We are honored to wish our dear friend, Mr. Harry Belafonte, a happy and healthy 90th birthday! He has been a long time Honorary Chair and supporter of Shared Interest and our economic justice work.
We honored him at the Shared Interest 19th Anniversary Awards. Here's the introduction from that event.
Harry Belafonte has inspired generations around the world with his magnificent, charismatic voice - and his ability to help others raise their own. Throughout his life he has set a standard for art in the service of justice - the service of humanity. Miriam Makeba, who Mr. Belafonte helped launch in her career in the U.S. when she was forced to flee apartheid South Africa noted: "Belafonte means a lot of struggling people around the world because he tool all our struggles and made them his own." Harry Belafonte achieved ground-breaking recognition with his smash hit records, such as "Calypso", his Tony Award in "John Murray Anderson's Almanac, " his Hollywood success in "Bright Road" and "Carmen Jones," his Emmy Award for "Tonight with Harry Belafonte." Throughout his life he directed his talents as a singer, actor, producer to his work as a committed citizen of the world.
His support for African Liberation, and leadership in the Civil Rights Movement and the Anti-Apartheid movement have moved millions of peoples. A close friend of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., he helped galvanize the cultural community to support the Civil Rights Movement, including historical events such as the 1963 Freedom March in Washington, D.C. He spoke out against apartheid, and Co-Chaired the first official welcome for his friend, Nelson Mandela, after Mandela's release from prison. He also Co-Chaired Shared Interest's First Awards Dinner.
Mr. Belafonte has rallied people around the world to the cause of economic justice - from the U.S. to Africa - and back. He was a catalyst for the creation of the U.S.A for Africa and the "We are the World" Concert to Benefit African famine relief in 1985, and subsequently inspired "Hands Across America" to address hunger at home. In 1987, UNICEF appointed him its Goodwill Ambassador, and in 1989, the U.S. Committee for UNICEF presented him with the Danny Kaye Award. In 1990, with fellow UNICEF Ambassadors, he hosted the World Summit for Children at the United Nations.
Mr. Belafonte is a dear friend of Shared Interest, of South Africa and a the cause of freedom.