Harry Belafonte Sings His Song in HBO Documentary

November 23, 2011 at 4:28 pm Leave a comment

If you haven’t see the HBO documentary special, “Sing Your Song,” a full movie-length biopic on the heroic life of actor, singer and ardent activist Harry Belafonte, make sure you set aside the time to catch it while it’s available on the cable station’s real-time line-up, tape it on TiVo, or order on DVD.  The documentary chronicles Belafonte’s incredible life as he struggles to move forward and later, after success, navigate a predominately white Hollywood.

The most impressive aspect of “Sing Your Song,” beautifully directed by Susanne Rostock, is Belafonte’s positive impact on social and political issues in the U.S. and around the world, especially in impovershed countries in dire need of help for survival.  For instance, you surely know the perennial, Grammy award winning, “We Are the World” song, recorded by Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie (both of whom wrote the song) and numerous other famous performers.  But, what you probably don’t know is that Belafonte organized the creation of this song to support the horrific famine in Ethiopia in 1985.  This is just one example, and the film is packed with poignant, meaningful moments of Belafonte’s life.

To give you an insiders peek at “Sing Your Song,” we talked with his daughter, Gina Belafonte, to learn about how her iconic dad inspired her.  Gina was one of the producers of “Sing Your Song” and instrumental in creating the film to document her father’s legacy.  Here are excerpts from that MommaJam interview:

MJ:  What part did you play in making “Sing Your Song” come to life?

GB:  I am one of the producers, and it’s my first time producing a feature length documentary.  I got the ball the rolling on the film. When my daughter turned 7, I realized she would not know my dad they way we did and have a relationship with her grandfather the way I did with mine.

MJ:  How did your dad inspire you growing up and as an adult?

GB:  As a child, my father included us as much as he could in his process, so when he was there, he did his best to be a part of our lives.  He did his best to include us, as long as it didn’t put us in harms way.  As an adult, he inspires me with his level of truth and moral conviction.  We have similar political beliefs and activitism.

MJ:  Do you do a lot of charity work or work with needy people from around the world?

GB:  At the moment, I am traveling all over the world talking to people about the film.  I work with The Gathering For Justice, which I founded.  The organization deals with the issues of youth incarceration.  I also work with 2nd Call, which deals with gang intervention in Los Angeles, to give people a second chance at loving life.

MJ:  What’s next for you?

GB:  At the end of the film (“Sing Your Song”), you ask, “What do you do now?”  We’ve entered into a deal with HBO to answer those questions and we are working on new film called, “Another Night in the Free World,” with the same team.  This film is more of a concept and philosophy and look at what people are doing in the world with social unrest.

Thank you, Gina, for sharing your insight and for the inside scoop on your next film with your dad, Harry Belafonte.  To get more information and get inspired to help others during this holiday season, go to HBO.com and check out the trailer below.

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Entry filed under: MommaJam Minute. Tags: , , , , , .

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