) all she did was reach over and touch the man, and not only did the NBC censors go wild, but some white people watching the show were offended. And by that time Belafonte was such a major star, that there was backlash against the backlash.

But even then, the disrespect black men got made me appreciate how gracefully many handled slights.

Imho both men are wrong. I respect Harry as a trailblazer for civil rights. But his challenge also contained wording that could be taken as an insult, and that's probably what Jay Z responded to. However, in reading Jay Z's response and then his lyrics, it appears this was his way of getting back at Belafonte. So sad. This is not just a generational gap, but a cultural one. The days of "listening to your elders" may be long past for some. But how those of us who wish to educate and invigorate the younger generation approach them with this task is also of vital importance.

likeness

Although I agree whole heartily with Mr. Belafonte, he should have chosen his words wisely, calling out Jay-Z & Bey in public because they're not taking on the responsibilities (black people problems) he believes they should is a cowards move. Pick up a phone, set up a meeting, come together as one. Mr. Bel's way only divides blacks even more.

B

What kind of arrogant person must you be to say "Just who I am is charity". Sorry, Jay many Black folks grew up without much and made something of themselves. You're not exceptional or special in that regard. Arrogance diminishes wisdom. It cripples the person to the point they can't hear the outside world. Who you THINK you are and how the world sees you are two different things. To say it's a "bit" of racism in America is to say I am completely removed from the reality of Black folks in America. This is no surprise because he also claimed that Hip Hop has done more for race relations than ANY Civil Rights person. He based this argument on white kids having posters of rappers on their wall, therefore they can't grow up racist. This is the man who does a PSA for Antisemitism, but dismisses racism as a minor inconvenience. His wife also ascribes to this backwards thinking. She said people don't see her as Black " I don’t think people think about my race.I think they look at me as an entertainer and a musician". I am always amazed how Black people get to "that" place. Jay Z & Beyonce live in NYC. They didn't see fit to raise the issue of Stop & Frisk. I guess that would be kind of awkward when you have no problem breaking bread with the man who is racially profiling Black men and said it should be done more. In his own city an unarmed Rahmarley Graham was shot and killed in his bathroom and Jay never says a word. This fraud has lulled himself into a false sense of competence. IMO, he and his wife should have been nowhere near any Trayvon's rally until both of them took a test in African American history. No I do not think their involvement was genuine.
As Maya Angelou says, "When people show you who they are, believe them". The activist is not the person who identifies the problem, but the person who tries to fix it. So no Jay, your mere existence is not enough.

FieldNegro

Belafonte's grand children may have 99 problems but being black ain't gonna be one of them so I suggest he stop worrying about black people. He talked about it but hates being it. Thats hypocrisy. At least Jay-Z and co insist on their Blackness.

Helluva

Dude said his "presence is charity." Think about that. The unbridled ego/arrogance to not only THINK IT but to go ahead and say it WITHOUT HESITATION. And you actually have fanboys/girls arguing his case as if Belafonte is nothing more than "Mr. Dayo." See, I don't have so much a problem with folks like Jay, actually. It's the STANs that piss me off 'cause he couldn't get away with ish like this if not for them. He had the audacity to tell Harry B., "you don't know what I do for the 'hood" on that track, which would seem like a virtue if he didn't spend most of his career (and his previous single in which he name dropped the Prez) BRAGGING about the crack he's FLOODED the 'hood with. So, oh mighty "Hov," it's okay to promote deviant, sub-human behavior like this but taboo to speak on the positive shit you've done for others? Yet, you're OFFENDED that you were negatively juxtaposed with activist-artist Bruce Springsteen? And your STANs chime in right on cue. Critical thinking is in short supply out here smh…

artbizzy

This reminds me of the whole Bunny Wailer/Snoop Lion thing. Bunny Wailer and Harry Belafonte have always challenged and critiqued the machine through art and activism. Snoop Lion and Jay Z on the other hand made careers out of glorifying the machine and many of its pathologies. Their heroes are Don Corleone much more than they admire someone like Dr. King or even Malcolm x. Tupac, though conflicted, was definitely influenced by Malcolm X. Nas, too. These guys had perspectives and ideology that they grew up with. They read and studied. But the lure of socially irresponsible capitalism is seductive. It will not leave you alone once it takes hold of you and you are in a vulnerable state like poverty. A business man is about bidness. Most of the wealthiest of the wealthy know you can't put your emotions into business. You won't make much money. You won't own half the world. That's how and why many of our black asses are over here, remember? Our ancestors were merely part of the business plan. Whereas activism, whether organized or not, is a deeply emotional enterprise because it is essentially about caring about people on a much larger scale and fighting for them. Therefore a businessman like Jay Z can only care about certain issues up to a point or he stands to lose much capital. Jay Z is probably more than wealthy enough to leave corporate chains behind if he wants to, however.

Campbell

In my opinion, the biggest difference, is social and racial integration.

The righteous civil rights struggle for integration, has advanced us to assimilate and succeed in main stream society, but has marginalized our communal voice.

I applaud those who have the courage of their convictions. They understand an injustice to one, is an injustice to all.

Unfortunately, the 21st century negro is a corporate slave. The more money they make, the less they speak out, or take a stand in anything. Oftentimes, they have lost a connection with their uneducated brethren, but lack the full acceptance of their corporate colleagues. Too scared to speak in either direction. Instead, they party to celebrate their "success", and collectively disdain the glass ceiling above their head, and broken stairs beneath their feet.

Don

Although I think Harry Belafonte may have some valid points he should have addressed them with Jay privately, even if he was asked by the media. By the way, don't forget how many young African Americans Jay has employed, that right there is a major contribution. I bet it's more than Bruce Springsteen.

Nadia

Jay-Z obviously felt guilty as charged, which is why he felt the need to reply. If he felt he was all the things Belafonte called him (and others) out for not being, then he'd just do what the man he's comparing himself to (Obama) would do in this situation: brush it off your shoulders and keep doing what you're doing. No need to respond. Let your actions speak for you. But Belafonte obviously struck something inside him, and there it is.

And for anyone talking about money and wealth, this ain't even about that. It's about being in a position of influence and using that influence to bring change where change is needed. It's not about spending money. I don't think Belafonte was telling him what to do with his money. It's about using your position of power and influence to make a difference. Fuck a charity. Being on the frontlines and pounding pavement says much more than a passive act like writing checks for a charity. And when you look at the statistics of exactly how much of the money these charities collect actually goes to the causes they're fighting, and how much goes into the pockets of the people running them, it makes it an even more unimpressive act.

But at the end of the day, Jay-Z's gonna do what Jay-Z's gonna do. It's his life to do with as he pleases. But one thing he should know straight up is that for someone in his position, he's going to find himself in these kinds of situations a lot. So he better get used to it, and learn to brush it off and do his thing, or he's going to struggle.

Common Sense

Great job Harry. Extend the olive branch AFTER you insult him. Slap him in the face and then wonder why he says go to hell.

Win him over with insults. That always works. Great job. smh

ALM

Jay-z is beyond disrespectful.

1. Jay-z has no business calling Mr. Belafonte a boy. Mr. Belafonte was raised in a time when young Caucasian children called grown African American men boys. Jay-z knows this, and still persists to use racial connotations.

2. Jay-z can't be mad because Bruce Springsteen actually stands for something. He was standing up for causes long ago, even when it made him unpopular. Ever heard of records such as "Born in the USA"?

3. Jay-z will NEVER, EVER be anywhere near President Obama’s level. I don’t care how much money and power he amasses, and I don’t care that he has the President’s phone number. Jay-z still will never reach that level.

4. President Obama does not just “exist”. He is a world leader who has the power to both introduce legislation and veto laws. He doesn’t bounce around a stage using the “n” word and then lay on yachts in his spare time.

5. To whom much is given, much is required. Jay-z is reportedly worth at least half a billion dollars. Why can’t his mind grasp the fact that he could spend 3 or 4 months out of the year actually HELPING people?

6. So what? You showed up at a rally for Trayvon Martin. Showing your face does nothing. Action must be taken. If MLK, Rosa Parks, the Freedom Riders though this way, we would all still be using separate water fountains and riding at the back of the bus.

Candace

I LOVE Harry Belafonte, and have tremendous respect for him. And while everyone is entitled to their opinion, I think that he was wrong to have said what he did in the media. Bringing up Jay-Z and Beyonce specifically, and then comparing them to another person (especially a white person- and I do NOT mean this in a racist was but Mr. Belafonte went there). Not cool.

First of all, everyone does not have to be an activist. That is something that you devote your life to, a choice that individuals make. I am generally charitable, but would not call myself an activist (though I have rallied for causes I believe in). It's funny that people call Jay-Z's response arrogance, but can't see the arrogance in Mr. Belafonte's statement. For the record, Jay-Z and Beyonce do give back (water project in Africa, scholarship fund for students, etc.). Apparently, it's not on the level that some people approve of, but he used his platform to make a personal jab at two other people in the spotlight. I think he missed the mark their.

And yes, Harry Belafonte is 86. While Jay-Z and Beyonce are not babies, they are half his age. You never know what (more) a person may do as they age. I know HB has been fighting for causes most of his life, but times have changed (notice I'm not talking improvement but change). I could go on about the Springsteen comparison but I won't. I do like him though.

Lastly, Black people are always pointing fingers at other Blacks. It's funny. I work at an elementary school in the inner city (at least 98% black student pop.)…guess who come out in droves to mentor? Do you think it's Blacks? Does this means that Black people just don't volunteer at all? No, but we could do more. But we're the first to point fingers at celebrities, and sadly this one man: "Jay-Z" is often the target. It's silly. If people, average, "every day" people spent more time focusing on the changes they can make, than on what celebrities are doing (or not doing according to them) then we would be better off on all fronts.

And

Belafonte has a "Messiah Complex"…and was foul for name-dropping JayZ and Beyoncé to get more heat from the press…he(Belafonte) is still an entertainer but has found that the role of the global humanitarian is more glamorous than singing calypso…i'm not hating on the old man because that is just his version of Game…but JayZ was spot on for slamming back at him instead of bowing down and feeding the illusion that the old guy is some kind of saint. In short, everybody is in it for themselves…lol…there are some genuine saints out there but they ain't chasing reporters and tv cameras everywhere…lol

Peter Archanjo

Fugg JayZ and the cipher he rode in on.

Jaymes

First of all, Jay, your presence isn't enough. Those of us whom have a stage should use their position for the advancement of a people who lack a voice. The oppressed. Look at 14% employment rate Blacks suffer from, the schools closing in our neighborhoods, the disproportionate rate blacks are being incarcerated. We need you to be more than a presence. Don't be a tough guy on your records and then shrink when it comes to helping your people who have elevated you because you're scared of alienating the white folks you so desperately want approval from. And since he wants to conveniently bring up how Harry Belafonte shouted out Bruce over him, the black man. Well if you wanna go there, Jay. Why is the "white man" leading you on what YOU'RE supposed to be doing for YOUR PEOPLE?!

Penelope

Belafonte is right. The majority of African American artist care about money. Activism is okay for them only if someone gives them the green light. Activism is rarely felt in their music or art. I actually stopped listening to mainstream black artists and only listen to the indie circuit featuring black artists. In my opinion, gratuitous use of the "n" word, killing each other, consuming copious amounts of alcohol/drugs and fast and loose sexual exploits ain't my cup of tea.

SpitTruth

All Jay-Z cares about is Money, Cash, and Ho's

Steve M.

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.”

Why couldn't Harry have said this from the start?

Maybe Jay would have met him. But to basically call him "not black" in public? Should he be really that surprised by the response? I'm not.

Rashidah

I find Jay-Z's actions really sad. I find it amazing how arrogant we have become. For those of us born in the generations after the Civil Rights movement, seem to forget that if it had not been for our elders' sacrifice, "our time" may not have ever come. I don't think Mr. Belofonte said anything that offensive. He just wants our generations, especially those of us in the lime light to use our power to make a difference. I personally don't know what Jay-Z has or hasn't done for his community, or a lot of other famous people for that matter, but I do feel that most are most consumed with their fame to acknowledge what is going on in the world around them. Most of them only speak up when there is something popular to talk about. We just need to show some respect and do better.

Cry us a River

I'm not a Jay-Z fan but right is right. I love how when you get rich you suddenly get all these "financial advisors".

Where was Belafonte when Jay-Z was working his ass off getting to where he is? Where is Belafonte now while Jay-Z still works to build successful businesses and helping to change how music is distributed (deal with Samsung)? YET, he has to kiss this Belafonte's feet and act like he is solely responsible for his success and if he doesn't, we insult him and THEN WONDER WHY he says "fuck me? no fuck you!"

Really? You wonder why?

That's right, insult Jay-Z. Say he isn't black. Say GOD is gonna get him and wish him to fail because he isn't giving HIS money to where YOU feel it should be. YOU who had no hand in working for it.

Call him a house nigga and any other brilliant words that come out of your Pro Black Police mouths. I'm sure it is crushing Jay-Z's spirit and will draw him closer to the cause. Insult him. Pure fucking genius way to get him involved.

Ya'll are some whiney sons of bitches. I don't blame Jay-Z for giving him and whiners like you the finger at all. Not one bit!

WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU?

LeonRaymond

He didn't get it -at all , I've heard stanch rock hard conservatives agree deeply with Mr.B. and said they heard that as a call to action. But this Knucklehead was offended by it? And Mr. B. was referring to both Springsteen and Bono on their efforts Globally and Jay-z can't even get out the ghetto. Way too much disrespect from some one who in 2013 has not looked at it as it should have been.

Lily

DAMN Jay Z…As old as you are, you got a lot of GROWING UP to do…BOY. This is utterly ridiculous. Also, it's interesting that he was insulted by Belafonte acknowledging the good works of the "white dude" Bruce Springsteen–a BONAFIDE civil rights activist who NEVER has to be asked or have his arm twisted to bring attention to humanitarian issues. This says a lot about Jay Z's shallowness.

SpitTruth

Jay-Z is the devil.

Troy

Many civil rights icons are the most fallible men of their time. Harry Belafinte said he thinks Bruce Sprinsteen is black. The Boss is from New Jersey look at that state. Jay Z's presence may not be charity however his blueprint has lead many young black men into successful entertainment careers. He continues to launch careers and opportunities. Nothing is enough yet it is clear that successful black men of this day are demonized for not doing anything wrong, than their counterparts. Jay Z has been a part of the national conversation longer than Obama. The real bootstrap generation emerged in the 80s and Jay Z, Diddy, CMB exemplify this. James Brown, Jim Brown, Ray Charkes all contributed to the civil rights movement and they are all deplorable human beings. Jay Z has been a womanizer in words not true acts of violence against women. Yet he is the young punk compared to men if this ilk. I wonder if all the celebrities from my generation who write checks for charitable causes will be defended as the only reason the next generation can be successful. Delusional people you are making grandeur of horrible history out of the very few who made it through the door. More black have opportunities to experience success today yet society demonize them because they rap and play sports. Yet the stars you hold so dear did the samething.

Henderson Vaughan

Sorry for Jay-z he has to bow down to those who make HIM, like those before and after him make the mistake in thinking he (Jay-z) is GOD. Why won't he said that to the people that MAKE him (HOV). Disrespecting your elders is a series crime. That what my GOD say. Jay-z love your music and I support your grind, but BOY you need to respect Mr.Belafonte like you want people to respect you. God has a funny way of showing people what Repect Is. Captain85

Jen

You got your back up on this, Hov? Oh, wait 20-25 years, when your relevance on our culture is able to be truly & accurately judged and some young, arrogant upstart calls YOU out to respect him because it's HIS time. And I'm betting you will not have the laurels to rest on to laugh off the remark that Belafonte does.

sosgemini

How can two people be so rich, famous and adored and be so stupid? I thought B'Weave was the small brained one out of the pair but he's displaying equal levels of small bus syndrome.

Popcorn Slayer

What an asshole. (Jay Z, not Belafonte).

Man-Over-Bored

Jay Z needs to sit his stupid ass down somewhere, talking that "My presence is charity" bullsh*t. How absurd! And that feeds and clothed how many homeless individuals and families? His statement and rap response to Harry Belafonte demonstrate the disconnect he's suffering. He laughably likens himself to Obama–what a joke! Obama isn't even Obama anymore! And the only people inspired by Jay Z's mere, charitable presence are those who are just as shallow, materialistic and willfully ignorant–but deluded enough to deem themselves deep–as he is!

Things That Make You Go Hmmm

Interesting how he can buck up at Belafonte but remains supremely "mum" when the like of De Niro gives him a public lashing.

BURP

I agree with you 100% …Jay Z ego is way to big for him to respond to Mr. B in that manner..he would have been best to just let that slide like in past rap beefs he had with folks. This is Harry B a man who risked his life so punks like Jay Z can make outrageous claims like my presence is charity..please bro ..at the end of the day they are still profiting off your black ass and they still tolerate you and accept you. Get your shit together Hov. Or you will end up in vegas with all the washed up acts. We have an image problem in black america and until that is fixed we cannot move forward as a people.

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