Sing Your Song: An Evening with Harry BelafonteIn Conversation with Michelle Alexander
An Evening with Harry Belafonte
In Conversation with Michelle Alexander
“A quiet, beautiful song of protest from a man who is still trying to change the world.”—Yahoo Movies
This special evening begins with the local premiere screening of Sing Your Song, an intimate and inspiring documentary about singer, actor, and activist Harry Belafonte’s extraordinary life and commitment to humanitarian causes. From his rise to fame as a singer and his experiences touring a segregated country, to his provocative work and crossover success in Hollywood, Belafonte’s groundbreaking career personifies the American civil rights movement.
A tenacious, hands‐on activist, he worked intimately with Martin Luther King Jr., mobilized celebrities for social justice, and participated in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. More recently, he has advocated tirelessly to raise funds and awareness for numerous causes including fighting hunger, gang violence, AIDS in Africa, and prostate cancer. Because of his beliefs, Belafonte also drew unwarranted attention from the FBI in both his personal and professional life, which led to years of struggle. But an indomitable sense of optimism motivates his path as he continues to ask, at 85, "What do we do now?" His example may very well inspire you to action. (114 mins., video)
After the movie Belafonte discusses his experiences with Michelle Alexander, an associate professor in Ohio State's Moritz College of Law and a faculty affiliate of the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity. She is the author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (2010), which has been featured on MSNBC, NPR, The Bill Moyers Journal, The Tavis Smiley Show, C-SPAN, and The Colbert Report.
MORE ABOUT HARRY BELAFONTE
Harry Belafonte has been a transformative cultural figure in the United States for more than a half-century, giving much of his time, energy, and dedication to humanitarian causes around the world. Born in Harlem and raised in Jamaica, he returned to the U.S. in his early teens and discovered the American Negro Theater and the power of performing. Rising through the jazz and folk clubs of Greenwich Village and Harlem, he emerged as a star. He won a Tony Award for his first Broadway appearance, in a 1954 musical review titled John Murray Anderson’s Almanac. His 1956 album Calypso made him the first recording artist to sell a million LPs in a single year. He won an Emmy Award in 1960—the first given to an African American—for his popular variety television special, Tonight with Belafonte. Among his memorable movies are Carmen Jones (1954), Otto Preminger’s update of the opera Carmen, and Odds Against Tomorrow(1959), Robert Wise’s film noir crime story that also exposes the pernicious impact of racism. (We’re showing the two as a double bill on Thursday, October 25, to help you get ready for Belafonte’s in-person appearance.)
Despite his achievement, Belafonte knew well that the life of a black man in America during the 1950s and 1960s was far from easy. He confronted the same prejudices, racial stereotypes, and Jim Crow laws mandating racial segregation that every other black man, woman, and child in America faced. He became a key voice in the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, working with leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy in the struggle to advance the rights of all Americans. Continuing his activism and advocacy, he has raised funds and awareness to fight hunger, gang violence, AIDS in African, and prostate cancer, among other causes.
The VIP ticket includes an exclusive reception to kick off the evening, as well as special seating inside Mershon Auditorium for the film and conversation. Join Harry Belafonte, Michelle Alexander, event sponsors, and friends of the Wex before the program for hors d’oeuvres and beverages, starting at 5 PM in the Performance Space.
MORE ABOUT MICHELLE ALEXANDER
Michelle Alexander has significant experience in the field of civil rights advocacy and litigation, having litigated civil rights cases in private practice and engaged in innovative litigation and advocacy efforts in the nonprofit sector. For several years, Alexander served as the Director of the Racial Justice Project for the ACLU of Northern California, which spearheaded a national campaign against racial profiling by law enforcement. Following law school, she clerked for Justice Harry A. Blackmun on the United States Supreme Court and for Chief Judge Abner Mikva on the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
This event is presented in conjunction with the 200Columbus bicentennial celebrations, honoring the creative spirit of Columbus.
Major support provided by Donna and Larry James, Puffin Foundation West, Ltd., and Smoot Construction.
Additional support provided by Crabbe, Brown & James.
Admission$20 general public
$75 general public VIP
$50 member, senior VIP
Free for students
Donna and Larry James
Puffin Foundation West, Ltd.
Genny and Lewis R. Smoot, Sr.
ADDITIONAL SUPPORT FOR SING YOUR SONG: AN EVENING WITH HARRY BELAFONTE
Crabbe, Brown & James
MAJOR SEASON SUPPORT
Rohauer Collection Foundation
American Airlines/American Eagle
GENERAL SUPPORT FOR
THE WEXNER CENTER
Greater Columbus Arts Council
Ohio Arts Council