In the past, actor, activist and singer Harry Belafonte has been critical of how he feels African American celebrities of today use their celebrity status, even saying artists like Hov and Beyonce had “turned their back on social responsibility” in an interview last year. On Jigga’s recent album Magna Carta Holy Grail, Hov addresses Belafonte’s critique of his civil duties on the song “Nickles and Dimes” rapping, “I’m just trying to find common ground, before Mr. Belafonte come and chop a nigga down…Respect these youngins this is my time now…You don’t know all the shit I do for the homies.”
Belafonte recently appeared on MSNBC in reference to the Dream Defenders initiative and Stand Your Ground law in Florida and he also touched on the Jay Z situation. Belafonte explained that his statements in the 2012 interview were not particularly directed at the power couple. “I have to also say that this conflict was not from me as a direct attack on Jay Z and Beyonce,” he said. “I was at a press conference in Switzerland. Questions were raised by the international press. They asked about comparisons between the artists and their social engagement of the past based on a film we were all watching, and what did I think about the way artists were responding earlier in my life and how they were responding today. And I made the observation that the highly powerful voice that Black America has. There is so much celebrity power that it was sad to see that the collective of celebrity power had not been applied to bringing consciousness to the antiquities that we face.”
The Civil Rights OG went on to extend an olive branch to Jay and Beyonce saying he would like to sit down with the couple to “understand each other.” “I would hope with all my heart that Jay Z would not take personally what was said because it was not said about him personally,” Belafonte added. “I would like to take this opportunity to say to Jay Z and to Beyonce, I’m wide open. My heart is filled with nothing but the hope of the promise that we could sit and have a one on one and let’s understand each other rather than trying to answer these questions and answer these nuances in a public place.”
Check out the entire interview, below.