You may have read a commentary I wrote where I express fully how I felt about someone like Jay-Z dissing an icon such as Harry Belafonte. If you didn't get a chance to read it please feel free to read it now by clicking here.
The back and forth began when Harry Belafonte, being the elder statesman that he is, took it upon himself to speak of his disappointment in today's artist when it comes to social responsibility. Two of the people he called out specifically were Jay-Z and Beyonce. Beyonce responded to the criticism by having her people put out a list of charities she was involved. Jay-Z, on the other hand, chose to remain silent. Well that was until a track titled Nickel and Dimes emerged on his latest album.
Here is how Jay-Z responded to Belafonte's criticism:
I’m just trying to find common groundTrust me, I wasn't the only one criticising Jay-Z's blatant disrespect of Mr. Belafonte. Obviously there was enough criticism that Jay-Z felt the need to explain the lyric.
‘Fore Mr. Belafonte come and chop a nigga down
Mr. Day O, major fail
Respect these youngins boy, it’s my time now
Hublot homie two door homie
You don’t know all the shit I do for the homies
Here is what he had to say:
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.Jesus take the wheel and the car!!! I don't even know where to begin with that comment and so I'm not going to say anything. I'll let you all handle this one. I'm going to take me an Aleve and call it a day. But before I go an lay down I will say this, obviously something Mr. Belafonte said must have struck a nerve with both Beyonce and Jay-Z because both of them made an appearance at the Justice for Trayvon rally in New York. I'm just sayin'...