Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

The King of Calypso, Harry Belafonte — recognized for popularizing calypso music within the U.S. and his tireless activism work — handed away April 25 of congestive coronary heart failure, his longtime spokesperson Ken Sunshine confirmed. Belafonte was 96.


Hear Harry Belafonte’s Music by Looking out His Identify on the SXM App


Born in Harlem in 1927, Belafonte lived in Jamaica from age 8 to 13 and served within the Navy throughout World Battle II. Together with Marlon Brando, Walter Matthau, and Sidney Poitier, he attended the Dramatic Workshop of the New Faculty for Social Analysis on the G.I. Invoice. His common singing gig on the Village Vanguard earned him the eye of RCA Victor, who signed Belafonte to a report contract in 1952.

Quickly after, he launched his hit single “Matilda” and the album Mark Twain and Different Folks Favorites. In 1954, Belafonte gained a Tony Award for Greatest Efficiency by an Actor in a Main Position in a Musical for John Murray Anderson’s Almanac. Simply two years later, he dropped the albums Belafonte and Calypso, the latter of which included his most well-known music, “Day-O (Banana Boat Music),” and have become the primary LP to succeed in 1 million gross sales. It spent 31 weeks atop the charts.

In 1960, Belafonte grew to become the primary Black artist to win an Emmy for Tonight With Belafonte. Alongside his musical profession, he additionally starred in films, like 1954’s Carmen Jones and his personal manufacturing, Odds Towards Tomorrow.

Mentored by Paul Robeson, Belafonte went on to develop into a pressure in racial and social activism, working with Martin Luther King Jr. and campaigning for John F. Kennedy. Belafonte was even appointed executor of King’s property after his assassination. His work prolonged past the U.S. to apartheid South Africa, ideating the charitable 1985 observe “We Are the World” which featured greater than 20 of probably the most prolific singers on the time. When Belafonte was later recognized with prostate most cancers, he additionally grew to become an advocate for most cancers analysis.

He was given the Kennedy Heart Honor in 1989, adopted by the Nationwide Medal of Arts in 1994 and GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000. In 2013, he was awarded the Spingarn Medal, the NAACP’s highest honor.

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