September 9, 2020
Tomorrow, the Peacock streaming service presents a new documentary called “The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte Hosts ‘The Tonight Show.'” The show revisits a week in 1968 when Johnny Carson turned over the reigns to his show for one week to a very special guest host — Mr. Harry Belafonte. With a guest list that included Sidney Poitier, Aretha Franklin, Wilt Chamberlain, Freda Payne, Nipsey Russell, Dionne Warwick, Bill Cosby, Paul Newman, Lena Horne, the Smothers Brothers, Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, one has to wonder: “How come I never knew about this?”
Award-winning director Yoruba Richen examines the importance of this lost broadcast history through vibrant interviews with Belafonte, Whoopi Goldberg, Questlove and Tamron Hall.
THE SIT-IN highlights never-before-seen footage from this pivotal week, which set the stage educating white America on issues of interest to Black and poor people. Months later, two of Belafonte’s guests (Dr. King and Robert Kennedy) would be gunned down by an assassin’s bullet.