Harry Belafonte singing outside a church in "Sing Your Song"
Sing Your Song
Sundance Film Festival
Director: Susanne Rostock
I’m a little ashamed to admit that before seeing this documentary the only thing I knew about Harry Belafonte was that he sang and popularized the Jamaican song, “Day-O.” “Sing Your Song” enlightened me not only about Belafonte’s early music and acting career but more importantly, his work as a worldwide human rights advocator. Belafonte is probably one of the most underrated activists of the last century and in a way it seems fitting. Belafonte’s personality is captured perfectly in this documentary—portraying him as a man more concerned about the well being of others than his own, putting protests and activist work in front of personal gain and sacrificing career opportunities in the name of equality. Belafonte used his notoriety to secure political meetings with top government officials and forged historical alliances with people like the Kennedys and Martin Luther King Jr. He called other celebrities to action like Marlon Brando and Sidney Poitier. While watching the film, I found myself pondering how different today’s world would be if Belafonte never took a stand for what was right. Today in his 80s, Belafonte is just as active as ever, speaking out against social injustices. His current focus is raising awareness about the alarming amount of youth incarcerated in our own American prison system. “Sing Your Song” has inspired me to become a more politically active person.