A benefit evening (HB95) will also present the inaugural Harry Belafonte Social Justice Awards in honor of the 10th anniversary of Sankofa.org, the social justice organization Mr. Belafonte co-founded. HB95 will be held on March 1, 2022 at The Town Hall (123 W. 43rd Street) at 7:00 PM ET.
The evening will include musical performances, video tributes, and testimonials by civil rights and racial justice leaders, elected officials, musicians, actors, and more. Aloe Blacc, John Legend, The Belafonte Alumni Band, Laurence Fishburne, Doug E Fresh, Danny Glover, Amy Goodman, Lenny Kravitz, Michael Moore, Q-Tip, Tim Robbins, Rev. Al Sharpton, Bryan Stevenson, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Jesse Williams, and Alfre Woodward, are among the confirmed participants.
This year’s inaugural Harry Belafonte Social Justice Awards were created to acknowledge the vast reach of Mr. Belafonte’s contribution to social justice and American history. For their unwavering commitment to justice, award recipients include Angela Davis, Rashad Robinson, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Dr. Cornel West, Darren Walker, Hank Willis Thomas, former Attorney General Eric Holder and Congresswoman Barbara Lee. In addition to live performances, Mr. Belafonte’s memorable film, television, and humanitarian career will be showcased through archive footage along with testimonials from some of today’s most popular and celebrated artists, activists, and entertainers.
Proceeds from this evening will benefit Sankofa.org and several of its programs including an innovative virtual/alternative reality technology and arts reentry program created to impact the capacity of returning citizens to develop critical core skills for a sustainable successful transition back to the community. This scientifically validated art-based program with virtual reality has been used to create breakthrough treatments for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and is showing promise in the treatment of many other mental health conditions. Harry Belafonte said, “I am honored that so many are coming together to celebrate my birthday, life, and legacy. I founded Sankofa.org alongside my daughter Gina and Raoul Roach to create additional space for artists and allies to collaborate to garner an artistic approach to the needs of our disenfranchised communities… to use art as a tool to educate messages of hope and to encourage and energize the public to become engaged. One heart, One mind, One soul.” “It is an honor for us to host Harry Belafonte’s 95th birthday as part of our Centennial Season,” said The Town Hall’s Artistic Director Melay Araya. “Like his mentors Paul Robeson and Langston Hughes, and his contemporaries Coretta Scott King and Fannie Lou Hamer, Mr. Belafonte has taken to our stage several times over the last 70 years in support of the movements that he participated in and led. It is our hope that celebrating his life and work will inspire those in attendance to use their talents in service of others.”
Gina Belafonte, Sankofa.org Executive Director stated, “Artists are the gatekeepers of truth, civilization’s radical voice. Without art we have nothing. Sankofa.org uses the arts as a tool to engage people to action. We are so excited to honor my father on his 95th birthday and celebrate his legacy.” “We are happy to celebrate this milestone birthday of the iconic Harry Belafonte. As a legendary artist and activist, he is an inspiration to us all. It is also beautiful to see Gina carry on the important work of Sankofa.org to positively impact future generations,” said Bridgid and Don Cheadle about the occasion.
Actress and activist Alfre Woodard said, “HB95 is the celebration of Harry Belafonte’s bold, insistent, joyous stride towards Justice. Sankofa.org is the vehicle he’s given the generations to continue that journey forward. There goes the roof!” While this is its first public fundraising event, Sankofa.org has created and produced innovative and cutting-edge programs for the past decade. The organization is committed to rooting out systemic violence, work tirelessly for the adoption of restorative justice initiatives, and champion meaningful reforms for immigration and a livable minimum wage.
Sankofa.org was founded by Harry Belafonte, his daughter Gina Belafonte, and Raoul Roach in 2012. Its mission is to educate, motivate, and activate artists and allies in service of grassroots movements and equitable change. Sankofa.org focuses on issues of injustice that disproportionately affect the disenfranchised, the oppressed, and the underserved, which left unaddressed will continue to impact the lives of too many individuals and remain a scar on our nation’s moral character. The non-profit organization is fiscally sponsored by Social Environmental Entrepreneurs (www.SaveOurPlanet.org).