born March 1, 1927) Belafonte was the son of Melvine (née Love), a
housekeeper, and Harold George Belafonete, Sr., a Jamaican who worked as
chef in the Royal Navy. Mr belafonte is a musician, actor and
social activist. An idea for the creation of an American
benefit single for African famine relief song ''we are the world''
came from activist Harry Belafonte. Michael Jackson and lionel
Richie were assigned the task of writing the song.Several musicians
were contacted AND The historic event brought together some of
the most famous artists in the music industry at the time.
Before the writing of "We Are the World", American entertainer
and social activist Harry Belafonte had sought for some time
to have a song recorded by the most famous artists in the music
industry at the time. He planned to have the proceeds donated to a new organization called United Support of Artists for Africa
(USA for Africa). The non-profit foundation would then feed and
relieve starving people in Africa, specifically Ethiopia, where
around one million people died during the country's 1984–1985
famine. The idea followed Band Aid's "Do They Know It's
Christmas" project in the UK, which Belafonte had heard about.
[nb 1] In the activist's plans, money would also be set aside
to help eliminate hunger in the United States of America.
Michael Jackson revealed to lionel Richie that he not only wanted
to sing the song, but to participate in its writing as well. To begin
with, "We Are the World" was to be written by Michael Jackson,
Lionel Richie and Stevie Wonder.
Vision was brought to reality when the We are the world song
was released on March 7, 1985, as the only single from the album.
A worldwide commercial success, it topped music charts throughout
the world and became the fastest-selling American pop single
in history. The first ever single to be certified multi-platinum,
"We Are the World" received a 4× certification by the Recording
Industry Association of America.
Awarded numerous honors—including three Grammy Awards, one American
Music Award and a People's Choice Award—the song was promoted with a
critically received music video, a home video, a special edition
magazine, a simulcast, and several books, posters and shirts. The
promotion and merchandise aided the success of "We Are the World", which
was eventually named the biggest-selling single of all time. As of 2009,
it has sold more than 20 million units and raised over $63 million for humanitarian aid in Africa and the US.
Harry Belafonte from 1932 to 1940, he lived with his grandmother
in the village of Aboukir in her native country of Jamaica.
When he returned to New York City he attended George Washington
High School after which he joined the Navy and served during World War II.
One of the most successful popular singers in history, he was
dubbed the"King of Calypso," a title which he was very reluctant to accept
(according to the documentary Calypso Dreams) for popularizing the
Caribbean musical style.
Belafonte has starred in several films. His first major film role
was in Bright Road (1953), in which he appeared alongside Dorothy
Dandridge. The two subsequently starred in Otto Preminger's hit
musical Carmen Jones (1954). Ironically Belafonte's lyrics in the
film were dubbed by an opera singer, as Belafonte's own singing voice
was seen as unsuitable for the role. Using his star clout, Belafonte was subsequently able to realize several then-controversial film roles.
In 1957's Island in the Sun there are hints of an affair
between Belafonte's character and Joan Fontaine. In 1959 he
starred in and produced Robert Wise's Odds Against Tomorrow, in
which he plays a bank robber uncomfortably teamed with a racist
partner (Robert Ryan). He also co-starred with Inger Stevens in
The World, the lesh and the Devil. Belafonte was offered the role
of Porgy in Otto Preminger's Porgy and Bess, but refused the role
because he objected to the racial stereotyping of blacks in the story.
Feeling dissatisfied with the film roles available to him, he
abandoned film in favour of his musical career during the 1960s.
In the early 1970s Belafonte briefly resurfaced in a number of films
among which are two films in which he starred alongside Sidney
Poitier: Buck and the Preacher (1972) and Uptown Saturday Night
(1974). In 1984, Belafonte produced and scored the musical
film Beat Street, dealing with the rise of hip-hop culture.
Belafonte would not star in a major film again until the mid-1990s,
when he appeared alongside John Travolta in the race-reverse drama
White Man's Burden (1995); and in Robert Altman's jazz age drama
Kansas City (1996), the latter of which garnered him the New York Film
Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Political and humanitarian activism
Belafonte's political beliefs are greatly inspired by the man that
he still views to this day as his mentor: singer and activist Paul
Robeson, a man who was in his time a controversial figure for strongly
supporting the Soviet Union throughout the Cold War.
Like Robeson and other black entertainers,
As a result, he refused to perform in the South from 1954 until 1961.
In 1960, President John F. Kennedy named Belafonte cultural advisor to
the Peace Corps.
Belafonte was an early supporter of the Civil Rights
Movement in the 1950s and one of Martin Luther King Jr.'s confidants.
He provided for King's family, since King made only $8,000 a year as a
preacher. Like many civil rights activists, Belafonte was blacklisted
during the McCarthy era. He bailed King out of the Birmingham City Jail
and raised thousands of dollars to release other imprisoned civil rights protesters. He financed the Freedom Rides, supported voter registration
drives, and helped to organize the March on Washington in 1963.
Opposition to the George W. Bush Administration
Belafonte achieved widespread attention for his political views
in 2002 when he began making a series of comments about President
George W. Bush, his administration and the Iraq War.
19 Feb 2004 Michael Jackson has picked up a vocal defender.
he spoke out praising Jackson, saying that “no single individual has had influence in the world” like the embattled pop star.
“Michael Jackson is innocent until proven guilty by the court
of law,” Belafonte told Agence France while working on behalf of
UN Children’s Fund in Nairobi.
Belafonte received the Kennedy Center Honors in 1989. He was awarded
the National Medal of Arts in 1994 and he won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement
Award in 2000.