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By: Ashley Tillery

Today marks 57 years since the first African American won an Emmy. Singer, songwriter and actor, Harry Belafonte, got the coveted gold statue on June 20, 1960.

Born on March 1, 1927 in Harlem, New York, Harold George Bellanfanti always had a knack for acting and for the arts. After graduating from George Washington High School and serving in World War II, Belafonte enrolled in Dramatic Workshop of The New School in New York to pursue acting. Belafonte received a Tony Award for his involvement in the Broadway revue John Murray Anderson’s Almanac.

During his acting career, Belafonte made special appearances in many movies and television series, including Sugar Hill Times, The Muppet Show, Carmen Jones and Island in the Sun.

For his work, he has won numerous awards for his singing and acting debuts; three Grammy Awards, Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, a Tony award, and a history-making Emmy Award for his special, “Tonight with Harry Belafonte.”
At 90 years old, the original “Calypso King” is still receiving recognition for his hard work and contributions to airwaves and the big screen.

He will forever be a legend who paved the way for other African Americans to be acknowledged for their greatness.