“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.
Marco Rubio Doesn't Know What a Field Goal Is
The Senator tweeted an awkward sports analogy about the Florida election recounts.
Like a dorky but enthusiastic Dad trying to connect with a teenage son he doesn't understand, Marco Rubio made an epicly bad sports analogy in a tweet about the vote recount in Florida.
Imagine if NFL team was trailing 24-22 but in final seconds hits a 3 pt kick to win. Then AFTER game lawyers for lo… https://t.co/4wV58OLrxo— Marco Rubio (@Marco Rubio) 1542160106.0
He was consequently mocked by twitter users for calling a field goal "a three point kick," earning a number of responses that questioned the Senator's sports knowledge and the logic of the intended metaphor.
@marcorubio When you’re Marco Rubio and you want to make a sports metaphor but don’t know how to sport. https://t.co/kMWFbabB4K— Marc Lombardi (@Marc Lombardi) 1542164444.0
Every announcer needs to use “3-point kick” this weekend. https://t.co/4vLoO17VHg— Medium Happy (@Medium Happy) 1542165859.0
When your analogy is so god awful that "3 point kick" is the most coherent part. 3. Point. Kick. 🙄 https://t.co/qZWVqnRN2T— Taylor Garrison (@Taylor Garrison) 1542166671.0
People are hung up on him calling it a "3-point kick" but what kind of score is 24-22? Did this team get 3 touchdow… https://t.co/TWkHwdQL3Q— Jesse Pantuosco (@Jesse Pantuosco) 1542166340.0
In response, Rubio whined about the ridicule, somehow managing to go even further into the hole of lameness he dug for himself, essentially saying, "Haha no guys seriously I know about sport I love sport let's toss the ole pigskin haha go Dolphins!"
I am being roasted for ‘3 pt kick’ tweet about election? Why? You think everyone who follows politics knows what a… https://t.co/48YjCd7MRM— Marco Rubio (@Marco Rubio) 1542217743.0
Of course, this is not the first time Rubio has embarrassed himself in the realm of sports. How can any of us forget the iconic moment in his 2016 presidential campaign when he nailed a child in the face with a football?
Maybe if you stop trying so hard be athletic, Marco, you won't need to be so disciplined about hydration.
Marco Rubio Pauses Speech for Water Breakwww.youtube.com
Brooke Ivey Johnson is a Brooklyn based writer, playwright, and human woman. To read more of her work visit her blog or follow her twitter @BrookeIJohnson.