Harry Belafonte has sadly died at the age of 96.
As reported by The Mirror, the news of the legendary singer, actor, and civil rights activist’s passing was confirmed by his spokesperson, Ken Sunshine.
Sunshine revealed that Belafonte died on Tuesday (April 25) at home in Manhattan after suffering from congestive heart failure.
Speaking to CBS News back in 2018 about the album’s incredible success, Belafonte said: “I did it as part of what would become a larger display of the music of various cultures around the world.”
“I had had a deep interest in Africa and a deep interest in Latin America, but I got only to Calypso and then the world stopped,” he added. “I woke up one day and everyone was singing ‘Day-O’.”
“Singing was a big part of the culture. It helped with the tediousness of working in the sun all day long.”
But many will also Belafonte for his contributions outside of the entertainment world.
Belafonte also recalled spending time with Luther King Jr. prior to his assassination, during which, MLK told the singer: “I’ve come upon something that disturbs me deeply. We have fought hard and long for integration, as I believe we should have, and I know we will win, but I have come to believe that we are integrating into a burning house.
“I’m afraid that America has lost the moral vision she may have had, and I’m afraid that even as we integrate, we are walking into a place that does not understand that this nation needs to be deeply concerned with the plight of the poor and disenfranchised.”
CNN describes Belafonte as a “voracious reader with a burning disdain for injustice”, who was shaped by his childhood as the son of a poor Jamaican mother.
When asked why he chose to become an activist and move away from being an artist, Belafonte once said: “I was an activist long before I became an artist. They both service each other, but the activism is first.”
Throughout his career, Belafonte became a three-time Grammy award winner – but he was also a well-respected actor and stage performer.
Belafonte would also become the first Jamaican American in history to win an Emmy award, for his Revlon Revue: Tonight with Belafonte.
Our thoughts go out to Belafonte’s family, friends, fans, and supporters at this time…