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Harry Belafonte Returns to TV

Mar. 22, 1964 - Harry Belafonte (pictured right with Sidney Poitier), who has been turning down guest appearances, will be on television for the first time in a year next Sunday on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”

The versatile performer who made folk singing a million-dollar business said today that he had refused to be “a hook for dancers and jugglers” on variety shows.

“Ed Sullivan is giving me a block of time to put my art before viewers,” he explained. “I won’t be on for two five-minute acts. I’ll have about 22 minutes.” He will be backed by 12 singers and 5 musicians and will sing 5 numbers.

Mr. Belafonte said he enjoyed working on “The Ed Sullivan Show” because of its high record for using Negro singers and actors. “Ed doesn’t worry about the John Birchers or the South,” he said.

“I’d like to do a special this season — any season,” Mr. Belafonte continued. “I did two specials several years ago. They got high ratings, great reviews, awards. You feel you’ve got a pretty good thing going. Then, nothing. It was once suggested that my civil rights outspokenness didn’t sit well with sponsors.”

Mr. Belafonte asked: “Are any Negroes doing specials? Does any Negro have a series? And what about Negro T.V. writers? A network could have done a groovy Lincoln’s birthday program. We’re tired of being told, ‘Be patient,’ ‘Be good,’ and ‘Wait.’ You can’t wait forever.”


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