Mr. B’s Great Adventure and the Power of Yes

It is an autumn day in October 2002, and I strain to hear the radio in the county bus above the roar of the engine and the chatter of the other passengers, including my young son sitting next to me. As the bus winds its way through downtown Eureka — the grayest city in all of California, I’m convinced — I catch audio snippets of a news report by the radio announcer relating to the United States government and its year-old “war on terrorism”.

Entertainer and activist Harry Belafonte, it is reported through the static of the bus radio speakers, has just created a storm of controversy by criticizing Colin Powell, the secretary of state in the administration of U.S. president George W. Bush. In an interview with a radio station in San Diego, located on the opposite end of California from where I was living at the time, Belafonte had blasted Powell, a fellow Jamaican American, for kowtowing to the wishes of his white boss, Bush, instead of standing up on principle and condemning the dangerous direction the Bush administration was leading the USA post-911.


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