An African American blog of politics, culture, and social activism.
By : Alexandra Zawia
At the Locarno Film Festival to pick up the Golden Leopard Honor Award, the singer and actor also talks about his fears of a Fourth Reich and why Mitt Romney shouldn’t be president.
Harry Belafonte, at 85, is as active and activist as ever. At the Locarno Film Festival, despite walking with a stick, he couldn’t be kept from introducing the films the festival screened in his honor, especially Otto Preminger’s Carmen Jones, which he said “put me most on the map of the world.” Belafonte at one point called himself “the greatest actor in the world who always pretended to be a singer.“
THR: Can you pin down what the enemy is nowadays?
Belafonte: Unbridled capitalism. The concentration of money in the hands of a very small group is the most dangerous thing that has ever happened to civilization. We are facing an oligarchy of force. Just look at who controls the press. We all witnessed how money and power squeezed out all essence of Rupert Murdoch and [Silvio] Berlusconi. Thank God for social media, which aids transparency. But even that becomes more and more restricted now, with companies like Facebook buying up all the roots of this technology. But I am currently involved with two documentaries, one Leadbelly: Legend, Life, Legacy and the other Another Night in the Free World, which I am shooting now for about five months. It is globally looking at the youth movement during the the Arab Spring, looking at what happened in Cairo and Tunisia and now in Syria.
THR: Back to the occasion of the award for your acting career. Are you happy with the image of members of minorities in Hollywood today?
Belafonte: Not at all. They have not told the history of our people, nothing of who we are. We are still looking. We are not determinated. We are not driven by some technology that says you can kill Afghans, the Iraqis or the Spanish. It is all — excuse my French — shit. It is sad. And I think one of the great abuses of this modern time is that we should have had such high-profile artists, powerful celebrities. But they have turned their back on social responsibility. That goes for Jay-Z and Beyonce, for example. Give me Bruce Springsteen, and now you’re talking. I really think he is black. READ MORE