“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.
Why Aaptiv Is The Best Fitness App During Pregnancy
Being pregnant is definitely an incredible experience - knowing that you go about your usual day-to-day while growing a baby inside of you is surreal. I'm currently 33 weeks along and I cannot wait to finally meet our baby. I have definitely been that girl that has milked being pregnant for everything it's worth - like eating for two. However, from 14 weeks to 18 weeks, I put on a whopping 10 pounds that was honestly mostly all avocado toast rather than baby. My OB warned me that while it was completely normal to put on weight, it wasn't normal to let it get out of control.
Prior to getting pregnant, I was a daily runner, but once I got the good news I completely stopped, mostly because I was afraid of getting my heart rate up too high and potentially putting the baby at risk. While walking out of the doctor's office another woman, who must have been close to 40 weeks along, overheard me talking to my husband about my concerns. She stopped me on my way out to rave about this fitness app she had been using to workout during her pregnancy called Aaptiv. She looked great so I didn't hesitate to download it and see what it was all about.
Aaptiv offers guided audio fitness classes for every fitness level, taught by certified personal trainers. After I signed up for a trial, I was excited to find there were pregnancy workouts that were not only organized by trimester -- but they even had them organized by the week! There are four classes per week, two of which are cardio and the other two are strength training. I was 18+3 when I downloaded the app so I started with "Week 18: Build It Up" with Jaime. The class was set to a fun, upbeat Pop music playlist and the workouts were focused on upper body and core. Jaime guides you throughout the whole workout and makes sure to inform you of the modifications you can make to stay safe. Personally, my hips have been out of whack, so I always make sure to listen to her recommendations so I don't strain them even more.
It's been about 3 months since I started working out with Aaptiv and while I have gotten way bigger, I've been able to keep up with the workouts every week. The trainers do an amazing job at understanding the new struggles that pregnancy brings each week, and at tailoring every workout perfectly to them. This has probably been the biggest benefit I have found while using the app. Aaptiv doesn't lump pregnancy under one giant umbrella like some other programs - they understand that your body evolves on a weekly basis and so the workouts are very focused around this. Also, the program is very comprehensive and offers much more than the usual stretching. Even with knowing your body is always changing, you really do feel like you're getting in a great workout, despite the natural physical hurdles.
I've been recommending this app to all my friends who are currently pregnant or have just had babies. I've even taken a look at some of the last classes in this program and noticed that they have stroller workouts for new moms. I don't know what I'd do without Aaptiv, because it's been such a great tool to keep me healthy throughout this journey.