Harry Belafonte, Renowned singer, and civil rights activist, passes away at 96.
Harry Belafonte, Renowned Singer, and Activist, Dies at 96 in his Manhattan home on Tuesday due to congestive heart failure. Belafonte was an influential figure in the entertainment industry, having introduced calypso music to the US and paved the way for African American performers. He was also a staunch supporter of social justice causes throughout his career.
Born in New York, Belafonte spent his childhood in Jamaica before returning to the US for high school. He served in the military and then pursued a career in the arts, starting as a nightclub singer before transitioning to Broadway and Hollywood. He won numerous awards for his performances, including two Grammy Awards, a Tony, and an Emmy.
Belafonte was also a passionate activist, dedicating himself to the civil rights movement in the 1960s and beyond. He was a close friend and supporter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and played a key role in the historic March on Washington in 1963. Belafonte also opposed apartheid in South Africa and supported underdeveloped African nations through charitable work.
Despite his success, Belafonte was not immune to the racial tension of the era. In 1968, he caused controversy during a performance on an NBC special hosted by British singer Petula Clark. During a duet, Clark briefly touched Belafonte’s arm, and a white executive reportedly expressed concern about the moment. Belafonte later spoke out about the incident and called it an example of the racism that still existed in the entertainment industry.
Throughout his life, Belafonte remained committed to his activism and continued to use his platform to advocate for social justice causes. He received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award from the Motion Picture Academy in 2014 for his philanthropic work.
Belafonte’s impact on the entertainment industry and the civil rights movement will be remembered for generations. His contributions to music, film, and activism have left a lasting legacy, and he will be greatly missed by fans and colleagues alike.
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