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Harry Belafonte has achieved lasting fame for such songs as "The Banana Boat Song (Day-O)," and for his humanitarian work.
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In the 1980s, Belafonte led an effort to help people in Africa. He came up the idea of recording a song with other celebrities, which would be sold to raise funds to provide famine relief in Ethiopia. Written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie, "We Are the World" featured vocals by such music greats as Ray Charles, Diana Ross,
Over the years, Belafonte has supported for many other causes as well. In addition to his role as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF, the performer has campaigned to end the practice of apartheid in South Africa, and has spoken out against U.S. military actions in Iraq.
Belafonte has sometimes landed in hot water for his candidly expressed opinions. In 2006, he made headlines when he referred to President George W. Bush as "the greatest terrorist in the world" for launching the war in Iraq. He also insulted African-American members of the Bush administration General Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice, referring to them as "house slaves." Despite media pressure, he steadfastly refused to apologize for his remarks. In regards to Powell and Rice, Belafonte said "you are serving those who continue to design our oppression."
Belafonte lives in New York City with his third wife Pamela Frank. The couple wed in April 2008. Belafonte has two children with second wife, dancer Julie Robinson, to whom he was married for nearly 50 years. He also has two other children from his first marriage to Marguerite Byrd.
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