Harry Belafonte

Singer, songwriter, actor and social activist Harry Belafonte has always been a man of many talents. Getting his start in theater, Belafonte won a Tony Award in 1954 for his role in the Broadway revue John Murray Anderson’s Almanac. He recorded his first album shortly thereafter and was dubbed “King of Calypso” for introducing the Caribbean music style stateside. His best known work is “The Banana Song,” which regained popularity in the 1980s with the film Beetlejuice and again in the 2010s with Lil Wayne’s use of the sample in his song “6 foot, 7 foot.” Belafonte’s Calypso album was the first ever to sell one million copies. It spent 31 weeks at number one and 99 weeks on the U.S. charts. He also starred in several Hollywood films, including the classic all-Black opera Carmen Jones alongside Dorothy Dandridge. An activist throughout his career, Belafonte received the Kennedy Center Honors in 1989; the National Medal of Arts in 1994 and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000. In 2011 HBO premiered a documentary of Belafonte’s life titled Sing Your Song