Many aunties and grandparents throughout the world would agree that Harry Belafonte was a pioneer of this movement for Black guys. Belafonte, though, was much more than his good looks and personality.
Belafonte was born in Harlem and is of Jamaican origin. He joined the Military during World War II after getting into trouble in school. When he returned to the United States after his duty, he saw a play at the American Black Theater. That incident, according to Turner Classic Movies, piqued his curiosity, and he began seriously pursuing acting.
He engaged in acting training at the New School for Social Research and used his singing talent to support and promote his dream job. Belafonte rose quickly in Harlem’s creative environment, landing a role in Sean O’Casey’s “Juno and the Paycock” performance at the American Negro Theater.
This moment triggered a chain of events that allowed Belafonte to grow beyond the stage. He was successful in landing film and television jobs, releasing music, and using his popularity to campaign for social justice and equity.
There is no doubt that the 96-year-old has led an illustrious life, and he has amassed a $30 million fortune over his career, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
With such a rich history and impressive career, let’s take a look at Harry Belafonte’s life and legacy, as well as his impact on the entertainment business.
Belafonte has set a good example not just for the viewing public, but also for his children who want to work in the field. Three of his four children worked in the entertainment industry, following in their father’s footsteps.
Two of his daughters, Shari and Gina, as well as his son, David, worked in the entertainment industry as singers, performers, and production executives, according to Hollywood Life. Adrienne, his oldest daughter, chose a different path and now works as a psychotherapist.
Television And Film
Belafonte has a long list of performing and producing credits spanning seven decades. He appeared in films and television shows like “BlacKkKlansman,” “Uptown Saturday Night,” and the legendary hit “Carmen Jones,” which he co-starred in with Dorothy Dandridge.
His acting abilities got him a historic role. For “Tonight with Belafonte,” he became the first Black person to win an Emmy for Best Performance in a Variety or Musical Show or Series in 1960.
Music And Song
Early in his career, he sang in clubs and lounges to pay for acting training and earn money. Their vocal abilities did not stop there. Belafonte continued to sing in numerous concerts and release albums, including “Homeward Bound” and “Calypso Carnival.”
He has been nominated for 11 Grammy Awards and has won two of them.
Activism And Social Justice
Belafonte was an organizer of protests and movements during the Civil Rights Movement. He was also renowned as one of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s closest confidants.
Belafonte, who was very active in philanthropy, helped coordinate the recording of “We Are The World,” a musical effort that gathered funds for Africa, according to the National Park Service. In 1987, he was also named global ambassador for the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund.