A Conversation with Harry Belafonte at The Wortham Center

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(Last Updated On: February 14, 2017)

HOUSTON, TEXAS (Jan. 23, 2017) — When the Houston-based Brilliant Lecture Series presents “A Conversation with Harry Belafonte” on Feb. 23, Yvonne Cormier, MD, Ph.D., will join the acclaimed entertainer and humanitarian on stage to facilitate that conversation. In an intimate, interview-style setting in Wortham Center’s Cullen Theater, the award-winning, ground-breaking artist and activist will field questions posed by Dr. Cormier, a noted Houston physician, philanthropist and community servant, in what is scheduled to be a 90-minute dialogue.

“The addition of Dr. Cormier to this program brings a special
touch to an already extraordinary evening,” observes Brilliant Lecture Series founder and Executive Director Scott Brogan. “Her academic pursuits, in combination with her personal and professional endeavors, point to her compassion for others and her willingness to help and heal, wherever and whenever the opportunity arises. Her deep Texas roots make her the perfect choice to help us welcome Mr. Belafonte as we create an appropriate forum to showcase his remarkable talent and intellect.”

Cormier was born in Abbeville, La. and grew up in Beaumont, Texas. She graduated from Southern Methodist University and fulfilled degree programs for her Ph. D. in biochemical pharmacology at Brown University and Yale University. Her medical degree and residency were completed in Houston at Baylor College of Medicine where she served as chief resident. She is currently on staff in the Anesthesia Department at Memorial Hermann Memorial City. Her service as a volunteer medical professional includes travel to South America and the Caribbean to perform medical services with Operation San Jose and Jamaica Outreach.

“I am honored by this invitation from the Brilliant Lecture Series and excited to be a part of this rare opportunity to salute a man of Mr. Belafonte’s distinction”, said Dr. Cormier. “On this very special night, in a remarkable setting in the city that has become my home, I will stand in the presence of my friends, my colleagues, and hundreds of Mr., Belafonte’s other admirers, and put the spotlight on this man who has brought joy, comfort and relief to people all over the world. I consider this is a unique honor and a big responsibility.”

Tickets for “A Conversation with Harry Belafonte,” presented by HEB in association with the Greater Houston Black Chamber of Commerce, are available now through www.BrilliantLectures.org. Prices begin at $35 and a limited number of VIP tickets are offered at $250 each, which include Premiere Seating, an invitation to a private, pre-program reception with Mr. Belafonte and an autographed copy of his book “My Song: A Memoir.” Tickets to the Private Patron Dinner, held immediately following the show, are available for $500 by calling 713-974-1335 or emailing info@BrilliantLectures.org. All tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable.

Showtime is 7:00 PM. The public is reminded that no audio or visual recording of the program is allowed.

For additional information or to purchase tickets, please click here.

Harry Belafonte, Jr. is a humanitarian and political activist known best as a singer from the 1950s who started the craze for Caribbean-inflected music. Born in 1927 in New York City, the son of a Jamaican mother and Martiniquan father, Belafonte was sent to live with his grandmother in Jamaica from 1932 to 1940. When he returned, a gift of two theatre tickets served as the catalyst for a performing career that would span decades.

His first album “Calypso” sold over 1 million copies in 1956. Crowned the “King of Calypso” he continued to perform throughout the late 50s and 60s until the Beatles were introduced in the States and changed the face of music.

Early in his career, Belafonte became an activist and his success propelled his support for political and humanitarian activities. An ardent advocate for America’s Civil Rights Movement, Belafonte became close friends with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In the 70s and 80s, Belafonte continued performing around the world, furthered his acting and recording careers and turned his focus to the conditions of the African people. He organized the USA for Africa effort, launched a campaign for the awareness of Rwanda and later supported initiatives against AIDS in Africa. For his efforts, he was awarded the Bishop John T. Walker Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award.

Belafonte has four children and currently resides in New York City with wife, Pamela.

Yvonne Cormier and her husband Rufus, both of whom grew up in Beaumont, Texas, have resided in Houston since 1974 when Rufus joined the law firm of Baker Botts. In addition to their respective careers in law and medicine, both are involved in numerous civic, philanthropic and educational activities.

In addition to her medical practice, Cormier is involved in numerous civic, philanthropic and educational activities. She has served on the Advisory Boards of the Sheldon Parks Project, the Junior League Community Advisory Board, the Rutherford B. Yates Museum, the Discovery Green Conservancy, the Houston Ballet Advisory Board, the March of Dimes and the Glassell School of Art. She has also served on the Boards of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Area Parkinson’s Society, and Bayou Bend Houston Parks Board. Dr. Cormier has chaired numerous galas and luncheons benefiting local charities, most recently as Chair of the Best Dressed Luncheon in March of 2016. She was recognized by the late Mayor Bob Lanier as the “Playground Lady” for her work as Chairman of the Hermann Park renovation which enlarged the playground from a 1 acre play space to 8 acres. That recreational area was subsequently dedicated as the “Playground for All Children” making it among the first to create side-by-side play spaces for children regardless of their physical abilities.

Founded in 2005 by Executive Director Scott Brogan, Brilliant Lecture Series is a Houston-based 501(c)(3) charitable organization serving the community as a spoken word and performing arts advocate and facilitator of cultural programming of the highest caliber. Its impressive portfolio of alumni presenters includes Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan and President Mikhail Gorbachev along with Sidney Poitier, George Clooney, Maya Angelou, Robert Duvall and dozens of the most iconic, positive role models in the world, reaching over 98,000 patrons in 11 years of programming.

Brilliant provides a forum for education, entertainment and inspiration to residents and visitors to the Greater Houston area and its individual communities. Brilliant is proud to have produced events designed and designated to enrich the lives of audience members from all walks of life. As part of Brilliant’s educational mission, free and reduced-fee tickets for its touring plays, musicals, concerts and lecture programs are designated for use by a variety of underserved groups that include refugees, students, veterans and many other community sectors. To learn more, visit BrilliantLectures.org.

A Conversation with Harry Belafonte at The Wortham Center