Harry Belafonte wants a session with Jay Z, and it has nothing to do with music. After a bit of back and forth over a comment that the singer/actor/activist made accusing African-American celebrities, including Hov and Beyoncé, of having "turned their backs on social responsibility," Belafonte has asked the half-a-billionaire for a sit down.
"This conflict was not from me as a direct attack on Jay Z and Beyoncé," Belafonte recently told MSNBC, explaining that he was at a press conference in Switzerland when he was asked to compare today's "artists and their social engagement" with how artists were acting earlier in his life.
"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."
Belafonte had joined the news program to talk about his recent support lent to the Dream Defenders, a youth group who've vowed to remain stationed outside of the Florida Capitol until a session is held on the controversial Stand Your Ground law. The "Day O" singer has also recently joined Stevie Wonder's promise to not perform in Florida until the law is changed, which Jay Z was rumored to be joining until a Legends of Summer tour rep denied the claim.
In his own media rounds, following the release of Magna Carta Holy Grail, Jay has admitted to being "offended" by Belafonte's previous critique, saying his mere presence is "charity" and delivers "hope" (as does Obama's, he said) and that he wished Belafonte hadn't name-checked him in the media and in the same breath as giving a big up to Bruce Springsteen. Hov eplains his feelings lyrically on the MCHG track "Nickle and Dimes."
"I'm just trying to find common ground/ 'fore Mr. Belafonte come and chop a n---a down," he spit.
"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 concluded. "I would like to take this opportunity to say to Jay Z and to Beyoncé: 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.”
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(Photos from left: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images, Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)