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Jay Z says ‘My presence is charity,’ compares himself to Obama (video)

Posted by Anush Elbakyan, Boston.com Staff  July 29, 2013 02:11 PM

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Jay-Z is making headlines after he responded to criticism from actor and activist Harry Belafonte that the rapper has failed to use his celebrity in a socially responsible way.

In an interview with Hollywood Reporter last year, 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 Beyonce, for example. Give me Bruce Springsteen, and now you’re talking. I really think he is black."

During an interview with Rap Radar's Elliott Wilson, Jay-Z responded to the criticism by saying:

“I’m offended by that because first of all, and 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."

He continued:

"I felt Belafonte he just went about it wrong. Like the way he did it in the media, and then he big upped Bruce Springsteen or somebody. And it was like, ‘whoa,’ you just sent the wrong message all the way around…Bruce Springsteen is a great guy. You’re this Civil Rights activist and you just big upped 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 fact of what it was. And that was just the wrong way to go about it.”

Jay-Z has also addressed the criticism from Belafonte in a track "Nickles and Dimes" from his latest album, “Magna Carta Holy Grail “

Meanwhile, in an interview with MSNBC, Belafonte explained that his statements were not a specific attack on Jay-Z and Beyonce.

“I would hope with all my heart, that Jay-Z not take personally what was said because it was not said to him personally. …I would like to take this opportunity to say to Jay Z and Beyonce: I’m wide open, my heart is filled with nothing but hope and the promise that we can sit and have a one-on-one to understand each other rather than trying to answer this question and answer these nuisances in a public place. I think it is not the right place for us to be having our exchanges.”

Mobile users unable to see the video, click here.


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