Was Harry Belafonte Gay? Separating Myth from Reality

Harry Belafonte is a household name in the United States, revered for his spectacular calypso performances and tireless civil rights activism. In addition to the extensive coverage of his career and political engagement, there has also been much talk and conjecture about his private life, especially his sexuality.

In this article, we will examine the data and many perspectives on the interesting topic of whether Harry Belafonte was gay.

Who Was Harry Belafonte?

In the 1950s, American singer, actor, and activist Harry Belafonte helped spread calypso music over the world. Although his Oscar was for work in a non-competitive category, Belafonte is one of the few performers who have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony (EGOT).

His breakthrough came with the release of Calypso (1956), the first million-selling record by a single artist.

Belafonte was best known for his versions of “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song),” “Jump in the Line (Shake, Senora),” “Jamaica Farewell,” and “Mary’s Boy Child.” Blues, folk, gospel, Broadway show songs, and American classics were just a few of the styles he recorded and performed in.

Harry Belafonte Early Life

Belafonte was born Harold George Bellanfanti Jr. on March 1, 1927, to Jamaican parents Harold George Bellanfanti Sr. (a chef) and Melvine (née Love), a housekeeper, at Lying-in Hospital in Harlem, New York City.

Was Harry Belafonte Gay?

His father’s birthplace also said to be the French island possession of Martinique in the West Indies, is the subject of some conjecture.

Was Harry Belafonte Gay?

Actually, Harry Belafonte wasn’t gay at all. There have been several allegations that Belafonte is gay due to his support of the LGBTQ+ community. Belafonte has also advocated for and spoken out against homophobia and bigotry in the music industry.

However, he has never dated a man before. Since he has exclusively dated women, we can’t conclude that he is gay. Pamela Frank, his wife, was at his side when he passed away.

Harry Belafonte’s Lifelong Support for LGBTQ+ Rights and Equality

Harry Belafonte has been a vocal advocate for and participant in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights for decades. He has condemned bigotry and violence directed at the LGBTQ+ community and called for more inclusivity and respect for all individuals.

As the keynote speaker during the 1989 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, Belafonte made an impassioned speech in favor of LGBTQ+ rights. Further, he has worked with LGBTQ+ youth-serving organizations including the Gay Men’s Health Crisis and the Hetrick-Martin Institute.

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He has been quite vocal in his admiration for the late Marlon Brando, an actor, activist, and friend of the LGBTQ+ community who was also a fellow performer. Harry Belafonte’s activism and advocacy for social justice and equality include strong support for the LGBTQ+ community.

Harry Belafonte’s Dating Life

First Wife: Belafonte and Marguerite Byrd were married from 1948 until 1957. The couple welcomed two children, Adrienne and Shari Belafonte, into the world. Byrd’s pregnancy with Shari led to their breakup.

In southern Africa, Adrienne and her daughter Rachel Blue established the Anir Foundation/Experience to do good. In 1953, Belafonte was able to relocate from Washington Heights, Manhattan, “into a white neighborhood in Elmhurst, Queens.”

Was Harry Belafonte Gay?

While filming Island in the Sun, Belafonte had an affair with Joan Collins.

Second Wife: Belafonte wed Julie Robinson, a Jewish dancer who had performed with the Katherine Dunham Company, on March 8, 1957.

Third Wife: Belafonte and Robinson separated in 2004 after being married for 47 years. He tied the knot with photographer Pamela Frank in April 2008.

Rachel and Brian, from his children with Marguerite Byrd, and Maria, Sarafina, and Amadeus, from his marriage to Julie Robinson, were among Belafonte’s five grandkids. Belafonte wrote a letter for Liv Ullmann’s book Letter to My Grandchild, which was published in October 1998.


How Did He Die?

After a long and influential career as an actor, musician, activist, humanitarian, and global conscience, Harry Belafonte has passed away. He was 96.

Belafonte died Tuesday of congestive heart failure at his home in New York, with his wife Pamela by his side, said Ken Sunshine of the public relations company Sunshine Sachs Morgan & Lylis.


Harry Belafonte is a household name in the US, revered for his calypso performances and civil rights activism. There have been allegations that he is gay due to his support of the LGBTQ+ community, but he has never dated a man before. Harry Belafonte’s activism and advocacy for social justice and equality include strong support for the LGBTQ+ community.

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