Academy Taps Harry Belafonte for Humanitarian Award

The actor, producer, singer and lifelong activist broke down racial barriers as TV’s first Black producer and was the first Black performer to win an Emmy.  From the onset of his film career, he picked projects that shed light on racism and inequality, including “Carmen Jones,” “Odds against Tomorrow” and “The World, the Flesh and the Devil.”

Known for his passionate commitment to civil and human rights issues, Belafonte was a confidant of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and raised money to release imprisoned civil rights protesters. He chronicled his journey in the inspiring memoir, “My Song.” The Harlem based entertainer was named a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 1987 for his work on behalf of children, education, famine relief, AIDS awareness and currently serves on the boards of the Advancement Project and the Institute for Policy Studies.

“The Governors Awards allow us to reflect upon not the year in film, but the achievements of a lifetime,” said Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs.  “We’re absolutely thrilled to honor these outstanding members of our global film making community and look forward to celebrating with them in November.”

Actors Jean-Claude Carrière, Hayao Miyazaki and Maureen O’Hara will also receive Honorary Award. Belafonte will receive the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, an Oscar statuette given “to an individual in the motion picture industry whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.”

The three awards will be presented at the Academy’s 6th Annual Governors Awards on Saturday, November 8, at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center.

by Samantha Ofole-Prince

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