Entertainment, Festival, Gina Belafonte, Harry Belafonte, Music, News, Social Justice -

Harry Belafonte’s ‘Many Rivers to Cross’ social justice festival kicks off today

Entertainment, Festival, Gina Belafonte, Harry Belafonte, Music, News, Social Justice -

Harry Belafonte’s ‘Many Rivers to Cross’ social justice festival kicks off today

Legendary performer and activist Harry Belafonte is bringing together artists and leaders of all generations this weekend in Atlanta for real life lessons in social justice.

Many Rivers to Cross: A Festival of Music, Art & Justice runs October 1-2 in Chattahoochee Hills and features performances from top artists like John Legend, Public Enemy, Estelle, T.I. and Jesse Williams. The event will also have a “Social Justice Village,” with representatives from leading grassroots organizations spurring change across the country.

“We really want to show the solidarity of people coming together around radical idea and thought,” Gina Belafonte told theGrio. She co-directs Sankofa.Org, the legacy project of her iconic father, which sponsored the festival.

Belafonte says in an era where mass incarceration is destroying communities and voting rights are under attack, there is a need to galvanize people from all sides, including in entertainment and politics.

Take for example Jesse Williams, an actor often compared to Harry Belafonte, whose rousing speech at the 2016 BET Awards earned him praise and pushback for calling out racism and police brutality.

“I know Jesse,” says Gina Belafonte. “When I saw he did that, I was so proud and grateful. I was sincerely uplifted by him choosing to use his platform to do that; I know what the risk is, on many levels.”

Now, Belafonte hopes the courage to take risks will continue to inspire a new generation of activists.

She praises young people nationwide for what she says has been smart and passionate organizing around Black Lives Matter and encourages them not to quit when they get tired — a lesson she learned from both her mother and father.

“I know it’s in my blood, and I’ve been around both my parents: It’s a long road to freedom,” says Belafonte. “You need to look at the ancestors who paved this way and then look into the eyes of a young child and know that there is a future.”

“You want the space to be sustainable and a beloved community. What are you going to do to create that, so you can carry it forward?”

All proceeds from the Many Rivers to Cross Festival will support partners of Sankofa.


Checking out the festival this weekend? Tag theGrio on Twitter and Instagram with your pictures and stories using hashtag #theGrio!

The post Harry Belafonte’s ‘Many Rivers to Cross’ social justice festival kicks off today appeared first on theGrio.


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