Harry Belafonte Passes Away at 96

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Singer, activist, and actor, Harry Belafonte has passed away at 96 years old. 

According to reports, Belafonte died in his Upper West Side home in Manhattan from congestive heart failure. 

He was born in Harlem on March 1, 1927, and was the son of Caribbean immigrants. His mother worked as a house cleaner and dressmaker and his father was a cook for merchant ships. 

Throughout his seven-decade career, Belafonte has made history which included becoming the first Black Emmy winner and being the first to record a million-selling full-length album. He was also the recipient of many awards including the Kennedy Center Honors, which received in 1989, the Grammy lifetime achievement award in 2001, and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award Oscar in 2014. 

Before he was known as an award-winning actor, Belafonte got his start by working as a handyman at the American Negro Theater where he would meet another fellow actor, Sidney Poitier, who would become a lifelong friend.

As an actor, Belafonte has worked with other legends such as Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Marlon Brando, Dorothy Dandridge, and more. 

Aside from singing and acting, Belafonte was one of the main figures during the civil rights movement alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He also fought to end apartheid in South Africa and stood in opposition to the war in Iraq. 

During his 90th birthday celebration, Harry Belafonte reflected on his life and everything he had accomplished. “I wasn’t an artist who became an activist. I was an activist who became an artist.” 

We will continue to keep Harry Belafonte’s family and loved ones in our thoughts and prayers during this time.