Aloha Friday Motivation | Tribute to Harry Belafonte | POST:042823

Happy Aloha Friday,

This week we lost a legend! Harry Belafonte, singer, actor, activist, passed away at the age of 96. Born in Harlem, Belafonte’s musical career spawned from gigs he played to pay for acting classes. Before he found success, from his breakout album Calypso (the first LP to sell over 1 million copies) he actually won a Tony Award for his role in the Broadway Revue, John Murray Anderson’s Almanac in 1954. This early success set the stage for the rest of his illustrious career, becoming one of just three African Americans to complete the EGOT (winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony).

However, Harry Belafonte’s success goes well beyond the stage, the screen, the recording studio and his artistic talents. Harry was, even up to the time of his death, a vocal and active advocate for civil rights, using his platform to fight for racial justice and equality. He marched alongside his long time friend and confidant Martin Luther King Jr and was a key figure in the civil rights movement. In 1985, Harry was the driving force in organizing the Grammy Award winning “We are the World” charity song. He would later help found the organization, Help African People, providing aid to African countries during times of crisis.

And it didn’t stop there, Harry’s activism stretched well into his 90’s. What is so inspiring to me is that he had the opportunity to take the surface level fame and fortune and simply coast, but his legacy will forever remain with his use of that fame to help and to serve others.

When I think back to my first introduction to Harry, it was from an episode of the Muppet Show, where he performed alongside Kermit, Fozzy Bear, Animal, and all the other Muppets in a tour de force episode highlighting his talents; his voice, his humor, his humanity. Below are links to some key moments during that episode as well as a link to the entire episode. For those of you who have kids, or have little ones in your life, I urge you to share this with them.

Kermit Intro to Harry Belafonte

Harry Belafonte | Day-O (Banana Boat Song)

Harry and Animal | Percussion Duet

Turn the World Around | Muppet Show Version

Harry Belafonte | Turn the World Around (Short Version)

Muppet Show | Full Episode 314  

Harry Belafonte | End Credits Muppet Show

 

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