REMEMBERING HARRY BELAFONTE: Celebs Pour Their Hearts Out In Touching Tributes To Honor Civil Rights Activist

After the passing of the singer and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte on Tuesday at the age of 96, numerous celebrities, political figures, and musicians are honoring him with tributes. See the heartwarming tributes inside…

Harry Belafonte, the legendary figure in civil rights and entertainment, who initially made a mark as a pioneering actor and singer before transforming into a social activist, humanitarian, and global conscience, passed away at the age of 96.

On Tuesday, Harry Belafonte passed away at his New York residence due to congestive heart failure, with his spouse Pamela by his side, according to publicist Ken Sunshine.

Belafonte was among the earliest Black artists to achieve widespread recognition in films and music, with a handsome face and a silky, husky voice that captivated millions. He sold over a million records as a singer, and many still remember his signature track, “Banana Boat Song (Day-O),” with its iconic call of “Day-O! Daaaaay-O.”

However, he left a more enduring legacy when he reduced his performance career in the 1960s and began living by the words of his hero Paul Robeson, who believed that artists were “gatekeepers of truth.” Belafonte epitomized the model of a celebrity activist, serving as a meeting point for Hollywood, Washington, and the civil rights movement. He not only marched in protests and performed in benefit concerts but also assisted in organizing and garnering support for them. He worked closely with his friend and generational peer, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., frequently intervening on his behalf with politicians and fellow entertainers and providing him with financial assistance

Belafonte put his life and livelihood in danger while establishing high expectations for younger Black celebrities, chastising Jay-Z and Beyoncé for not meeting their “social responsibilities” while mentoring Usher, Common, Danny Glover, and numerous others.

Belafonte’s illustrious career garnered him three Grammy Awards, a Tony Award, and an Emmy Award. He was recognized with the Kennedy Center Honors in 1989, awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1994, and in 2022, he became the oldest person ever to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

After the news of his passing, various entertainers and peers paid homage to Belafonte on social media. Bernice King took to Twitter to pay tribute to the singer and talk about their special connection.

“As a child, #HarryBelafonte showed my family immense compassion. He even covered the cost of our babysitter for me and my siblings,” wrote Bernice King, the youngest offspring of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King. “Here he is mourning with my mother at the funeral service for my father at Morehouse College. I won’t forget…Rest well, sir.”

On Instagram, Oprah Winfrey posted pictures of her interview with Belafonte and accompanied them with a sincere caption that said, “Another ‘GREAT TREE’ has fallen,” she wrote.

“Harry Belafonte, a Trailblazer and Hero to us all. Thank you for your music, your artistry, your activism, your fight for civil rights and justice—especially risking your life back in the day to get money to the movement. Your being here on Earth has Blessed us all.”

Below are more touching tributes from POTUS Barack Obama, Patti LaBelle, Tyler Perry, Lenny Kravitz, Naomi Campbell, Kerry Washington, Debbie Allen, Magic Johnson, Colin Kaepernick, Tiffany Haddish, Sheryl Lee Ralph and tons more:































RIP Harry Belafonte.

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