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‘The Sit-In’: Revisit the ‘Lost’ Week in 1968 When Harry Belafonte Hosted ‘The Tonight Show’ by Tambay Obenson

The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte Hosts The Tonight Show | Official Trailer│Peacock

The Sit-in: Harry Belafonte Hosts The Tonight Show is coming to Peacock on September 10th. From executive producer and MSNBC host Joy Reid and director Yoruba Richen, THE SIT-IN: HARRY BELAFONTE HOSTS THE TONIGHT SHOW is a documentary film that chronicles the seminal event and almost-forgotten moment in American history during which legendary entertainer and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte hosted the iconic “Tonight Show” in place of Johnny Carson for an entire week. THE SIT-IN follows the history-making week in February 1968 when an African American got the opportunity to host the whole week of the popular show for the first time ever. Amidst a backdrop of riots across the country and the Vietnam War, Belafonte introduced a fractured, changing country to itself for five nights with guests that included entertainment icons Aretha Franklin and Sidney Poitier as well as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy. THE SIT-IN highlights never-before-seen footage from this pivotal week, which set the stage for the confluence of late-night and politics that we see today. Belafonte appears in the film, along Questlove and Whoopi Goldberg who recount the historic moment. THE SIT-IN is a production of Big Beach and is directed by Yoruba Richen and executive produced by Joy Reid. Valerie Thomas and Joan Walsh serve as producers. Leah Holzer and Peter Saraf also executive produce.

In 1968, America was embroiled in protests over civil rights and the Vietnam War. In that tumultuous time, “The Tonight Show” host Johnny Carson turned over hosting duties for an entire week to actor and activist Harry Belafonte. His cast of guests included Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy, just months before they were assassinated, during a week that’s been mostly lost in American history. Thankfully it’s now being revisited in a new Peacock documentary, executive produced by MSNBC host Joy Reid and directed by award-winning filmmaker Yoruba Richen, aptly titled “The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte Hosts The Tonight Show.”

At the time, Carson’s pioneering late night variety show had become one of the country’s most influential platforms. So the move to have Belafonte take this mainstream institution and transform it into a multicultural and political experience, introducing white America to his world of art and activism, was unprecedented. To read more go to the link below:

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