Jay Z Slams Harry Belafonte for Saying He Doesn’t Do Enough for the Community

Photo Credit: Rap Radar/YouTube
Photo Credit: Rap Radar/YouTube

By: Amanda Anderson-Niles

Jay Z responds to Harry Belafonte? Jay Z has been giving a series of some rather raw interviews since the recent release of his latest album “Magna Carta Holy Grail,” and as always it’s interesting to hear him answer some real questions so honestly. In his recent interview with Rap Radar’s Elliott Wilson, he admitted how devastated the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman made him, and he also admitted he feels racism is still very much a prevalent issue in today’s society. Now in another part of the interview, Jay Z finally responds to the criticism he received from legendary actor Harry Belafonte. For those of you that don’t remember, Harry Belafonte called out Jay and his wife Beyonce and accused them of not giving back enough to the community. While Beyonce’s rep responded in a statement and listed all of Bey’s most recent charitable acts that haven’t been reported to the media, Jay Z remained silent. Well that is until this interview. And according to Jay Z, the actor was wrong to say what he did and then to do so to the white media. The rapper and business man says:

“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.”



Do you agree or think Jay was out of line? Let us know below.


In related news, Jay Z decided to surprise Beyonce at her recent show in Philadelphia. While Beyonce was closing out the show and running off the names of all her crew members, Jay ran out quickly and hugged and kissed Bey as she appeared shocked by his appearance. She literally jumped at the sight of Jay running towards her. After she was able to catch her breath, she blushed and laughed at her hubby who quickly ran off the stage after getting his hug and kiss.

Check it out below. It starts at the 1:10 mark.



Too cute.


  1. First, I love Jay and Bey’s relationship! They seem like they really love each other and have so much fun.

    And to his response to Harry, I’m sure the people who hate Jay Z will say he’s so arrogant but he made some very good points. When a black man makes it in this country, they are hope for all the little black boys out here. They should not be torn down by their own peers in the predominately white media. If Harry felt some kind of way he should have picked up the phone and made that clear in private. We need to stop tearing each other down in the media!

  2. Love the Carters. And how does Harry Belafonte even know what they’ve done for the community? Does he manage their bank account? Numbers of hours committed to community service? Or does he just depend on the biased white media to keep him informed about Jay and Bey?

    1. “Or does he just depend on the biased white media to keep him informed about Jay and Bey?” >> By the looks of what he said, he definitely does. Smh.

  3. I always felt like Harry was foul for what he did. Jay Z gets dragged enough by whites who refuse to let go of his past and then here he goes trashing him to the white media. I lost a lot of respect for him that day.

    1. And why is that? Because he used to sell drugs? Did you know Obama used to DO drugs? People can change and they do change all the time. It’s funny how people like to pick and choose whose pass they want to forget.

      1. And they’ll be the same ones screaming up and down not to bring up Trayvon’s past school suspensions…IJS

      2. Agreed and I always say this black people get judged to a different standard regardless if you are a star or not they will never let you forget your shortcomings. For example look at Robert Downey Jr was a drug addict went in and out of jail for years now he is one of the highest paid actors I never hear about his criminal past its like it never even happened. Charlie Sheen he spazzed out, domestic abuse he even shot his ex girlfriend I don’t hear nobody speak out against him. But if a black man had did all this or less he would never work again.

  4. Im sorry but to some people like Harry Belafonte ,black stars will never do enough for our people and I think that’s unfair to an extent. Jay did bring up valid points about big up Bruce Springsteen but down talk Jay.

    1. Agreed. Harry Belafonte is just another old Hollywood fart that feels the need to look down at the younger generation for everything.

  5. But has Harry Belafonte even said anything about Trayvon Martin? Did he show up to rallies? Risk his image to speak out about it like Jay and Bey? Give the Martin’s a donation to see the progress forward? But he does more for US? That’s laughable.

    1. No disrespect and no offense, but I say this with all sincerity when I say check Belefonte’s record when it comes to risking his image. His work on behalf of the Black community and civil rights is nothing short of admirable. On Jay, yes, he could have addressed him personally, but that doesn’t take away from the serious work Belefonte has done in history. Don’t know what he’s done for Martin’s case or family, but I know he’s been all in from the jump and much respect is due. Not saying that you don’t respect him, just saying in general.

      1. But why doesn’t Jay deserve respect?! We’re supposed to sit here and respect Harry for his contributions but he can bash another black man based off information he doesn’t have? Sorry, I don’t think so. His contributions don’t give him the right to talk down to other people. MLK wasn’t about that because he was obviously a better person and he actually did more for us than Mr. Belafonte.

        1. I’m not defending Mr. B’s statements about Jay, I’m defending his record of risking his image in response to your original post. Where Stevie is boycotting Florida, Mr. B boycotted the entire south for a number of years. He’s been very politically outspoken and has been the subject of ridicule and discrimination due to his activism. I point all of this out not to take sides in the conversation between he and Jay, but because, in my opinion, based on what he’s done, he deserves more respect than your original post suggested. It sounded like perhaps you were unaware of his enormous social, political and humanitarian contributions, and I wanted to shed a little light…respectfully, of course.

        2. Forgot to add in response to Dr. King doing more for us than Mr. B. that it was actually because of Mr. Belefonte and others like him that Dr. King was able to accomplish what he did. To state this another way, Dr. King didn’t carry the entire movement by himself. He was the leader, but a leader has nothing to lead without followers, organizers and supporters. Mr. B. was all 3 of these, including a personal confidant to Dr. King who also personally helped support Dr. King financially so that he could do what he did (and bailed him out of jail in the process). In addition to reaching into his own pockets, he was an enthusiastic fundraiser. All of this and more caused him to risk his reputation, career, safety, etc., but he still fought on. In the end, it was Mr. B. who even picked out the suit Dr. King wore in his casket, that’s how up close and personal he was w/King. Perhaps his statements about J are a result of him wanting more from this generation since he gave it his all during his day. His approach could’ve been better, but I believe he deserves a little slack/respect even in our attempts to correct him.

      2. @ Jael

        Well maybe Harry Belafonte should have taken your advice and checked Jay Z’s record before he made ignorant and misinformed comments about someone he doesn’t even know personally. Jay-Z has his own charity organization and both him and Bey do plenty for the community. Just because they aren’t pressed to get the media to write about it doesn’t mean they aren’t doing anything. They deserve the same respect you feel Harry Belafonte deserves. Everyone deserves to be respected period.

        1. And I’m not trying to be rude, but I just hate it when black people tear each other down in the media. It’s not cool at all. That’s all I’m trying to say.

        2. I agree that everyone deserves respect. Totally. From the public vibe I get from both of them, I’m confident that the two will work this out. We are all human and sometimes we misspeak…especially when we are passionately devoted to something we feel is important.

  6. Did it ever occur to people that most of the media isn’t in the business of publishing positive news? That doesn’t sell or get page views. I bet most of us can admit we skip right pass the positive things that get posted here to read the negative stories. A lot of celebs do lots of work and charity but those stories rarely get posted. Just because you didn’t read about it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Harry Belafonte should know that considering he’s been in the business for many years.

    1. Girl yes. I’m guilty of that but after the Trayvon verdict I have been reading more positive things and news because it’s like it’s so clear we have to stay informed of what’s going on.

  7. Wow I guess I’m late! I didn’t know Harry said that! He was wrong for that. Jay and Bey aren’t the monsters people wish they were. They are real people with real feelings who love to give back. I swear people need to stop with their jealousy.

  8. This is why I love the Carters. And every time Jay opens his mouth, he says the truth. I never agreed with what Harry Belafonte said. He was out of line.

  9. He’s all up in their pockets….worry about what ur doing to help ur fellow black brother or sister….TALKIN LOUD & SAYIN NOTHIN….Instead of JOINING FORCES FOR THE GREATER GOOD…IDIOTS like him always trying to put down someone down…..SHUT THE HELL UP!

  10. Based on some of the reactions here, I think Mr. Belafonte may be being misunderstood. First, let’s be clear, you are all correct in that he shouldn’t have made the statement that he did without speaking to Jay-Z in private. With that said, I encourage everyone to look at Harry Belafonte’s Wikipedia page to get an idea of what he’s done for all of our civil, humanitarian and political freedoms. Now, compare that with Jay-Z or any celebrity of this generation. When I heard Belafonte make his original statement, I figured he was speaking from a place of wanting J and others to step their game up. This isn’t to say that Jay-Z never does anything (we know he does), but to old school revolutionaries like Belafonte, this generation doesn’t come close to the raw activism and sacrifices that people like he, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, etc. made on our behalf.

  11. I believe that it is important to know EXACTLY what was said in Harry Belafonte’s own words. Harry never mentioned the name of ANY celebrity. He simply stated that unlike in his day when he, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Paul Robeson, Mahalia Jackson etc made it a point in the VAST majority of their works to highlight and focus on the struggles of the African American in this country, this generation of celebrities with far superior resources financially and from a media perspective, does not make the same effort to speak out about the injustices visited upon our people.

    The reporter then began to make it granular by naming specific celebrities (Jay-Z and Beyonce among others) to which Mr. Belafonte stated “If you find them in the celebrity corps then they are anointed by my criticism.” He then said, “Such voices do not exist today, or at least in the abundance that they should be…all of them collectively share a deep responsibility and blame”. Again, he was placing collective responsibility on this generation of African American celebrities.

    Essentially Harry was saying that this generation of celebrities wasn’t articulating the struggle that the sons and daughters of Africa in America have gone through and still go through enough. I personally agree with him. He never once took a jab at Jay-Z or Beyonce.

    With regard to Jay-Z, while Harry has always been conscious. Jay-Z will do great things in the future if we allow him to grow. Pursue Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. He is a parent now. Soon he will become a billionaire he will automatically start building a legacy beyond his current insularity. TIME is on his side. I’ve seen the growth even in this Trayvon Martin incident and I for one am pleased what Jay-Z and Beyonce’s handling of the situation.

    This is coming from one of the largest Beyonce fans period.

  12. Jay-z sounds like he think he some kind of God. First of all Beyonce is who majority of us care about let’s be real. JAY z is far from the best rapper or artist, granted he a good business man but other than that your presence is not that Damn special. TALK ABOUT the hood but do nothing for them. Even though people should get a job and make they money.but oh please Beyonce is his prize.

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