Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Harry Belafonteconsidered one of the artists who paved the way in the music performed by African-American singers and an activist committed to social causes, died this Tuesday at the age of 96, due to heart failure.
Born in New York on March 1, 1927, Belafonte spent his childhood in Jamaica, where he was impressed by calypso, a musical style that he would develop in his career as a singer, achieving several hit records in the 1950s, such as belafonte, At Carnegie Hall and Calypso; of the latter -edited in 1956- the theme “Banana boat song (Day-O)” ranked number 1 charts of bill boardbecoming a classic of pop and folk music (the director Tim Burton he took it up again in 1988 for his film “Beetlejuice”).
The artist – who won the prizes grammy, Tony and Emmy– dabbled in acting with roles in Broadway plays, sharing the stage with sidney poitier. By then Harry was already interested in defending social causes and became good friends with Martin Luther King Jr.participating in the civil rights movement.
in 1985 Harry Belafonte had the idea of forming a group of American singers -in the same vein as Band Aid– in the project USA For Africa, to combat famine in Ethiopia. The song “We are the world” -made of lionel richie and michael jackson– was number 1 that year in the United States, and by then he was outspoken against apartheid in South Africa. In the 1990s he focused on film, earning rave reviews for his work in films like “White man’s burden” (in which he shared credits with John Travolta) and Kansas City (directed by robert altman and in competition for palm d’or at the Cannes Film Festival).
Harry never left his career as an activist, and after publishing his memoir my song He frequently attended various events in favor of human rights. He is survived by four children and his third wife, Pamela.