Saturday, July 27, 2013

Jay-Z responds to Belafonte: "my presence is charity"

The blog Madam Noire, drawing on a Rap Radar interview (about 6:46 of Part 2) with Jay-Z, writes, JAY Z RESPONDS TO CRITICISM FROM HARRY BELAFONTE AND SAYS “MY PRESENCE IS CHARITY”.

(Note: the video embedded below starts at about 3 minutes in.)

This follows up from a beef that Jay-Z addressed on his latest release, regarding how civil rights veteran Belafonte criticized Jay-Z and Beyonce for doing too little in regard to social responsibility. (I've edited the Madam Noire transcript a bit):
“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's is. Obama provides hope. Whether he does anything, the 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 him 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, like Bruce Springsteen or somebody. It was like, ‘Whoa, you just sent like the wrong message all the way around... You just bigged up 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 facts of what it was, it was just the wrong way to go about it.... 
[9:43] Aside from all that, say I never did anything, my presence is charity! Just this guy who come from Marcy projects, y'know, apartment 5C, 534, who's made it, y'know, to these places, we playing in Yankee Stadium tonight. For the culture of hip-hop, for the African-American culture, and all these different things, my presence is charity. Y'know how many people are inspired by story, like period. Because it's actual, it's realized. It's not hypothetical. It's not saying you could do that, you could be president... Obama is the president... It's realized, it's an actual fact.”
Jay-Z has a point: many, many people (like NPR's Frannie Kelley) found the presence of Jay-Z opening the Barclays Center trumping any controversy: "The Barclays Center is fraught, but watching Jay open it was touching, and that night, I did not feel complicated about him."

And Jay-Z neutralized/deflected a lot of criticism of the arena and Atlantic Yards project.

But "my presence is charity"? Puh-leeze. He's a business, man.

Obama "should be left alone"? Didn't he promise to close Guantanamo?

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