This deluxe eBook edition of Harry Belafonte's remarkable memoir includes nearly eighteen minutes of original video—Mr. Belafonte talking about his first meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr. . . . his friendship with Sidney Poitier . . . the making of “We Are the World” . . . and much more—the bonus song “Jump in the Line” from the companion album Harry Belafonte—Sing Your Song: The Music; and the book's photographs compiled as a slide show.
Harry Belafonte is not just one of the greatest entertainers of our time; he has led one of the great American lives of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Now, at last, this extraordinary icon tells us about it all—his poverty-ridden childhood in Harlem and Jamaica; his meteoric rise to become one of the world’s most popular singers, breaking down racial barriers that no one had broken before, achieving equal popularity with white and black audiences; his lifelong, passionate involvement at the heart of the civil rights movement and countless other political and social causes. Along the way he’s befriended many beloved and important figures in both entertainment and politics—Paul Robeson; Eleanor Roosevelt; Sidney Poitier; John F. Kennedy; Marlon Brando; Martin Luther King, Jr.; Robert Kennedy; Nelson Mandela; Fidel Castro—and writes about them with the same exceptional candor and insight with which he reveals himself on every page.
As both an artist and an activist, Belafonte has touched the lives of countless men and women. With My Song, he has found yet another way to entertain and inspire us. It is an electrifying memoir from a remarkable man.
Belafonte, actor and activist, whose voice is known to millions for his opening line, "Day-O!" to "The Banana Boat Song," stepped out of a life of poverty and up to a microphone in the late 1940s, launching a brilliant career as a singer, actor, and activist. With lyrical grace, he chronicles his life from early childhood where a violent father made life difficult for him, his brother, and his mother and his first singing engagements, to the difficulties in his own marriages, the grueling life on the show circuit, and his later involvement in the civil rights movement and other social causes. After his hitch in the service, he enrolls in acting lessons with the American Negro Theater, where he meets his life-long friend, Sidney Poitier, and numerous other influential black actors. On a cold January night in 1949, the owner of the Royal Roost night club in New York asks Belafonte to sing a few numbers during intermission for Lester Young's band; astonished and anxious, the young singer steps onto the stage and finds himself backed by Max Roach, Charlie Parker, Al Haig, and Tommy Potter, four of jazz's greatest musicians, and his musical career takes off. These musicians' generosity instill the same compassion in him, and his encounter with great concert singer, athlete, and actor Paul Robeson teaches him that he can use his music and his concerts as pulpits for important causes. Belafonte sometimes exhausts with too many details, but he mostly carries us liltingly along with his song that the best times always lie ahead as long as we take care of each other.
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This Great American Hero
This kind of "Song" comes only once in a lifetime. Mr. Belafonte's biography is an African American classic to be read and treasured by all the world. With passion and fury, he tells us all why we must do more to improve this world that God made for us all. He reveals the clues to how so much was accomplished by the freedom fighters in the 50's, 60's and now. It has truly made a profound impact on my life after having read it. Mr. Belafonte is a great American hero.