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a close up of Harry Belafonte smiling at a press event. He wears a dark suit and black skivvy.

Legendary Entertainer & Activist Harry Belafonte Has Passed Away

Harry Belafonte, the charismatic singer, songwriter and actor who broke down racial barriers and became a civil rights activist, has passed away at 96.

His spokesperson, Ken Sunshine, confirmed the sad news to the New York Times revealing the legendary entertainer passed from congestive heart failure.

Belafonte, who was the son of Caribbean immigrants and became known as the “King of Calypso”, was one of the first Black artists allowed to perform in nightspots in America and to gain a wide following for his work as a singer and actor – as you read this, you can no doubt hear him belting out “Day-O!” From his 1950s hit ‘Banana Boat Song’!

 

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He did so much in his lifetime to make the world a little better, becoming a key figure in the civil rights movement, fighting racial inequality and poverty, organising and attending protests, campaigning against apartheid in South Africa, supporting the fight against HIV/AIDS and more.

He famously called on other celebrities (like Beyoncé and JAY-Z) to use their power and influence to do more to make the world better too.

He is survived by his wife Pamela, his children Adrienne Belafonte Biesemeyer, Shari Belafonte, Gina Belafonte, David Belafonte, two stepchildren Sarah Frank and Lindsey Frank and eight grandchildren.

(Feature Image Credit: Denis Makarenko/Shutterstock)

Nehal is an award-winning news presenter, author of "A Kids Book About Kindness Online" and founder of CelebrityKind. She has dedicated her career to creating connected and healthy spaces in the media. When she's not writing, you'll find Nehal hanging with family, dancing to Beyoncé, interpreting Taylor Swift lyrics or watching old eps of Oprah.