Leah Chase (left) and Jessica B. Harris at Dooky Chase’s in 2018. PHOTO: CEDRIC ANGELES. Featured Image
Born 1927 as Harold George Bellanfanti Jr. in Harlem, New York, American singer, songwriter, activist, and actor Harry Belafonte is one of the most successful Jamaican-American pop stars in history. He was dubbed the “King of Calypso” for popularizing the Caribbean musical style with an international audience in the 1950s. His breakthrough album Calypso (1956) is the first million-selling LP by a single artist.
Belafonte is perhaps best known for his recording of “The Banana Boat Song”, with its signature lyric “Day-O”. He has recorded and performed many genres, including blues, folk, gospel, show tunes, and American standards. He has also starred in several films, including Otto Preminger’s hit musical Carmen Jones (1954), Island in the Sun (1957), and Robert Wise’s Odds Against Tomorrow (1959).