Harry Belafonte sat down for an interview with The Hollywood Reporter for a Q&A that was supposed to focus on his receiving the Golden Leopard Honor Award, which was bestowed on the legendary singer and actor by the Locarno Film Festival. Instead, the respected entertainer used the opportunity to speak out against what he sees as a power structure that continues to oppress the masses despite decades of activism. Belafonte particularly derides President Obama for maintaining a status quo that enables our government to violate civil liberties, while calling out black stars like Jay-Z and Beyoncé for their apathy, when they have the ability to inspire change.
“The power in many societies has become almost absolute,” Belafonte told the Tinseltown industry outlet. “What we did during the Bush period, what we still continue to do, even with Barack Obama, is the continuency of not changing the paradigm, of not changing the view. We still have laws that encourage torture, we did not change Guantanamo, we have laws that allow the police to arrest you at any time, not having to tell you why, and take you wherever they want. This kind of capitalism is taking us to the doorstep of [a] Fourth Reich, I think.”