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Harry Belafonte

Harry Belafonte, Jr. is a humanitarian and political activist known best as a singer from the 1950’s who started the craze for Caribbean inflected music. “The Banana Boat Song” became his signature song. Born in New York City of a Jamaican mother and Martiniquan father in 1927, Belafonte was sent to live with his grandmother in Jamaica from 1932 to 1940. When he returned, he worked as an assistant janitor in a building. He was given two theatre tickets from one of the tenants and subsequently took acting classes in New York. He took classes with Marlon Brando and Sidney Poitier and performed at the American Negro Theatre.

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