Never one to hold his tongue, legendary actor and activist Harry Belafonte had a less-than-glowing assessment of Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain.
Appearing on The Joy Behar Show, Belafonte blasted Cain and the Republican Party for misrepresenting the concerns of Black Americans. When initially asked about Cain, Belafonte joked, “Who?” Then he told Behar:
“Well, you know, it’s very hard to comment on somebody who is so denied intelligence and certainly someone who is as denied a view of history such as he reveals. He knows very little,” said Belafonte. “Because he happened to have had good fortune, because he happened to have had a moment when he broke through — the moment someone blinked — does not make him the authority on the plight of people of color.”
Belafonte made his remarks after Cain condemned the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York and in other parts of the nation, saying that the Wall Street protesters are people who are unemployed and should blame the Obama administration and themselves for their struggles.
Belafonte also explained that the record 16 percent of African-Americans who are unemployed and the fact that Blacks make up nearly 40 percent of the prison population are examples that there remains a race issue in the country. He then went on to accuse the Republican party of distracting Blacks with political figures who don’t represent the community.
“The Republican party, the Tea Party, all those forces to the extreme right have consistently tried to come up with representations for what they call Black, what they call the real Negroes,” Belafonte told Behar, naming former Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell as examples. “They’re heroes for some people. But for a lot of us, they’re not. Herman Cain is just the latest incarnation of what is totally false for the needs of our community and the needs of our nation. I think he’s a bad apple. And people should look at his whole card. He’s not what he says he is.”
Cain responded to Belfonte’s remarks on Fox’s Hannity on Monday night, Politico is reporting. “As far as Harry Belafonte’s comment, look, I left the Democrat plantation a long time ago. And all that they try to do when someone like me — and I’m not the only Black person out there that shares these conservative views — the only tactic that they have to try and intimidate me and shut me up is to call me names and this sort of thing. It just simply won’t work.”
You can watch Belafonte’s interview here.
(Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)