Jay-Z: ‘My Presence Is Charity’

ojHave you ever wondered why so many actors seem content to preach about America’s solutions without actually contributing to them? Why so many Hollywoodites promote higher taxes, but stash their cash in offshore bank accounts? Preach the necessity of carbon containment, but fly around in private jets? Vote Democrat but live Republican?

The answer lies in the peculiar self-centeredness of many in the entertainment industry. Granted a platform by the fates, they feel that their mere words can move mountains. Hence the offputting hubris of rapper and Obama ally Jay-Z, who told Rap Radar’s Elliott Wilson that he didn’t need to expend time or effort on social change:

“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. Just being who he is.”

Jay-Z feels that he can change the world, one pearl of wisdom at a time, just like his beloved president. But Jay-Z wasn’t done singing Obama’s praises for magically bestowing upon the planet the quasi-divine gift of his being: “You’re the first black president. If he speaks on any issue or anything he should be left alone…Of course we want to challenge him to do better.”

Where does this inflated sense of self-worth come from? From Hollywood itself. The sad truth is that there is only one area in which celebrities can just show up and make a difference: their art. Jay-Z can’t alleviate educational underperformance in the black community by just being there. But he can impact views on sex and violence by being there. His art just requires him to get in front of a microphone and blurt his lyrics. That does have impact.

When Jay-Z tells kids, “We formed a new religion / No sins as long as there’s permission / And deception is the only felony / So never f— nobody without telling me / Sunglasses and Advil, last night was mad real” –that may be barely literate but it has impact. When he raps, “Middle finger to the law, n—-, gripping my balls / All the ladies they love me, from the bleachers they screaming,” that has impact. That impact is heightened when the president of the United States, Barack Obama, does the Jay-Z hand signal to “brush the dirt off” during a speech, then gives tribute to the rapper.

No wonder Obama is such a big Jay-Z fan. Both Obama and Jay-Z believe in the power of the  word – and they’re right. But oratory is far more commonly and successfully used to manipulate people toward valueless action than it is to instill virtue. The words of Obama, the rap of Jay-Z, the scripts of the Tinseltown craftspeople are all designed to appeal to the emotions. That’s what they do best. If there is a Nietzschean dialectic between Apollo (the ordered) and Dionysus (emotion), art in the modern age generally appeals to the Dionysian. Order is cast aside for passion. Visit a hip-hop concert, and witness the Dionysian ecstasy of the crowd. Apollonian reason is nowhere to be found.

Allan Bloom wrote about rock music in The Closing of the American Mind (he was overbroad there), but what he wrote was far more applicable to hip-hop: “Ministering to and according with the arousing and cathartic music, the lyrics celebrate puppy love as well as polymorphous attractions, and fortify them against traditional ridicule and shame. The words implicitly and explicitly describe bodily acts that satisfy sexual desire and treat them as its only natural and routine culmination for children who do not yet have the slightest imagination of love, marriage or family.” Add violence to the mix, and this is a realistic picture of a great bulk of hip-hop.

Unfortunately, the Jay-Z power of the spoken word has entered politics with a vengeance. All that matters is the cadence, the rhythm, and the emotion of what is said, not the logic with which it is being said. That’s not exclusive to President Obama, of course – great orators from Bill “I Feel Your Pain” Clinton to John “Two Americas” Edwards have preyed on the same emotionality. Just by stirring feelings, our politicians feel that have now done their jobs.

And, in a certain sense, they’re right. The politicians who rely on emotion don’t have to make people’s lives better – they just have to make people feel more fulfilled. President Obama does make people feel good, even as they go broke. And those in Hollywood can say the same about themselves, even as the country goes morally bankrupt.

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  • objectivefactsmatter

    “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. Just being who he is.”

    Well, it’s too late for that since 0′Bama is already actively destroying our nation. It’s a false hope.

    If only he had done nothing. We’d be a lot better off today. A lot better.

  • Stove

    When Jay-Z tells kids, “We formed a new religion / No sins as long as there’s permission / And deception is the only felony / So never f— nobody without telling me / Sunglasses and Advil, last night was mad real” Kanye said that on No Church In the Wild…… Not Jay Z although he was on the track

    • alyssa651

      like Troy responded I am blown away that anybody able to profit $9444 in 4 weeks on the internet. did you see this link w­w­w.K­E­P­2.c­o­m

    • CapCee

      As you pointed out yourself, Kanye said that. So how is that Jay-Z telling anyone anything, again?

      • CapCee

        Someone disliked my comment for an accurate attribution? Must have been the idiot that posted the original comment.

  • Guest

    Jay-Z is rich trash who made his millions peddling violence, se.x and misogyny to the mindless and impressionable. And THAT is his ‘charity’ to us.

  • Elizabeth capecod

    These people are high on narcissism.

    • OfficialPro

      Well it is not surprising that the Entertainment Industry attracts, as a natural effect of Attention Whoring, complete batfeces narcissists.

    • D.A.F.M.I.

      Watch the video of the interview on youtube. Search for “#FACTSONLY Interview with JAY Z Part 2 – The Truth With Elliott Wilson” Start watching around the 9min mark if you can’t watch it all. This quote is very misleading and chopped up.

      • Guest

        I watched it from 8:40 to 9:30.

        Nothing misleading.

  • bearmountain

    Just two worthless people consuming air that the rest of us could use. This guy and his BFF are simply disgusting. 65 years and I have never seen anything like this Obama stooge. He is one of the most dishonest people I have ever seen. No, I do not listen to his empty and endless speeches. Worthless garbage. Oh, his fat assed wife is too. Liars. Incompetents. Self-centered pigs.

    • CapCee

      So you never saw any other politicians in 65 years of living? Sounds like every president we’ve ever had since the banks took the country over in 1913. Well except for the one that said he’d expose them back in 1963….

      • bearmountain

        Where on earth are you coming from? never saw any other politicians in 65 years of living? No, what I said, and I will attempt to keep this simple for you is Obama is a scum sucking lying, disingenuous two faced mealy mouth PIG. Is that clear? Banks? What the hell brought that in to the conversation of Mr. Outsider President? I din’t do it. It was the republicans. George W. Bush did it. hey Cornflakes, at this stage of the game he owns this $hit. It’s his.

    • D.A.F.M.I.

      Form your own opinion from the entire statement. Not this chopped up version. Search for “#FACTSONLY Interview with JAY Z Part 2 – The Truth With Elliott Wilson” Start watching around the 9min mark if you can’t watch it all.

      • Fritz

        Who cares if he was misquoted. Jay-Z still has his head up his rectum with his narcissism. It’s an amazing attitude coming from what amounts to a talentless dolt who made his money reciting what my friend refers to as “Poetry for morons”. I guess since B.O the “Fearless Leader” likes it so much he must be a moron too, or have the mental capacity of a teenage boy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/melvin.polatnick Melvin Polatnick

    Two of the greatest community organizers are Jay Z and Obama both are fun loving party people, they are leaders of the tribe that comes to life after sundown. Recipients and dead beats love the sounds of drums and jive talk, it raises their testosterone level.

  • Ei Saa Peitaa

    Jay-Z: Your presence is STUPIDITY, why are you wearing a che guevara T-shirt, the communist massmurderer who hated the black people, why you are rapping “I’m like Che Guevara with bling on” is really f’ed up!

    Che Guevara was no hero, he was a racist: http://www.thecommentator.com/article/3657/che_guevara_was_no_hero_he_was_a_racist

    • American1969

      Right on!

  • Sheik Yerbouti

    My taxes are “charity” it seems.

  • CapCee

    I used to be Jay-Z’s biggest fan in my late teens and early 20s. This guy just gets more and more out of touch and full of himself with each passing day. He tosses his friends and associates aside once they are far enough below him to no longer boost him up. He does a terrible job of promoting his own artists because he’s too busy promoting HIMSELF!
    -Disappointed former fanatic

    • http://eacafe.blogspot.com/ Oo_oc_oO

      Right, as a young romantic “us against the world” type it’s sort of charming, but once you’re pushing 40 (50?) and are worth millions, maybe it’s time to be a little more responsible and less self-centered…

  • Joseph

    my presence at the toilet is charitable, and I am greatly relieved to do so…but it can’t last…..and I must make room for more…..It’s too late for Jay-Z…he is a ‘corporation’ and as a ‘corporation’ he can not enter into Heaven….wide is the pathway of destruction and many are they who enter therein….

  • Seek

    Jay Z made a name for himself as a rapper and record producer. Calling him “Hollywood” makes about as much sense as calling Britney Spears that. But, hey, Ben never wastes an opportunity to get in a cheap dig at his favorite town.

  • briana

    I can respect the point of view of the article. However, what I cannot respect is the fact that the writer, Ben Shapiro, has quoted lyrics that are written and rapped by Kanye West, not Jay Z. That one inaccuracy alone, diminishes the point Shapiro is attempting to make. It’s like what do you know, you can’t even do proper research to properly back up what is it that you are attempting to say. It’s clear you are not in tuned so your opinion doesn’t matter so much anymore… in my opinion.

    • unionville

      I can respect the point of view of your post. However, what I cannot respect is the fact that you, briana, did not realize that the song was co-written by Kanye West AND Jay Z from their first collaborative album Watch the Throne. That one inaccuracy alone, diminishes the point you attempted to make. It’s like what do you know, you can’t even do proper research to properly back up what it is that you were attempting to say. It’s clear you are not in tune so your opinion doesn’t matter so much anymore.

    • http://eacafe.blogspot.com/ Oo_oc_oO

      the fact that he allowed it to appear on an album with his name on it indicates that he must agree with the general sentiment

      • D.A.F.M.I.

        Just like plenty of tv shows, radio shows, and movies, “The views of this album/movie/show are not the views or opinions of the parent company.” He may have thought it would make money but like plenty of record companies own and ran by Whites or Asians (Sony) don’t always agree with what their artist say. Same as the distribution companies that are not black owned that distribute the music.

  • unionville

    “My presence is charity. Just who I am.”
    I can’t believe anybody could say something like that and not be embarrassed by their own unquestionable arrogance and snobbery.

    • D.A.F.M.I.

      You have to hear the entire statement. the interview is on youtube. Search for “#FACTSONLY Interview with JAY Z Part 2 – The Truth With Elliott Wilson” Start watching around the 9min mark if you can’t watch it all. This quote is very misleading and chopped up.

      • putthehammerdown

        Who chopped it up ?
        N B C’s video editors, moonlighting ?

  • 1Indioviejo1

    What an arrogant POS. It is a psychological defense mechanism to hide their intense sense of worthlessness. These guys know they are inferior human beings and need to fill that vacum.

  • Larry Jones
  • trickyblain

    Young Mr. Shapiro seems to have little understanding of Nietzsche’s Birth of Tragedy. His main point is the Dionysian (Jay-Z, in this case) is far preferable to the Apollonian (Shapiro).

    “There are men who, from a lack of experience or out of apathy, turn mockingly away from such phenomena as from a “sickness of the people,” with a sense of their own health and filled with pity. These poor people naturally do not have any sense of how deathly and ghost-like this very “Health” of theirs sounds, when the glowing life of the Dionysian throng roars past them.”

    • Buck Roeser

      I bet Jay Z reads and quotes Nietzsche. And I bet living the last years of one’s life as a vegetable due to advanced syphilis might change one’s attitude towards that Dionysian throng.

  • CrazyA$$Cracka

    “Jay-z” or whatever he calls himself is an unadulterated nothing. His presence, as those of his fellow rappers, will be nothing more than an asterisk in a book read solely by leftist academics 100 years from now, while true musical geniuses like Bach, Beethoven, Wagner, etc., will live on for eternity.

  • f u whitey

    lots of racist idiots posing here

    • iluvisrael

      wrong chicky – I love tom Sowell, Alan West, Clarence Thomas, Shelby Steele, Larry Elder, Dineen Borelli, etc. etc. etc. – and all of em are pretty black!. Ya see mr. whitey, most of us on this site dislike lefties and lowlives, regardless of the color of their skin.

      • American1969

        ***Applause!***

    • OfficialPro

      A narcissist is a narcissist. Be they red, yellow, black, or white (or half-white, as in Obama’s case).

      • putthehammerdown

        Time for a 21st Century buzzword to define our LightBringing Idol, Barry D. S. Obama.
        Is he :
        Caucagro?
        Negasian?
        Clarity is called for here. Let’s define the term, and get on with it.

    • UCSPanther

      What a hypocrite. You use an inflammatory user handle and you call us racist…

      Plenty wrong with that picture…

    • American1969

      So who told you to come here? According to people like you, anyone that doesn’t kowtow to your line of thinking is racist.

  • f u whitey

    article is trash, moron can’t even take the time to check lyrics of songs he’s posing. that wasn’t jay z, that was kanye west idiot

    • OfficialPro

      Kanye’s a narcissist too.

    • Lillith

      See comment by unionville
      to

      briana

      2 days ago

      I can respect the point of view
      of your post. However, what I cannot respect is the fact that you,
      briana, did not realize that the song was co-written by Kanye West AND
      Jay Z from their first collaborative album Watch the Throne. That one
      inaccuracy alone, diminishes the point you attempted to make. It’s like
      what do you know, you can’t even do proper research to properly back up
      what it is that you were attempting to say. It’s clear you are not in
      tune so your opinion doesn’t matter so much anymore.

    • harry

      you mus b a rap luvver

    • harry

      whats with the F U WHITEY NAME?

  • Ariasweb

    I do agree with much said in this artical. I do have to make a correction though. “We formed a new religion / No sins as long as there’s permission / And deception is the only felony / So never f— nobody without telling me / Sunglasses and Advil, last night was mad real” These are not Jay-Z’s lyrics. They are Kanye West’s lyrics.

  • Rush Blak Stax

    Those aren’t even Jays words kys…

  • finkelboym shekelstein

    keep whining about “hollywood” ben you little putz. it’s your ethnic group pulls the strings there and you know it.

  • D.A.F.M.I.

    I think everyone is looking in to this way too deep or the whole statement isn’t being posted. Jay-Z has said similar things before with a FULL explanation of it. His presence as well as Obama’s is simply about the status they have obtained. Not the work they do, have done, or doing. The fact that Jay-z is worth over 500mil and that Obama is an African American and became president is the hope he is referring to. Now both of them have let me down by lyrics and Obama running the country, but the statement isn’t about that. Basically if they can do it so can you. That even though there is some racism you can still become wealthy or even the president. So yeah just Obama being who he is (The first A.A. president) is hope that someone other than a Caucasian male can be president. Female, A.A., Hispanic, Homosexual, etc can do it too. That Jay-Z coming from humble beginning to being worth 500mil is possible for the next person coming from similar backgrounds. He didn’t say that him or Obama were without flaws.

    • Fritz

      Typical leftest mindset, you are totally fixated on identity politics. I don’t really see what the alleged size of Jay-Z’s bank account has to do with anything, they have had plenty of wealthy black entertainers that broke the threshold before him, plenty of black rappers as well, and many did so without pitching to the lowest common denominator, Bill Cosby for one.

      Obama is a total fraud, first of all he is mulatto not black, second in spite of all the usual rags to riches propaganda, he grew up in a life of privilege. Traveled the world, lived in Hawaii, was given an ivy league education, and as far as we know has never had a real job where he had to operate a cash register or work with his hands. This was an exotic upbringing, a far cry from the typical American black, or typical American anyone. Further blacks have suffered more economically under the “FIrst Black” president then they did under the previous four white presidents, so what good is a symbolic leader who can’t get results?

  • Lady Day

    You mean like George Clony and Rachel Ray and Oprah and the one’s you read about from the shopping lane check out? Get with it. Your hate blogging is boring.

  • D.A.F.M.I.

    ***LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW.*** This quote is sooo chopped up and misleading. If you watch the video the quote starts at about 9:50 on part 2 of the interview. Prior to the statement they were talking about how he is a anonymous donor like other celebs and he starts off with “even besides all of that my presence …” and the full statement goes as “My presence is charity. Just this guy who comes from Marcy Projects apartment 5c 534 who’s made it. You know to these places. We play Yankee stadium tonight. For the culture of hip hop or the african american culture. All these different things my presence is charity. You know how many people are inspired by my story.” I’ll stop there. So as you can see the quote they have has left out a bunch. He hasn’t mentioned Obama yet and still talking about himself.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Re8S3xZbRNI

    or on RapRadar itself
    http://rapradar.com/tag/elliott-wilson/

  • D.A.F.M.I.

    Ben Shapiro – I don’t know if you watched the interview or not but it’s terrible how you or wherever you got this quote from just chopped it up so bad to twist it in to being a vain statement. ***EVERYONE WATCH THE INTERVIEW and form your own opinion.*** If you can’t watch both videos for the full hour interview, watch Part 2 and start at or around 9min point to hear how this comment came about. It last about 2min.
    Rap Radar link below. Video is also on youtube. “#FACTSONLY Interview with JAY Z Part 2 – The Truth With Elliott Wilson”
    RapRadar
    http://rapradar.com/tag/elliott-wilson/

  • jimo

    Why doesn’t Jay-Z and the other multi-millionaires in entertainment and sports give some of their money to Detroit to help fix the schools, etc. for the young black kids that are trapped in the decay? Maybe they should be showing how hard they have worked and trained to reach their successes in life.

    • OfficialPro

      Because the Unions wouldn’t have it.

  • American1969

    (sarcasm on) And he says that with all humility! (sarcasm off)
    What an arrogant POS!

  • El Desdichado

    How DARE you haters diss my boy Jay Z .
    He is a brilliant lyricist and a Dionysian poet of the highest order.
    Right up there with Easy-E…

    http://connecthook.wordpress.com/2013/02/10/dionysian-dithyramb/

  • AG125

    “When Jay-Z tells kids, “We formed a new religion / No sins as long as
    there’s permission / And deception is the only felony / So never f—
    nobody without telling me / Sunglasses and Advil, last night was mad
    real” –that may be barely literate but it has impact.”

    In your haste to make a point – it should be noted that this is actually Kanye’s lyric, but who cares?

  • Douglas Mayfield

    There are people in almost any industry who are awash in money and as a result, are surrounded by ‘yes’ people, so they can continue to behave intellectually and morally as if there is nothing more to living their lives than believing their own press releases and offering pronouncements to the rest of us as to how we should live our lives, vote, etc.
    I admire successful people, but success does not, per se, guarantee wisdom. To hold, because you can speak four letter words with catchy rhyme and rhythm, that you are somehow a seer for the ages is simply silly.
    The real difficulty is not the arrogant spouting off nor the media breathlessly hanging on their latest equivalent of verbal masturbation.
    It’s the fact that many, many people in this country, including the ‘independents’ and the cowardly me too ‘semi-socialist’ so called Republicans , support the enormous expansion of government which we’ve seen in the last 80 years, and particularly the last three decades.
    Until, as a nation, we experience a general change in approach to government, until we truly believe in freedom and individual rights, and their crucial corollary, limited government, we will continue to move steadily toward some form of dictatorship.

  • Mememeee

    Perfect case of when you fall in love with money and are busy trying to make a BILLION instead of helping people when you can. Beyonce is another one playing he humble role. People can’t eat and become educated with hope.. stick that up your ass.. why not help the minority communities learn about politics and obtaining real power to change. You donate a lot to Obama’s campaign because you just want to rub elbows with the elites.. smh

  • JonathonGalt

    Working at a Jerry Lewis MS telethhon back in the early 70′s I asked Leonard Nemoy, Spock of Startrek, if he would match the donations I could acquire from each of the persons who were working on the telethon in our location in Atlanta, Ga. His response was “My time is my donation”.

  • Long Walks On The Beach

    Re: “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. Just being who he is.”

    That’s probably the biggest load of crap I have heard in a while.

  • Jeff

    This article wrong- the line quoted above is Kanye West, NOT Jay-Z. That ruins your entire point. Get your facts right. Can’t believe I wasted two minutes reading this

  • SomeDouchBag

    I stopped reading after you said that Jay was “granted a platform by the fates”.

    Hah!

    I would explain myself further, but I consider that giving you “charity”. ;)

  • JonathonGalt

    Leonard Nimoy made the same comment to me at a Jerry Lewis telethon in Atlanta some years ago. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that there’s a tax loophole allowing celebrities to deduct their time spent in public as a charitable contribution.

  • harry

    forget all your fanciful and wonderful vocabiltary