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Belafonte still sings of social justice

Born in Harlem, raised in Jamaica and having risen to the top of the entertainment world during the turbulent 1950s and '60s, singer-actor Harry Belafonte remains a committed social activist at age 83.

Last week, he attended the Sundance Film Festival which screened a new biographical documentary, "Sing Your Song."

While the title may suggest it's about his music - including early hits such as "Banana Boat Song" a.k.a. "Day-O" - the film actually focuses on the work he did to advance civil rights in America and around the globe.

The movie's title derives from what Paul Robeson told Belafonte when he was a young man: "Get them to sing your song, and they will know who you are."

Asked by Reuters reporter Bob Tourtellotte what he believed his song was here in the eighth decade of his life, Belafonte said, "The same melody. It just needs to be sung again. What it needs are more voices of harmony. It's a beautiful chord that everybody gets to sing in the same place at the same time with the same purpose. The song is the same: justice."

Belafonte here Monday

Belafonte is booked to sing at 7 p.m. Monday Jan. 31 at Syracuse Stage, as the Syracuse Peace Council kicks off a year-long celebration of its 75th anniversary.

"We believe that Harry Belafonte's reflections on his many decades of activism, including his work with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., will set the stage for an inspiring year of activity to support grassroots activism here in Central New York," said Peace Council staffer Andy Mager

Ticket prices for Monday's concert range from $15 to $1,000 and are available at the Peace Council office, ArtRage Gallery (505 Hawley Ave.), Famous Artists (241 West Fayette St.) and Syracuse Cultural Workers (400 Lodi St.); 472-5478 or peacecouncil.net.

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