Harry Belafonte died of congestive heart failure

Harry Belafontesinger of the hit “Day-O”. He died at the age of 96. The singer and actor was the first man of color to become a leading man.

Harry Belafonte has died in Manhattan

Harry Belafonte has died at the age of 96

The actor died of congestive heart failure. He was an award-winning Broadway performer, recording artist and star of the 1950s. After becoming one of the first black leading men, he continued his career behind the camera in the entertainment industry with production work on theatrical films.

Belafonte was also heavily involved in activism in the 1960s, working with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and helping underdeveloped nations through his charity work. He made his debut at RCA Records in 1954, performing folk songs.

Actor-singer Harry Belafonte to star in new western Buck and the Preacher with Sidney Poitier 03/22/1972

It wasn’t until 1956, when his calypso-inspired record “Belafonte” spawned the hit “Day-O (Banana Boat Song)” that his music career took off. The record spent a shocking 31 weeks at No. 1 and the single stayed on the charts for five weeks.

Another interesting tidbit is that the album remains one of the four longest-running chart-toppers in history. The song was later used in the 1988 film Bug juice directed by Tim Burton.

Harry Belafonte played at Carnegie Hall

Actor-singer Harry Belafonte to star in new western Buck and the Preacher with Sidney Poitier 03/22/1972

The singer had the quite an amazing career including a performance at Carnegie Hall. Born and raised in New York, he re-ordered more than five albums and two live sets there. The 1960 collection “Swing Dat Hammer” won a Grammy Award for Best Ethnic or Traditional Folk Album.

His 1965 album, “An Evening With Belafonte/Makeba,” featuring folk singer Miriam Makeba, won the same award. He also worked with such greats as Bob Dylan, who played harmonica on one of his albums.

He also contributed to the We Are The World recording session. He has helped organize musical artists including Michael Jackson, Bono, Sting, Tina Turner, Lionel Richie, Cyndi Lauper and many others.

Belafonte continued to use his career as a beacon for African-American rights in his film roles and music.

Harry Belafonte worked to promote black music

Actor-singer Harry Belafonte to star in new western Buck and the Preacher with Sidney Poitier 03/22/1972

For most of his career in entertainment, he has veered back and forth on race relations, especially when it comes to musical compilations. In 2002, he made a selection for RCA from a collection of African and African-American music. It was titled “Long Road to Freedom: An Anthology of Black Music.” Belafonte has received three Grammy nominations.

Later in the artist’s career, he slowed down a bit and published his memoirs. Released in 2011, titled “My Song”, written with Michael Shnayerson. A documentary film was made about Belafonte in 2012. “Sing Your Song” focused on her career and activist work.

It also delves into his early life, growing up with a Jamaican mother and a Martini father, and being a chef. The singer is survived by his third wife, Pamela. He also has 4 biological children and two stepchildren.

He was also a proud eight-year-old grandfather! Thoughts and prayers go out to the artists who are grieving their families and friends.

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