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Sing Your Song: Harry Belafonte

40 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Told with a remarkable sense of intimacy, visual style and musical panache, Susanne Rostock's inspiring biographical documentary SING YOUR SONG surveys the life and times of singer/actor/activist Harry Belafonte. From his rise to fame as a singer and his experiences touring a segregated country to his provocative crossover into Hollywood, Belafonte's groundbreaking career personifies the American civil rights movement. Rostock reveals Belafonte as a tenacious hands-on activist who worked intimately with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., mobilized celebrities for social justice, participated in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa and took action to counter gang violence, prisons, and the incarceration of youth.

Because of his beliefs, Belafonte drew unwarranted invasions by the FBI into both his personal life and career, which led to years of struggle. But an indomitable sense of optimism motivates his path even today as he continues to ask, at 84, "What do we do now?" His example may very well inspire you to action.

Special Features

  • Interview with Harry Belafonte
  • Full-length Music Performances
  • Trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Harry Belafonte
  • Directors: Susanne Rostock
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Docurama
  • DVD Release Date: May 29, 2012
  • Run Time: 104 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0071BY1YC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,071 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Pam Mcdonald on February 20, 2012
Format: DVD
This movie holds me in rapt attention, and I have watched it 3 times now. My 33-year-old daughter loved it. Two of her comments remain with me: She felt like she was watching an alternate reality, and Belafonte is such a gorgeous man, even at 80 years old.

Watching other movies, with old footage of Birmingham, Selma and Little Rock gives a certain view of what the 1960's were like, but watching this beautiful man live through those times, day-to-day, gives the viewer a sense of what it was like to live a courageous life under segregated conditions.

Finally, how many of us knew what a key player Belafonte was and still is, in the the Civil Rights movement all over the world, bringing cash and star power to the movement, not just his own star power, but Marlon Brando, Tony Curtis, Paul Newman, Tony Bennet, and on and on ...

If you are interested in the Civil Rights movement of yesterday, today, and TOMORROW, or if you just love calypso music sung by a honey-voiced, magnetic personality, you won't be disappointed in this movie.
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Format: DVD
I'm almost ashamed to admit how little I knew of the remarkable journey of activist and entertainer Harry Belafonte. While I was aware of many of his philanthropic endeavors with UNICEF and his recent dedication to youth education programs, I was not cognizant of just how pivotal a role Belafonte played in the Civil Rights movement. Susanne Rostock's stirring documentary "Sing Your Song" is a fitting tribute to a man who has tirelessly devoted his life to repairing the social injustices of the world. He used his entertainment career to shed light on the bigger issues of the day and never has celebrity so seamlessly interwoven with activism. Harry Belafonte has had a truly noteworthy life and in this film he shares many war stories with style and candor. He remains an inspiration and after laying out his many accomplishments, the film closes with him asking "What do we do now?" Good question because we need to be doing something different, something more.

"Sing Your Song" uses Belafonte front and center relaying his life story. There is tons of footage from performances, rallies, concerts, and speeches as he navigated through our tumultuous history. The first parts of the film detail how Belafonte's career took off and just how he paralleled his success with his increasing interest in race related issues. He was a trailblazer who made music, films, and TV specials that challenged conventional fare. I was especially impressed, though, that he continuously put himself on the front line. Belafonte isn't sidelined during the Civil Rights movement. He is one of its most visible faces and helped raise awareness by bringing his celebrity friends into the picture.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By MzZzyzx on February 19, 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
An historically accurate depiction of the times and the struggle through the life and work of one activist, as shared by many others. I watched this on HBO with my step-mother who, along with my father, were activists in that time. We are giving a copy to each of my nieces and nephews. This is important history to be passed down through the generations, so we don't forget what came before, and is still pushing back. Thank god the news footage of the period has been preserved!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Linda on November 21, 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Sing Your Song: Harry Belafonte is a wonderful DVD. It is rich in history and music. I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in social justice.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Birdman on February 2, 2013
Format: DVD
I am baffled by those reviewers who expect Harry Belafonte to sing and samba here. They have been out-of-touch with the post-recording celebrity who has always been a champion of human rights, not merely the rights of people of color. I know very few human beings of any background, or bearing any title, who have given to social justice what Belafonte has over his lifetime.

This documentary is filled with jolts, shocks of recognition about the subject they thought they knew. Indeed, Belafonte has been entrenched in human rights battles from Mississippi to Ethiopia to South Africa. His musical victories, all hard-won, were the engine with which he was able to "work" his causes. Today, at the start of African American History Month 2013, it would not be extreme to say that Harry was a pivotal member of the movement, or that he was so drawn to help that he left his family behind once too often. Those who survive him largely understand; but there have been few notables who have given their lives to a cause without impacting their family bonds.

What this fast-paced, beautifully edited documentary emphasizes is the integrity of the individual as an artist, a political partner, and to the extent possible -- a father and marital partner. Certainly there is enough of Belafonte's music here to satisfy its fans, but the revelations of his relationships, both personal and political, make one sit up, open-mouthed and wonder hw one human could have achieved and known so much.

Personally, I believe it. I saw Belafonte perform once. I followed news releases about his activities over the years. I had not known how insidious the FBI's pursuit of Belafonte became, nor the tenacity with which he canceled lucrative media contracts that were patently racist.
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