Washington, D.C. — Upon the news that singer, actor, and activist Harry Belafonte has passed away, Center for American Progress President and CEO Patrick Gaspard issued the following statement:
Today, the world lost a giant. Harry Belafonte was more than a singer. He was more than an actor who broke barriers. He was an activist who used his voice when doing so carried great risk to his career as a Black man in Hollywood. He never shied away from denouncing the racism he and others experienced in America—actively participating in the Civil Rights Movement, serving as a close confidant to Martin Luther King Jr., and calling on this country to be the true beacon of freedom it held itself to be. He used his platform to be among the first and loudest to speak out against the racist apartheid regime in South Africa and other atrocities performed by Western powers throughout the African continent. Until the end, he was someone who did more than just talk; he put his beliefs into action, serving as an inspiration to me and countless others. He was a hero who I was privileged to call my friend. We will miss his voice, his presence, his heart, his soul, and his fight. But his spirit will certainly live on.
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