9 Harry Belafonte Quotes To Celebrate His 90th Birthday


March 1, 2017

Harry Belafonte celebrated his milestone 90th birthday today. In his incredible 90 years of life, Belafonte has become one of the world’s most influential activists and entertainers. During the 1950’s, he became inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Paul Robeson and other civil rights icons, to get involved in the civil rights movement. Belafonte went on to use his celebrity status to support the movement and call attention to civil rights issues. His social justice work spans over 50 years, and now at 90 years old, Belafonte remains more committed than ever to creating a better future for us all. Here a few of our favorite quotes from the civil rights giant himself. 

1. “When I was born, I was colored. I soon became a Negro. Not long after that I was black. Most recently I was African-American. It seems we’re on a roll here. But I am still first and foremost in search of freedom.”


2. “In poor environment, I find great inspiration. Many of the men and women whom I admire as artists, the things they write, the songs they sing, the admission is filled with inspired moments to overcome oppression.”

 AP images 

3. “I am a man who perceives life in a certain way, a man who rejects things that defecate on humankind, who rejects anything that will not give people room for dissent.”


4. “Art in its highest form is art that serves and instructs society and human development.”


5. “You can cage the singer but not the song.” 

6. “These children and their parents know that getting an education is not only their right, but a passport to a better future – for the children and for the country.”


Keystone/Getty Images

7. “I am who I am despite what America has put before me. I am who I am despite the obstacles that we have all faced based upon race and based upon social and spiritual humiliation.”



8. “If I’ve impacted on one heart, one mind, one soul, and brought to that individual a greater truth than that individual came into a relationship with me having, then I would say that I have been successful.” 

9. “Each and every one of you in this room, with your gifts and your power and your skills, could perhaps change the way in which our global humanity mistrusts itself.” 


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