Happy Birthday Harry Belafonte

img Harry Belafonte  You won’t believe it but it’s the great man’s 80th Birthday today.

So we wish you all the best and a great thank you for all what you have done in your life so far. And – as you can expect we are not necessarily talking about Calypso here….

Harry Belafonte is to most people probably best known as the handsome singer who popularized calypso music in the US in the 1950s. But Harry Belafonte has done so many more things – a lengthy career as an actor, producer and music composer but at least as important is his longstanding work as an activist in the fights against racism, violence and world hunger.

Being the first black performer to win an Emmy and the first recording artist to have an album sell over a million copies he used his popularity to work towards more serious concerns of that time.

Like many Civil Rights activists he was blacklisted during the McCarthy era. But also like other entertainers, Belafonte’s success did not protect him from racial or other discrimination, particularly in the South of the United States. As a result, he refused to perform in the South of the U.S. from 1954 until 1961. In 1960, President John F. Kennedy named Belafonte as cultural adviser to the Peace Corps. Belafonte was an early supporter of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and one of Martin Luther King’s Jr. confidants.

In 1987, Belafonte was appointed as goodwill ambassador to UNICEF and most recently he achieved widespread attention for his political views in 2002 when he began making a series of comments about President George W. Bush and his administration.

During an interview with Ted Leitner for San Diego’s 760 KFMB, in October 2002, Belafonte referenced a quote made by the American civil rights era icon Malcolm-X:
…There was two kinds of slaves. There was the house Negro and the field Negro. The house Negroes, they lived in the house with master, they dressed pretty good, they ate good ’cause they ate his food and what he left… In those days he was called a ‘house nigger.’ And that’s what we call him today, because we’ve still got some house niggers running around here…

However you think about such a quote – One thing can be said for sure Harry Belafonte never made his political opinions and believes a secret.

And it takes guts to do this in our days as well as during the McCarthy era when you would most likely been heavily beaten up or might have even died after such a “thing”…

Nevertheless below one of our favorites with Harry B. (and that one is even —- political correct —-)

There is much to explore on this great person on the web so have a look around…

Click on the image for the jump (multimedia).

link to YouTube video

…The workers would materialize on the docks whenever the boats arrived. Men and women together would hoist the heavy banana stalks onto their heads and walk them to the ships (“Lift six-foot, seven-foot, eight-foot bunch”). At the end of the night, a banana counter, known as a “tally man,” would figure out how much each worker would be paid. (“Come, Mr. Tally Man, tally me banana; daylight come and me wan’ go home.”)…

For our more “courageous” readers we suggest to compare the performance of “Mama look a boo boo” with Nat King Cole and the other version with Danny Kaye

the Harry Belafonte Loves W! is a complete different business….

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