The success of Carmen Jones for the 1954 generated Belafonte a superstar, and very quickly he became a tunes experience

With RCA Winner Records, he put out Calypso (1956), an album featuring their accept traditional Caribbean folk music. “The newest Banana Motorboat Track (Day-O)” became a big success. More than simply a famous song, in addition it held special definition for Belafonte: “One song try a traditions,” Belafonte afterwards informed The fresh new York Minutes. “It’s a tune on my father, my personal mommy, my uncles, the brand new individuals exactly who toil on the banana fields, brand new cane sphere off Jamaica.”

Releasing America to some other category out-of music, Calypso turned into the original full-duration record album to market 1 million copies, and you can resulted in Belafonte being nicknamed the newest “King out of Calypso.” The new artist and caused other folk artists, and Bob Dylan and Odetta, that have exactly who he submitted a type of the standard child’s track “You will find an opening inside my Bucket.” During the 1961, Belafonte had several other big hit which have “Dive on Line.”

Belafonte are the first Dark colored to victory an enthusiastic Emmy, for Revlon Revue: Tonight having Belafonte (1959), and the very first Ebony tv music producer. In the 1970, he teamed with artist Lena Horne to possess a single-hours Tv special one showcased its skills. Belafonte continued to discharge albums toward 1970s, in the event his productivity slowed because of the middle of your years. 

Social and you will Political Activism

Constantly outspoken, Belafonte receive determination to possess his activism out-of for example figures once the musician Paul Robeson and copywriter and you will activist W.E.B. Du Bois. After conference civil rights frontrunner elizabeth good friends, and you can Belafonte came up while the an effective sound on direction. The guy given economic backing to your Student Nonviolent Coordinating Panel and you can participated in several rallies and you can protests. Belafonte helped organize the 19ous “I’ve a dream” address and you can met with the civil rights leader quickly ahead of he was assassinated inside 1968.

For the mid-1960s, Belafonte and additionally began supporting new African music artists. The guy earliest fulfilled exiled Southern area African singer Miriam Makeba, also known as “Mummy Africa,” from inside the London area from inside the 1958, and you may together with her they acquired good Grammy to have Greatest Visitors Tape to have their 1965 record album, An evening that have Belafonte/Makeba. He aided introduce the girl so you’re able to internationally people and you may called attention to life significantly less than apartheid from inside the Southern Africa.

Regarding the mid-eighties, Belafonte led an attempt to help individuals into the Africa. The guy created the very thought of tape a tune that have other celebs, which could getting sold to boost funds to add famine save when you look at the Ethiopia. Authored by Michael Jackson and you can Lionel Richie, “The audience is the nation” seemed voice of the like tunes greats given that Beam Charles, Diana Ross and Bruce Springsteen. New song was released in 1985, raising huge amount of money and you can is a major international hit.

Usually, Belafonte has actually supported a number of other factors too. Including his character because the an effective goodwill ambassador for UNICEF, he’s got campaigned to end the practice of apartheid during the Southern area Africa possesses spoken out up against You.S. army methods into the Iraq.

Belafonte provides both landed from inside the hot-water having his candidly conveyed feedback. In the 2006 he made statements as he labeled President George W. Bush given that “the number one violent around the world” to own opening the battle from inside the Iraq. The guy together with insulted a couple popular Ebony people in the brand new Bush management, General Colin Powell and you may Condoleeza Grain, referring to them because “family slaves.” Even with media pressure, he steadfastly would not apologize having their remarks. In relation to Powell and you can Rice, Belafonte told you these were “offering individuals who consistently structure our oppression.”


Belafonte have achieved some of the high celebrates you can more than way more than just an one half-100 years about social eye. He had been a person regarding Kennedy Center Remembers in the 1989, this new Federal Medal out-of Arts inside 1994 and a good Grammy Lifestyle Conclusion Prize in the 2000. At the same time, inside 2014 the guy obtained brand new Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the Governors Awards.