pics: Harry Belafonte tribute at Apollo Theater (w/ Common, Maxwell, Sheila E, more)
Legendary musician, activist, and actor Harry Belafonte celebrated his 93rd birthday with a star-studded tribute show at Harlem's Apollo Theater on Sunday (3/1), which also served as a fundraiser for both the Harry Belafonte 115th St. NY Library and the Popular Democracy Movement Center. The show, which was presented by City Winery, featured performances and appearances from Common, Maxwell, Usher, Sheila E., Doug E. Fresh, Talib Kweli, Angelique Kidjo, Aloe Blacc, Alice Smith, John Forté, Gael Faye, Yemen Blues, Abena Koomson, Resistance Revival Chorus, and Impact Youth Choir.
The night was a celebration of Belafonte's history as the "King of Calypso," and his impact on the Civil Rights Movement and various humanitarian causes. In between performances, videos highlighting Belafonte's career were displayed, which pointed out his friendship with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, and his influence as a political activist. Also included were video messages from rising refugee performers, including Sudanese rapper 249 TooDope and Syrian rapper Damascus Voice.
The audience also joined in on a collective singalong of "Happy Birthday" to Belafonte, who did not come on stage, but witnessed the night's events from the theater's fourth row.
Check out pictures from the whole night in the gallery above, and view fan-shot video, as well as coverage from PIX-11, below.
photos by Stephanie Augello