Harry Belafonte: Compass of Courage

Harry Belafonte made his 96 trips around the sun mean something far greater than a himself – he shined his light on art, injustice, and humanity. Mr. Belafonte impacted our capacity to see dignity and equality in all. He was a giant as an activist, World War II veteran, and actor. Mr. Belafonte never chose what would be good for his personal public relations over what was good for people, he exuded courage, as he simultaneously provided and paved a path for people to have dignity, choosing action over apathy; imagine that in this, “my brand,” “my followers,” “my likes,” “my ego,” kind of world. Island in the Sun, the 1957 film based on the novel by Alec Waugh and undeniable product of Hollywood and Hays Code, stars Harry Belafonte as, David Boyeur, an intelligent, unapologetic, mindful, beautiful Black man, who is unwavering in his fight against the oppression of British colonial rule. I appreciate and love Harry Belafonte in Island in the Sun, a film that engaged race, politics, sexism, racism, white supremacy, sexuality, feminism, colorism, connection, and love, filmed in Barbados and Grenada, with bountiful Belafonte vocals. Island in the Sun not only features the talents of Harry Belafonte, it includes Dorothy Dandridge, as Margot Seaton…yes indeed, Ms. Dandridge. The planet and its people will forever be positively impacted by Harry Belafonte…his raspy voice and regal vibration will always be a compass for courage.

“If you liked Harry Belafonte, you were making a political statement, and that felt good, the way it felt good to listen to Paul Robeson, and hear what he had to say. If you were a white Belafonte fan, you felt even better. You were connecting with your better angels, reaching across the racial divide. Consciously or not, you were casting your vote for equality, and for a phrase about to hit the mainstream: civil rights.” excerpt from Harry Belafonte, My Song, A Memoir.