Harry Belafonte

Harry Belafonte

Pop Singer

Harry Belafonte, byname of Harold George Belafonte, Jr., (born March 1, 1927, New York City, New York, U.S.), American singer, actor, producer, and activist who was a key figure in the folk music scene of the 1950s, especially known for popularizing the Caribbean folk songs known as calypsos.

Full Name
Mar 1, 1927
6′ 0″
Net Worth


Harry Belafonte was born Harold George Belafonte Jr. on March 1, 1927 in Harlem, New York City. His father was from Jamaica and his mother was from Martinique. Growing up in the 1930s, he experienced poverty and witnessed the struggles of people around him. He attended George Washington High School but dropped out at the age of 16 to join the Navy before being discharged two years later due to a medical problem. 

Belafonte pursued a career as an entertainer and began singing with a local gospel choir. He soon moved to Los Angeles where he worked as a janitor while continuing his singing career by performing in nightclubs. In 1953, he released his first album Calypso which went on to become a huge success, earning him three Grammy Awards and making him the first artist to win Album of the Year twice in consecutive years. Throughout his career, Belafonte has released over 22 albums, won numerous awards including the Kennedy Center Honors, earned an Emmy Award for Outstanding Variety Special, and appeared in several movies including Buck and the Preacher (1972), Uptown Saturday Night (1974) and Beat Street (1984).

In addition to his entertainment career, Belafonte has been active in politics and social causes since the 1950s when he joined forces with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., actively participating in civil rights marches as well as other social justice issues such as supporting Haitian refugees’ rights and fighting against AIDS stigma. He continues to be an advocate for equal rights even today at 93 years old through organizations such as Sankofa.org which works towards racial justice through education and advocacy programs.

Life Timeline

<div id="" class="timeline-item"><p id="" class="timeline-year">1927</p><h3 id="" class="timeline-title">Harry Belafonte is Born</h3><p id="" class="timeline-text">On March 1, 1927, Harry Belafonte was born in New York City.</p></div>

    <div id="" class="timeline-item"><p id="" class="timeline-year">1945</p><h3 id="" class="timeline-title">Joins the Navy</h3><p id="" class="timeline-text">Joins the United States Navy and serves for two years.</p></div>

    <div id="" class="timeline-item"><p id="" class="timeline-year">1950</p><h3 id="" class="timeline-title">Begins Acting Career</h3><p id="" class="timeline-text">Makes his acting debut on Broadway in "John Murray Anderson's Almanac".</p></div>

    <div id="" class="timeline-item"><p id="" class="timeline-year">1952</p><h3 id="" class="timeline-title">Releases First Album</h3><p id="" class="timeline-text">Releases his first album titled "Mark Twain: Calypso from the Caribbean Sea".</p></div>

    <div id="" class="timeline-item"><p id="" class="timeline-year">1959</p><h3 id="" class="timeline-title">Receives Grammy Award</h3><p id="" class="timeline-text">Wins his first Grammy Award for Best Performance by an Orchestra.</p></div>

    <div id="" class="timeline-item"><p id="" class="timeline-year">1968</p><h3 id="" class="timeline-title">Founds the Belafonte Arts Center</h3><p id="" class="timeline-text">Founds the Belafonte Arts Center to provide educational programs and support.</p></div>

    <div id="" class="timeline-item"><p id="" class="timeline-year">1993</p><h3 id="" class="timeline-title">Receives Presidential Medal of Freedom</h3><p id="" class="timeline-text">Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton.</p></div>

Why We Love Them

<div id="" class="whywelove-item"><h3 id="" class="whywelove-title"><span class="whywelove-leter">A.</span> He's an Iconic Singer</h3><p id="" class="whywelove-text">Harry Belafonte was an iconic singer who revolutionized pop music. His voice was powerful, emotive and had the perfect mixture of joy and sorrow in it that made each song he sang special.</p></div>

    <div id="" class="whywelove-item"><h3 id="" class="whywelove-title"><span class="whywelove-leter">B.</span> He's an Advocate for Social Justice</h3><p id="" class="whywelove-text">Harry Belafonte has been a passionate advocate for social justice and civil rights throughout his career. He has used his platform to speak out against racism, poverty, and other forms of social injustice.</p></div>

    <div id="" class="whywelove-item"><h3 id="" class="whywelove-title"><span class="whywelove-leter">C.</span> He's a Charismatic Performer</h3><p id="" class="whywelove-text">Harry Belafonte is a charismatic performer and his stage presence is electric. He commands the attention of any room he walks into with ease and charisma, making him one of the most captivating performers of all time.</p></div>

Interesting Facts

<div id="" class="facts-item"><h3 id="" class="facts-title"><span class="facts-number">1.</span> First African American to Win an Emmy</h3><p id="" class="facts-text">Harry Belafonte was the first African American to win an Emmy for his role in the TV special “Tonight With Belafonte” in 1959.</p></div>

    <div id="" class="facts-item"><h3 id="" class="facts-title"><span class="facts-number">2.</span> Activist and Philanthropist</h3><p id="" class="facts-text">Harry Belafonte is well known as an activist, philanthropist, and advocate for civil rights. He was a close friend of Martin Luther King Jr. and supported him and the civil rights movement.</p></div>

    <div id="" class="facts-item"><h3 id="" class="facts-title"><span class="facts-number">3.</span> Credited as the Father of World Music</h3><p id="" class="facts-text">Harry Belafonte is credited with popularizing world music in the United States and is often referred to as the “Father of World Music”.</p></div>

    <div id="" class="facts-item"><h3 id="" class="facts-title"><span class="facts-number">4.</span> Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award</h3><p id="" class="facts-text">In 1987, Harry Belafonte was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the music industry.</p></div>

    <div id="" class="facts-item"><h3 id="" class="facts-title"><span class="facts-number">5.</span> Hollywood Walk of Fame Star</h3><p id="" class="facts-text">In 1998, Harry Belafonte was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his lifelong achievements in entertainment.</p></div>


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