“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.
By 2050, the Population is Set to Soar
The Population Reference Bureau (PRB) is giving us little warning of little wiggle room. If you plan on being around in 32 years from now, expect the planet to be more populated than ever. According to their staggering stats, "The world population will reach 9.9 billion by 2050, up 2.3 billion or 29 percent from an estimated 7.6 billion people now."
People are popping upwww.newsnation.in
Based on the global TFR (Total Fertility Rate), meaning the average births per female over their lifetime, the current number is 2.4. While this average has gone down over recent decades, it still gives way to a steady growth in overall global population. So much so, that by '50, the population will be edging on 10 billion. Personal space? Please.
A major increase in Africa www.modernghana.com
So, where will this pop in population be most prevalent? More than half of it will be attributed to Africa. As the PRB reports, "Africa's population will more than double to 2.6 billion by 2050 and account for 58 percent of the global population increase by that date." Asia will explode too, with 5.3 billion to be around by '50, up by 717 million. The Americas will see a less significant increase from 1 billion to 1.2 billion and Oceana (New Zealand/Australia) will hike to 64 million from 41 million.
The U.S. specifically will come in among the top eight as far as population growth goes with a 1.6 million person increase by '50, reaching 390 million total. India is #1 on the planet with a 308.8 million increase expected, and Nigeria is next with a 214.7 million increase in the cards.
There will be declines in certain areas of the world as well. China will see the biggest dip, plummeting by 49.9 million by '50. Japan is behind them with a projected 24.7 million dip.
An aging populationhttps://www.istockphoto.com
Not only will the population (in total) soar, but the average age across the world will increase too. As PRB reports, "By midcentury, projections indicate that 16 percent of the world population will be ages 65 and older, up from 9 percent now. The percentage of people in this age bracket in the world's more-developed countries is projected to reach 27 percent, up from 18 percent now, while the percentage of adults ages 65 an older in less-developed countries is projected to double to 14 percent." As for the U.S., "The percentage of the population ages 65 and older in the United States is projected to increase from 15 percent in 2018 to 22 percent in 2050. The percentage of the U.S. population under age 15 is projected to decrease from 19 percent in 2018 to 17 percent by 2050."
For more insight on this population projection by the PRB, see the full report. 'Till then, enjoy your arm's distance.