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Keynote Event:

Harry Belafonte & Julian Bond

Film Screening, Discussion, and Book Signing

Presented by the Office for Diversity and Equity and the Paramount Theater in collaboration with the Virginia Film Festival and the Festival of the Book

Date:Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Location: Paramount Theater, Downtown Charlottesville

6:00 p.m.

This year's keynote event will feature legendary singer, actor, and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte. The Paramount Theater will host a screening of the recent HBO documentary Sing Your Song at 6 p.m . Following the film, Harry Belafonte and Julian Bond will discuss Mr. Belafonte's recent memoir My SongA book signing will follow.

A patriot to the last and a champion for worldwide human rights, Belafonte is one of the truly heroic cultural and political figures of the past 60 years. Told from Harry’s point of view, Sing Your Song charts his life from a boy born in New York and raised in Jamaica, who returns to Harlem in his early teens where he discovers the American Negro Theater and the magic of performing. Among other things, the film presents a brief look at the Civil Rights Movement through the eyes of an insider, someone who, despite his high profile, wasn’t afraid to spend time in the trenches. Watch the trailer for Sing Your Song here.

The film will also be screened exclusively for local middle and high school students and educators at the Martin Luther King Jr. Performing Arts Center the morning of January 24.  This event will feature a post-screening discussion with Mr. Belafonte and Larry Sabato and is presented by the Virginia Film Festival’s Outreach and Education Program and the U.Va. Center for Politics.  For more information on the high school screening, please visit


In My Song, his new memoir, Belafonte looks back at his tumultuous and wildly successful life. In addition to exploring his career as a singer and actor, the book delves into his relationships with prominent politicians and activists including Martin Luther King, Jr., John F. Kennedy, and Fidel Castro.

Julian Bond, Chairman Emeritus and board member of the NAACP and Professor, Corcoran Department of History at the University of Virginia, will join Harry Belafonte on the stage to discuss the film and book in what promises to be an extraordinary event.

Rita Dove, Commonwealth Professor, University of Virginia Department of English and former U.S. Poet Laureate, will introduce the speakers.

Note: This event is free and open to the public. Seating will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.  Doors open at 5:00 p.m.


Special thanks to the following organizations for their generous support of this program:


Office of the Vice President for Research, University of Virginia

Office of the Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, University of Virginia

Albemarle-Charlottesville NAACP