Interview with Harry Belafonte
QUESTION 48
INTERVIEWER:

Segue to Muhammed Ali, physical art but magnificent. Do you have thoughts on him when he was beginning--

HARRY BELAFONTE:

I've often thought when people ask me about, about Muhammed Ali, I said he was the genuine product of the moment. He was the best example. He was the, the Negro kid who came up in the Black moment who was Cassius Clay and then became Muhammed Ali, that took on all of the characteristics and was the embodiment of the thrust of the movement. He was courageous. He put his class issues on the line. He didn't care about money. He didn't care about the White man's success and the things that you aspire to. He, he brought, he brought America to its, it its most wonderful and its most naked moment. I will not play your game. I will not kill in your behalf. You are immoral, unjust and I stand here to, to attest to it. Now do with me what you will. And he was terribly, terribly powerful and, and delicious and he, ah, he made it, he made it. He did it and was very inspirational. I mean he was, in many ways, more inspiring than Dr. King, more inspiring than Malcolm, more inspiring than the whole, because those people were the classic leaders. Here come this young kid right out of the heart of what it was we all said we were doing. That was the, that was the future. That was the present. That was the vitality of, of, of, of what, ah, we hoped would emerge. And for him to come, you know the embodiment of all of it, the perfect machine, the great artist, the incredible athlete, the, the, the, facile, articulate, sharp mind on issues, the great sense of humor which was traditional to us anyway and his ability to stand courageously and say I put everything on the line for what I believe in and, ah, that was it.

INTERVIEWER:

Terrific.

HARRY BELAFONTE:

Isn't it?

INTERVIEWER:

I giggle when I know I just had a hit--

INTERVIEWER:

That's a cut.