Harry Belafonte

The call “Day-O” has faded away.

Harry Belafonte, born Harold George Bellanfanti Jr, was an American singer, songwriter, actor and social activist. Belafonte is known for his versatile voice and his ability to combine different musical genres such as calypso, folk, pop and jazz. He played an important role in popularizing Caribbean music and made it known to a worldwide audience.

Belafonte had his breakthrough in the 1950s with a recording of the traditional Jamaican folk song “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song).” The song became a huge success and helped him to international fame. He continued to release albums and singles that topped the charts, including “Jamaica Farewell,” “Matilda” and “Jump in the Line.”

In addition to his music career, Harry Belafonte was an outspoken advocate for civil rights and social justice. He used his platform to educate about racial inequality and other important issues of his time. He participated in the civil rights movement alongside prominent figures such as Martin Luther King Jr. and was a close advisor to King. Belafonte was also involved in humanitarian work and played an important role in initiatives such as the U.S. “We Are the World” campaign for Africa.

In addition to his activism, Belafonte had a successful acting career. He appeared in numerous films, including “Carmen Jones” (1954), “Island in the Sun” (1957) and “Buck and the Preacher” (1972). He also starred in the groundbreaking television program “An Evening with Harry Belafonte” (1959), which was one of the first television programs to feature an African-American artist.

Throughout his career, Harry Belafonte received numerous awards and honors for his contributions to music and activism. He has won several Grammy Awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award, and has been recognized for his humanitarian efforts with awards such as the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Belafonte’s work goes beyond his artistic achievements. He used his platform to advocate for change, challenge social norms, and promote equality. His influence on music and activism continues to inspire generations of artists and activists alike.

If you want to pay a musical tribute to Harry Belafonte, here’s a selection of his releases.

Copyright image: Joella Marano

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