The great Harry Belafonte was a Jamaican-American singer, actor and activist, who popularized calypso music with international audiences in the 1950s. His breakthrough album ‘Calypso’ (1956) was the first million-selling LP by a single artist.
Belafonte was best known for his recordings of “The Banana Boat Song”, with its signature “Day-O” lyric. He recorded and performed in many genres, including blues, folk, gospel, show tunes, and American standards. He also starred in several films, including Carmen Jones (1954), Island in the Sun (1957), and Odds Against Tomorrow (1959).
Belafonte considered the actor, singer, and activist Paul Robeson a mentor, and he was a close confidant of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s.Throughout his career, Belafonte was an advocate for political and humanitarian causes. From 1987 until his passing, he was a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. Belafonte won three Grammy Awards (including a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award), an Emmy Award, and a Tony Award. In 1989, he received the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors, and in 2022 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the Early Influence category.
Billy Strayhorn Songs Inc. and the Billy Strayhorn Foundation honors both the extraordinary life and passing of this history making trailblazer and legendary figure beloved worldwide.