Harry Belafonte Puts Black Celebrities on Blast, Again

Harry Belafonte

Harry Belafonte Puts Black Celebrities on Blast, Again

Last month, the singer called Jay-Z and Beyoncé "socially irresponsible."

Published September 4, 2012

Harry Belafonte has a strong word or two for Black celebrities. 

The legendary entertainer who put Jay-Z and Beyoncé on blast last month for their supposed lack of charity (Bey's camp responded with a list of a few of her philanthropic endeavors), is now taking issue with Black stars' mediocre involvement in the "political struggle."

In an editorial for the Daily Beast, Belafonte writes:

"From the highest pinnacles of Wall Street to the kings and queens of entertainment, to the gods and goddesses of sports, never before at these levels have we boasted such large numbers of Black participants. All this at the same time Black America is condemned to be the harvest of the largest prison population on the face of the earth, the most destroyed by the diseases of poverty, the most undereducated, the most diminished for lack of self-worth and the most punished by the prejudices of an unworthy justice system. The list goes on."

He continues: "I have no animus for those who are touched by such heights of fame. I was one of them. But as history has evolved, our individual and collective indifference to the vast suffering of our fellow beings is, for me, unconscionable. The gift of art is a gift of opportunity to change the landscape. Artists can do remarkable things."

While Belafonte didn't specifically call out Jay and Bey this time, he has been critical of hip hop's royal couple in the past, claiming they don't do enough to advance the cause of Black America.

Meanwhile, the Obamas don't seem to share his sentiment: Beyoncé has been an active participant in Michelle Obama's anti-obesity initiative, while President Barack Obama appeared at Jay-Z's Made in America festival via video message this weekend. 

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(Photo: Samir Hussein/Getty Images For The BFI)

Written by Evelyn Diaz


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