His name and his songs are world-famous. Most people know Harry Belafonte as a singer and actor. His contribution to the American civil rights movement and his relentless political engagement are less well-known.
With a great deal of conviction and an inexhaustible dose of positivism Harry Belafonte has been advocating human rights for more than half a century, both in the United States and far abroad. Afro-American Belafonte, born in 1927, grew up at a time when America was still fully segregated. In the early days of his career, Belafonte met with considerable opposition from members of the white-dominated society. While he performed a song on a television show, his counterpart Petula Clark – a white woman – briefly held his arm, triggering public outcry. From the moment he first went on stage Belafonte has defended the rights of ethnic minorities, mostly in the presence of other great human rights defenders, including Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Sidney Poitier. Belafonte, now 84 years old, is still an activist who knows how to unite old and young generations in striving for a better world.
Together with producer Gina Belafonte – Harry’s daughter – director Susanne Rostock made an impressive and musical portrait of the man behind the ‘Banana Boat Song’.