Noam Chomsky & Harry Belafonte Speak on Stage for the First Time Together: Talk Trump, Klan & Having a Rebellious Heart

Noam Chom­sky, now 88 years old, made his career study­ing lin­guis­tics at MITHar­ry Bela­fonte, 89, became the “King of Calyp­so,” pop­u­lar­iz­ing Caribbean music in the 1950s. Yes, the two men come from dif­fer­ent worlds, but they share some­thing impor­tant in common–a long com­mit­ment to social jus­tice and activism. Bela­fonte used his fame to cham­pi­on the Civ­il Rights move­ment and Mar­tin Luther King Jr., and also helped orga­nize the March on Wash­ing­ton in 1963. Chom­sky protest­ed against the Viet­nam War, putting his career on the line, and has since become one of Amer­i­ca’s lead­ing voic­es of polit­i­cal dis­sent.

On Mon­day, these two fig­ures appeared onstage for the first time togeth­er. Speak­ing at River­side Church in NYC, before a crowd of 2,000 peo­ple, Chom­sky and Bela­fonte took stock of where Amer­i­ca stands after the elec­tion of Don­ald Trump. Nat­u­ral­ly, nei­ther man looks for­ward to what Trump has to bring. But they’re not as glum about the future as many oth­er vot­ers on the left. Chom­sky espe­cial­ly reminds us that Amer­i­ca has made great strides since 1960. The Unit­ed States is a far more civ­i­lized coun­try over­all. And it’s much easier–not to men­tion less dangerous–to effect change today than a half cen­tu­ry ago. It’s just a mat­ter of get­ting out there and putting in the hard work. Mean­while, Bela­fonte urges us to have a “rebel­lious heart” and leaves with this spir­it­ed reminder, “there’s still some ass kick­ing to be done!”

via @JohnCusack

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Great Cul­tur­al Icons Talk Civ­il Rights: James Bald­win, Mar­lon Bran­do, Har­ry Bela­fonte & Sid­ney Poiti­er (1963)

Noam Chom­sky vs. William F. Buck­ley, 1969

Noam Chomsky’s Wide-Rang­ing Inter­view on a Don­ald Trump Pres­i­den­cy: “The Most Pre­dictable Aspect of Trump Is Unpre­dictabil­i­ty”

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