Singer and actor Harry Belafonte, known for his political activism as much as for his creative endeavors, has died at 96 from congestive heart failure.
The award-winning Belafonte broke through many racial barriers throughout his lifetime and was deeply involved in the U.S. Civil Rights movement of the early 1960’s.
Harry Belafonte, a singer, songwriter and groundbreaking actor who started his entertainment career belting “Day O” in his 1950s hit song “Banana Boat” before turning to political activism, has died at the age of 96, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
As a Black leading man who explored racial themes in 1950s movies, Belafonte would later move on to working with his friend Martin Luther King Jr. during the U.S. civil rights movement in the early 1960s. He became the driving force behind the celebrity-studded, famine-fighting hit song “We Are the World” in the 1980s.
Belafonte once said he was in a constant state of rebellion that was driven by anger.
“I’ve got to be a part of whatever the rebellion is that tries to change all this,” he told the New York Times in 2001. “The anger is a necessary fuel. Rebellion is healthy.”
One of Belafonte’s most widely known creative achievements was his stewardship of the all-star musical collaboration in 1985, “We are the World.” Funds from the star-studded song aided famine relief in Ethiopia.
In 1989, fellow actor Sidney Poitier introduced Belafonte at the Kennedy Center Honors.
Our thoughts are with the family and friends of legendary entertainer and activist Harry Belafonte. From his dedicated contributions to civil rights, to his unparalleled legacy in movies and music, we will always be grateful for his unforgettable work. https://t.co/qjOp0OCOjy pic.twitter.com/WGVuOgqKV2
— TCM (@tcm) April 25, 2023
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