In Memoriam: Harry Belafonte

On 25 April 2023, the US singer, actor and entertainer Harry Belafonte died in New York City at the age of 96.
Harry Belafonte (real name: Harold George Bellanfanti Jr.) was born in New York City on 1 March 1927. After attending the American Negro Theatre, he decided to become an actor in 1940. From 1953 onwards he appeared in several feature films and in 1954 was given his own television show, in which he introduced musicians who were little known at the time, such as Miriam Makeba and Bob Dylan, among others.
As a musician, Harry Belafonte first performed Caribbean folk songs and calypso music. Later he developed into a versatile world musician and was one of the best-known black artists in the USA at the beginning of the 1960s. He succeeded in overcoming the barriers of racial segregation on American television with his music. In the course of his career, Harry Belafonte sold more than 150 million records. In 1965, he won two Grammy Awards.
In addition to his success as an artist, Harry Belafonte became a civil rights activist alongside Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy. He campaigned against apartheid and the Vietnam War and made it possible for Africans to study in the USA through scholarships. At the beginning of the 1980s, Harry Belafonte approached Lionel Richie, Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones with the idea of recording a benefit single for the starving population in Africa. This became the “USA for Africa” project, which later became “We Are the World” with other musicians.

The video shows Harry Belafonte performing one of his greatest hits, “Islands in the Sun”, the theme song for the 1957 film of the same name.