In a newly-released interview with Rap Radar’s Elliott Wilson, rapper Jay-Z fired back at Harry Belafonte over Belafonte’s criticism that he, among other artists, had “turned [his] back on social responsibility.” Jay-Z responded, “I’m offended by that because first of all, and this is going to sound arrogant, but my presence is charity. Just who I am. Just like Obama’s is. Obama provides hope. Whether he does anything, the hope that he provides for a nation, and outside of America is enough.”
Jay-Z continued: “Just being who he is. You’re the first black president. If he speaks on any issue or anything he should be left alone… Of course we want to challenge him to do better. I felt Belafonte he just went about it wrong. Like the way he did it in the media, and then he big upped Bruce Springsteen or somebody. And it was like, ‘whoa,’ you just sent the wrong message all the way around…Bruce Springsteen is a great guy. You’re this Civil Rights activist and you just big upped the white guy against me in the white media. And I’m not saying that in a racial way. I’m just saying what it is. The fact of what it was. And that was just the wrong way to go about it.”
Belafonte and Jay-Z have an ongoing feud over their varying approach to politics.