With his good looks and open-chested shirt,
black-and-white audiences adored Belafonte
at a time when most of America was still divided.
Belafonte was born in Harlem. His mother,
who was a cleaner, took him back to his
native Jamaica, where he immersed himself
in the island's culture. He said the song
was a work song. These are men
who sweat all day and are underpaid.
They ask the cashier to honestly come and
count: "Count the bananas I picked to get
paid." When people sing happily and dance
and enjoy themselves, they don't really understand
it unless they study the song, they sing
a work song, which is a rebel song.