Harry Belafonte Asks For Sit-Down With Jay-Z & Beyonce

posted Sunday July 28 ,2013 at 09:49AM CDT | 60 comments

Harry Belafonte Asks For Sit-Down With Jay-Z & Beyonce

"My heart is wide open and filled with nothing but hope and the promise that we can sit and have a one-on-one," says Harry Belafonte to Jay-Z and Beyonce in an interview.

The back-and-forth between activist and music legend Harry Belafonte and Jay-Z has come to a head—with Belafonte offering an olive branch.

In a 2012 interview, Belafonte listed Jay-Z and Beyonce as two examples of modern, high-profile artists that have "turned their back on social responsibility."

Jay-Z responded to the criticism on "Nickles and Dimes," a track from his latest album, Magna Carta Holy Grail: "I'm just trying to find common ground / '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."

Hov also addressed the matter in a recent interview, stating that he was "offended" by Belafonte's comments.

Now, in an interview with MSNBC, Belafonte explained that his statements about Jay-Z and Beyonce were not in fact a specific attack on either. “I would be hard pressed to tell Mr. Jay-Z what to do with this time and his fortune. All I can be critical is of what he is not doing,” said Belafonte. “This conflict that is emerging was not from me as a direct attack on Jay-Z or Beyonce. I was at a press conference in Switzerland. Questions were raised by the international press. They asked about the artists and the social engagement of the past based on a film we were watching…and how artists responded earlier in my life and how they responded today.”

Belafonte continued, speaking on the power of Black America's voice, in the context of the entertainment industry. “And I made the observation that the highly powerful voice that our community has—Black America has—there is so much celebrity power that it was sad to see that the collective of the celebrity power had not been applied to bring consciousness to the inequities that we face,” he explained.

Currently, Belafonte is camped out with Dream Defenders, a social activist organization, in the Florida Capitol. The group is camped out in protest of Florida's controversial Stand Your Ground law in light of the George Zimmerman trial verdict, of not guilty, absolving Zimmerman of any crime in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. “Artists that heard that responded in a very strong way. You’ll find that Jamie Foxx, you’ll find Chuck D [of Public Enemy]…you'll find that any number of highly profiled people have taken that critique and called for [a meeting]. We’ve sat. We’ve talked. And I will tell you now that these people that I’ve just mentioned are officially behind Dream Defenders. They are prepared to come down. They are prepared to perform."

"I would hope that Jay Z would not take personally what was said because it was not said about him personally,” said Belafonte, before concluding by inviting Jay-Z and Beyonce to join him in a private sit-down. “Having said that, I would like to say to Jay Z, to Beyonce: My heart is wide open and filled with nothing but hope and the promise that we can sit and have a one-on-one. And lets understand each other rather than try to answer these questions and these nuances in a public place.

Watch the interview below:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Harry Belafonte, dubbed the "King of Calypso," popularized the Caribbean musical style with international audiences in the 1950s. Belafonte supported the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s, and was one of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s confidants, even bailing King out of Birmingham City Jail.

RELATED: Jay-Z Talks Social Responsibility, Says His "Presence Is Charity"

More NEWS On HipHopDX

Share This

Add New Comment

Got an account with one of these? Log in here, or just enter your info and leave a comment below.

  • * required field

Comments 60 Posts

  • Callie Bee
    It's two different generations vision on how to solve Black issues both seeking to see future generations succeed. But first we must hold hands.
  • Anonymous
    Jay is not going to sacrifice his career to up lift the pple
  • Where's d luv
    And then the Fugee's gonna break up, now everyday I wake up Somebody got something to say What's all the fucking fussing for? Because I'm grubbing more and I pack heat like I'm the oven door? Niggas pray and pray on my downfall But everytime I hit the ground I bounce up like roundball Now I don't wanna have to kill southpaw Don't wanna have to cock back the four pound bar Look scrapper I got nephews to look after I'm not looking at you dudes, I'm looking past you I thought I told you characters I'm not a rapper Can I live? I told you in ninety-six that I came to take this shit and I did, handle my biz I scramble like Randall with his Cunningham but the only thing running is numbers fam Jigga held you down six summers; damn, where's the love?
  • Anonymous
    Jayz a satanic hoe
    • mj3BdukEvyhl
      my buddy's mom makes $78/hr on the computer. She has been out of work for seven months but last month her pay was $21910 just working on the computer for a few hours. Go to this web site and read more ----> WEP6(dot)COM
  • triPAUD
    another thing is...why focus on jay z. he's rich because he's about business. there are thousands of rappers. if he really cared he'd promote rappers that support the same issues he does instead of just jay-z simply cause he's popular. Why isn't he showing support for talib, mos def or lupe?
    • Marrs
      He's rich because he's about business but he is also very influential. He was named one of the 100 most inluential people in the WORLD, unlike Talib, Yasiin, and Lupe.
  • Ghost
    Why should Jay give a fuck when he was left to grow up in Marcy Projects. he got out, he does some good shit, and more importantly he's an example of what can be achieved. What more can he say?
    • Cyphere
      Ghost: Work on your vocabulary, and keep in mind that People like Jay-Z are are not going to help you because of the same limitation that you expose here. Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor came out of project housing, yet somehow learned that the world's issues and problems exceeded the descriptive limits of "fuck," and "shit." Ask Jay-Z to but you a dictionary, and if he responds, take it and do what Malcolm X did while imprisoned.
  • YESSIR
    CARTER 2 > ANY JAY Z ALBUM
    • eskimo
      haha that is the funniest joke i have seen today
  • ALBrowntown
    I'm sure that the rest of these so called sell-outs (Clarence Thomas & Tim Scott to name a few) are breathing a sigh of relief because they aren't being call out or taken to task for their inequities. Yes we are our brothers keepers. Yet when the likes of these so called "Big-Ballers" and "Shot-Callers". Do minimal or as little as possible to uplift their own "People" be them black, white, yellow or brown. It only goes to show everyone else that it doesn't matter how much a certain entertainer, elected official or an athlete makes. It just shows that they will still run behind that good ole'Massa's behind and denigrate everyone else, for that ever elusive atta-boy pat on the head. Just so that he/she won't upset anyone of power by helping out the same people who that individual once was and or where he/she once lived. And let us not forget those bouggies either. Because the powerful have to have an entrance into the lower-class to inflict their awful ways. Or how else could they continue to do such damage on the poor and needy. While steadily accumulating more and more wealth... "Let us start taking care of our own first"...
  • Aryan ZB Cyphere
    Were I Anglo, and my sole source of salvation is that I'm not, I would give Mr. Jay-Z, his spouse and their ilk a goodly portion of the world's Gold Reserve, in reward for being committed keepers of the the myth of Ango supremacy and Black gutter culture. (See what the founder of Rap (Last Poets) recently had to say about this dead-conscience league of feces mongers as recently reported in a Jason Whitlock article.Yes, Whitlock says something meaningful now and then; understood, he has to keep his job.) The subjects here are also involved in a kind of employment, one which their combination of ignorance and arrogance make them well qualified for; its definitely not entertainment, because there is no discernible aspect of talent involved. Be clear, we are not talking about Bird, Miles, Prince, Stevie or Aretha here. One can't play a note or a chord on anything, and the other can't write or sing a sentence with redemptive value. It is shameful, so I offer my apology for mentioning their names in the same breath as Harry Belafonte. Belafonte is a the author of courageous deeds and several chapters in progressive human history. He helped to move mountains and straighten crooked places along the road of human history. He has come to be who and what he is from holding hands with men and women such as DuBois, Robeson, McLeod-Bethune, Parks, Bunche and King, and of course John Henry, wherever he met him. He could do so because he didn't see ordinary people as s++t on sole of his shoes. He knows the difference between money, pride, struggle and humility. So please, people, those of you who respect human dignity and the responsibility of resisting sponsored degredation, keep Mr. Belafonte's name out of the cesspool where a few wretched and soul-dead miscreants dig around for pieces of silver while calling each other and all the rest of us names.
  • maddogfljohn
    Just reading the lyrics of Jay-zs song make me sick, he is not intelligent enough to be a voice for anyone, all they advocate is hate and violence. As for H. Belafonte let me know when one of your black brothers has a gun in your face, maybe you'll be lucky and the stupid ass will forget his bullets because they be so high. But I wouldn't worry too much about that cause most all black entertainers are just trying to get as much publicity as they can while they can. If the justice system and laws are so messed up where were you so called black do gooders before Tryvone. The sad part is how the black community buys all that crap. The only thing rich black entertainers and athlics care about is getting richer.
  • Anonymous
    Remember, Belafonte comes from a different generation, and is more prone to be adamant about his stances. Jay on the other hand is filthy rich, and not used to answering to people, or having to back pedal on anything he says. He should meet with Belafonte, but I doubt it's high on his list.
  • Joseph Welch
    Harry needs to mind his own business. As a matter of fact, does he have a business and if so, how many black people does he employee? Jay Z is a businessman that employees black people. The hell with walking around with a sign in protest. We need black people with money to employee the people.
    • Cyphere
      Harry has made bettering the human condition his "business," and with unwavering dedication. Jay-Z is in the human waste business. There is no currency where he is headed, and I can't see anything else of value that he has. If, per chance, you think its his very ordinary (except for intelligence) wife, then it just tells me that you probably never left your neighborhood, and certainly not the country. The world if full of women who look better than her both early in the morning and late at night, and many of them even read books.
  • Nate
    wow where to begin . the ignorance in the comments is always more interesting than the actual article. First the only reason for Jay-z even responding to Harry Belafonte is so that we will have discussions like this. It helps album sales when people have a negative reaction to the music or when their is controversy because people want to see what all the fuss is about. this is why that even though there is an abundance of positive Hip Hop available the negative gets all the attention. Its funny because if you follow head line and see the things that Jay and Beyonce do that are positive they never get as many comments at the ones where some one thinks Beyonces outfit was too revealing or Jay's lyrics are this or that. Jay made a point in a song a long time ago about the fact that if we bought more positive music rappers would make more positive music. Nas , Pac , Dead Prez and others have all tried to find the balance between the positive and negative and in the end the sales numbers dont lie. We by more Makavelli albums than we do 2pacalypse albums. I am not a huge fan of Jay or Beyonce but I know of their work for their respective communities and I dont think it is our job to judge them just because we have not seen or been a direct beneficiary of their charitable works. In truth just the fact that you can be a Black Man and be business savvy enough to make half a billion dollars is inspirational. If you disagree name a dozen other black men that can say the same without googling it . Jay and Beyonce stood with the MArtin family, and they do other community work . If they did not make the type of music you buy they would not have the millions tht they have given to charitable causes. And if you really want to do some thing about their music or the way they entertain, dont buy it go buy a public enemy cd or a cd from someone who doesnt dress as provocatively as Beyonce . I guarantee these record labels will respond by putting out more of the music you spend your money on. We as consumers have the power we just dont use it .
    • 2good2b
      The thing is that the logic swings both ways. Had HB not invoked Jay Z then I doubt he'd be part of any discussion either. If there was a sincere interest to involve any entertainer, black or brown then a private conversation would have started the dialogue.
  • plano
    finding George Zimmerman is Afro-Peruvian he and Obama are brothers under the skin as georges mother is black and historicaly it was ok for a white to have children with a Afro-Peruvian woman but taboo for black men to have children with white women.
  • Felipanell
    I just lost what little respect I had for Jay Z. Hopefully, he will accept the offer...and learn a thing or two from a respected elder.
    • geminiman7
      We all know that will NEVER happen. Niggas today don't listen for shit.
  • Norman
    It's sad to read that Mr. Z, who probably has no real idea of just how important Mr. Belafonte is in Americas Civil Rights history, would "answer" him in gutter argot in one of his "songs". When Mr. Z can claim ANYTHING to begin rivaling Mr. Belafonte's work - he introduced Dr. Martin Luther King to JFK and Nelson Rockefeller, for instance - he will have standing to enter the conversation. But it looks like he thinks it's a "beef", as if he and Mr. Belafonte were peers - which they are not and never will be at this rate. One good thing: it finally exposes Mr. Z's mental nakedness for all to see. His "accomplishments" seem to be limited to the income his minstrelry brings in. Mr. Belafonte made his country a better one. Which is greater?
  • x_infamous
    I think a low key starting point would be to not accentuate your heritage through race. If you drop African- from your race designation, think how meaningless it is to be the label 'American'. Why, because we all are. I know what my heritage is, but it is not -american. Thanks for your ear.
  • imho
    HB got a point- jayz could do so much for people in the world even if its broke folks in his own hood that deserve a chance to get school scholarships that want to be something good in life. they have that kind of pull.
  • lff
    Like Tupac said "while Jay z was upstairs sucking dick to get famous, he was downstairs making music! Jay z and that fake he married are nothing but country, non educated tricks being pimped out by the industry to turn a dollar.
    • Anonymous
      And that's why 2pac is 6 feet deep as a result of joining a gang at age 25.
    • Joseph Welch
      Sir you have such a nasty mouth. You should up your own act before you take on a heavy weight such as Jay Z. Get a life youngman!
  • E
    Who cares? Noise pollution spewing ghetto trash. It's not like we're dealing with any real talent here.
  • LKel
    Jay-Z is a fool. He made his millions degrading women and selling crack. By the grace of God this ignoramus was able to "overcome" his treacherous beginnings and become a billionaire married to a self-centered entertainer. All the millions that they make off of the public they should be giving back as much as possible. Mighty funny that the couple attended a rally recently. Hilarious!
  • triPAUD
    they both have a point and harry is a great man. but i do think belafonte judged jay-z unfairly. Yeah jay-z isn't out there on every issue, but i think he does care more than people give him credit for.
  • Andrea Sara
    my co-worker's step-sister makes $83 hourly on the net. She has been discharged for 6 months however last month her pay check was $19589 simply acting on the net for a number of hours. Here's the location to scan additional Read more at... www.bay92.com
  • Yall is gay
    "Sit-Down "? Is this The Sopranos or something? Fucking retards.
  • ToeToe
    JayZ and Beyonc need to be shamed. Offended, El Lippo? How dare you? When you have done nothing but degraded Black women since the inception of your sorry career. I do not follow you, do not like you and cannot for the life of me understand why you or your wife have earned as much "respect" in this business, as you have. You are both ignorant and mediocre as all hell. Wanna earn respect or a place in Heaven? Sponsor the Martin Family civil case against that racist child killer! Sellouts
    • Jay-Z
      Think I give a shit what some nobody thinks about me? Lol your just the shit on the bottom of my shoe. Your opinion means nothing to anybody. Just picture my ugly ass fuckin Beyonce on a bed full of money.
    • Anonymous
      I'm pretty sure jay z knows the difference between your and you're.. you fucking idiot
  • Tyrone Etheredge
    I agree with Harry. I have been very disappointed with many blacks who have powerful platforms but refuse to use them to bring about change. I have criticized Martin L. King's sons and other powerful blacks for not using the platform they have, for they have the attention of the world. If I had a serious platform, I would use it to encourage others to fight for social change and invest in themselves and their future. I believe that we all deserve a fair chance to succeed, but some of us were handicapped at birth by environment. With a platform, I would encourage others to invest time in those who are disadvantaged, and do all we can to guide them to success. I have a love for humanity similar to that of Martin, and it burdens me that I don't have a platform to share it from.
  • DinarQueen
    Harry Belafonte obviously has more class that jayz or beyonce will EVER have; that being said, Mr. Belafonte does not have his facts straight in the Zimmerman/Martin case. jayz and beyonce are classless, crude and not worthy of one dime being spent on their garbage music, or whatever it is. It's just trash that doesn't add one positive thing to their peers. They are disgusting as role models and I just hope their time is up now.
    • yeaaahh
      Entertainers aren't supposed to be role models.. It's time for people to realize that..
    • Anonymous
      ^real talk. they're held to a hire standard than politicians?
    • Anonymous
      That's not the point of the article. Focus, please.
  • Sapphire
    Kudos, to Mr. Belafonte!
  • Anonymous
    This old bastard needs to go take a nap.
    • Anonymous
      i know, right? fuck jay-z.