Jay Z donated the charity of his presence to Dame Dash.
Date: August 8
A few weeks back, in an interview with Elliot Wilson, Jay Z responded to Harry Belafonte's criticism of his lack of charitable donations saying, "My presence is charity." It was a rare misstep for Jay, a callous remark for someone who has done an impeccable job managing his narrative—of somehow, magically, convincing people that his success was somehow theirsuccess. (Even though he was the one with the millions of dollars.) And he did all that despite doing some fairly shady things over the years. Cutting his former business partners Dame Dash and Kareem "Biggs" Burke out his empire, for example—one of the saddest breakups in rap history.
The public never knew all the particulars until we read Dan Charnas' The Big Payback which paints a cold-hearted Jay putting money over friendship. In the years since, of course, Jay has kept on winning and every news item about Dame Dash seems to be about how he's gone broke.
So seeing pictures of the two together this week was discomfitting. Here's the thing: Seeing them together just made us think about how far Dame has fallen. It did look like someone offering charity with his presence. And that's kind of gross. Truth is, though, the picture helped Jay more than it helped Dame. It served to make Jay look less ruthless, it made Dame look defeated. And most of all, it reminded us of this photo.
Oof. —Insanul Ahmed
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