Belafonte’s album “Calypso” was a major commercial success, reaching the top of the Billboard album chart and selling over a million copies.
His hit records “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)” and “Jamaica Farewell” helped to popularize Caribbean music in the United States.
He also had success in Hollywood, becoming the first Black actor to achieve major success as a leading man.
However, Belafonte’s primary focus from the late 1950s onwards was civil rights activism.
He was a lifelong friend and ardent supporter of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., providing financial support to organizations like the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and Dr. King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
He also took part in the March on Washington in 1963 and maintained an insurance policy on Dr. King’s life with the King family as the beneficiary.
In an interview with The Washington Post after Dr. King’s death, Belafonte expressed ambivalence about his high profile in the civil rights movement, saying he would like to “be able to stop answering questions as though I were a spokesman for my people.”
Nonetheless, he accepted his role and continued to work for racial equality throughout his life.
Belafonte’s legacy as a musician and civil rights activist is an inspiration to generations of performers and activists.
His contributions to American culture and social justice will be remembered for years to come.
Harry Belafonte Cause of Death
Harry Belafonte, the legendary musician and civil rights activist, passed away on Tuesday at his home in Manhattan from congestive heart attack.
He was 96.
Belafonte rose to fame in the 1950s with his unique brand of folk music that broke racial barriers and ignited a craze for Caribbean music.
He became the most highly paid Black performer in history by 1959, with lucrative contracts for concerts and appearances in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and New York.