Even in his advanced age Harry Belafonte remains a rebel with a cause… without a pause!
Via Page Six reports:
Harry Belafonte recalled the racism he suffered in the 1950s as a performer at Waldorf-Astoria during a speech there at the Amy Winehouse Foundation Gala Thursday, saying it “used to be one of the most racist pieces of real estate in America.”
Belafonte recounted being hired by Claude Philippe, who was trying to desegregate the hotel. “I went into the hotel and [executives] realized that Belafonte wasn’t, as they suspected, some Frenchman on the loose. They went ape[bleep].”
The hotel fired Philippe and tried to cancel Belafonte’s contract, he said, but it was iron-clad. “I did all I could to encourage my friends from Harlem, from Bed-Stuy to come . . . it was just a sea of black folk,” Belafonte continued, explaining they placed him in the Starlight Roof to avoid “racial contamination” in the Empire Room.
He ended with how far the Waldorf has come. “I now have the lifetime right to stay in any Hilton hotel anywhere in the world for free if I would just keep my mouth shut and not tell this story.”
We love this guy! And SMH @ the Waldorf for actin’ like that about segregation, although we guess we shouldn’t be surprised.