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By Ralph Derickson


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A native of Harlem in New York City, Belafonte is well known for his "Banana Boat Song." Belafonte grew up in Jamaica and his album "Calypso" recorded in 1955 was the first album to sell more than a million copies.

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April 9, 2002 (Lexington, Ky.) -- Singer-actor Harry Belafonte will be the keynote speaker for a "Beyond Black and White: Color, Culture and the Arts" symposium set for April 14-17 at the University of Kentucky. Belafonte's remarks are set for 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 16, in the Guignol Theatre in UK's College of Fine Arts.

Tickets to Belafonte's speech are $6 general admission and $3 for students. They are available from the Singletary Center for the Arts ticket office, (859) 257-4929.

The talk is a part of a weeklong symposium that will also include performances by UK theater students of the critically acclaimed play, "The Colored Museum," in the Briggs Theatre of the UK Fine Arts Building. The performances are set for April 17, 18, 19 and 20 at 8 p.m. and April 21 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12 general admission, $10 for UK faculty and staff, and $8 for students and are also available from the UK Ticket Office.

"The Colored Museum" was written by George C. Wolfe, a native of Frankfort who graduated from Pomona College in Clairmont, Calif., and earned a master's in fine arts from New York University. The satirical play examines the question of how American black men and women at once honor and escape the legacy of suffering that is the baggage of their past. The play includes such powerful "exhibits" as "Celebrity Slaveship" and "Fasten Your Shackles."

The UK Department of Theatre's symposium includes a wide variety of presentations by scholars of African-American and African Studies issues.

Among the symposium sessions are sections titled "Aunt Jemima and Uncle Mose Talk About Race, Class and Gender," "Mixing the Races in the Arts and in the Law," "Human Possibilities: Exploring and Erasing Chosen Divisions," and "Facing the Stereotype Demons and Defusing Them." Speakers include Kenneth Goings of Ohio State University, Herman Daniel Farrell III, layer and playwright, Aminata Baruti, instructor of African-American dance, and Lundeana Thomas, co-director of the African-American Theatre Program at the University of Louisville.

"Harry Belafonte's talk will provide a fitting capstone for the serious symposium discussions," said Geri Maschio, professor and director of the UK Theatre who organized the event. "Belafonte is an artist of many talents - concert singer, recording artist, movie star, Broadway and television star, and producer," Maschio noted.

A native of Harlem in New York City, Belafonte is well known for his "Banana Boat Song." Belafonte grew up in Jamaica and his album "Calypso" recorded in 1955 was the first album to sell more than a million copies.

Belafonte has a recently released album titled "The Long Road to Freedom." His film credits include the movies "Buck and the Preacher," "The World, the Flesh and the Devil," and "Island in the Sun," co-starring John Travolta. Belafonte also co-authored the title song of the movie, "White Man's Burden."

In recent years, Belafonte has become even more dedicated to his lifelong role of uniting people and doing battle for causes often considered controversial. The civil rights struggle in the United States has continued to command his greatest involvement.

Belafonte has received many honors in each of the artistic fields he has worked and for his civic endeavors. The awards include The Albert Einstein Award from Yeshiva University, the Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Prize and the Kennedy Center Honors for excellence in the performing arts.

In March, the John F. Kennedy Library presented Belafonte with its Distinguished American Award for his lifelong work as an advocate for human rights and racial equality.

For information about registering for the symposium, contact Geri Maschio, (859) 257-3297, or e-mail her.

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