Harry Belafonte: Beyoncé and Jay-Z Aren’t Active Enough in Politics
In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter,Harry Belafonte called out Jay-Z and Beyoncé for not using their fame to inspire change.
Responding to the question, “Are you happy with the image of members of minorities in Hollywood today?” Belafonte said:
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.
NBC’s The Grio researched Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s participation in activism. They reported:
Jay-Z has been vocal in his support of President Obama’s support of marriage equality. Beyoncé has also publicly endorsed Frank Ocean’s revelationthat his first love was a man.
Aside from these instances, it is difficult to name cases in which high-profile black celebrities have spoken out on political issues.
Jay-Z has also been criticized for creating “Occupy All Streets” t-shirts for sale under his Rocawear label. While clearly capitalizing on the publicity of the Occupy Wall Street movement that addresses economic inequality, sales of the shirts only benefit the superstar’s bottom line.
Belafonte, 85, played a large role in the Civil Rights Movement, including providing Martin Luther King, Jr., with financial support. He is a humanitarian activist as well as a longtime critic of U.S. foreign policy. At the Locarno Film Festival, Belafonte was recently awarded the Golden Leopard Honor Award, which he considered as “a sign of ‘global recognition’ of his political activism.”