< /p> Illustration photo – American music icon and human rights and equality activist Harry Belafonte, pictured in 2014.
Washington – American music icon and human rights and equality activist Harry Belafonte died today, he was 96 years old. The cause of death was heart failure, his longtime spokesman Ken Sunshine told The New York Times. The singer, who topped the music charts and campaigned for civil rights, died in his apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
Belafonte, an American-Caribbean music star, was one of America's best-known artists half a century ago and is still a celebrity today. He was born in New York, but lived in Jamaica, where his mother was from, until the age of twelve. Dyslexic Belafonte did not finish high school after returning to the US and served in the Navy at the end of the war. He made his Broadway debut in 1953 in the musical Almanac and immediately won the prestigious theater Tony Award. In the same year, he also appeared on the movie screen.
Two years later, he ravished America with the album Calypso with the Caribbean folk music of calypso, which sold a record of more than a million copies in the US alone. The popular artist also became famous for refusing to perform in the American South between 1954 and 1961 to protest against racial segregation.
Singer of the famous hits The Banana Boat Song, Island in the Sun and Matilda in the 60s worked with black leader Martin Luther King.
In 1985 he organized and produced the recording of the song We Are the World, which featured 45 singers. The proceeds of $70 million were used to help famine-stricken Africa.