Jay Z Responds To Criticism From Harry Belafonte And Says “My Presence Is Charity”

July 25, 2013  |  

In an interview with Rap Radar’s Elliott Wilson, Jay-Z talked to the journalist about a variety of things, including his feelings about being called out by Harry Belafonte. Jigga man had already made reference to the activist and legendary actor on his newest album on a song called Nickels and Dimes, as if Belafonte is a 25 year old Jay Z has beef with. It randomly goes like this:

I’m just trying to find common ground/‘fore Mr. Belafonte come and chop a ni**a down/Mr. Day O, major fail/Respect these youngins boy, it’s my time now/Hublot homie, two door homie/You don’t know all the s**t I do for the homies”

Well, Jay still had a lot to say about Mr. Belafonte in his sit down with Wilson, and also shared his thoughts on why he couldn’t sleep for days after the Zimmerman verdict, and why he thinks he has so much in common with Shakespeare and Basquiat. Let’s just say it was very interesting to say the least:

On Harry Belafonte saying he Beyoncé have turned their back on social responsibility despite the amount of power they have:

“I’m offended by that because first of all, this is going to sound arrogant, but my presence is charity. Just who I am, just like Obama is. Obama provides hope. Whether he does anything, that hope that he provides for a nation and outside of America is enough. 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 [Obama] to do better, but I felt like Belafonte just went about it wrong. The way he did it, within the media, and then he bigged up Bruce Springsteen. It was like, ‘Whoa, you just sent the wrong message all around. You just bigged up the white guy against me in the white media.’ I’m not saying that in a racial way. I’m saying what it was just the wrong way to go about it.  My presence is charity! Just this guy who came from Marcy projects apartment 530C, to these places of me playing in Yankee stadium tonight.”

How the Zimmerman verdict impacted him:

“I was really angry, I didn’t sleep for two days. I was really angry about it. We all knew there was still a bit of racism in America but for it to be so blatant… Ask yourself the question, ‘Didn’t Travyon have a right to stand his ground?’ He was being chased, he fought back. He may have won. That doesn’t mean he’s a criminal. He won. If you chase me and you try to attack me and I defend myself, how can I be in the wrong? How is that right? This guy went to get some skittles and go back to watch the All-Star game. He had plans. He had no intentions of robbing anyone’s home. It’s a thing where it’s like a reminder of, ‘We still got a long way to go.’ It’s beautiful because this generation right now, they don’t see color in that way. They’re funding George Zimmerman because they want to hold on to their guns. We all know it was wrong.”

And why he likes to compare himself to Shakespeare and Jean-Michel Basquiat:

“Shakespeare was a man who wrote poetry. I’m a man who writes poetry. Why not compare yourself to the best? I’m supposed to be here to be second best? I’m not doing this for that. If other people are cool with settling or not putting themselves in that light, that’s their personal preference. If you don’t want to be in that light, that’s fine. I’m not mad at you! I don’t have an opinion on what you want to do, if you want to be second, that’s cool, so don’t have an opinion on me wanting to be Jean Michel [Basquiat] or Shakespeare.

People don’t realize, I put a lot of my life into what I am doing right now. I didn’t just have a hit record and get lucky, I put a lot of my life into it so the things that come out of it, is not due to this bravado and arrogance, I have confidence because of the work I put in. I put in so much work! I’m claiming four classics.”

See what I mean? Interesting…

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