Harry Belafonte and me
Man, I was having a great day until I discovered Jay Z released a song dissing Harry Belafonte’s plea for hip hoppers to educate the youth. Instead, he tells Harry to move aside boy? You wonder why I don’t follow hip hop anymore unless it’s something involving the first generation? This is why.
Doesn’t this pampered dude know Harry’s history? I think at one point the CIA was controlling his manager and his therapist. Harry saw what happened to Paul Robeson and decided to walk a balance beam between commercial success and community activism. It’s a tough walk and nobody hardly even tries to make it any more.
I introduced Harry to hip hop and wrote the original script that became known as Beat Street, although when Orion pictures picked up the project, their handpicked director threw my script out the window so he could launch a screenwriting career. He was fired halfway into the production and never produced another script, although he became a very talented action film director.
I wasn’t really sore at Harry. Not much. I mean, I didn’t lose sleep after I got kicked off my own project. My script was full of bad language and some nudity and I wanted something super gritty and streetwise and real. You can read my original script on smashwords, by the way. Harry had one mission with the film: to inspire the youth. The nudity and constant swearing was out, and so was I.
But Harry Belafonte is ten times the man Jay Z will ever be in my book. I even hope he sees this and reaches out to me. I would reward him with a Rainbow Menorah, my latest satori breakthrough invention of seven magic chakra candles.
It was only after I had two kids that I realized how I should have respected Harry, my spiritual elder, talked to him about nudity and swearing and promised to do everything to respect his vision of this first hip hop Hollywood movie, not my vision. But instead I acted the fool, like I knew better than Harry because I knew more about hip hop. Harry, however, knew much, much more about life and its responsibilities. I was the world’s most arrogant teenager and that continued well into my 20s.
So Jay Z, there’s still hope for you too my brother, to wake up, make amends, and send a public apology to your elder, a man you don’t have to follow, but one you must always listen to with great respect. Please slip out of the pampered bubble they have you trapped in and connect with the real world, not that scene dumbing down the youth. Instead, help us unify all cultures and enlighten the youth and lead them towards peace, so we can defeat the dark sorcerers who manipulate religion to manifest war for profit and divide and conquer through hatred, division and lust for bling. And take off some of that silly jewelry and bury it in the ground while sending an apology to the Great Spirit that runs through all things, who must feel dishonored in some way, same as I do.