Harry Belafonte Biography

Harry Belafonte Biography

Harry Belafonte is an American actor, singer, and social activist. He was born on March 1, 1927, in Harlem, New York City, the son of Jamaican immigrants. Harry Belafonte’s career began in the 1950s when he became known for his calypso music, which mixed Caribbean rhythms with American pop and jazz. Harry Belafonte was the first African American musician to achieve great popularity in the United States of America and around the world. He also starred in several films, including “Island in the Sun” and “Carmen Jones”. Harry Belafonte was also involved in the creation of the USA for Africa Foundation, which raised funds to help victims of famine in Africa.

Harry Belafonte has received numerous honors and awards throughout his career, including the Kennedy Center Honors, the National Medal of Arts, and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. He is widely considered one of the most important and influential musicians of the 20th century.

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Harry Belafonte grew up in poverty and faced racism and discrimination from an early age. His father was a cook who eventually left the family, and his mother was a domestic worker when Harry Belafonte was a child. Harry Belafonte dropped out of high school and joined the U.S. Navy during World War II. After the war, he returned to New York City and worked at various odd jobs while pursuing a career as an actor. Belafonte began singing in clubs and soon gained a following for his unique blend of calypso and American jazz music.

Harry Belafonte’s breakthrough came in 1956 with the release of his album “Calypso,” which included the hit song “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song).” The album became the first LP to sell over one million copies, and Belafonte became an international sensation. Harry Belafonte went on to have a successful career as a singer and actor, starring in such films as “Carmen Jones” and “Island in the Sun.” He also continued to be a vocal advocate for social justice and civil rights.

Personal Life

Harry Belafonte was married three times and had four children. His first marriage was to Marguerite Byrd in 1948, with whom he had two daughters, Adrienne and Shari. The couple divorced in 1957. In his second marriage, Harry Belafonte married Julie Robinson in 1957, with whom he had two children, a son named David and a daughter named Gina. The couple divorced in 2008 after more than 50 years of marriage. Belafonte was married in his third marriage to photographer and former model Pamela Frank.. They married in 2008, and she is currently his wife. Belafonte has spoken openly about his problems with dyslexia and has worked to raise awareness of the condition. He is also a strong supporter of various charitable causes, including AIDS research and anti-poverty initiatives.

Musical Career

Harry Belafonte is a Jamaican-American singer, actor, and social activist who rose to fame in the 1950s. He is best known for popularizing Caribbean music and introducing it to a wide audience. Harry Belafonte’s musical career began in the 1956s with the release of his album “Calypso”,” which included the hit “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)” In the 1950s and 1960s he released other albums that included a mix of contemporary pop songs, traditional Caribbean music, and folk songs.

Harry Belafonte often addressed social and political issues in his music and also became known for his involvement in the civil rights movement. He was also committed to humanitarian causes and served, among other things, as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador UNICEF. His best-known songs include “Island in the Sun”, “Jump in the Line” and “Jamaica Farewell.” He has received numerous awards for his contributions to music and social justice, including the Kennedy Center Honors and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Harry Belafonte Music

Film Career

Harry Belafonte has also had a notable film career. He began his acting career in the 1953 film “Bright Road,” in which he co-starred with Dorothy Dandridge. Harry Belafonte went on to appear in several films throughout the 1950s and 1960s, including “Island in the Sun”, “Carmen Jones” and “Odds Against Tomorrow”. Harry Belafonte also produced and starred in the groundbreaking 1972 film “BlacKkKlansman,” which was directed by collaborator Spike Lee and his friend. The film was based on the true story of an African American police officer who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan. Belafonte has also appeared on numerous television shows, including “The Cosby Show”, “White Collar” and “The Muppet Show”.

Harry Belafonte’s film career has been recognized with several honors and awards, including a Primetime Emmy Award for his performance in the 1985 television film “We Are the World: The Story Behind the Song” and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2014.

Harry Belafonte’s Involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Harry Belafonte was heavily involved in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. He used his platform as a popular entertainer to speak out against racial injustice and inequality and to support the efforts of civil rights activists. Harry Belafonte was a close friend and confidant of Martin Luther King and played a key role in organizing the 1963 March on Washington for Freedom and Jobs. He also helped to fund the movement, using his own money to bail out imprisoned activists and support voter registration efforts in the South. Harry Belafonte’s involvement extended beyond the United States, and he was involved in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. He was also a vocal opponent of the Vietnam War. In recognition of his contribution to the civil rights movement, Harry Belafonte was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the NAACP in 2013.

Civil Rights Movement

Humanitarian Activism

Harry Belafonte was a dedicated humanitarian activist throughout his career. He has been involved in a variety of causes, including global health, disaster relief, efforts, and children’s welfare. Belafonte has been a Goodwill Ambassador (UNICEF) since 1987 and has traveled around the world to raise awareness of the needs of children in developing countries. He has also been a strong advocate for HIV AIDS treatment and awareness. Also, Harry Belafonte has worked with organizations such as the Clinton Global Initiative to support efforts to combat the disease. Belafonte has been involved in disaster relief efforts, including helping victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. He founded The Gathering for Justice, an organization that works to combat social and economic injustice in the United States.

Harry Belafonte has received numerous awards for his humanitarian work, including the BET Humanitarian Award, the Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Prize, and the Gandhi Peace Award. Harry Belafonte has been recognized for his commitment to social justice and his dedication to making a positive impact on the world.

Humanitarian activism

Political Activism

Harry Belafonte was politically active throughout his career, using his platform as a celebrity to champion progressive causes and challenge systems of oppression and inequality. Harry Belafonte was a staunch opponent of the Vietnam War and supported the civil rights movement, working alongside activists such as Martin Luther King Jr. for racial equality and social justice. He also supported the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, speaking out against the racist policies of the South African government and supporting efforts to end apartheid.

Harry Belafonte has been critical of U.S. foreign policy and has spoken out against the country’s interference in foreign conflicts, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has also been a vocal advocate for environmental protection, calling for urgent action to combat climate change. Harry Belafonte has been a strong supporter of progressive political candidates and has endorsed politicians such as Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. He has also been a critic of President Donald Trump and his administration, condemning their policies on issues such as immigration and climate change. Throughout his political involvement, Belafonte was a consistent advocate for social justice and equality. He used his platform to make the voices of marginalized communities heard and to challenge systems of power and oppression.

Harry Belafonte Speech


Harry Belafonte, the singer and actor, and tireless activist who smashed racial barriers in the US has died due to congestive heart failure at home in Manhattan, aged 96 (Tuesday morning April 25, 2023).


Harry Belafonte is a multi-faceted personality who has made significant contributions in the fields of music, film, humanitarian and political activism. He has used his platform to speak out against inequality and injustice both in the United States and around the world. Harry Belafonte was a tireless advocate for civil rights, disaster relief, global health, child protection, and environmental protection. Harry Belafonte’s work has inspired countless others to use their talents and resources to make a positive difference in the world, and his impact on the world will be felt for generations to come.

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