The New York Times says that legendary artist, actor, and activist Harry Belafonte has died at age 96.
Belafonte died at his home on the Upper West Side of Manhattan on Tuesday, April 25. Ken Sunshine, who had been his spokesman for a long time, told NYT that the reason was congestive heart failure.
“Harold George Bellanfanti Jr. was born in Harlem, New York City, in 1927”. He broke down barriers in the entertainment business and fought for human rights for African Americans and Black people all over the world. Calypso, the Jamaican-American musician’s first studio record, came out in 1956. It was the first LP by a single artist to sell more than a million copies.
In music, Belafonte was known for his versions of “The Banana Boat Song” and the standard “Day-O” and for having a career that spanned many decades and many different types of music. He won several Grammy Awards, including Best Folk Recording and Best Folk Performance, and was nominated 11 times over the course of his life.
Harry Belafonte was also well-known for his work for human rights and service to the community. During the Civil Rights Movements, Belafonte was “a close friend of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr”. and helped organise protests. He was also known for giving his own money to keep protests going.
In 1964, Belafonte and his close friend, the late Sidney Poitier, went to the Mississippi Delta to give $70,000 to Freedom Summer to keep it going. On their way there, members of the KKK gave chase at high speed, but the two still made it.
Belafonte was made a special member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. in 2014 for his brave work over the course of his life.
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