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Remembering Entertainer, Actor & Civil Rights Activist Harry Belafonte

Published April 25, 2023 at 8:37 AM PDT
Larry Mantle (L) with Harry Belafonte at LAist Studios after Mantle's interview with Belafonte November 28, 2011.
Photo by Karen X. Fritsche
Larry Mantle (L) with Harry Belafonte at LAist Studios after Mantle's interview with Belafonte on November 28, 2011.

Remembering Entertainer, Actor & Civil Rights Activist Harry Belafonte

Harry Belafonte Obit 04.25.2023

Harry Belafonte, the civil rights and entertainment giant who began as a groundbreaking actor and singer and became an activist, humanitarian and conscience of the world, has died. He was 96. Belafonte died Tuesday of congestive heart failure at his New York home, his wife Pamela by his side, said Ken Sunshine, of public relations firm Sunshine Sachs Morgan & Lylis. With his glowing, handsome face and silky-husky voice, Belafonte was one of the first Black performers to gain a wide following on film and to sell a million records as a singer; many still know him for his signature hit “Banana Boat Song (Day-O),” and its call of “Day-O! Daaaaay-O.” But he forged a greater legacy once he scaled back his performing career in the 1960s and lived out his hero Paul Robeson’s decree that artists are “gatekeepers of truth.” Belafonte stands as the model and the epitome of the celebrity activist. Few kept up with his time and commitment and none his stature as a meeting point among Hollywood, Washington and the civil rights movement. Belafonte not only participated in protest marches and benefit concerts, but helped organize and raise support for them. He risked his life and livelihood and set high standards for younger Black celebrities, scolding Jay Z and Beyonce for failing to meet their “social responsibilities,” and mentoring Usher, Common, Danny Glover and many others.

We’re remembering the late Harry Belafonte today on AirTalk with an excerpt of Larry Mantle’s 2011 interview with him. And, as always, we’re opening up our phone lines for you to share your memories of Harry Belafonte, his contributions to music, film, politics and the civil rights movement. Join our live conversation at 866-893-5722, or email us at

With files from the Associated Press

How Does Body Dysmorphia Affect Young Men & Teens? We Discuss Its Causes, Problems & Solutions

Male Body Dysmorphia 04.25.2023

What one sees in the mirror can be emotionally taxing for some, doubly-so for younger generations who are still trying to find answers with what they’re comfortable with. As a recent article from the Washington Post lays out, this can manifest in body dysmorphia for younger men and teens, attempting to meet physical standards that they find in role models like athletes or social media influencers. Although it is encouraging to see folks be conscious of their health, how do these standards affect younger men that may not understand the importance of a balanced diet and lifestyle?

Today on AirTalk, we discuss the susceptibility of body dysmorphia in younger men with Jason Nagata, assistant professor of pediatrics at UCSF School of Medicine, and Jessica Borelli, professor of Psychological Science at UC Irvine & author of the book “Nature Meets Nurture: Science-Based Strategies for Raising Resilient Kids.”

As Questions Mount About Dianne Feinstein’s Health, Democrats Search For A Path Forward

Feinstein Future 04.25.2023

Since early March, Senator Dianne Feinstein has been absent from Washington while she recovers from the shingles. In a senate with razor-thin margins, every vote counts, particularly on the powerful Judiciary Committee, where Biden’s judicial picks cannot get passed without her. Feinstein has requested a temporary replacement on the committee while she recovers, but Republicans have blocked that possibility. Democrats are left divided about what to do: some, like CA representative Ro Khanna, have called for her resignation, while others, including Nancy Pelosi, view these calls as sexist and ageist. This isn’t the first time Feinstein’s health has been the subject of speculation–her cognitive abilities have been questioned in recent years. How do Democrats navigate this tricky situation? How has the senate historically dealt with ailing legislators? And, if Feinstein resigns, what does that mean for California?

Joining us to answer these questions are Ron Elving, NPR’s senior Washington editor and Jack Pitney, Professor of Politics, Claremont McKenna College.

A New Fungus Arises From Global Warming – How Concerned Should We Be?

Fungus and Climate Change 04.25.2023

As global temperatures rise, so does the threat of new bacteria and fungal diseases that are able to adapt to a warming planet. Last month, the Center for Disease and Control released a report that warns of a new kind of yeast, Candida auris, which is believed to be the first fungus to arise from global warming. The fungus is found in wetlands, which have warmed significantly and strengthened the fungus’s ability to survive in the bodies of humans and mammals. While not dangerous to the average person, Candida auris can be life-threatening to people with compromised immune systems. Joining us today on AirTalk to discuss this new strain of bacteria and how global warming will likely be the catalyst for more is writer and infectious diseases fellow at Western University in Ontario, Canada, Arjun Sharma.

After Stanford Law Students Disruption Of Campus Speaker Draws Memo From Dean, Longtime Law Professors Explore Changing Free Speech Environment In Law Schools

Stanford Speech Sage 04.25.2023

After student protesters at Stanford Law School disrupted and shouted down a conservative federal judge during a speech he was giving on campus last month at an event held by the student Federalist Society on campus, Dean Jenny Martinez sent out a detailed 10-page memo to the Stanford Law community explaining her concern about the potential chilling effect incidents like this can have on free speech. “Law students are entering a profession in which their job is to make arguments on behalf of clients whose very lives may depend on their professional skill,” Dean Martinez writes. “Just as doctors in training must learn to face suffering and death and respond in their professional role, lawyers in training must learn to confront injustice or views they don’t agree with and respond as attorneys.” Stanford Law student Tess Winston echoed some of these concerns in a recent op-ed for the Washington Post. “There’s little room for nuance,” she says of discussions in classrooms or among fellow law students in social settings. “If you’re not overtly one of ‘us,’ then you’re assumed to be one of ‘them.’” This kind of tribalism, she argues, is particularly harmful on a law school campus because it can prevent students from learning how to make and counter legal arguments on either side of a case. “...If there is one place where people should understand the value of learning to engage — and disagree — respectfully,” she writes, “it is law school.”

Today on AirTalk, Larry speaks with two legal experts and longtime friends of the program -- Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the UC Berkeley School of Law (Berkeley Law), and UCLA Law Professor and First Amendment Law Expert Eugene Volokh -- about how the rising temperature on law school campuses and the chilling effect it might be having on students’ ability to have nuanced legal discussions.

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