Harry Belafonte appeared on MSNBC yesterday to discuss the Dream Defenders initiative and Stand Your Ground law in Florida. Afterward, the conversation shifted to Jay-Z’s criticism of him in his interview with YN. Last year, Belafonte told The Hollywood Reporter that Hov and Beyoncé “turned their back on social responsibility”. He later said he was willing to meet with the couple to iron out their differences.
In regards to Belafonte’s statements, too much emphasis is placed on Black entertainers to change the world. Jay-Z isn’t a politician nor an activist. As a rapper, his only obligation is to provide the public with hot music. In terms of social responsibility, he created the Shawn Carter Foundation., pumped water into Angola, and donated proceeds from his concerts. What more can you ask for? The purest form of giving is anonymous, so who knows the extent of Hov’s philanthropy when the cameras aren’t rolling. People need to stop looking to rappers for more than just music—especially in the wake of tragedy. They shouldn’t be persecuted for how they choose to use their celebrity. Leave the marches and activism to your elected officials.