Oprah Weighs In On Jay Z's Social Responsibility

By Maurice Bobb

According to Oprah Winfrey, Jay Z doesn’t have to demonstrate the same kind of social responsibility that Harry Belafonte does, but his way of "protest" is just as important.

The OWN television network mogul sat down with The Round Up's Shaheem Reid recently to talk about her new film, Lee Daniels’ “The Butler,” and dropped a few jewels about the rift between the iconic actor/activist and the legendary MC from Marcy Projects.

“This is what Harry Belafonte, my generation, everybody needs to know and what this film says, people war in different ways,” Oprah told Reid. “There are multiple ways to protest. Jay uses his music he uses his life, he uses his artfulness, his ability as a businessman, that is his protest against all the indignities that not only he has suffered, but generations before him has suffered. Harry Belafonte’s might have been going to Congress or marching or so forth. Not everybody has the same way. That’s why this movie is so powerful because the father’s way was not the son’s way. Which way is right? Both are right.”

Oprah went on to opine about the lessons learned from the indignities that maids and butlers had to endure during the time period featured in the film. She also quoted poet Maya Angelou on the path that’s been paved for the liberties enjoyed by the hip-hop generation, “Our crown has been paid for and all you have to do is put it on your head and wear it.”

“What this film does is allow people to see the paying that was done for the crowns that we all now wear,” she added.

Additionally, the Queen of daytime talk, who once hated rap music due to its misogynistic lyrics, shared that she definitely listened to her friend Jay’s new LP, Magna Carta Holy Grail. “Yeah, of course,” Oprah said when asked if she heard Jay’s new album. “It’s fantastic as Jay always is.”

“The Butler” opens in theaters nationwide on Friday, August 16.