Excuse me quivering but I’m still reeling from meeting Mr Harry Belafonte. And it ain’t just his stunning looks nor his tight trousers.
I’ve just turned the final page of My Song, Harry’s “memoir of art, race and defiance”. And I’m staggered by the humanitarian works of a guy I had down as a frilly-sleeved lounge singer (lets leave that stuff to me).
He was an active advocate for workers’ rights, a tireless fundraiser and activist for black rights in America, then South Africa when both regimes were running apartheid systems.
He put thousands of his own money where his eloquent (and self-educated) mouth was and he still stands
for justice for the poor and oppressed in his nineth decade. Busy busy.
Because at the same time he was riding a stratospheric career as an entertainer, from Carnegie Hall to Vegas, and in Europe too.
I can’t get over the guy’s contacts and influence. He was close to Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement, he politicked with The Kennedys, Fidel Castro and Chavez, African state heads, mob bosses, UNICEF, he launched Miriam Makeba and the USA for Africa aspect of famine-relief. And he worked behind the scenes to help free Nelson Mandela.
Please read this guy’s book. You will be astonished. And you will be definitely entertained. Or check out his music – like this live concert at Carnegie Hall featuring Odetta (I like to use Spotify, by the way).