Harry Belafonte, the singer and activist who once marched with Martin Luther King Jr., called black GOP candidate Herman Cain a “bad apple” who did not represent the African-American community.
In a clip to air Friday on CNN, Belafonte told Joy Behar that Cain, a wealthy businessman who grew up in poverty, was not an “authority on the plight of people of color.”
“[Cain] doesn’t believe that racism holds anyone back, in any way now,” Behar told Belafonte. “What do you think about that statement?”
“It’s very hard to comment on somebody who is so denied intelligence – and certainly who is denied a view of history, such as he reveals. He knows very little. Because he happened to have good fortune, because he happened to have had a moment when he broke through – the moment someone blinked – does not make him the authority on the plight of people of color,” the singer said.
Belafonte, who in 2002 compared then Secretary of State Colin Powell to a house slave, again attacked Powell as well former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other black Republicans.
“The Republican Party, the Tea Party, all those forces to the extreme right, have consistently tried to come up with representation for what they call black, for what they call the real Negroes and try to push these images as the kinds of voices that Americans should be listening to,” Belafonte said.
“So we have Condoleezza Rice, we’ve got Colin Powell – they’re heroes for some people. But for a lot us, they’re not,” he said. ‘And Herman Cain is the latest incarnation of what is totally false to the needs of our community, and the needs of our nation. I think he’s a bad apple, and people should look at his whole card. He’s not what he says he is.
In a written response to the The Hill newspaper, Cain said calling him names would not work to quell his message.
“As far as Harry Belafonte’s comment, look, I left the Democratic plantation a long time ago. And all that they try to do when someone like me — and I’m not the only black person out there that shares these conservative views – the only tactic that they have to try and intimidate me and shut me up is to call me names, and this sort of thing. It just simply won’t work,” Cain said.
Cain, the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, is currently running second in national GOP polls.