Connect with us


Harry Belafonte Dies At Age 96, Stars Pay Tribute



Celebrities, politicians and more are paying tribute to Harry Belafonte after the singer and civil rights activist died at age 96 on Tuesday.

Reps for the legendary performer confirmed his death in a press release, writing that Belafonte died of “congestive heart failure at his New York home at the age of 96, his wife Pamela by his side.”

Belafonte notably brought Calypso music to the masses through hit songs including “The Banana Boat Song,” “Jump in the Line” and “Jamaica Farewell,” among others.

Throughout his illustrious career, Belafonte earned three Grammy Awards, a Tony Award and an Emmy Award. He received the Kennedy Center Honors in 1989, was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1994 and became the oldest living person to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2022.

Following news of his death, social media was flooded with tributes and memories.

Stars Pay Tribute

Oprah Winfrey took to Instagram and shared photos of herself interviewing Belafonte alongside a heartfelt caption. “Another ‘GREAT TREE’ has fallen,” she wrote.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Oprah (@oprah)

“Harry Belafonte, a Trailblazer and Hero to us all,” continued Winfrey. “Thank you for your music, your artistry, your activism, your fight for civil rights and justice—especially risking your life back in the day to get money to the movement. Your being here on Earth has Blessed us all.”

Debbie Allen shared her own tribute, posting two photos from a 1983 performance in New York City, where she, Belafonte and legendary tap dancer Gregory Hines are all-smiles together. “Harry, I will always treasure the wonderful conversations we had,” she wrote in the caption. “Thank you for inspiring the world to fight for Freedom and Humanity 🙏🏼❤️🙏🏼❤️.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Debbie Allen (@therealdebbieallen)

Tiffany Haddish shared a photo of herself with Belafonte and rapper Common to Instagram alongside a heartfelt message. “Rest in peace King Harry Belafonte. I am so honored and Grateful that I got to sit at your feet and learn from you,” she wrote.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Tiffany Haddish (@tiffanyhaddish)

Patti LaBelle shared a photo of she and Belafonte on Instagram with the caption “Rest in love and power Mr. Belafonte! You will always be remembered 🙏🏾🖤🙏🏾.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Patti LaBelle (@mspattilabelle)

Sheryl Lee Ralph, who starred in the 1995 film White Man’s Burden alongside Belafonte, paid tribute to the singer and activist Tuesday morning, on both Twitter and Instagram.

“Mr. Belafonte and I were working on a film together called ‘White Mans Burden’,” Ralph tweeted. “I was pregnant with my daughter and he claimed her as his Godchild❤️.”

On Instagram, she shared a lengthier tribute to Belafonte.

“We lost a true Jamaican American hero today,” she wrote in the caption. “Harry Belafonte was so many things and a supportive mentor and role model to me. I thank him for the love and support he gave to me and my children over the years. My love and prayers to the Belafonte family. He will be deeply missed.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Sheryl Lee Ralph (@thesherylleeralph)

 A Life Well-Lived

Born Harold George Bellanfanti Jr. in Harlem, New York on March 1, 1927, Belafonte spent his youth shuffling between the city and his mother’s native Jamaica.

After a brief stint in the Navy, he began his recording career in 1949 after working his way through the New York City club scene.

Following the release of his first album in 1954, Belafonte expanded his talents to the silver screen, breaking racial barriers in critically acclaimed hits like Carmen Jones, which co-starred Dorothy Dandridge. He also won a Tony Award for his performance in the Broadway musical Almanac.

Belafonte was also known for his activism, and had advocated over the years for civil rights and other political and humanitarian causes, such as the Anti-Apartheid Movement and USA for Africa.

In one of his final acts of charity, the singer celebrated his 94th birthday in March 2021 with a star-studded virtual party that raised money for The Gathering for Justice, a social justice organization he founded in 2005.

Popular on Hip Hollywood

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *