by Tacuma Roeback
We lost a giant today.
Legendary singer, actor, and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte died from congestive heart failure at 96.
When news of Belafonte’s passing circulated around social media Tuesday morning, it drew passionate responses from almost every corner of the universe, including famous politicians, actors, academics, athletes, musicians and media figures.
They took to Twitter to express sadness, reverence and adoration for a man who influenced generations.
In addition, those who knew him personally, shared anecdotes, pictures or brief accounts of what Belafonte’s presence meant to their lives.
When I was a child, #HarryBelafonte showed up for my family in very compassionate ways.
In fact, he paid for the babysitter for me and my siblings.
Here he is mourning with my mother at the funeral service for my father at Morehouse College.
I won’t forget…Rest well, sir. pic.twitter.com/31OC1Ajc0V
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) April 25, 2023
— Patti LaBelle (@MsPattiPatti) April 25, 2023
I am deeply sad at the loss of my very dear brother – the great Harry Belafonte! His artistic genius, moral courage & loving soul shall live forever! God bless his precious family! pic.twitter.com/Tao5h6FMLh
— Cornel West (@CornelWest) April 25, 2023
Another superstar has just passed. My dear friend, Harry Belafonte, was an extraordinarily talented singer and performer. More than that, he was a civil rights activist who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King and worked with President Nelson Mandela to end Apartheid in South…
— Maxine Waters (@RepMaxineWaters) April 25, 2023
Another brick in our fabric has risen, Mr. Harry Belafonte; 3-1-1927 – 4-25-2023)🙏was an American singer, activist, and actor. His breakthrough album Calypso (1956) was the first million-selling LP by a single artist. Best known for "The Banana Boat Song". R.I.P.😥Bootsy!!!🏆 pic.twitter.com/zEngkBSb0O
— Bootsy Collins (@Bootsy_Collins) April 25, 2023
Harry Belafonte was not only a great entertainer, but he was a courageous leader in the fight against racism and worker oppression. Jane and I were privileged to consider him a friend and will miss him very much. pic.twitter.com/TO2xrz0GJF
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) April 25, 2023
Folks from every sector imaginable shared their appreciation for Belafonte’s legacy, specifically his artistry, courage and conviction.
Today we lost a titan in the entertainment industry, the legendary Harry Belafonte. A singer, actor, activist, philanthropist, great person and so much more, Harry Belafonte paved the way for so many Black artists in the entertainment industry. At one point he was the highest… pic.twitter.com/fK8C9tlzSR
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) April 25, 2023
Today, we mourn the loss of Harry Belafonte: a cultural giant who blazed trails in music and in the fight to realize America’s highest ideals.
His iconic voice will never cease to spark smiles and brighten rooms, and his advocacy for human rights will be felt for generations.
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) April 25, 2023
Harry Belafonte — a tireless activist, EGOT winner, and successful singer — has died at 96. Through his extraordinary contributions, including his notable advocacy for human rights and social justice, he leaves an indelible mark on this world. Rest In Power, Mr. Belafonte. pic.twitter.com/xRAr8KL98T
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) April 25, 2023
The world has lost a true giant today. Harry Belafonte was a barrier breaker who helped reshape our world through his civil rights advocacy, his music, and his acting. May he rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/rhWZ5GOc6R
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) April 25, 2023
Belafonte’s outsized influence on the younger generation was also apparent. The man once regarded as the “King of Calypso” left an indelible mark on those who grew up on Hip-hop — younger activists included:
I’m so blessed that I had the chance to get to know Mr.B. He taught me so much. The number 1 thing he taught me was to always have a rebel heart. Be fearless and do what others aren’t willing to do for the advancement of your people. ALL HAIL A TRUE KING AND REVOLUTIONARY! pic.twitter.com/xtq47oQMtN
— LOVE (@Diddy) April 25, 2023
He was more than a singer, more than an actor and more than a man…Harry Belafonte will be missed. https://t.co/KLhr04PlU6
— Ice Cube (@icecube) April 25, 2023
— Chuck D (@MrChuckD) April 25, 2023
Thank you, Mr. B, for all of your years of mentorship, guidance, & lifetime of activism fighting for a better future for all of us. You will be missed by many, but your memory & impact live on. Rest in Power.
“Movements don't die, because struggle doesn't die.”
-Harry Belafonte pic.twitter.com/bCArTOtCC2
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) April 25, 2023
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