On Thursday March 1, City College Center for The Arts celebrated the legendary Harry Belafonte in Harlem, NY.
Dubbed “Turn The World Around-the music and legacy of Harry Belafonte!”, The Harry Belaftonte Performing Group, led by Richard Cummings, Jr., performed Belafonte’s music for the special group of people at City College’s Aaron Davis Hall.
Celebrating his 91st birthday, Mr. Belafonte slid into the venue right before showtime. As he sat in the front row right in front of the band, he was greeted by people showing him love and wishing him a happy birthday. The outpouring of love was so much that a number of announcements were made asking guests to arrive at their seats so the show could start.
The lights were turned down and musical journey began. In the background on a huge screen, pictures were shown of various stages of Mr. Belafonte’s life. Throughout the concert members of the group shared stories from their time performing around the world with Mr. Belafonte.
It was during the intermission, when artist Richard Barbot’s portrait of Harry Belafonte was unveiled. A look of appreciation instantly rested on Mr. Belafonte’s face when he looked at himself.
After some pictures and congratulations, it was back to the music. While the good feeling music catalog of Mr. Belafonte runs deep, there is a song that sticks out above the rest in terms of popularity. When the words came through the mic, Daaaaaay O! everyone in the Aaron Davis Hall knew what was coming next. Yes, Yes The Banana Boat song!
It was a wonderful night of culture and entertainment. The guests enjoyed the music of Mr. Belafonte and the smile on Mr. Belafonte’s face said he enjoyed his bandmates playing for him as he celebrated his birthday.
Photo credits: 1) Harry Belafonte. 2) Members of The Belafonte Alumni Family. 3 ) Portrait by Richard Barbot. 4) Artist Richard Barbot.