A new documentary by Susanne Rostock exploring the colourful life of singer and activist Harry Belafonte is soon to hit UK cinemas. Sophia Loukaides explains why ’Sing your Song’ is so much more than a mere biography and has managed to take the international stage by storm.
Sing your Song is not merely a biography about a legendary entertainer named Harry Belafonte; it is a film that finally shows us the true face of a great man, history maker and activist. From his rise to fame as a singer in a segregated America, to his venture into the world of Hollywood and taking action against gang violence, the versatility of Belafonte ensures this film is anything but a straight forward music documentary. Instead it is more a historical time piece, spanning over three generations of domestic and international liberation efforts.
There seems to be no struggle in America or Africa that Belafonte was not in some way involved in. As the late South African singer and activist, Mariam Makeba explained in the film: “He took all our struggles and made them his own.”
And not only did he commit himself – often sacrificing work and family time to further a struggle – he was also able to involve some of the most powerful people in politics, society and Hollywood to join his quest. As an example of this the film features Belafonte’s special relationship with Dr. Martin Luthur King, the Kenndies, and the civil rights movement, to name a mere few.
Flooded with archive footage, ‘Sing your Song’ is fittingly directed by Susanne Rostock, much better known for her work as an editor on documentaries such as ‘Me and Isaac Newton’, ‘The Sweatbox’, and ‘Paternal Instinct’. Her style is to the point, chronological and guided by the raspy and soothing voice of Belafonte himself as he recounts the many events of his life.
You can find the author of this review, Sophia Loukaides, on Twitter using @sophsee.