When your elders speak, you shut up and listen. Eighty-five-year-old entertainment legend Harry Belafonte has certainly earned his right to call out the younger crowd in the industry and he definitely has a lot to say about the current state of affairs concerning black celebdom. The activist just received the Golden Leopard Honor Award at the Locarno Film Festival to receive the event’s Golden Leopard Honor Award, recognizing his contributions to political activism as an actor. And when speaking to The Hollywood Reporter about the honor, he didn’t miss the opportunity to call out other celebrities who he feels fail to do their part in society.
When Mr. Belafonte was asked if he’s happy with the image of minorities in Hollywood today, he said, “not at all.”
“They have not told the history of our people, nothing of who we are,” he said. “We are still looking. We are not determinate. We are not driven by some technology that says you can kill Afghans, the Iraqis or the Spanish. It is all – excuse my French – s**t. It is sad. And I think one of the great abuses of this modern time is that we should have had such high-profile artists, powerful celebrities. But they have turned their back on social responsibility. That goes for Jay-Z and Beyoncé, for example. Give me Bruce Springsteen, and now you’re talking. I really think he is black.
It’s interesting that Mr. Belafonte is being asked about this on the heels of similar discussions concerning Oprah’s contributions to the black community, and even President Obama’s. Jay-Z has been criticized quite frequently for not doing anything to build up the community, yet on the other hand the attitude as of late seems to be that these individuals have no social responsibility to give back to black people or society as a whole. Maybe Harry Belafonte is just old school, but he clearly has a different take on things, which he feels makes his latest honor all the more special.
“Such awards, coming from culture and societies where I do not linger, are a validation that there was a global receptivity to the fact that I have taken a stand against war, taken a stand against racism, sexism and so on, throughout the years,” he said. “While at home some people would want to crucify me because of my political position, I am also being honored for what I do, and that validation is extremely important.”
I wonder what he thinks about Bey and Jay’s push to get President Obama reelected?
What do you think about Harry Belafonte’s charge against Beyonce and Jay-Z and other minority entertainers?
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