Sundance Film Festival

Harry Belafonte: 'Take a Look at the History'

What prompted Harry Belafonte to throw his support behind a documentary about his life and the work he and others did to advance civil rights in the United States and around the world?

At first, the 83-year-old singing/acting/activist icon wasn’t sure he was up for it. “It looked like self-indulgence,” he told Reuters. But as is apparent from the debut of the film, Suzanne Rostock’s SING YOUR SONG, at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, he eventually changed his mind. He says he was persuaded by family members (his daughter is one of the film’s producers) and his own concern that the work of those with whom he had fought for justice would be forgotten by history.

“What I looked at were the [issues] of the day and the absence of people being inspired and fueled to take charge and take responsibility for changing,” Belafonte told Reuters. “The great void that I hear expressed by people who say, ‘I don’t know what to do’ or ‘there’s nothing we can do’ must be challenged. And the best way to challenge that myth is to say, ‘take a look at the history that proceeded you.’”

Belafonte expressed similar sentiments in a video interview with the Associated Press:

Be sure to satisfy all your festival needs with the latest buzz, top stories, and celebrity interviews from Sundance Channel’s coverage of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.