Riverside Church celebration honors life, legacy of Harry Belafonte

Crystal Cranmore Image
Saturday, March 2, 2024
Riverside Church celebration honors life, legacy of Harry Belafonte
Crystal Cranmore has more.

MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS, Manhattan (WABC) -- It was a celebration inside the Riverside Church. The rhythm of African drummers set the tone for an outpouring of tributes to the legendary Harry Belafonte.

Hundreds filled the pews nearly a year after Belafonte's death - on what would have been his 97th birthday. Those who knew him well will tell you he lives on in his music, his acting and the impact he left as an activist.

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Shari is one of Belafonte's daughters.

"His stage performance was, in essence, to be there to support his activism. He wanted Civil Rights. He wanted to make sure that there was a place for all people," she said.

Belafonte and his daughter, Gina started the organization Sankofa in 2012.

"My father wanted to find an outlet in a way to which to bring the artistic community together and to also create content that would amplify the voices of disenfranchised people," she says.

Born in Harlem, Belafonte's Caribbean roots inspired his love for music. His album, 'Calypso' made him the first recording artist to sell over one million records. He also broke barriers in acting, becoming the first Black man to win an Emmy award.

For so many, his voice spoke volumes.

Shari Belafonte is also starting a new media organization in honor of Harry Belafonte. His children and grandchildren are certainly carrying on the torch to keep a light on his legacy.


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