The Pioneers Of Artist-Activism
In many ways, Harry Belafonte and Bob Dylan have pioneered music-activism. Here’s what the two trailblazers are up to now.
Fifty-five years ago legendary activist and artist Harry Belafonte released his album Midnight Special, a disc celebrated both for its own musical merits and for the recording debut of a young Bob Dylan on harmonica.Photo: Bryan Adams
The next year, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan lobbed anthems like “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall” into the middle of the early 1960s protest culture. That same decade, both Belafonte and Dylan marched prominently in support of civil rights – the former alongside Martin Luther King Jr. himself – and became de facto voices for art-as-activism.
Belafonte, who turned 90 on March 1, remains politically active, endorsing Senator Bernie Sanders for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016 and serving as honorary co-chair of January’s Women’s March on Washington. The former Zoomer cover subject marks his 90th birthday with When Colors Come Together: The Legacy of Harry Belafonte, a self-curated musical anthology that includes a children’s choir recording of “When Colors Come Together (Our Island in the Sun).”