Legendary singer, actor, and activist Harry Belafonte died on 25 April in his home in Manhattan, his spokesperson confirmed to the New York Times. He was 96.
Belafonte was born in Harlem in 1927. He broke through as a singer in the 1950s, bringing Calypso-style music to a wide audience. He also began acting in films during that decade, appearing with Dorothy Dandridge, Joan Collins, and other golden-age Hollywood stars.
Most importantly, Belafonte was a vocal supporter of the civil rights movement throughout the 1950s and '60s, and was a friend to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Belafonte used his Hollywood money to financially support aspects of the movement, as well as his Hollywood contacts to raise even more money when it was needed. He would provide bail money to get activists out of jail, often hosted King in his Manhattan apartment, and took part in the March on Washington in 1963. He also helped support King's family after the latter's assassination.
Belafonte continued to stand for progressive values throughout his life. He was active in the anti-apartheid movement, a vocal critique of the Iraq War, and was the Grand Marshal of the New York City Pride Parade in 2013. In 2018, Belafonte appeared in Spike Lee's "BlacKkKlansman" as a civil rights leader.
Belafonte's spokesperson told the Times that the star died of congestive heart failure.