Harry Belafonte has died. The beloved actor and civil rights activist died, Monday, due to congestive heart failure, the New York Times reports. He was 96.
Belafonte leaves behind a revered legacy as the Calypso king, thespian, advocate, humanitarian and golden talent. Belafonte reportedly died in his Manhattan home with his wife by his side.
With dashing good looks, Caribbean-inspired style and a charming demeanor, Belafonte was able to captivate Black and white audiences at the burgeoning Civil Rights Movement. Diahann Carroll called him “the most beautiful man I ever set eyes on,” she once told Time. In an official statement, Chairwoman & Founder of Urban One Inc. Cathy Hughes, referred to Belafonte as “one of the greatest social activists and freedom fighters ever to have lived.” She added, “Humanity has just suffered a significant wound to its consciousness.”
In addition to color barrier-breaking roles in classic Hollywood films like Island in the Sun, he sparked the international embrace of Calypso music with his debut and chart-topping album, Calypso, featuring the transcendent anthem, “Day O.”
Belafonte has won several awards throughout his career. He was the first Black man to win a Tony Award and the first Black person to win an Emmy for his role in The Revlon Revue: Tonight With Belafonte.
As a social activist, he worked closely with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In a 2007 interview with the Guardian, he recalled meeting MLK for the first time, describing it as a “life-changing moment.” He continued to lead a life of servitude to the cause.
“My insatiable appetite for social change keeps me in a sleepless state,” he told the publication in 2012.
Belafonte’s fashion style was a combination of his Harlem birthplace and a nod to his Caribbean roots. In 2005 he walked in the runway show for Kenneth Cole.
Up until his death, Belafonte was active in politics. In 2016, he reprimanded Donald Trump in a letter advising the American people not to vote for the repugnant politician.
“Mr. Trump asks us what we have to lose,” he wrote. “And we must answer: Only the dream, only everything.”
Keep scrolling for more photos of the beloved Black idol, Harry Belafonte.
1. Harry Belafonte, 1957Source:Getty
Profile headshot of American singer-songwriter and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte, wearing an open-collar shirt.
2. Harry Belafonte, 1954Source:Getty
Carmen Jones, Dorothy Dandridge and Harry Belafonte in a romantic publicity portrait for the Otto Preminger 1954 film.
3. Harry Belafonte, 1972Source:Getty
Harry Belafonte attends a benefit for Operation Push at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois, March 10, 1972.
4. Harry Belafonte, 1976Source:Getty
Portrait of Harry Belafonte in black and white.
5. Harry Belafonte, 1957Source:Getty
American singer, actor and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte wearing a pink shirt, with a length of striped fabric over his right shoulder, sitting in his dressing room at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles, California, Aug. 2, 1957.
6. Harry Belafonte, 1957Source:Getty
American singer-songwriter and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte wearing a white tuxedo jacket with a black bow tie, his right hand in the pocket of his trousers, in a publicity still issued for the film Island in the Sun, location unspecified, 1957.
7. Harry Belafonte, 1957Source:Getty
American singer, actor and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte, wearing an olive green shirt, leans his left elbow on a stump beside him, venue unspecified, location unspecified, United States, circa 1957.
8. Harry Belafonte, 1957Source:Getty
American singer, actor and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte wearing a pink shirt, with a fishing net in the background, location unspecified, United States, circa 1957.
9. Harry Belafonte, 1981Source:Getty
FILED – Oct. 24, 1981, Rhineland-Palatinate, Pirmasens: American singer and actor Harry Belafonte sings during an appearance on a TV program.
10. Harry Belfaonte, 2005Source:Getty
Harry Belafonte at the Fall 2005 Kenneth Cole show in New York.
11. Harry Belafonte, 2012Source:Getty
Harry Belafonte attends the 13th Annual AmfAR Gala at Cipriani Wall Street.
12. Harry Belafonte, 2013Source:Getty
Harry Belafonte attends amfAR’s 2013 New York Gala at Cipriani Wall Street. (Photo by Fairchild Archive/Penske Media via Getty Images) vertical, color image, photography, arts culture and entertainment, attending, usa, new york city, international landmark, gala, cipriani – wall street, harry belafonte