Harry Belafonte Calls Black Republicans Tyrants

Harry Belafonte, most famous for his songs about bananas, and Dick Gregory, a one-time comedian perhaps best known for getting really fat and then losing weight, stirred up some controversy over the weekend. Belafonte accused black Republicans and, oddly, white reporters, of being “tyrants,” while Gregory said the United States is the most corrupt country in the history of the world.

Harry Belafonte Calls Black Republicans ‘Tyrants’

Celebrity activist Harry Belafonte referred to prominent African-American officials in the Bush administration as “black tyrants” at a weekend march, and he also compared the administration to Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany. Belafonte, a featured speaker at Saturday’s march in Atlanta commemorating the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act, previously ignited a political controversy in 2002 when he likened then-Secretary of State Colin Powell to a “house slave.”

At Saturday’s civil rights march, Belafonte said the Bush administration has been “rather dismal” for the lives of black Americans. The march, which featured prominent civil rights groups and labor union representatives, was intended to drum up support for extending and strengthening the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Belafonte used a Hitler analogy when asked about what impact prominent blacks such as former Secretary of State Powell and current Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had on the Bush administration’s relations with minorities. “Hitler had a lot of Jews high up in the hierarchy of the Third Reich. Color does not necessarily denote quality, content or value,” Belafonte said in an exclusive interview with Cybercast News Service. “[If] a black is a tyrant, he is first and foremost a tyrant, then he incidentally is black. Bush is a tyrant and if he gathers around him black tyrants, they all have to be treated as they are being treated,” he added.

When asked specifically who was a “black tyrant” in the Bush administration, Belafonte responded to this reporter, “You.” When this reporter noted that he was a Caucasian and attempted to ask another question, Belafonte abruptly ended the interview by saying, “That’s it.”

Another prominent celebrity marcher at Saturday’s civil rights march also employed Nazi analogies to the GOP and conservatives. Civil rights activist Dick Gregory mocked the existence of African-American conservatives in America. “They (black conservatives) have a right to exist, but why would I want to walk around with a swastika on my shirt after the way Hitler done messed it (the swastika symbol) up?” Gregory said in an interview with Cybercast News Service. (The swastika was an ancient symbol generally regarded an emblem of strength and luck before the Nazi Party adopted it in 1920.) “So why would I want to call myself a conservative after the way them white racists thugs have used that word to hide behind? They call themselves new Republicans,” Gregory said.

Gregory trashed the United States, calling it “the most dishonest, ungodly, unspiritual nation that ever existed in the history of the planet. As we talk now, America is 5 percent of the world’s population and consumes 96 percent of the world’s hard drugs,” Gregory said.

Most bizarre.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. leelu says:

    So, if this is *true: “…Color does not necessarily denote quality, content or value,”, then I guess we can finally dump all the affirmative action crap and hire and promote based on knowledge and skill?

    Sigh.

  2. ozzippit says:

    I just remembered that some lyrics to one of Harry’s “hits” included, “Shut up your mouth and go away.” He’s forgotten what made him famous in exchange for making himself infamous. A sure sign of an aging, over-the-hill “star.”