“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.
5 surprising secrets of obtaining true happiness
Every individual must find a path to true happiness on their own, but these tips may help.
When was the last time you were truly happy? How do you even know that you are truly happy? Life is full of many disappointments and we can get easily carried away and forget to appreciate the small things. Here are 5 surprising secrets of true happiness to help you appreciate life more.
Don't Compare Your Achievements
As humans, it is normal for us to be naturally competitive. There is always that voice within us that keeps telling us that we can be and do better; that silent whisper in our head that keeps motivating us to push further. However, the problem comes in when we start comparing our achievements with those of other people. For example, if we start comparing our fitness goals with those of others, we will end up getting disappointed since different people have totally different lifestyles. Therefore, if you want to attain true happiness in life, stop comparing your achievements with others; compete with yourself instead.
Do Things That Scare You
When was the last time you did something new? When was the last time you went to a place you've never been to before? When was the last time you did something random? When was the last time you did things that scared you? The whole world is out there reaching out to you to embrace it. Stop being too predictable in everything you do. Take a random trip to a new place on Friday after work. Quit your job and start that business that you've always been procrastinating. Take a bus and talk to the stranger sitting next to you. They say that life is what happens when you are busy making other plans, and I say true happiness is found in the strangest of places.
Live in the Present
What if you don't land that job? What if he doesn't propose after years of dating? What if…. We are all prone to get carried away by the uncertainty of the future that we forget to embrace and enjoy our present. We do not know what the future holds, and worrying about it every second will not change a thing. Sometimes it's good to just let things happen. Enjoy everything you have in your present because tomorrow it could be a privilege you wish you had.
Relish in Your Alone Time
When was the last time you had a conversation with yourself? If you cannot recall the answer to that question, then it's high time you created some alone time. Alone time is always a good opportunity for you to evaluate your life and see the best direction for you to take. It is the best time for you to make some critical life decisions. What can you do to be happy? Who do you need to let go in your life so you could be happier? These decisions are best made when you have an honest conversation with yourself in your alone time.
Listen to Your Inner Voice
It is always advisable to follow your intuition. Your heart always knows what your head hasn't figured out. If you have a bad feeling about something, it is best if you don't follow through with it. On the same note, if you have a good feeling about someone, it is advisable to give them a chance, and who knows, you could make the best memories with them.
The key to happiness is in your hand. With all the disappointments that life keeps throwing at us every day, we are left with the option of creating our own happiness. If you want to be truly happy and you have no idea where to start, try making use of these 5 surprising secrets of true happiness and thank me later!