Harry Belafonte—one of the nation’s most prominent performers and social activists, has publicly endorsed of the Justice for Jazz Artists campaign!
Mr. Belafonte started his career as a club singer in New York to pay for his acting classes. At first he was a pop singer, but later he developed a keen interest in folk music. With guitarist and friend Millard Thomas, Belafonte made his debut at the legendary jazz club The Village Vanguard. In 1952 he received a contract with RCA Victor, a flagship recording label of Sony Music Entertainment.
Belafonte was dubbed the “King of Calypso” for popularizing the Caribbean musical style with and international audience in the 1950s. While primarily known for Calypso, Belafonte has recorded in many genres, including blues, folk, gospel, show tunes, and American standards.
Belafonte received the Kennedy Center Honors in 1989 and was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1994. He won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000. Through the 1950s to the 2000s, he performed sold-out concerts around the world.
Throughout his six-decade-long career, Belafonte has been an advocate for civil rights and humanitarian causes, including the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and the “USA for Africa” during the mid-1980s.
Now he is standing with NYC jazz musicians who are often forced to retire in poverty and are seeking fair treatment from NYC’s top jazz clubs.
The J4JA campaign is privileged to have Belafonte as an endorser. His credentials and fearlessness in standing up for what he believes in make him a perfect advocate for basic fairness and security for jazz musicians!