“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.
Disney's Mueller Report vs. The Army of Evil will allegedly star David Schwimmer as a singing version of the Mueller Report.
If Robert Mueller's congressional hearing made one thing clear, it's that Robert Mueller stands by the findings of his report and will refer people to its content whenever possible.
But now, with a little help from Walt Disney Studios, the Mueller Report will finally be able to speak for itself––or rather, sing!
Shortly after Robert Mueller's testimony that his findings did not exonerate President Trump of collusion with Russia, Disney announced the title of its newest animated musical: Mueller Report vs. The Army of Evil.
While initial character designs have yet to be revealed, a source confirmed that the movie would indeed star a sentient, singing, cartoon version of the Mueller Report, a la "I'm Just a Bill" from Schoolhouse Rock.
I'm Just a Bill (Schoolhouse Rock!)www.youtube.com
Early leaks suggest that the story revolves around the Mueller Report, a young ream of paper born into a dystopia, who's torn between the laws dictating his actions and the expectations thrust upon him by society. Under these conditions, the Mueller Report must stand up to the evil Baron von Grump and his army of angry man-ghosts...or die trying.
David Schwimmer is allegedly in talks to play the titular Mueller Report, while Alec Badwin has reportedly expressed interest in the role of Baron von Grump.
Mueller Report vs. The Army of Evil seems intended to turn the current state of American politics into a fun, informative adventure that even the youngest of children can enjoy. There's no doubt that if Disney plays their cards right, this could go down as one of their most influential movies yet.
Best of all, assuming the character design is on-point (and when has Disney ever failed on that front?), fans can expect to see the Mueller Report on all sorts of merchandise, from toys to plushies to children's backpacks.
Mueller Report vs. The Army of Evil is set to release in theaters mid-2020.