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Harry Belafonte -- entertainer & social activist

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  • tlbaker
    Harry Belafonte, entertainer and social activist! March 1 Harry Belafonte *Harry Belafonte was born on this date in 1927. He is an entertainer and social
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 1, 2007
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      Harry Belafonte, entertainer and social activist!




      March 1

      Harry Belafonte

      *Harry Belafonte was
      born on this date in 1927.

      He is an entertainer and social
      activist of Mixed-Race color

      From New York City, Harold George
      Belafonte�s parents were from the Caribbean.

      His father, Harold George Belafonte,
      Sr., was from Martinique and was
      a cook in the British Navy.

      His mother, Malvine Belafonte,
      was from Jamaica.

      She worked as a housekeeper and dressmaker.

      When Belafonte was eight years old,
      his mother sent his brother Dennis and
      him to boarding school in Jamaica.

      He stayed there until high school, when
      the family moved back to New York City.

      Belafonte attended George Washington High
      School where he was on the track team.

      He dropped out of school at age seventeen
      and joined the United States Navy.

      In 1945, after the service, he returned to New
      York City and was a maintenance worker.

      As a tip, someone gave him tickets to a play.

      Belafonte was fascinated by the theater.

      He began volunteering as a stagehand
      with the "American Negro Theater (ANT)",
      and decided he wanted to be an actor.

      Belafonte studied acting and performed with the ANT.

      He landed a singing role in a play,
      and his audience discovered his
      great singing voice.

      At about the same time, he began
      to find meaning in folk music.

      On weekends he�d go to Washington, D.C., where
      he studied African-American based folk music
      from the collections at the Library of Congress.

      Belafonte also studied music from the Caribbean.

      Singing at New York�s Village Vanguard led
      to his album "Calypso"; the first album (of
      its kind) ever to sell over a million copies.

      It started a calypso music
      craze in the United States.

      Belafonte made a number of other successful
      recordings, as his acting career began to take off.

      In 1954, he got a role in the movie "Carmen
      Jones" where the entire cast was of
      at least some part-Black ancestry.

      Belafonte also produced movies and shows;
      he became the first television producer of
      any part-Black ancestry and also won an "Emmy
      Award" for his show "Tonight with Harry Belafonte".

      He wanted his work to promote both
      racial equality and racial harmony.

      He won a "Tony Award" in 1954 for
      John Murray Anderson�s "Almanac".

      Belafonte�s films acting credits include:
      "Island in the Sun" in 1957,
      "Odds Against Tomorrow" in 1959,
      "Buck and the Preacher" in 1972,
      "Uptown Saturday Night" in 1974,
      and "Kansas City" in 1996.

      When Belafonte began his career, life was hard for
      entertainers who were of part-Black ancestry.

      They worked in the theaters and hotels
      and paid well for their vocation.

      But segregation meant that people whose lineage
      contained any amount of known or acknowledged
      Black-ancestry, did not have equal access or rights
      to the same services and conditions are others.

      Racist conditions incited Belafonte to play a
      continuous role in getting racial barriers removed.

      In the 1960s, he was involved in the
      Civil Rights Movement and he has
      helped many people all over the world.

      In 1985, he produced and sang
      the Grammy-winning song
      entitled "We Are the World".

      Proceeds from the song were used to benefit
      the people of Ethiopia who were going
      through a severe famine at the time.

      Two years later, he became the
      goodwill ambassador for "UNICEF,
      the United Nations Children�s Fund".

      In 1988, the Peace Corps gave
      him its Leader for Peace Award.

      Twenty percent of his income goes to the
      Belafonte Foundation of Music and Art,
      which assists young people of any part-Black
      lineage in their studies for careers in the arts.

      He also heads a group called
      the Urban Peace Movement.

      Belafonte produced a five-CD set called "The Long
      Road to Freedom": An Anthology of black music.

      He received the "National Medal of the
      Arts" in 1994 and the "Grammy Award
      for Lifetime Achievement" in 2000.





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