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Harry Belafonte Criticizes Beyonce + Jay-Z For Their Lack of ‘Social Responsibility’

Harry Belafonte Beyonce Jay-Z
Neilson Barnard / Christopher Polk, Getty Images

Veteran actor and activist Harry Belafonte threw a critical dart at Beyonce and Jay-Z for what he claims is their lack of “social responsibility.”

In an Q&A interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the 85-year-old entertainer spoke candidly about the state of black celebrity activism. Belafonte is particularly disappointed at music celebs like Jayonce for their lack of activism when they could inspire real social change.

“I think one of the great abuses of this modern time is that we should have had such high-profile artists, powerful celebrities,” says Belafonte. “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,” he added. “I really think he is black.” Ouch!

While Belafonte’s viewpoints maybe questionable, we must note that the highest-paid celebrity couple are involved in many philanthropic endeavors. Jay-Z has already help raise money for the United Way of Philadelphia with his upcoming Made in America music festival and Beyonce just launched her World Humanitarian Day campaign.

Granted, there are only a few black music artists who are willing to speak openly and publicly about some of the social injustices happening in the black community. Many artists have been accused of being sell-outs for keeping quiet so they can hang on to their endorsement deals. It’s a tricky tightrope that a rapper or a R&B singer must walk on.

When asked if he’s happy with the image of members of minorities in Hollywood today, Belafonte says, “Not at all, they have not told the history of our people, nothing of who we are. We are still looking. We are not determinated … it is sad.”

UPDATE (Aug. 11) : Q-Tip Defends Jay-Z

What do you think? Do you agree with Harry Belafonte’s viewpoints? Tell us in the comments below.

Next: The Top 10 Jay-Z Songs

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