5 Ways Harry Belafonte Is Greater Than Jay Z

The rapper embarrasses himself and the black community with his attack on a civil rights legend.

(The Root) — Besides sex scandals, there’s nothing the media loves more than a good feud. When two powerhouses battle it out in lyrics or on Twitter, it gives all of us something to write about. Basically, feuds are good for business. But true feuds only work when the parties involved are perceived as on arguably equal footing, either in terms of talent or intellect.

Which is why this media-created “feud” between Jay Z and Harry Belafonte is so ridiculous. The increasingly hyped feud has gained traction in recent days, thanks to criticism by Belafonte regarding a lack of activism on Jay Z’s part and Jay Z’s lyrics in a recent song “dissing” Belafonte by calling him “boy.”

Yet these men are not equals in any way. Jay Z will never be in Belafonte’s league, no matter how many CDs he sells or millions he earns (or how many presidents he pays to hang out with through political fundraisers). The only thing making this fake “feud” marginally interesting is that Jay Z seems oblivious to this fact, as do some of his fans, a few of whom are so intellectually lacking that they are unaware of how much greater Belafonte’s legacy is and will always be than that of “Hova.”

To help those people out, below is a list of all of the ways in which Harry Belafonte is more relevant and more of a man than Jay Z will ever be.

1. Harry Belafonte gives money to black people. Jay Z takes money from black people. 

When it comes to philanthropic endeavors that have benefited the black community, Belafonte’s contributions are too numerous to list. A brief overview includes helping to financially support the family of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. while King was a struggling pastor and up-and-coming civil rights icon, and helping to bail King out of jail following his arrest in Alabama. Belafonte also helped fund the Freedom Rides. Yep. That means if you are black and reading this article from an integrated location somewhere in the South, you owe Harry Belafonte a big old “thank you.”

As far as Jay Z (birth name Shawn Carter), here’s an analysis of his charitable giving by one outlet:

In 2010, Jay-Z only reportedly donated $6,431 of his $63 million earnings to his own Shawn Carter Scholarship Fund, and Beyonce is being drawn into the mix too. Out of the $87 million she earned in 2010, not a single penny went to her husband’s foundation. According to Jay-Z’s representative, Jana Fleishman:

“Jay, along with his family, provided office support, overhead support, Mrs. Gloria Carter’s 100 percent effort and time [his mother], computers, FedEx expenses, accounting, and treasury function support,” she wrote in an email to The Daily, adding. “This was at no cost to the charity.”

But that office support didn’t add up to much that year. According to tax records, $1,209 was spent on office expenses, $1,401 for the telephone, and $4,696 for other expenses. Of the three charitable donations that were given to the Shawn Carter Fund that year, which totaled $218,849, Jay’s was the smallest.

But that’s not the end of Jay Z’s “charitable giving.” By merely being a performer who graces the black community with the tremendous opportunity to give Jay Z money to see him perform, he is engaging in charity — at least according to Jay Z. In response to Belafonte’s recent criticism, Jay Z responded, “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.”