On the eve of Harry’s 94th birthday, it features Usher, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Common, Chuck D. and more
Jay-Z to accept the Gatekeeper of Truth Award
When Harry Belafonte was a young man, he was careful to strike a balance between being a singer whose music was for everyone, and also an activist for civil rights. His hero, Paul Robeson, who had walked this fine line first, affirmed Harry was doing the right thing.
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“Artists are the gatekeepers of truth,” Robeson told him. “We are civilization’s radical voice.”
On the first of March, Belafonte—among America’s most beloved gatekeepers—is turning 94. Sadly, his work is far from done.
He started the Gathering for Justice organization in 2005, after witnessing a news report of a five-year-old Black girl being handcuffed and arrested in her Florida classroom. The reason for her arrest? “Being unruly.”
The organization’s mission is to build a movement to end child incarceration while working to eliminate the racial inequities that permeate the justice system. Belafonte was a confidant of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and a prominent force in ending South Africa’s oppressive apartheid regime—including the release of his friend, Nelson Mandela.
In celebration of Belafonte’s 94 years of music, courage, and activism, The Gathering for Harry, a surprise live virtual party, is being held on the eve of his birthday, Sunday, February 28 at 7:00 PM ET.
During The Gathering, Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter will be accepting The Gatekeeper of Truth Award for his support to organizers on the frontlines during these political times, and for his inspiration to generations past and future.
The Gathering for Justice has proudly collaborated on the #FreeMeekMill campaign, local movement-building in Wisconsin, and the 40,000+ person March for Stolen Lives & Looted Dreams, which achieved almost every demand for which they marched.
The event will feature performances & appearances from Lin-Manuel Miranda, Charlamagne Tha God, Usher, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Susan Sarandon & Pete Buttigieg, along with Common, Danny Glover, Chuck D, Bernie & Jane Sanders, Stacey Abrams, Aloe Blacc, Tamika D. Mallory, Rev. Al Sharpton, Aja Monet, Mysonne The General, Diane Nash, Carmen Perez-Jordan, DJ Carisma, Bryan Stevenson, and more.
“As our nation faces a critical time in our democracy and the fight to protect our freedom,” said Carmen Perez-Jordan, the President of The Gathering for Justice. “Much of the work of today’s movement for justice is inspired by the leadership and guidance of Mr. B, as we lovingly call him. Jay-Z has picked up that baton for this generation.”
The Gathering for Harry Participants
Bryan Stevenson (Legacy Award)
Charlamagne Tha God
Congresswoman Barbara Lee
DeJuana L. Thompson
Dr. Angela Davis
Dr. Bernard Lafayette
Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad
Gaye Theresa Johnson
Patrick Gaspard (Legacy Award)
George Gresham (Legacy Award)
Hope and Robert F. Smith Family (Sponsor)
James Counts Early
Jane and Bernie Sanders
Jason Daley Kennedy
Keiajah ‘KJ’ Gabbrell (Youth Justice Award)
Lonnie G. Bunch III
Luis Jonathan Hernandez
Marcia and Michael Eric Dyson
Mysonne The General
Rev. Al Sharpton
Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter
Susan L. Taylor & Khephra Burns
Tamika D. Mallory
Tony Shaloub & Brooke Adams
Xochitl Larios (Youth Justice Award)
And more to come