First black actor to win a Grammy | Harry Belafonte, singer, actor and civil rights advocate, has died

“King of Calypso” (in the US; in Trinidad and Tobago, the birthplace of this Caribbean beat, they had and other idols), actor and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte died this Tuesday at the age of 96 due to Heart failure at his home in New York.

Belafonte was born in Harlem, New York, in 1927 to a Jamaican mother and a French father from Martinique. Although his training was as an actor, success in show business came to him as a singer. Equally seduced by folk, with which he had delved into the Library of Congress, and calypso, with which he had originally sucked, he alternated both genres on his first LPs. in Calypso (1956) It is clear which one was leaning. The album was the first album to sell one million copies in the US market and Calypso fever sparked national. Even Robert Mitchum recorded the album Calypso is like So & mldr; (1956). In the booming postwar United States, they were dying for musical weirdness: the mambo and cha-cha-cha swept in, too, and the style called “weirdness” was born. But Belafonte threw rebellious messages into the seductive Calypsos.

If Jacques Cousteau’s ship was called “Calypso” in honor of the character of the same name from Greek mythology, one in the movie aquatic life (2004), by Wes Anderson, called “Bellafonte”.

Real world music

Belafonte never locked himself in Calypso’s He also recorded albums of folk, blues, scales, and what we today call world music, of which he was a leading champion. (an effort An Evening with Belafonte / Makebafrom 1965 to present authentic South African music).

Belafonte was short in time to put his star in the service of the civil rights movement, which he supported personally and financially. He was even an advisor Martin Luther King, leader of the cause, and collaborated with him and Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth in planning the 1963 Birmingham Campaign, a series of protest actions that put racism in that Alabama city at the center of the American debate. Especially and in the south of the country in general. The artist took part in the massive March on Washington that same year, at which King performed letter i have a dream. “Belafonte’s popularity and commitment to our cause are key to the global fight for equality and a powerful tactical weapon in the civil rights movement here in the United States,” King said.

‘we are the world’

Belafonte, who worked at An island in the sun (1957), was one of the first films to feature A.J Interracial romancebefore John F. Kennedy Member of the Advisory Committee of the Peace Corps, which the President hoped the United States would show the world its strength through non-military means.

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The singer and actor later focused his activism on the African continent and became a leading voice in the fight against apartheid in South Africa. Belafonte was it Founder of Supergroup USA For Africawhich is simple We are the world (1985) has sold over 20 million copies; Profits went to fight famine in Ethiopia.

Belafonte did not mince words and came to qualify the President of the United States George W. Bush as “the greatest terrorists” of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

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