Legendary actor and activist Harry Belafonte accepts Jean Hersholt Humanitarian award. (Google Images)
Legendary actor and activist Harry Belafonte accepts Jean Hersholt Humanitarian award. (Google Images)

Legendary actor and activist Harry Belafonte, Jr., 87,  received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at the Governors Awards on Saturday. Bryan Alexander of USA Today writes:

“Harry Belafonte rocked the Governors Awards Saturday night, giving an impassioned appeal to the Hollywood community to change the world for the better…

‘I really wish I could be around for the rest of the century to see what Hollywood does with the rest of the century,’ said Belafonte from the lectern. ‘Maybe, just maybe, it could be civilization’s game changer.’

The actor was hailed as ‘the ultimate example of a great artist and lifelong social activist’ by Susan Sarandon. She cited his many humanitarian contributions, from civil rights activism with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to vocal opposition to the apartheid government of South Africa.

Belafonte talked about the powerful impact film can make, pointing out racially damaging films such as 1915’s The Birth of a Nation. He called on the filmmakers present to bring a positive change.”

Legendary actors and activists Harry Belafonte, Jr. and Sidney Poitier embrace at 2014 Governors Award ceremony. (Google Images)

Belafonte’s speech received a standing ovation from an audience that included Kevin Costner, Warren Beatty, Danny Glover, Ron Howard, Robert Downey Jr. and Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs. Belafonte called legendary actor and activist Sidney Poitier to the stage to be honored as well.

Read more at USA Today.

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