“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.
Subscription Laundry Detergent Is A Thing. We Tried It: Here's What Happened
As I've gotten a little older, I feel like I've really refined my sense of style, and have started to buy more high-end basic, pieces of clothing that'll stand the test of time. They're the type of pieces that can be machine washed, but I feel like store bought laundry products are all have the same generic scent that makes me smell like a flower that swallowed a dead flower. Plus, the generic brands just don't really take care of my clothes, and now that I'm actually investing some money into what I wear, it's important to me that the clothes last as long as possible. If I buy the same laundry products as my mom, I'm going to smell like my mom. Poof, mind blown. There had to be a detergent out there that didn't look and smell like they were meant for housewives from the 1950's. I did some Googling, and found Frey, a line of products designed to change the way we think about washing our clothes.
When I landed on Frey's site, I felt like I was onto something different. The vibe was sleek and modern, unlike any laundry brand I'd ever seen before, almost like a lifestyle product for cool men that hitchhike across the country to swim in hot springs, but also own a closet full of suits. I scrolled over to products, and honestly was surprised to see more than one. I guess I never really thought past detergent. I learned Fabric Conditioner could reduce the wrinkles in my shirts, who knew? Still, I didn't know if a natural product would actually get my clothes clean, or if I could trust that I'd like the scent. Scent is so personal, how would I know I liked something I bought online?
I decided to read more. I learned that Frey has no parabens or toxins, which is good for the environment and my sensitive skin, plus its concentrated formula means less waste per load. I liked how Frey has total transparency about its contents and created a business model based on sustainability—Frey plants a tree for every order placed. These guys get it.
But going back to my original dilemma, I needed to know about the scent, and didn't know if buying something on the internet I couldn't smell first made sense. There was a lot of hype with the customer reviews. . . "So. F'ing. Good." "Smells like a man with an 815 credit score." "Nomad Wizard Lumberjack." I wasn't even sure what the last one meant, but with such unique and detailed descriptions, I figured people must really like it.
Then I noticed Frey's Laundry Plan. It was like they knew I needed a little help. I answered a few easy questions like what kinds of fabrics I would be washing (work or workout) and if I ever wear clothes a second time in between washes (who doesn't?!). Then they gave me a suggested laundry list. They even have articles with really useful tips like "How To Get Barbeque Stains Out Of A White T-Shirt." The only thing left was to try it. . .
Smelling my clothes after washing with Frey was like doing a cannonball into a creek in an autumnal forest. But also really subtle- I understand the hype. Now when I put on a clean shirt I feel put-together and on top of my game. And it doesn't even costs less than regular detergent; those can cost up to $0.93 per load, Frey's cost is just $0.40 per load! #MathNerdAlert. Plus the smell is amazing . . . Excuse the pun, but what a breath of fresh air.