Seeing the new documentary on Harry Belafonte Sing Your Song at the VIFF recently, I was amazed at his tireless work in the American civil rights movement, breaking down race barriers on TV, and helping the world’s less fortunate.
The documentary, directed by Susanne Rostock, chronicles a fascinating life and highlights his vision of social change. The civil rights march on Washington? Belafonte was there. Martin Luther King Jr.? Belafonte interviewed him. Robert Kennedy’s missions to the Deep South? Belafonte risked his life by tavelling there. Drought in Ethiopia? Belafonte flew there to help first-hand. Time and again, whether he was talking about Conakry or LA, it was the inequity between rich and poor that he takes issue with.
“We often feel we can’t do much to change the world around us, but we can. I think Harry’s story offers plenty of lessons in how to do that, whether you are a celebrity or not,” says Gina Belafonte, “I think what’s made Harry successful is he never gives up. He keeps coming at issues of equality and representation in everything he does.”
What are you going to do?