Thousands attended Harry Belafonte’s Many Rivers to Cross Music and Arts Festival outside of Atlanta, Georgia this weekend. The day fused music, arts, culture, and the call for social justice into one unique event.
Entertainers, activists, actors, ministers, and others took to the state to speak out against injustice in America and to encourage those in attendance to unite and fight for freedom.
Roland Martin and NewsOne Now were on hand for this historic one-of-a-kind event inspired by Harry Belafonte’s lifelong commitment to social justice. He has been a witness to all of the Black power and liberation movements of the past fifty years.
Check out some of the sights and sounds from the Many Rivers to Cross Music and Arts Festival in the video clip above.
Rev. William Barber On The Importance Of Galvanizing The Vote In 2016
Rev. William Barber, head of the North Carolina NAACP, delivered a powerful speech during the Many Rivers to Cross Music and Arts Festival and made it perfectly clear that voting is a vital issue for everyone who attended the landmark event.
Prior to Rev. Barber delivering his electrifying remarks, Roland Martin caught up with the leader of the Moral Monday Movement and discussed how important voting in the 2016 election is.
Barber shared with viewers, “You only have one vote, use it, and if you have a voice to move multiple votes or millions of votes,” then you should use your voice to do so as well.
He told Martin, “If you move people with a beat to dance, you should use that beat to move people to vote. If you can move them with spoken word, you need to move that word to move them to vote. You can move them on screen and to move them into a movie theater. You need to use that power to move them into a voting booth.”
Barber implored actors and musicians to venture into the south, because their voices are needed to galvanize the vote in this election cycle. He said, “Come on down because in reality, we are in a very extraordinary critical moment in this country.”
Watch Rev. William Barber’s interview with Roland Martin and portions of his speech during the Many Rivers to Cross Music and Arts Festival in the video clip above.
Jesse Williams Challenges Artists To Use Their Platform To ‘Include Something Of Additional Value’
Grey’s Anatomy star Jesse Williams was also in attendance for Harry Belafonte’s Many Rivers to Cross Music and Arts Festival and he spoke with Roland Martin about where we stand when it comes to celebrities using their voices in the fight for freedom.
Williams, who was raised in a “politically minded, socially aware household that was very much interested in inclusion,” questioned and challenged artists who are going to perform “on the stage anyway … have the show anyway, have the platform anyway, are going to speak anyway – why not include something of additional value?”
The socially conscious actor and activist also shared his desire for Sankofa, of which he is a member their advisory board, to be the location where celebrities come to be educated prior to speaking on issues that concern them in the public square.
Watch Roland Martin and Jesse Williams discuss how he is using his voice and other celebrities can use theirs to further the movement for social justice in the video clip above.
Visit Sankofa.org for more information about the Many Rivers to Cross Music and Arts Festival.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty