Harry Belafonte is not just one of the greatest entertainers of our time; he has led one of the great American lives of the last century. Now, this extraordinary icon tells us the story of that life, published in My Song: A Memoir, letting us share in the struggles, the tragedies, and, most of all, the inspiring triumphs. Belafonte grew up, poverty-ridden, in Harlem and Jamaica. After fighting in the Second World War, he realised he wanted a life in the arts. He became a star, and at the same time lived a life of active involvement in breaking down racial barriers that had never been broken before. He had a passionate involvement at the heart of the civil rights movement and countless other political and social causes. He’ll talk about his life in the arts; his close friendship with Martin Luther King, Jr.; his role as a conduit between Dr King and the Kennedys; his up-close involvement with the civil rights demonstrations and awareness of the hatred and potential violence around him; his devastation at Dr King’s death and his continuing fight for what he believes is right; his friendships and work with Paul Robeson, Eleanor Roosevelt, Sidney Poitier, John F Kennedy, Marlon Brando, Robert Kennedy, Nelson Mandela, Fidel Castro, Tony Bennett, Bill Clinton. As both an artist and an activist, Belafonte has touched countless lives. Tonight is a rare opportunity to share his story.
Note that Watershed is screening the recent documentary about Harry Belafonte, Sing Your Song, from Friday 8 June.
Harry Belafonte’s 1956 album Calypso made him the first artist in history to sell more than one million LPs. An actor, humanitarian, and the acknowledged King of Calypso, he has won both a Tony Award and an Emmy, and he was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Clinton. He has served as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and is the recipient of Kennedy Center Honors for excellence in the performing arts. His book My Song: A Memoir was published in 2011, coinciding with the screening of the career-spanning HBO documentary, Sing Your Song.
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