- Harry Belafontelegendary musician, actor and activist. The son of Jamaican immigrants, Belafonte grew up on the streets of Harlem and Jamaica. In the 1950s, he spearheaded the calypso craze and became the first artist in recording history with a million-selling album. Along with his rise to worldwide stardom, Belafonte became deeply involved in the civil rights movement and was one of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s closest confidants.
On Monday night, legendary musician, actor and activist Harry Belafonte joined Democracy Now! at New York City’s historic Riverside Church to celebrate the program’s 20th anniversary. As he addressed the crowd, he celebrated the recent victory by Native Americans fighting the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline at Standing Rock in North Dakota and called on President Obama to free Native activist Leonard Peltier before he leaves office.
HARRY BELAFONTE: And as a passing thought—not so passing, but I’ll take this opportunity to publicly—once again, for the last few months, passionate appeal has been made to President Barack Obama to use the power of the executive office to free my friend and our leader, Leonard Peltier, with the understanding that if he fails before now and the end of the year to step to the plate and do the right thing, it will be a long time before we get a chance to think about Leonard being freed. But I think we just have to keep on keeping on.
AMY GOODMAN: The legendary entertainer and activist Harry Belafonte, speaking Monday night at a celebration of Democracy Now!’s 20th anniversary at Riverside Church here in New York, the same site where Martin Luther King gave his historic speech against the Vietnam War April 4th, 1967, a year to the day before he was assassinated.