Legendary singer and actor, Harry Belafonte sat down with News One recently where he discussed Colin Kaepernick‘s protest of the National Anthem.
“I think that it’s a noble thing that he’s done,” Belafonte said, after posting an analogy which compared the reaction of those who are angered by Kaepernick’s position to that of a slave owner seeking to silence a slave. “I think that speaking out and making people aware of the fact that you are paying homage to an anthem, that also has a constituency that by the millions suffer, is a righteous thing to do.”
Belafonte was a close friend and fellow activist alongside Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, during a time when entertainers were blacklisted for raising their voices on injustice. Because of his history of activism in America, Belafonte suggests that he identifies with what Kaepernick is going through under the scope of ridicule, and relates it to his own experience, saying, “The machinery of oppression was always at work trying to discredit me; make me a communist, make me unpatriotic, etc., etc., etc. It takes a lot of courage to stand up in the face of that onslaught, that reactive moment, and not bend to the wind.”
Belafonte called out the great lack of activism being practiced by modern-day mainstream Black celebrities. “We have so many where Black celebrity is displayed, that could make a difference,” he said. “And yet never has there been such an absence of Black celebrity voice in relationship to the problems that Black people face today, in a severe way.”