Harry Belafonte, The Sunday Conversation in the LA Times….At Live Talks Nov 28

Photo: Ricardo DeAratanha / LA Times

We host Harry Belafonte at Live Talks Los Angeles on November 28. Ticket info here.  He appears on the Sunday, October 16 Los Angeles Times in The Sunday Conversation series.  An HBO documentary, Sing Your Song, about him airs Monday, October 17. Here’s an excerpt:

Most Americans alive today didn’t live through segregation in this country the way you did. Did you ever think you’d live to see a black president?

I think that our hearts were filled with hope, our goals were filled with promise. We pursued things we thought were difficult to achieve, but that did not inhibit our need to go for it, and that’s what we did. And fortunately a large number of citizens and leaders and genders and races and cultures came to the table at the moment of truth and made a difference. We had a lot going for us in those days, including a very active campus, which I’m glad to say has resurrected itself in New York and other parts of the country with what’s going on down on Wall Street.

What are you doing these days?

I spend a great deal of time with the youth you see on Wall Street. Many of them do not reside in the places where I spend a good deal of time — the prisons of America. I go into the communities where the youth are the most underserved and most disconnected, a lot of the ghettos, a lot of the communities that are languishing from joblessness and hopelessness. I go there and I preach the gospel of nonviolence, and I tell them about the things that Dr. King and others did.

You look at these kids on Wall Street and people say they don’t know what they’re doing, they’re misfits, except for one thing — nobody knows what to do with them because they’re nonviolent. Those of us who come from the teachings of Gandhi and Dr. King, it is interesting to me that everywhere you go, the thing that happened in Tunisia, in Libya, in Cairo, the violence you see is from the military. But this nonviolent thing seems to have become the code of the day, and I think they’re going to have to get a whole new set of rules on how to play this one, because I think we’re definitely on the right track.