Legendary singer and actor, Harry Belafonte, at the bar at Half Moon Rose Hall. Mr. Belafonte spent a week in Jamaica vacationing at the resort, while scouting locations for a documentary on his life.
Janet Silvera, Gleaner Writer
KINGSTON, ST. Andrew and St. Ann are to be featured extensively in a documentary being produced by legendary singer, actor and civil rights activist, Harry Belafonte, this summer.
The 12-hour mini series, scheduled for release in 2007, will depict the life of the philanthropist who spent his early years in Jamaica. Belafonte lived in Jamaica from age one to 11.
Speaking from his villa at the Half Moon Rose Hall last Saturday, Mr. Belafonte told The Gleaner he had taken time out of his one-week vacation to scout locations for the shooting which is slated to commence in August.
Belafonte's childhood years at Morris Knibb Basic, Wolmer's Preparatory, Mico and Half-Way Tree primary schools, his popular folk songs, as well as the community called Aboukir in St. Ann - his mother's birthplace - will all be highlighted in the film.
"I hold the record of being in more schools than most Jamaicans," he quipped. "In one year I changed more schools than anyone I know."
The songs 'Day O', 'Jamaica Farewell', 'Matilda' and 'Island in the Sun' are being featured.
Influenced by both his mother Melvine Love and his grandmother Mrs. Jane Love, Belafonte said Jamaica is probably the place that has had the most impact on his values, thinking and direction in life.
Born to Jamaican parents in New York in the U.S.A., the controversial Belafonte, who in recent times has voiced harsh criticism of President George Bush, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and her predecessor, Colin Powell, said television stations, including the BBC and Time Warner's HBO, have expressed interest in the project, but he prefers to finance it upfront.
"I am financing this film on my own, because sometimes when you make partners too early, you have too many directors," he stated.
The film will showcase his humanitarian efforts in South Africa and political work with the African National Congress' (ANC) Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and Miriam Makeba.
Currently, he is shooting footage of his life with the American civil rights movement.
A biography on the illustrious and very vocal humanitarian takes up just a small part of the 79-year-old's life. He recently completed a movie called 'Bobby' (the assassination of Robert Kennedy) with Anthony Hopkins and will commence recording of another album with Atlantic Records later this month.
His demanding lifestyle is never-ending, and on his next return to Jamaica he will deliver the keynote address at a function to honour lifetime achievement awardee, former government minister, attorney-at-law Dudley Thompson.