“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.
A return is almost always out of the question. Plus, gift givers don’t often include a return receipt, and we all know we wouldn’t dare ask for one. I’d rather admit to a crime than confess I don’t like a gift - how insulting to the gifter’s sense of aesthetics.
And-hey, I have limited drawer space. Who can keep these unwanted gifts for six months when there isn’t any space for them? I hate clutter, and unwanted gifts are just that.
This year, I am making an effort to swiftly remove any unwanted gifts from my house without hurting anyone’s feelings…and potentially benefiting others. As the old saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. And thank goodness for that.
From the The Guardian:
“According to research published this week by the consumer body, one in four people (24%) received an unwanted or unsuitable gift for the Christmas of 2021. Meanwhile, a separate study by the personal finance comparison site Finder said £1.2bn was wasted on unwanted Christmas gifts each year.”
Come to terms with the fact that you will never use that gift and follow these quick tips to offload those unwanted gifts:
Sarah Brown via Unsplash
The most obvious choice for those unwanted pairs of mud-green sweat socks and that same fluffy robe you get every year from your Aunt Judy is to donate them. Just round up everything you don’t want and Google the donation center closest to you.
This is also a fantastic excuse to purge your closet of that pile of stuff you’ve been meaning to get rid of. A few bags of give-away-clothes will get your spring cleaning out of the way early.
Artificial Photography via Unsplash
Resale websites are all the rage right now. If you got a pair of pants that don’t fit or a sweater that isn’t your style, resell them on a website dedicated to just that. Sites like Poshmark, Mercari, and DePop are known for selling those trendy pieces of clothing you barely used.
Thrifting has never been hotter. Hop on the trend while people are constantly perusing sites for the hottest deal. Then reward yourself for being so virtuous, by dropping the cash on some fabulous things you’ll actually wear!
Jackie S via Unsplash
If you got something that you think one of your friends or family can benefit from, why not give it to them? There’s no shame in revealing that it was a gift and you don’t want it anymore…as long as you aren’t re-gifting to the person who gave it to you!
Or, keep the gifts to re-gift at a later date. You never know when you’re going to need a last minute gift. You’ll thank yourself later.
Attempt a Return
Erik McLean via Unsplash
If your item still has a tag, you can make a valiant effort to return to the store. If you can make your case, many stores won’t want to fight you on it. They may be forgiving and grant you store credit at the very least.
How His Cost Plus Drugs Company Is Saving Lives And Wallets
The costs of medications continue to rise and we continue to shell out hundreds of dollars for something that should cost close to nothing. Between the sheer amount of hoops and economy-this-economy-that, those who want to make medications as accessible as possible have had their hands tied.
While insulin costs around $10 a vial to make, it can go for around $300. Some diabetes patients could need six vials a month, meaning they could be looking to spend $1800 monthly on Insulin alone.
And for those who are uninsured, medication prices can be astronomical. Medication appears to be on a market-based pricing system, meaning, based on demand, medication could rise in price just because.
This is entirely unfair to someone who needs insulin to survive, but may not be able to afford the proper dosage due to market pricing. Not only is this the case for the millions of diabetic Americans who need insulin, but also for hundreds of thousands of people across the country.
Billionaire and entrepreneur, Mark Cuban, started a company to wage war with Big Pharma and their steep pricing. In the six months it’s been public, Cost Plus Drug Company has become a savior for many people in the United States.
No, It’s Not Too Good To Be True
The first thing I thought when hearing about Cost Plus Drugs is that it had to have a catch. There is no way that it was simply that easy to not charge an arm and a leg for generic prescription medications – but it turns out it is.
In the short amount of time that Cost Plus Drugs has existed, it’s provided hundreds of medications for some of the lowest prices the pharmaceutical market has seen. There is accessibility for everyone, regardless of your diagnosis - they provide generic drugs for diabetes, cancer, depression, anxiety, birth control and more.
At your local pharmacy, Actos - a drug prescribed for diabetics - could go for around $75, but with Cost Plus Drugs, you can get it starting at $7. Mental health medications like Wellbutrin are also going at a lower rate than you would normally pay.
While he may be a billionaire, Mark Cuban just gets it – we shouldn’t have to pay to save our lives or choose between paying rent and getting medication.
Another aspect that makes Cost Plus Drugs trustworthy is that they’re completely transparent about their pricing methods. In their mission statement, they announce that all drugs are priced at the cost it takes to make the medication, plus 15%, plus a pharmacy fee.
Another way Cost Plus Drugs is able to keep their prices low is by relying on completely word of mouth advertising.
They made the decision to forego marketing completely because they didn’t want to have to charge more money for products than absolutely needed. Instead, Mark Cuban is working to pass this information along on social media and hoping other platforms can do the same.
Cuban created Cost Plus Drugs in order to disrupt the drug industry one drug at a time. If he can get more and more medications signed on through his service, the pharmaceutical industry will have true competition and force Big Pharma to lower prices.
The Future Looks Promising
We can only hope that Mark Cuban’s Cost Plus Drugs company creates a domino effect and incentivizes others to follow suit. In their mission statement, the company reveals that they started the company in order to try and help disadvantaged populations who normally are neglected by pharmaceutical companies:
“Our goal is to dramatically reduce the cost of drugs like Albendazole, but we also think that it is just as important to introduce transparency to the pricing of drugs so patients know they are getting a fair price.”
It is incredibly important that there is someone advocating for a more cost-effective healthcare market. With medication being shipped right to your door, it’s worth checking out to see if they carry your prescriptions as well.