Harold George Belafonte, Jr. (born March 1, 1927) is an American
musician, actor and social activist. One of the most successful
Jamaican musicians in history, he was dubbed the "King of Calypso"
for popularizing the Caribbean musical style in the 1950s.
Belafonte is perhaps best known for singing the "Banana Boat Song",
with its signature lyric "Day-O". Throughout his career, he has
been an advocate for civil rights and humanitarian causes. In
recent years he has been a vocal critic of the policies of the Bush
Harold George Belafonte, Jr. (original spelling) was born in
Harlem, New York, the son of Melvine (nee Love), a domestic worker,
and Harold George Belafonete, Sr., a chef and native of the island
Martinique. From 1935 to 1939, he lived with his grandmother in the
village of Aboukir in her native country of Jamaica. When he
returned to New York he attended George Washington High School
after which he joined the Navy and served during World War II. At
the end of the 1940s, he took classes in acting alongside Marlon
Brando, Tony Curtis, Walter Matthau, and Sidney Poitier, while
performing with the American Negro Theatre. He subsequently
received a Tony Award for his participation in the Broadway revue
John Murray Anderson's Almanac.