Harry Belafonte: An American Legend and Trailblazer dies at 96.
Harry Belafonte “King of Calypso”… Singer, Songwriter, Actor, Civil Rights Activist and Humanitarian career span over 70 years. The husky voice singer recorded 40 albums, stared in 10 movies, he was in the first all black cast movie “Carmen Jones,” he was also the first black actor to win a Emmy and Tony Awards, he was also an Oscar and the winner of 4 GRAMMYs making him one of 18 people who is an claim being an EGOT.
Best known for his recordings of “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)” earning him the moniker “King of Calypso.” it was a breakthrough with the album Calypso (1956), being the first million selling LP by a single artist.
As a Civil Rights and Political Activist, he stood along side of Dr. Martin Luther King, and Robert Kennedy Jr. Over the years he organized demonstrations, raised money and contributed his personal funds to keep movement activities going.
Belafonte was a powerful voice in the struggle against apartheid, the fight against AIDS, and the a advocate to end poverty. Most are familiar with U.S.A. for Africa, but most do not know, that he was the one who initiated the historic event and taping of the making of the video “We Are The World” which made over $63 Million on behalf of his foundation.
As a actor his list of moves were some of the most ground breaking. Carmen Jones (1954), Buck and the Preacher (1972), Uptown Saturday Night (1974), and his final movie on the big silver screen was in Spike Lee’s BlacKKKlansman (2018).
In 1954, he won a Tony Award for a musical called “John Murray Anderson’s Almanac: A Musical Harlequinade.” Belafonte had one hour variety show on CBS called The Revlon Revue: Tonight with Belafonte, a program with both Black and White performers, doing dance routines and folk songs. The program won an Emmy Award — the first for an African American.
Mr. Belafonte is survived by 4 children from 2 marriages most notable his daughter Shari Belafonte who followed into his career path as a entertainer. 1927 – 2023.