It has been a year since Harry Belafonte, legendary singer and civil rights activist, expressed his disappointment with the way music moguls Jay Z and Beyoncé have “turned their backs on social responsibility.”
His statements have resurfaced at a time when musicians like Stevie Wonder and Madonna are reportedly boycotting Florida until it repeals its controversial “Stand Your Ground” law. Belafonte, who recently announced his support for a group occupying the Florida capital building until a session is convened to review the law, appeared on MSNBC and was asked whether he thought Jay Z should cancel his upcoming concert in the state.
“I would be hard-pressed to tell Mr. Jay Z what to do with his time and his fortune,” Belafonte responded. “I can only be critical of what is he not doing.”
Jay Z responded to the comment in an interview with rap blog Rap Radar, asserting that he was offended and that his “presence was charity.”
“I felt Belafonte; he just went about it wrong,” he said.
Belafonte also acknowledged the comments he made last year on MSNBC and said that he did not mean to attack Jay Z personally, but rather to make a larger point, which is that a number of Black artists have not stepped in to bring to light the “inequities that we face.”
He even asked for a one-on-one conversation to discuss the situation.
“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,” Belafonte said.
There have been no reports of a conversation between Jay Z and Belafonte.