Harry Belafonte is a famous singer, songwriter, activist, and actor who was born in Jamaica. Harry Belafonte was born to Harold George Bellanfanti, Sr., and Melvine Love Bellanfanti on March 1, 1927, at Lying-in Hospital in Harlem, New York, United States.
The parents of Harry Belafonte were both born in Jamaica. Both Melvine and Harold’s parents worked; Melvine was a maid and Harold was a cook. He started out at Wolmer’s Schools and ended up at George Washington High School.
At the beginning of his career, he started off singing in clubs while also attending theatre school. John Murray Anderson’s Almanac, the Broadway revue in which Harry Belafonte performed, earned him a Tony Award (1954).
After the success of his first widely distributed hit, “Matilda,” he became a household name. His debut album, Calypso (1956), was the first LP to sell a million copies by a single artist. In the 1950s, Harry Belafonte introduced the music of Trinidad and the Caribbean to a global audience.
Three Grammys, an Emmy, and the 1989 Kennedy Center Honors are among his many accolades. He was awarded both the National Medal of Arts in 1994 and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the 6th Annual Governors Awards of the Academy in 2014.
Introducing Harry Belafonte: A Life Story
American singer, composer, actor, and social activist Harold George “Harry” Bellanfanti, Jr. (born March 1, 1927), better known as Harry Belafonte. He was one of the most famous Caribbean Americans of all time, and he was known as the “King of Calypso” for his role in spreading the sound of the Caribbean to a global audience in the 1950s.
One million copies of his record Calypso (1956) were sold before any other album by a single artist. The iconic line “Day-O” from “The Banana Boat Song” made Belafonte famous. He has released albums of blues, folk, gospel, Broadway show tunes, and American standards, among others.
He has appeared in various films as a leading man, including the classic musical Carmen Jones (1954) by Otto Preminger, the comedy Island in the Sun (1957), and the drama Odds Against Tomorrow (1962) by Robert Wise (1959).
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What Happened to Harry Belafonte?
According to certain online sources, Belafonte passed away on November 20, 2022, just a few months after celebrating his 95th birthday on July 5, 2022. Immediately after the news broke, hundreds of messages from his followers flooded in.
Folks were skeptical of the reports and decided to do some additional research. Thankfully, it was revealed to be yet another death hoax plotted against him.
Repeated online reports of Belafonte’s death are untrue. Even as recently as 2016, Frances Fisher had to use Twitter to confirm Belafonte’s survival. She said, “Harry Belafonte Is Alive & Well,” and included videos of him as proof. The singer is still going strong and can be found in New York City with his wife Pamela Frank.
Harry Belafonte will turn 95 on July 11, 2022. He was born on March 1, 1927. He stands 1.83 meters tall and weighs 173 pounds.
When did he start advocating for change?
The musician and Communist activist Paul Robeson was a major influence on Belafonte’s political convictions. Throughout his life, Robeson fought against western colonialism in Africa and domestic racial prejudice in the United States.
In the ’50s and ’60s, Harry Belafonte was a close confidant of Martin Luther King Jr. and a vocal advocate of the Civil Rights Movement. Over the years, he has supported numerous political and humanitarian movements, including Anti-Apartheid and USA for Africa.
He has served as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 1987. In addition, he represents the ACLU as a spokesperson on behalf of youth justice issues. As part of the global effort to combat HIV/AIDS, he went to South Africa in 2001. Belafonte visited Kenya in 2004 to advocate for kids’ education there.
After being diagnosed and successfully treated for prostate cancer in 1996, Belafonte became an advocate for anyone going through the same experience.