“Gathering For Harry” Belafonte's 94th Birthday Gala adds Jay-Z, Usher, Others to Celebration

 Harry Belafonte’s 94th birthday on March 1, a surprise live virtual party
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Photos: YouTube

In celebration of legendary singer, songwriter, activist and actor Harry Belafonte’s 94th birthday on March 1, a surprise live virtual party will be held on Sunday, February 28 at 7:00 PM ET.

During The Gathering for Harry, iconic artist & entrepreneur Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter will also be accepting The Gatekeeper of Truth Award for his support to organizers on the frontlines during these political times and his inspiration to generations past & future.

The award was created in tribute to the wisdom shared with a young Belafonte by his mentor, Paul Robeson: “Artists are the gatekeepers of truth. We are civilization’s radical voice.” The unwavering support that JAY-Z and his record label Roc Nation have provided to the movement has been a game-changer. The Gathering for Justice has proudly collaborated on the #FreeMeekMill campaign, movement-building in Wisconsin and the 40,000+ person March for Stolen Lives & Looted Dreams, which achieved almost every demand for which we marched.

The event will feature just-added performances & appearances from Tiffany Haddish, Usher, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Charlamagne Tha God, 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.

The event will benefit nonprofit organization The Gathering for Justice and is sponsored in part by Frontline Solutions, the Hope and Robert F. Smith Family, and the National Basketball Player Association Foundation - tickets are available here.

As Mr. Belafonte celebrates his 94th birthday, the event will be packed with star-studded performances, video tributes and testimonials by civil rights and racial justice leaders, elected officials, artists, athletes and many more paying homage to the icon and the proud founder of The Gathering for Justice.

Belafonte started the organization in 2005 after witnessing a news report of a 5-year-old Black girl being handcuffed and arrested in her Florida classroom for “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.

Carmen Perez-Jordan, the President and CEO of The Gathering for Justice, said the following about her mentor: “As our nation faces a critical time in our democracy and the fight to protect our freedom, 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."

In 2014, Belafonte received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (he is also one of few people to achieve EGOT status by winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Award). He was a confidant of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and a prominent force in ending South Africa’s oppressive apartheid regime and the release of his friend, Nelson Mandela. From his Calypso album being the first LP in history to sell more than one million copies to his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement and beyond, Belafonte has created a lasting legacy to remember.

Harry Belafonte is a Jamaican-American singer, songwriter, activist, and actor heralded globally for both for his artistic ingenuity and support for humanitarian ideals. Belafonte was an early, vocal supporter of the Civil Rights Movement, a confidant of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and financial backer of many forms of protest, including the 1963 March on Washington. Throughout his 70-year career, he has been an advocate for an array of political and humanitarian causes, including the anti-Apartheid Movement, equal rights for women, juvenile justice, climate change and the decolonization of Africa.

The Gathering for Justice is a nonprofit founded in 2005 by Harry Belafonte and led since 2010 by President and CEO Carmen Perez-Jordan. The mission of The Gathering for Justice is to end child incarceration and eliminate the racial inequities that permeate the justice system. The Gathering for Justice has two state-based task forces, Justice League NYC (established in 2013) and Justice League California (established in 2017), both of which bring together juvenile and criminal justice experts, advocates, artists and individuals who’ve experienced or been impacted by incarceration or state violence directly. We believe in an organizing model which draws from diverse communities to utilize our combined power to build the agenda for sustained Black and brown liberation. In the footsteps of our legendary founder’s activism, The Gathering for Justice and its Justice League state task forces utilize Kingian nonviolence as a social application for systemic change and civic engagement.

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