Harry Belafonte has denied falling asleep during an early morning television interview with Kbak in Bakersfield, California. The clip, which has since gone viral, sees anchor Leyla Santiago fail in her attempts to get Mr Belafonte's attention as he sits motionless with his eyes closed.
Kbak were ready to discuss the singer's new book and forthcoming HBO documentary when the cameras cut to him sitting in a chair, seemingly fast asleep. After a few moments of silence, Santiago began yelling, "Harry, wake up! Harry? Wake up, wake up! This is your wake-up call, Harry!" As laughter erupted in the studio, the 84-year-old remained motionless with his eyes closed, leading Santiago's co-anchor to move on to the next story. When the camera cut to another woman due to be interviewed, she also pretended to be napping in her chair. According to the New York Daily News, Belafonte's representative Ken Sunshine has insisted the singer was merely "meditating" after a technical glitch that made his earpiece fall out. He explained, "Mr. Belafonte is 84 years young, but sharper and more awake than most who have been interviewing him. Maybe the world would be a better place if more people took a moment to meditate".
Dubbed 'The King of Calypso', Belafonte has been credited with popularising the Caribbean musical style throughout his 50 years in the entertainment industry. He is perhaps best known for singing 'The Banana Boat Song'.