Harry Belafonte, NYC

Harry Belafonte Honored By New York State Legislature In Official Tribute

The State of New York’s Senate and Assembly gathered on June 7 to officially honor the  entertainment icon and civil rights leader Harry Belafonte, who passed away in late April.

The EGOT winner’s legacy on screen and in music, as well as his advocacy for justice during the Civil Rights Movement, was commemorated by the legislature as his contributions on behalf of New York are everlasting.

The Senate Resolution 861 detailed the reasoning for the ceremony as a way “to honor and pay tribute to those musical geniuses whose commitment and creative talents contributed to the entertainment and cultural enrichment of their community and the entire state of New York.”

Born in Harlem in 1927, The “King of Calypso” held a tremendous impact on the Empire state and the nation overall, utilizing his voice beyond its singing and acting capabilities as a platform to champion human rights causes.

A friend and close confidante of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and later Nelson Mandela, Belafonte helped organize the 1963 March on Washington and substantially supported the anti-apartheid movement. His activism continued on throughout his life, financially contributing to women’s right causes, climate change awareness efforts, and African nations’ upliftment. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2022 Inductee pioneered a wave of celebrity activists known equally for their justice initiatives as their work in the arts.

The Belafonte resolution, sponsored by Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, was introduced to the floor by co-sponsor and Senator representing Harlem, Cordell Cleare.

“Harry Belafonte, a true icon and advocate for social justice, has impacted the world through his music, activism, and unwavering commitment to equality,” shared the Senator during the tribute.

“His voice has resonated across generations, inspiring us to confront injustice and work towards a better future. As a beloved figure with deep ties to Harlem, we gather today to honor Harry Belafonte and embrace continuing his legacy of using art and activism to uplift the marginalized and fight for a more just society. May his influence forever guide us in our pursuit of a more equitable and compassionate world.”

Witnesses to the Legislature ceremony in Belafonte’s honor were his former spokesperson, Ken Sunshine, and Voza Rivers, founder of Harlem’s New Heritage Theatre Group.

RELATED CONTENTUsher Shows Off Harry Belafonte Tribute Tattoo, ‘I Love You Harry, Mr. B’