ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
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We cannot praise and honor Harry Belafonte enough for his years
in our liberation struggle. Yes, he is in the tradition of our great
ancestor Paul Robeson, who defined himself as the artistic freedom
fighter. At 81 years old . . . there is no retirement
By Davey D
Long time entertainer/activist/ freedom fighter Harry Belafonte came to Oakland the other week for an event he puts on called the Gathering for Justice. It drew more than a thousand people from all over the world including a number of former gang members who are concerned about the high incarceration rates and the increasing challenges besetting our society.
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Why was Belafontes Oakland star-studded gathering
whited out by mainstream media?By Marvin X
Billed as Harry Belafontes Gathering for Justice, the world renowned humanitarian called a national conference of youth to gather in Oakland Saturday to address their pressing issues and spark their consciousness to continue the work of his generation and those before him on the train of justice. Youth flooded into the Oakland Marriot from Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Washington, D.C., Brooklyn, Boston, Chicago and Detroit, as well as California. Youth from Oakland and the Bay Area, however, did not seem to be well represented, for some strange reason. [Little publicity appeared before the gathering, and the Bay View has been able to find no mainstream media coverage of the event. ed.] Nevertheless, the multi-cultural crowd was treated to the likes of Belafonte, Danny Glover, Barbara Lee, Ron Dellums, Walter Mosley, Sean Penn, Santana, Davey D and yes, Marvin X, who was vending his books when the Hot 8 Brass Band called him to the stage to join them in electrifying the crowd. We cannot praise and honor Harry Belafonte enough for his years in our liberation struggle. Yes, he is in the tradition of our great ancestor Paul Robeson, who defined himself as the artistic freedom fighter. At 81 years old, Harry is showing us that there is no retirement in the battle for justice in America or the world. Just as the forces of white supremacy are relentless, we must be also and never give up until the last breath. In his keynote address delivered at 9 a.m. on Saturday morning, he talked about the suffering his mentor Paul Robeson experienced as the artistic freedom fighter, but Harry said he is inspired to see Robesons spirit alive in actor Danny Glover. Even though he supported and marched with Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Harry was hypercritical of the black church today, calling it the “kidnappers of truth,” along with a few more choice words. DJ Davey D urged me to write a poem using Harrys metaphor. Harry criticized the reactionary rappers as well, calling them sellouts to cultural imperialism. But his main message is that we can overcome the forces of white supremacy by organizing and non-violently opposing evil. A mass movement of conscious youth can be a critical factor in moving the Movement forward out of the lethargy and passivity of the last few years. Because of its revolutionary tradition, Oakland was chosen for the first in a series of national meetings of the Gathering for Justice movement. Youth and adults in attendance included Native Americans, Latinos, Whites, Pacific Islanders, Asians and African Americans. We dont quite understand why more Oakland people were not present, especially with such high profile personalities on the agenda. Did organizers do outreach locally, or did they purposely limit information on the event since Oakland is currently suffering so much violence? Of course violence is nationwide. Someone, maybe Harry, mentioned 16,000 persons were murdered in America last year yes, far more than have died in Iraq. Maybe conference organizers feared Oaklanders mixing with youth from outside the city. The Gathering for Justice must present a long-term strategy to confront the myriad problems facing youth, including violence, mis-education, lack of jobs in lieu of jobs we suggest entrepreneurship and micro credit. Since there are few Black teachers, we offer peer teaching and independent study. And the prison population should be reduced with a general amnesty. The problem of the church or faith community can be addressed by noting the liberation theology of Jesus and Muhammad, and perhaps moving beyond religion toward spirituality as the Native Americans spoke about so eloquently and at great length. If Harry Belafonte, at 81, can involve himself with the Gathering for Justice, surely I can do the same at 63, and so I call upon my generation to become a part of this movement to save our children. Remember that James Brown tune, Get Involved? The highlight for me at Harrys Gathering for Justice was seeing the new generation of youth embracing each other and us elders. The Creator is telling me every little thing is going to be all ite. It was a blessing hearing and performing with that great group of young people from New Orleans, the Hot 8 Brass Band. Get Involved! The latest book by Dr. M/ Marvin X is How to Recover From the Addiction to White Supremacy: A Pan African 12 Step Model for a Mental Health Peer Group, foreword by Dr. Nathan Hare, afterword by Ptah Allah El, Black Bird Press, P.O. Box 1317, Paradise CA 95967, $19.95. www.marvinxwrites.blogspot.com, firstname.lastname@example.org .
posted 27 November 2007
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Belafonte, Harold George (Harry) (b. March 1, 1927, New York, N.Y.), African American singer, actor, producer, and activist, who has used his position as an entertainer to promote human rights worldwide. Belafonte continues to use his power as an entertainer in the struggle for civil rights. His production company, Harbel, formed in 1959, produces movies and television shows by and about black Americans. Belafonte’s idea for the hit song “We Are the World” generated more than 70 million dollars to fight famine in Ethiopia in 1985. Two years later, he became the second American to be named UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.
Harold George “Harry” Belafonte, Jr. (originally Belafonte; born March 1, 1927) is an American musician, actor and social activist. One of the most successful pop singers in history, he was dubbed the “King of Calypso,” a title which he was very reluctant to accept (according to the documentary Calypso Dreams) for popularizing the Caribbean musical style with an international audience in the 1950s.
Belafonte is perhaps best known for singing the “Banana Boat Song,” with its signature lyric “Day-O.” Throughout his career, he has been an advocate for civil rights and humanitarian causes. He was a vocal critic of the policies of the George W. Bush Administration.Wikipedia
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Harry Belafonte, legendary musician, actor and humanitarian. Hes the subject of a new documentary about his life, called Sing Your Song. This interview was conducted at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. I’m So Pissed Off / Transcript of Harry Belafonte-Larry King Interview
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Harry Belafonte talks Civil Rights Martin Luther King + being Black in 60s Hollywood with The GuardianLeke Sanusi3 July 2012The stately Harry Belafonte is a historical force as well as a creative one. Having sung, danced and acted his way into the history book and the hearts and minds of music and movie lovers over the course of a six-decade career, the towering 85-year-old also marched, picketed and debated his way to changing the course of the world as we know it, playing a seminal role in the fight for Civil Rights.
A stunning triple threat, Belafonte stood, and still stands, as an imposing figure, catching the eye with his undeniable looks, but amazing audiences with his ability to entertain; he is truly a man born for the stage. A theatrical soul and spirit. Developing close relationships with several proponents of the nonviolent factions of the Civil Rights Movement, the son of a Martiniquan chef and a housekeeper of Jamaican descent soon became one of the faces of the battle for equality, standing alongside the likes of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., and Charlton Heston.
An icon, a legend and inspiration, the one-time calypso recording artist has lived through and experienced the tectonic shifts in American culture. Belafonte watched as Reverend King was shot on the balcony of The Lorraine Motel in Memphis. He was 36 when JFK was assassinated in Dallas, 41 when Robert Kennedy was struck by three bullets in a kitchen passageway of The Ambassador Hotel. He celebrated as Lyndon B. Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 68, and smiled on with the likes of Joan Baez and Alice Walker at the inauguration of Barack Obama.
The influential performer and activist recounts his experiences and tells the untold story of his life in the critically-acclaimed documentary, Sing Your Song.
The biographical film charts Belafontes growth and development, delving into his upbringing and mapping out the trajectory of his career. Directed by Susanne Rostock, the film begins with Belafontes birth in Harlem and then embarks on the journey of his life, highlighting his efforts in the quest for civil rights.
In a video interview with The Guardians Sarfraz Manzoor and Cameron Robertson, Belafonte opens up about his life, Sing Your Song, and his book My Song: A Memoir of Art, Race & Defiance. He discusses his friendship with Martin Luther King, Jr., his relationship with JFK, and the inhumanity of segregation.
Speaking about his influences and the figures that inspired him to persevere in the face of discrimination, Belafonte explains:
In Harlem I saw all the heroes: Paul Robeson, Jackie Robinson, Joe Louis, Jesse Owens, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald. We all lived in the same place; the poor and the rich. Thats not quite the way today. If it wasnt for television, wed hardly know one another.
. . .I was befriended. Paul Robeson was the first one. Then came Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois one of the greatest intellectuals of the 20th century. These men stood strong and tall in the terms of dealing with human degradation and human pain. They did things about it.
Then there was a woman named Eleanor Roosevelt. She was the wife of the President of the United States of America. She threw her lot in with us, and was constantly in our community.
Powerful and impressive as ever, with undiminished gravitas and effervescence, Belafonte explores the culture and atmosphere of his life and times, putting things into perspective and reminding us all of the heroes, heroines and giants of the not-too-distant past.
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#1 – Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark #2 – Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree #3 – Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane #4 – Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper #5 – Stackin’ Paper 2 Genesis’ Payback by Joy King #6 – Thug Lovin’ (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark #7 – When I Get Where I’m Going by Cheryl Robinson #8 – Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby #9 – The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane
#10 – Covenant: A Thriller by Brandon Massey
#11 – Diary Of A Street Diva by Ashley and JaQuavis
#12 – Don’t Ever Tell by Brandon Massey
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#14 – For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree
#15 – Homemade Loves by J. California Cooper
#16 – The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper
#17 – Player Haters by Carl Weber
#18 – Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare
#19 – Stackin’ Paper by Joy King
#20 – Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey
#21 – The Upper Room by Mary Monroe
#22 Thug Matrimony by Wahida Clark
#23 – Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark
#24 – Married Men by Carl Weber
#25 – I Dreamt I Was in Heaven – The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter
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#19 – John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard
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#22 – 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino #23 – Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul by Tom Lagana #24 – 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields
#25 – Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class by Lisa B. Thompson
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By Mary L. Dudziak
Thurgood Marshall became a living icon of civil rights when he argued Brown v. Board of Education before the Supreme Court in 1954. Six years later, he was at a crossroads. A rising generation of activists were making sit-ins and demonstrations rather than lawsuits the hallmark of the civil rights movement. What role, he wondered, could he now play? When in 1960 Kenyan independence leaders asked him to help write their constitution, Marshall threw himself into their cause. Here was a new arena in which law might serve as the tool with which to forge a just society. In Exporting American Dreams: Thurgood Marshall’s African Journey (2008) Mary Dudziak recounts with poignancy and power the untold story of Marshall’s journey to Africa
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By Charlayne Hunter-Gault
A personal history of the civil rights movement from activist and acclaimed journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault. On January 20, 2009, 1.8 million people crowded the grounds of the Capitol to witness the inauguration of Barack Obama. Among the masses was Charlayne Hunter-Gault. She had flown from South Africa for the occasion, to witness what was for many the culmination of the long struggle for civil rights in the United States. In this compelling personal history, she uses the event to look back on her own involvement in the civil rights movement, as one of two black students who forced the University of Georgia to integrate, and to relate the pivotal events that swept the South as the movement gathered momentum through the early 1960s. With poignant black-and-white photos, original articles from the New York Times, and a unique personal viewpoint, this is a moving tribute to the men and women on whose shoulders Obama stood.
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This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label ‘trafficked’ does not accurately describe migrants’ lives and that the ‘rescue industry’ serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice.
“Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality.”Lisa Adkins, University of London
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By Isabel Wilkerson
Ida Mae Brandon Gladney, a sharecropper’s wife, left Mississippi for Milwaukee in 1937, after her cousin was falsely accused of stealing a white man’s turkeys and was almost beaten to death. In 1945, George Swanson Starling, a citrus picker, fled Florida for Harlem after learning of the grove owners’ plans to give him a “necktie party” (a lynching). Robert Joseph Pershing Foster made his trek from Louisiana to California in 1953, embittered by “the absurdity that he was doing surgery for the United States Army and couldn’t operate in his own home town.” Anchored to these three stories is Pulitzer Prizewinning journalist Wilkerson’s magnificent, extensively researched study of the “great migration,” the exodus of six million black Southerners out of the terror of Jim Crow to an “uncertain existence” in the North and Midwest.
Wilkerson deftly incorporates sociological and historical studies into the novelistic narratives of Gladney, Starling, and Pershing settling in new lands, building anew, and often finding that they have not left racism behind. The drama, poignancy, and romance of a classic immigrant saga pervade this book, hold the reader in its grasp, and resonate long after the reading is done.
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By Harry Belafonte with Michael Shnayerson
Here is a gorgeous account of the large life of a Harlem boy, son of a Jamaican cleaning lady, Melvine Love, and a ships cook, Harold Bellanfanti, who endured the grind of poverty under the watchful eye of his proud mother and waited for his chances, prepared to be lucky, and made himself into the international calypso star and popular folk singer, huge in Las Vegas, also Europe, and a mainstay of the civil rights movement of the 60s . . .
His mother found refuge in the Catholic Church. The Holy Roller preachers of her native Jamaica were too niggerish for her. She loved the marble majesty of Catholicism and sent the boy off to parochial school to suffer at the hands of the nuns and took him to Mass every Sunday, dressed in a blue suit, and afterward to the Apollo Theater to hear Cab Calloway or Count Basie or Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald. . . .
Dr. King is one strong strand in My Song; another is Belafontes family saga through three marriages with four children; another is his inner life, psychoanalysis, the wounds of childhood, his gambling addiction; another, the oddity of show business, the casual flings, the personal manager who turned out to be an F.B.I. informer. Indelible characters pass by: Sidney Poitier, Eleanor Roosevelt, James Baldwin, Bob Dylan, Fidel Castro, Miriam Makeba.NYTimes
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From The World and Africa, 1965
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update 4 July 2012