Belafonte passed away on Tuesday, April 25 from congestive heart failure at the age of 96. His long life of blazing trails as an actor, singer, and civil rights activist inspired millions. The “Good Love” singer added to the outpouring of memorials with a heartfelt Instagram post.
The series of pictures included Usher laughing with his hero and performing at his 93rd birthday celebration. The final picture captured a touching moment of Belafonte admiring and smiling at a portrait of himself tattooed on Usher’s forearm. “The impression you made on my heart is why I wear you on my skin,” he wrote.
“‘A world-renowned entertainer. A barrier-breaking actor. A tireless activist. A one-of-a kind friend. Inspired is the word that comes to mind when I think about you Harry. A man of great strength, courage, and sense of purpose. All things that I view as admirable. When I spent time with you…I was in awe of how your presence was so powerful,” Usher wrote on Thursday.
“You’ve been called home after many, many years of gracing this world with your amazing spirit and incomparable gifts; however, your impact on the world will be forever present. I’m grateful to have been blessed with the opportunity to have you in my life and I will miss you. May you rest peacefully knowing the legacy you’ve left behind.”
Usher continued to explain why the Carmen Jones star meant so much to him that he wanted a daily reminder on his arm.
“Your passion awakened our souls. The impression you made on my heart is why I wear you on my skin. Forever Missed. I love you Harry ‘Mr. B,'” he added with dove emojis.
The emotional tribute closed with a quote from the late great Harry Belafonte himself:
“Artists are the gatekeepers are truth; We are civilization’s anchor. We are the compass for humanity’s conscience.”
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s youngest daughter Bernice A. King remembered Belafonte supporting their family during her father’s life and death.
When I was a child, #HarryBelafonte showed up for my family in very compassionate ways.
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. pic.twitter.com/31OC1Ajc0V
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) April 25, 2023
“As a child, #HarryBelafonte showed my family immense compassion. He even covered the cost of our 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,” she wrote.
The actor and fearless activist also paid for a nurse for the family because the demands of the Civil Rights Movement took so much time and energy from the couple’s four children.
Oprah Winfrey posted a picture from interviewing the Belafonte on her show.
“Another ‘GREAT TREE’ has fallen: Harry Belafonte, a Trailblazer and Hero to us all. Thank you for your music, your artistry, your activism, your fight for civil rights and justice—especially risking your life back in the day to get money to the movement. Your being here on Earth has Blessed us all,” the media mogul wrote.
Kerry Washington thanked Belafonte for paving the way for her as both an artist and an activist. She posted a photo with him and Tony award-winning director Kenny Leon backstage at American Son.
“So many of us owe a debt of deep gratitude and inspiration to Harry Belafonte. As an artist and as an activist, he paved the way! With fearlessness and warmth and grace. This moment backstage at #AmericanSon was the last time I saw him. The pride he expressed and support he showed for my work on and off the stage will forever remain in my heart. The world lost a bright light this morning. But we will shine on and continue the fight for liberation in his honor! Rest in peace king,” Washington wrote.