ADIFF Black History Month Film Series

The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte Hosts The Tonight Show

Expired February 16, 2021 4:59 AM
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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.

  • Year
  • Runtime
    115 minutes
  • Language
  • Director
    Yoruba Richen
  • Screenwriter
    Yoruba Richen, Èlia Gasull Balada, Valerie Thomas
  • Producer
    Valerie Thomas, Joan Walsh
  • Cinematographer
    Ian Moubayed, Martina Radwan
  • Editor
    Èlia Gasull Balada