Harry Belafonte - The Original Caribbean Poster Child


Harry Belafonte

Holding onto your roots can be challenging when you're growing up in the United States but you're of Caribbean heritage. It can be hard to get the authentic Caribbean experience, but our parents did try their best to make sure we were exposed to the better parts of our culture. Calypso music was a Saturday morning ritual, as you could hear it blasting while everyone was doing their chores. It made cleaning up fun, and at times made you forget that we were actually doing housework. The smell of "Fried Bakes and Saltfish" resonates throughout the house while dad went up to mom to steal a whine or two. Mr Byron Lee and the Dragonaires brought the smoothness while the Mighty Sparrow brought that comedic edge to the morning routine. But the gentleman that brought that sense of professionalism that we strived for was none other than the legendary Harry Belafonte. Yes the same person who's an awesome singer, songwriter, actor, who eventually transitioned into a human rights activists.  

Everything we did growing up was on rhythm which seemed to just flow by so peacefully and that's thanks in large part to the "king of calypso". Now in case you're wondering what we're talking about, let's clue you in on his resume. Harry Belafonte (I feel like referring to him as "Sir Harry") is one of {if not} the most successful Caribbean-American stars in history! Before Bob Marley, Herb McKinley, Merlene Ottey, Usain Bolt, Shaggy, Rihanna, Biggie, Busta Rhymes, etc... it was Sir Harry who flew the Caribbean flag high on the entertainment front! He was the poster child of Caribbean entertainers appearing in movies, plays, interviews and concerts worldwide (google him). He was so good that he was dubbed the "King of Calypso" for popularizing the Caribbean musical style with an international audience in the 1950s. 

Sir Harry used his platform for good, represented us with charismatic style, grace & dignity, and has truly been the living definition of what it means to have caribbean heritage. For those of us who are over 40 years old, Harry Belafonte has provided most of the soundtrack to our lives.  Thank you sir...

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