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©AP / Harry Belafonte
© AP / Harry Belafonte
Belafonte says African-Americans should participate in gun debate

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- Singer, actor and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte urged leaders in the black community to get more involved in the national debate on guns.

Belafonte told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the current discussion arising out of the Connecticut school massacre in December often ignores decades of urban gun violence. He said it's important that African-American leaders participate in the debate over gun control.

Bing: New Belafonte documentary 'Sing Your Song'

"What really concerns me is the ingredients of the discourse," he said. "The African-American community ... where is that community? Where is that voice? I think the black community, the black leadership need to stir it up."

The 85-year-old Belafonte made his comments during a visit to the Rhode Island School of Design, where he delivered an address on his life as an artist and activist. He urged the 550 people in attendance to embrace "radical thoughts" for solving poverty, inequality, violence and greed.

"What I find missing mostly in the American discourse is the rejection of radical thought," he said. "They (national leaders) speak within the same dull space they inherited from past oppressors."

Belafonte was called "The King of Calypso" for bringing Caribbean music to a global audience. He was also a key figure in the civil rights movement, giving financial support to Martin Luther King Jr., and funding organizations like the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. He was an organizer of the 1963 March on Washington.

More recently, Belafonte has worked on efforts to fight poverty and AIDS, and was a vocal critic of former President George W. Bush. Tuesday, he again criticized the former president, saying Bush led a "regime that stole an election," and led the nation to war in Iraq without justification.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Jan 30, 2013 10:31AM
They do support killing one another at an alarming rate.
Jan 30, 2013 7:31AM
To paraphrase one of his old hits, "Man may be smart.  Harry smarter."  So happy you're still at it as an octagenarian, sir.  Your social activism easily ties with helping bring your absolute goddess of a daughter Shari into this world as two great contributions to existence.  

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