In a recent interview with the Hollywood Reporter to discuss his Golden Leopard Honor Award at the Locarno Film Festival, Harry Belafonte had some interesting things to say about contemporary entertainers.

The 85-year-old actor, singer, and longtime activist is apparently dismayed at the current state of social affairs. Belafonte, who fought against racist practices during the Civil Rights Era, has continued his political and social activism, often working with prisoners, advocating for HIV/AIDS awareness and education, and being an outspoken critic of what he calls “unbridled capitalism.”

During the interview, Belafonte gave his opinion on Mitt Romney (not his cup of tea), the biggest threat to America (the concentration of money at the top), and what he thinks about black entertainers and their political and social activism. But it was his mention of Jay and Bey that got folks’ attention.

Asked if he was happy with the image of minorities in Hollywood today, the ever-outspoken Belafonte did not hold his tongue.

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. We are not driven by some technology that says you can kill Afghans, the Iraqis, or the Spanish. It is all — excuse my French — shit. It is sad. And 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.

Despite Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s recent efforts to be politically and socially active (the Shawn Carter Foundation sends kids to college and both have been big Obama supporters), they are often criticized for not doing more.

But is the criticism fair?

You tell us.

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  • D. Winter

    There will always be those who like being master in charge of how others should live their lives. What makes Mr. Bellafonte assume he is dictator to not just his own motives and conscience but other people’s as well. He sounds like an old Republican with set beliefs that everyone is supposed to live up to in order to be labeled as living right. God knows that it’s debatable whether society derives much good if any from the likes of Jay-Z’s music, but he and his wife aren’t required to shape and run their lives only as agreed to by Mr. Bellafonte.