Ukpono Anietie, PH
Harry Belafonte, a legendary figure in the world of music and civil rights activism, has passed away at the age of 96 due to congestive heart failure.
His spokesperson revealed the cause of his death on Monday.
He passed away peacefully in his home in New York City with his wife, Pamela, and other family members by his side.
Born on March 1, 1927, in the vibrant neighborhood of Harlem, New York City, Harry Belafonte was a man of many talents.
He was a singer, actor, and social activist who made a significant impact on the music and entertainment industry.
He was widely known for introducing Caribbean music to the United States in the 1950s and 1960s and was a pioneering force in popularizing Calypso music.
Belafonte’s album, “Calypso,” which was released in 1956, broke several records and became the first album by a single artist to sell over one million copies in the United States.
He earned the first ever #1 on Billboard’s first weekly albums chart in 1956, now known as the Billboard 200.
This groundbreaking album featured his signature song, “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song),” which has since become a timeless classic that continues to inspire new generations of music lovers.
Harry Belafonte was not only a music icon but also a champion of civil rights and social justice.
He was a close friend and confidant of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and played a significant role in the American Civil Rights Movement.
He used his platform and influence to advocate for equal rights, justice, and freedom for all people, regardless of race, religion, or ethnicity.
His activism extended beyond the United States, and he was a prominent figure in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa.
Belafonte’s humanitarian work earned him many accolades and recognition, including the National Medal of Arts in 1994 and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2014.
In addition to his music career and activism, Belafonte was a talented actor who starred in numerous films, television shows, and theater productions.
He was the first African American to win an Emmy Award, and his contribution to the entertainment industry remains unmatched.
Belafonte’s passing has been felt deeply by people around the world, including notable personalities who have paid tribute to him.
One of the many personalities that has paid tribute to the icon is Benin Republic music legend, Angélique Kidjo.
She took to Twitter to honour his memory, writing; “RIP @harrybelafonte. You were the brightest star in every sense of that word. Your passion,love, knowledge and respect for Africa was unlimited. “You have helped and supported so many from Miriam Makeba to Martin Luther King. Your wisdom made me strong. Your music inspired me.”
American civil rights activist and football quarterback, Colin Kaepernick also paid paid his respect to Belafonte on twitter.
He wrote, “Thank you, Mr. B, for all of your years of mentorship, guidance, & lifetime of activism fighting for a better future for all of us. “You will be missed by many, but your memory & impact live on. Rest in Power. “Movements don’t die, because struggle doesn’t die.” -Harry Belafonte”