Al Roker Posted a Heartfelt Tribute to Harry Belafonte and ‘Today’ Fans Rally Around Him
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On April 25, news broke that legendary singer Harry Belafonte died at the age of 96 from congestive heart failure. Famous for creating hits like "Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)," "Jamaica Farewell" and his album Calypso, many longtime fans (including a number of famous celebrities) mourned the loss on social media. Among those celebrating the musician's life was Today show star Al Roker, and he used his platform to share a never-before-seen moment between them.
In a photo posted to Instagram, Al and Harry posing onstage at Carnegie Hall in September 2016. The picture held a significant memory to Al, who revealed he had the chance to interview Harry on the same stage that he recorded one of his most iconic pieces of music more than half a century earlier.
"April 20, 1959 @theharrybelafonte performed on the stage at @carnegiehall and recorded his historic live album," Al captioned the personal picture. "I interviewed him at Carnegie Hall. Singer, performer, philanthropist and civil rights activist, Mr Belafonte passed away at 96. We are the better for him being here."
When Today show fans saw the meteorologist's touching tribute on Instagram, many immediately rallied around him to share in the loss. They all agreed with Al's description of Harry, with many voicing their own words about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee.
"A beautiful picture and memory for you! Harry, a true gentleman! May he rest in peace," one person wrote in the comments section. "Exceptional human being and a life well worth celebrating. 🎉," a different user agreed. "Another great one man called to play in Heaven. Rip Mr B.," another follower added.
When Al spoke with the Grammy winner less than a decade ago, Harry opened up about a number of topics like activism and his road to becoming an influential voice in Hollywood. But he also spoke out about how art has the ability to change people, just as he did throughout his career.
"The purpose of art is to show life — not as it is but to show life as it should be," he told Al. "Artists are compelled by the very nature of the gift, to do a lot of things that inspire ... I think people who have not experienced a life passion, something that they want to get up every day and go do, have really missed the fullest value of life."
When Al asked him what he would like his last page in his book to read, Harry said: "'He gave us his best or he gave us the best he had' because that's all I keep doing."
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