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On NPR: "Jay-Z and Beyonce were kind of used as pawns to help the developers..."

OK, Jay-Z may be "bulletproof" in the music market, as some experts say, but some remember lingering taint from the role the hip-hip entrepreneur and cultural force played in the building of a certain Brooklyn arena.

From NPR, 7/19/13, Getting Real On Race After Zimmerman Verdict...
MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:  I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Now it's time for our weekly visit to the barbershop, where the guys talk about what's in the news and what's on their minds. Sitting in the chairs for a shape-up this week - our writer and culture critic Jimi Izrael, with us from Cleveland. Fernando Vila is the director of programming for Fusion. That's a joint venture between ABC and Univision. He's with us from Miami. Sportswriter and professor of journalism Kevin Blackistone is here in D.C. And also here in Washington this week - Mario Loyola. He's normally with us from Austin, where he is with the National Review magazine and the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

MARTIN: ...But before we go, we do want to talk about Jay-Z's album "Magna Carta Holy Grail." There's new criticism - now people might remember that the singer and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte once said that Jay-Z and Beyonce need to take more social responsibility. Well, Jay-Z's talking back on this album. I just want to play a short clip.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, NICKELS AND DIMES")
[I'm just trying to find common ground
'fore Mr. Belafonte come and chop a nigga 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 shit I do for the homies]
MARTIN: Oh, I had missed that lyric until you all pointed it out to me. Ouch, Kevin what are you saying? Is he overstepping? Is he giving his props to the elders? What's up?
BLACKISTONE: Yeah, he's overstepping. I mean, come on you can't go after Harry Belafonte even though he went after you. Look, you are doing your thing, but we also know you don't have the history and the narrative of Harry Belafonte. You know, you didn't learn at the knee of Paul Robeson. You know, you didn't write the check to get MLK out of the Birmingham jail. I mean, you didn't do all of those sorts of things. You didn't march on South Africa.
You know, you did "Big Pimpin," which a lot of people would say is a misogynistic album, OK. I mean, it may be funky, but at the end - you know, you can look at the lyrics for yourself. And, you know - and most recently, with the whole Barclays Center up in Brooklyn, there's a whole documentary out called "Battle of Brooklyn," which shows how Jay-Z and Beyonce were kind of used as pawns to help the developers just steam roll over people in the Atlantic Yards neighborhood so that they could build that sparkling new arena there. So, you know, lay off of Harry Belafonte.
It's actually Battle for Brooklyn, but Blackistone gets the picture in a way many don't.

Comments

  1. Big fan of Jay. I grew up in BK. It's not that "many" don't get it. It's just not a valid fued. If you hate what Belafonte said you're not going to start hating Belafonte and if you hate what jay z said you're not going to start hating jay z. They both push american culture forward. They just did it in different ways. In my opinion they are both wrong for talking bad about each other (even though Belafonte was the only one to talk real smack) and this is a non issue. You're kinda the one who doesn't get the "picture."

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