Musician Harry Belafonte Dies at Age 96

On Tuesday, Harry Belafonte of Jamaican parentage, who topped numerous pop charts and broke down racial barriers in the 1950s with his authentic brand of folk music passed away at his home on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, he was 96 years of age.

Belafonte topped into numerous pop charts and broke down racial barriers in the 1950s with his authentic brand of folk music.

The Jamaican government granted him the Order of Merit (OM) in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the development of culture in 2018. According to Ken Sunshine, who was the late artiste’s spokesman, Belafonte died of congestive heart failure.

The rise of Belafonte to the top echelons of show business occurred during a time when segregation was widespread and, Black people were a rarity on television screens. Before him, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, and others had achieved stardom transcending racial boundaries. However, no one in music, black or white, had made as much of an impact as he did.

In nearly single-handed fashion, he kindled a sensation for Caribbean music with hit records such as (Day-O) The Banana Boat Song and Jamaica Farewell.

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In 1956, his album Calypso reached the top of the Billboard album chart and occupied that spot for over seven months. It was the first album by a single artiste to sell over a million copies at the time.

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