Diddy reflected on the life and legacy of Harry Belafonte on Instagram, Tuesday, after the legendary singer, actor, and activist passed away. Belafonte’s publicist, Ken Sunshine, confirmed to CNN that he died of congestive heart failure on Tuesday morning at the age of 96.
“I’m so blessed that I had the chance to get to know Mr.B,” Diddy captioned a photo of himself with the late Belafonte. “He taught me so much. The number 1 thing he taught me was to always have a rebel heart. Be fearless and do what others aren’t willing to do for the advancement of your people. ALL HAIL A TRUE KING AND REVOLUTIONARY! Thank you! Thank you!!”
Harry Belafonte At A Civil Rights Rally
In addition to his work in the arts, Belafonte was a key voice in the civil rights movement, contributing his efforts as a strategist, fundraiser, and mediator. Over time, he even became a close friend of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Bernice King shared a statement in the wake of Belafonte’s passing. “When I was a child, #HarryBelafonte showed up for my family in very compassionate ways,” she wrote. “In fact, he paid for the babysitter for me and my siblings. Here he is mourning with my mother at the funeral service for my father at Morehouse College. I won’t forget…Rest well, sir.”
Later, Belafonte also led a campaign against apartheid in South Africa, and befriended Nelson Mandela. Additionally, he worked in the fight against HIV/AIDS and became a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. “I’ve often responded to queries that ask, ‘When as an artist did you decide to become an activist?’ ” Belafonte once said, as noted by CNN. “My response to the question is that I was an activist long before I became an artist. They both service each other, but the activism is first.” His efforts blended with his music when he came up with the 1985 hit song, “We Are the World.”