NewsOne Featured Video
Harry Belafonte 80th Birthday Party

Source: L. Busacca / Getty

Gina Belafonte, one of four children, joins the Rickey Smiley Morning Show in remembrance of her father Harry Belafonte, who died on Tuesday at the age of 96.

Harry Belafonte was a barrier-breaking singer, thespian and one of the last living activists from the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. He is arguably most known for his legendary music, with songs like “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)” and “Jump in the Line (Shake, Senora).”

However, Gina Belafonte said music was not necessarily her father’s first love of the arts and that he did not start out as a singer.

“My father was really an actor. If you asked him, he would probably tell you he was the best actor that ever lived…[but] convinced you all that [he’s] a singer,” she said.

Gina Belafonte also addressed her upbringing, calling it “a quite unique experience” while recalling how her “home was a revolving door of activists and artists who came through” when he parents would have meetings, parties, fundraisers or any other type of strategic gathering.

“He certainly was unique in the way in which he led his life as an artist as well as the way he led his life as an activist,” Gina Belafonte said.

On her father’s Jamaican heritage, Gina Belafonte said “he spoke to us often about how he was born in Harlem and then brought to Jamaica” and how “for so long he never felt like he was American enough or Jamaican enough.”

Gina Belafonte added: “I think that his roots in Jamaica … were the foundation for much of how he chose to integrate into his artistry.”

Listen to the full Rickey Smiley Morning Show interview by clicking here.

Belafonte rose to prominence after being discovered by a group of jazz musicians who just so happened to be some of the most influential musicians in the world at the time. He initially invited them to view his work as an actor in a play. After watching his musical theatre performance, they invited him to sing, which began his career as an artist.

His handsome looks and charisma won the hearts of many over the span of his life and career.

Harry Belafonte passed away at home on the Upper West Side of Manhattan due to congestive heart failure. He will be missed worldwide!


Harry Belafonte Blended Music And Politics To Make Lasting Social Change

Tributes Pour In For Harry Belafonte After Legendary Actor And Activist Dies At 96

Rest In Power: Notable Black People Who Died In 2023
12th Annual "Love N' Courage" Tribute To Tammy Grimes
67 photos

Harry Belafonte’s Daughter Gina Belafonte Speaks Out After Her Dad’s Death  was originally published on