“A tree is best measured when it is down,” the poet Carl Sandburg once observed, “and so it is with people.” The recent death of Harry Belafonte at the age of 96 has prompted many assessments of what this pioneering singer-actor-activist accomplished in a long and fruitful life.
Belafonte’s career as a ground-breaking entertainer brought him substantial wealth and fame; according to Playbill magazine, “By 1959, he was the highest paid Black entertainer in the industry, appearing in raucously successful engagements in Las Vegas, New York, and Los Angeles.” He scored on Broadway, winning a 1954 Tony for Best Featured Actor in a Musical – John Murray Anderson's Almanac. Belafonte was the first Black person to win the prestigious award. A 1960 television special, “Tonight with Belafonte,” brought him an Emmy for Outstanding Performance in a Variety or Musical Program or Series, making him the first Black person to win that award. He found equal success in the recording studio, bringing Calypso music to the masses via such hits as “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)” and “Jamaica Farewell.”
Harry Belafonte - Day-O (The Banana Boat Song) (Live)www.youtube.com
Belafonte’s blockbuster stardom is all the more remarkable for happening in a world plagued by virulent systemic racism. Though he never stopped performing, by the early 1960s he’d shifted his energies to the nascent Civil Right movement. He was a friend and adviser to the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. and, as the New York Times stated, Belafonte “put up much of the seed money to help start the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and was one of the principal fund-raisers for that organization and Dr. King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center notes that “he helped launch one of Mississippi’s first voter registration drives and provided funding for the Freedom Riders. His activism extended beyond the U.S. as he fought against apartheid alongside Nelson Mandela and Miriam Makeba, campaigned for Mandela’s release from prison, and advocated for famine relief in Africa.” And in 1987, he received an appointment to UNICEF as a goodwill ambassador.
Over a career spanning more than seventy years, Belafonte brought joy to millions of people. He also did something that is, perhaps, even greater: he fostered the hope that a better world for all could be created. And, by his example, demonstrated how we might go about bringing that world into existence.
How This Busy Mom Fits Workouts Into Her Schedule
f you're anything like me, your workout routines come and go in waves. I'll start out strong with a new program, but a few weeks in—my kids get sick or I can't find the time between practice and recitals and I've missed a week of running. I keep planning on getting back on track and suddenly, it's been two months since my last workout. I literally used to repeat this cycle over and over, until I came across this fitness app called Aaptiv, and it has been the best fitness decision I've ever made.
Aaptivis an app that offers a variety of audio workouts led by certified personal trainers. Since the classes are audio based, you can do them anytime, anywhere. They have just about every kind of workout you can think of: running, strength training, yoga. Each workout has its own custom playlist, which is perfect because who really has the time to create playlists anymore? Classes are anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour so there are classes short enough to fit into that half-hour window between getting home from work and prepping dinner. This app was exactly what I was looking for — workouts I could do on my own schedule. I also loved that I could schedule workouts into my iCalendar and get reminders on my phone to actually do them.
Jogging is my workout of choice — it's quick, simple and gets me outside for a few minutes. Aaptiv has plenty of running classes and trainers to choose from but Jamie is my favorite. Her playlists are always filled with Classic Pop (think Madonna and MJ) and her energy not only keeps me motivated, it also makes the minutes fly by. Jaime has one class called "Sprint City" that is my go-to. It is 24 minutes long and utilizes my upper and lower body to get a great balanced workout. Her motivational, tough love style always gives me that extra push and I feel like I'm getting the most out of each workout. I also love the elliptical and strength training classes that I can to do indoors when the weather isn't cooperating.
Aaptiv has brought nothing but positivity into my life. I have finally been able to keep up with regular workout routine for months. I've noticed a difference in my endurance and it has become something I actually look forward to with my busy schedule. Jaime's energy always lifts my mood and the calendar reminders have become my best friend. I even feel like my kids are learning the importance of fitness because of how I've been able to prioritize it. Aaptiv makes it almost impossible to get stuck in a rut and that's what I love about it.
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