All Articles Tagged "harry belafonte"
After a long and lingering fight against cancer, Hugo Chavez’s death this week was not a surprise to many. And while many in Venezuela are mourning the demise of the leader, Americans have mixed sentiments about him.
Mr. Chavez maintained his position of prominence for over 14 years and was praised by the impoverished people of Venezuela since he devoted a substantial share of the country’s oil income to building public housing, creating health clinics, and making affordable food available to the poorest citizens. However, with corruption and neglect of the investments needed to maintain and increase oil production, the social programs he was highly regarded for are facing erosion.
He was also criticized for supporting malevolent foreign leaders like Bashar al-Assad of Syria and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, which for many appeared to be a slap in the face to the United States government.
However, even with a blemished political career Chavez was able to gain some support from Hollywood actors like Danny Glover and Harry Belafonte. After his passing Danny Glover told TheGrio, “In sadness and in tribute to my friend, Hugo Chavez, I join with millions of Venezuelans, Latin Americans, Caribbeans, fellow U.S. citizens and millions of freedom-loving people around the world, in hope for a rewarding future for the democratic and social development charter of the Bolivarian Revolution. We all embraced Hugo Chavez as a social-champion of democracy, material development, and spiritual well-being.”
Others in Hollywood, like Sean Penn, Naomi Campbell, and Oliver Stone, also had kind words for the leader.
TheGrio proposes that the admiration from Hollywood celebrities — and specifically liberal black celebs — has to do with Chavez’s populist stance, one that’s shared by his supporters. Moreover, he made strong statements against President George W. Bush, who had few fans among African Americans and Hollywood.
The Venezuelan people are now in a long period of mourning. Then the world will wait and see what the future of Venezuela holds.
Follow CAP on Twitter: @in_allcaps
Before they were Academy Award nominees and winners, television stars, business magnates, singers, muses, activists and more, these celebrities were trying to just make it. Whether that means just trying to find their path and what they love to do, trying to model, or trying to be taken seriously in Hollywood, they were working MAD hard. Time has passed and their notoriety and fame is at its height, making them icons in their respective fields, but the photos from their early years and their life before the huge fame are still around. So what were some of the biggest names on the planet looking like back in the day? Let’s take a look at 14 of them shall we?
Recently Harry Belafonte caused a minor uproar when he gave his opinion on the state of minorities in Hollywood today:
“And I think one of the great abuses of this modern time is that we should have had such high-profile artists, powerful celebrities. But they have turned their back on social responsibility. That goes for Jay-Z and Beyonce, for example. Give me Bruce Springsteen, and now you’re talking. I really think he is black.”
Much of the backlash to his statement had more to do with his example of Jay-Z and Beyonce, the latter even released a paper thin list of philanthropic efforts to counter his statements, however little introspection is giving to his overall point about how many black artists and celebrities fail to use their platforms for influence outside of themselves. It may be easy to brush Belafonte off as an old hater, in fact, some folks already have, but consider that at the height of his career, Belafonte risked public ostracization by refusing to perform in segregated venues and marched with the likes of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – even at a time when it wasn’t cool to do so. He also financially supported the movement, including bailing him, as well as other protestors, out of Birmingham jail where King wrote his famous letter. And throughout his life, he has continued to be an instrumental voice for human rights, from protesting against apartheid in South Africa and the unfair embargo in Cuba to lending his celebrity to the genocide crisis in Rwanda. If anyone has the right to be critical of today’s black elite involvement, it certainly should be Belafonte.
Yet as many high profile black entertainers, celebrities and political and business leaders continue to enjoy the perks of power and personal influence their visibility has afforded them, most are reluctant to speak truth to power. In some cases, if that truth works against their own personal interest, some high profile blacks will intentionally work against the community’s best interest. We see it in rap music; we see it in Hollywood, we see it in politics too. Even writer Richard Hazell, with EurWeb, noticed the same trend among black athletes when he wrote the following:
“Are there any athletes that stand for something socio-political? Are there any that would be willing to risk fame and fortune in the modern era? Well, many risk fame and fortune over dumb stuff; sexual assault, spousal abuse, disorderly conduct, and DUI are but a few of the charges that have been filed against high profile athletes in the last 10 years. During Kobe Bryant’s trial for sexual assault and rape Nike and McDonalds dropped him within days of the allegations surfacing. So athletes are willing to act a fool on their own accord and risk endorsements, but are not willing to risk those same endorsements by taking a stand for a controversial political stance? It’s looking like a duck, it’s quacking like a duck, so it’s not a pigeon.”
Very few black public figures take an active stance for justice anymore. This includes Condoleezza Rice, the first African-American woman to serve as national security advisor and secretary of state. Recently, it was announced that Rice was admitted to the Augusta National Golf Club‘s, making her the first African American woman member. And the Black community cheered. Somehow this is supposed to be a milestone in Black history. This is Rice’s Jackie Robinson moment. We are supposed to clap, give high-fives and sing the last verse of “We Shall Overcome,” because finally they let one of us into the big house – of golf.
Laugh, but I have been reading this very sentiment all day. I never understood the Black community’s love affair with Rice. In her roles as National Security Advisor and Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, along with her cohorts in the Bush Administration, concocted a scheme to suggest that Saddam Hussien was responsible for the September 11th attacks and then led the U.S. into an illegal invasion, which resulted in the deaths of millions of innocent Iraqis along with over 4000 American soldiers. She also personally approved the use of waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques against so-called “insurgents,” a tactic that would become immortalized in the Abu Ghraib scandal.
Closer to home, while the Gulf Coast was underwater thanks to Hurricane Katrina, Rice decided to jet off to New York for some Broadway theater, a tennis match with Monica Seles and shoe shopping at Salvatore Ferragamo.
But she speaks so well and she is accomplished. She speaks multiple languages and plays a mean classical piano. She certainly is not one of those lacefront-having, welfare queens with 10 kids by four different men. In other words, she is respectable. I know, you were thinking that. In fact, I’m willing to bet that somewhere around the third sentence, some of you have already stopped reading just to write just that very feeling in the comment section below and to remind us that not only is she Condoleeza Rice, she’s DR. Condoleeza Rice.
But what’s so respectable about a woman, whose major contribution to society was torture, war and an indifference to the suffering of the black and poor? So what that she was chosen for membership into a golf club, which only started letting in African-Americans on its green in 1990? Who cares that she now gets to rub elbows with these old white men, who were so defiant against the entry of women of any shade that the former chairman once stated, “There may well come a day when women will be invited to join our membership, but that timetable will be ours, and not at the point of a bayonet.”
A lot of you were feeling Harry Belafonte’s remark last week that Beyonce and Jay-Z have turned their back on social responsibility. Though many of you argued that Jayonce don’t have any obligation to give back to the community, most agreed that social activists they are not.
One person who obviously doesn’t agree with this claim is Beyonce herself—or her people. Today Bey’s rep sent an email to the Wall Street Journal, which was said to be “An abbreviated list of the unselfish work Beyoncé has done and continues to do.” According to WSJ:
The list included co-founding The Survivor Foundation “a multi-purpose community outreach facility in downtown Houston”; donating “100K in 2008 to the Gulf Coast Ike Relief Fund to aid Texas victims of Hurricane Ike”; performing in “MTV’s Hope For Haiti Now! Benefit in addition to making a generous monetary donation,” among many other charitable activities.
Though those efforts are certainly worthy causes, I don’t get the feeling that this was the type of social responsibility Mr. Belafonte was speaking of. As a man who has taken a stand against racism, sexism, and war, I imagine his reaction might be that anyone can throw money at an issue, the question is what do you stand for? On the other hand, no one can dictate where you donate your money or time and to what causes. The important thing is the entertainment legend’s comments at least made one half of Hollywood’s highest paid couple sit up and pay attention. I wonder what Jay’s camp has to say about all this?
Do you think the statement from Bey’s camp clears her name a bit?
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When your elders speak, you shut up and listen. Eighty-five-year-old entertainment legend Harry Belafonte has certainly earned his right to call out the younger crowd in the industry and he definitely has a lot to say about the current state of affairs concerning black celebdom. The activist just received the Golden Leopard Honor Award at the Locarno Film Festival to receive the event’s Golden Leopard Honor Award, recognizing his contributions to political activism as an actor. And when speaking to The Hollywood Reporter about the honor, he didn’t miss the opportunity to call out other celebrities who he feels fail to do their part in society.
When Mr. Belafonte was asked if he’s happy with the image of minorities in Hollywood today, he said, “not at all.”
“They have not told the history of our people, nothing of who we are,” he said. “We are still looking. We are not determinate. We are not driven by some technology that says you can kill Afghans, the Iraqis or the Spanish. It is all – excuse my French – s**t. It is sad. And I think one of the great abuses of this modern time is that we should have had such high-profile artists, powerful celebrities. But they have turned their back on social responsibility. That goes for Jay-Z and Beyoncé, for example. Give me Bruce Springsteen, and now you’re talking. I really think he is black.
It’s interesting that Mr. Belafonte is being asked about this on the heels of similar discussions concerning Oprah’s contributions to the black community, and even President Obama’s. Jay-Z has been criticized quite frequently for not doing anything to build up the community, yet on the other hand the attitude as of late seems to be that these individuals have no social responsibility to give back to black people or society as a whole. Maybe Harry Belafonte is just old school, but he clearly has a different take on things, which he feels makes his latest honor all the more special.
“Such awards, coming from culture and societies where I do not linger, are a validation that there was a global receptivity to the fact that I have taken a stand against war, taken a stand against racism, sexism and so on, throughout the years,” he said. “While at home some people would want to crucify me because of my political position, I am also being honored for what I do, and that validation is extremely important.”
I wonder what he thinks about Bey and Jay’s push to get President Obama reelected?
What do you think about Harry Belafonte’s charge against Beyonce and Jay-Z and other minority entertainers?
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Event Photos: Boris Kodjoe, Wyclef Jean, and More at The Brotherhood/Sister Sol 8th Annual VOICES Event
The Brotherhood/Sister Sol 8th Annual VOICES Event went down in New York City last week. Sol is a nonprofit organisation dedicated to empowering Black and Latino youth. Boris Kodjoe hosted the event, and he had a lot of celebrity company in the room supporting this philanthropic endeavor. Check out a few photos below.
Boris Kodjoe hosted and is pictured here with Khary Lazarre-White, the Executive Director & Co-Founder of The Brotherhood/Sister Sol.
Last night’s Vision Gala, hosted by the Dance Theatre of Harlem, turned out to be a star studded success. The fundraising event, at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York, honored activist and entertainer, Harry Belafonte.
The Dance Theatre of Harlem, founded by Arthur Mitchell and Karel Shook, opened its doors in 1969. After decades of successes including international performances, education outreach programs and community outreach, the theatre went on hiatus in 2004 due to financial issues.
Last night, however, may be a turning point for the company. The fundraiser raised $390,000 which will benefit the Dance Theatre’s Next Generation Fund and Community Engagement Fund, which provides scholarships to dancers and supports arts and community programs.
With the help of contributions from last night, the company is within six months of touring again.
Check out pictures from last night’s event below.
“The Banana Boat Song” singer, actor, and social activist, Harold George Bellanfanti, Jr., has done it all in his 84 years. He served in World War II in the Navy, received a Tony Award for his work on Broadway, performed with Miles Davis and Charlie Parker, became pals with Sidney Poitier and Martin Luther King, Jr., kissed Miss Piggy, and so on and so forth. The strong civil rights activist has also been known for his good looks throughout the years, and we can understand why. Check out our gallery of Mr. Belafonte and I’m sure you’ll understand to! (*wink*)
Sixty six years ago, publisher John H. Johnson, launched the Ebony Magazine, a monthly lifestyle publication that focused on issues and stars of particular importance to the black community. Everyone from “Hollywood to Harlem” as the magazine toted. The aim of the magazine was to portray a generally positive, uplifting message about accomplishments in the black community. Check out how the magazine has evolved over the past six decades.
November, 1945 You may find it hard to believe but the first issue of Ebony Magazine didn’t have a smiling star splashed across the cover. Instead the magazine sought to draw attention to the issue of race relations by featuring seven boys, six of them white on the cover of the November issue. This first issue, in 1945 sold out with 25,000 copies. The magazine would reach its peak circulation in 1997 at 2 million.
In an interview with Joy Behar, actor, singer and Civil Rights activist, Harry Belafonte, sat down to discuss his new book, “My Song”. During the interview Behar also mentioned Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain. After Mr. Belafonte stopped pretending like he didn’t know who Cain was, he called him a bad apple among other things. Take a look at a clip of the interview, which will air in its entirety Friday on CNN.
Cain has been made aware of what Belafonte had to say and he responded in writing to The Hill newspaper.
“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.”
What do you think is Belafonte right about Mr. Cain?