Singer, Activist & Actor Harry Belafonte Died at 96

Harry Belafonte

Harry Belafonte, a famous singer, actor, and human rights activist passed away on Tuesday at the age of 96 due to heart failure. He used his art to fight for equal rights and won several awards. His publicist confirmed that he died at his home in New York. Let us take a further look below.

A Charismatic Performer

Harry Belafonte was a stylish and charismatic performer. In addition to this, he became famous in the 1950s with his recordings for RCA Victor. Including his popular version of the Jamaican folk song “Day-O,” also known as “The Banana Boat Song.” 

He helped popularize calypso music. And his good looks and charming personality made him popular with both black and white audiences. During a time when segregation was still prevalent in America. Moreover, people loved his charm and wit. 

A Charismatic Performer

Son of the Caribbean

Belafonte was born in Harlem. And his parents were from the Caribbean, with his mother being Jamaican. And his father was from the island of Martinique. Moreover, while in Jamaica with his mother, he immersed himself in the local culture. This influenced his life from that point. He made a lot of music that paid tribute to his roots. 

Belafonte said that “The Banana Boat Song” was about men who picked bananas. And wanted to be paid fairly. Furthermore, they sang it to protest and fight for their rights. He recorded the song to help people understand its important message of rebellion and resistance.

Multiple Awards Winner

Belafonte received numerous awards and honours during his career. Including the Kennedy Center Honors and the National Medal of Arts. Also, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In addition to this, he was a lifelong advocate for human rights, civil rights, and social justice. He used his platform as an artist to speak truth to power and inspire change.

Harry Belafonte’s music and activism made him an icon. And his passing at the age of 96 is a great loss. He was an EGOT holder, winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony awards, and died at his home in New York.

Son of the Caribbean

An Instant Celebrity

Belafonte’s music career took off in the 1950s with RCA Victor. Recording hits like “Day-O” and “The Banana Boat Song.” These songs and his good looks made him an instant sensation. With audiences of all races. Despite America being a racially divided country.

Belafonte was born in Harlem to parents from the Caribbean. And it was in Jamaica that he found inspiration for “The Banana Boat Song.” Furthermore, the song is a work song about underpaid men and their rebellion. In addition to this, it became a chart-topping hit that helped put calypso music on the map.

A Man of Many Talents

Harry Belafonte was a famous singer. He sang “Day-O” and made people love calypso music. He acted in movies and TV shows and won many awards. Belafonte was the first Black person to win an Emmy Award. Belafonte fought for equal rights for all people. And worked with Martin Luther King Jr. He helped others as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF. And received an award for his work from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.


Harry Belafonte was a cultural icon. Moreover, he championed many causes. Apart from this, he was also one of the original success stories of America. We will remember him in the days to come. Moreover, he was also a very kind and compassionate person. 

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