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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Today In B'Days

Sidney Poitier is 81. Damn!

Me love Sidney. I talked about my huge crush on him and how I used to sneak down the hall at The Studio That Will Henceforth Remain Unnamed (TWHRU) to see him here. His daughter, also named Sidney, is an actor too, but after seeing her perfomance in "Grindhouse", I use that term very loosely.

Where do I start? He is a legend in every single sense of the word. From the early days of playing a Moor in 'The Long Ships" with Richard Widmark, to "To Sir With Love" to his being the first black man to win an Oscar for "Lilies Of The Field" with a bunch of nuns, to "Guess Who's' Coming to Dinner" and "A Patch Of Blue" showing some of the very first onscreen interracial relationships, to "In The Heat Of The Night", which I believe is the first film showing a black man laying the smack down on YT, to "Buck and The Preacher" which he starred in and directed, to the movies he starred in with Bill Cosby--"Uptown Saturday Night" being my favorite.

You get the idea.

Here is a clip from the classic "Porgy And Bess" that he starred in with the late Dorothy Dandridge, who oddly looks a bit like Kerry Washington in this film. This was what spawned the jazz classic "Summertime". I saw this when I was a very little girl with my father on TV, and was confused about so many things; why was Sidney with no legs on a push-cart? Why were they so poor? Why did everyone seem so fearful? How could Dorothy love a man that had no legs? But I remember feeling the raw power of their blackness after all these years, and that power came from Black Love. Check it:


Villager said...

I recently listened to his book (NOTE: I'm a serial audiobook person). I thoroughly enjoyed hearing him tell his autobiography. He truly is a unique brother who made a great career out of a very humble background.

He also had challenging relationships with his children as they were growing up because he was away so often acting.

I agree with you about his talent...

peace, Villager

Sergio said...

To be honest when I was growing up my friends and I couldn't stand Poitier. We used to look at him as a sell-out. Always keeping his anger in check, being so forgiving to white people and all that. Our hero was Jim Brown because in his movies he was always kicking some white guy's ass in his, getting ALL the women and we REALLY dug that.

Looking back now I realize what a versitle actor Poitier was and an extraordinary wide range of roles he had from The Long Ships (I've got the DVD) to those comedies he did with Cosby that are still hilarious today, (And check out the little known film he made back in the late 50's called Pressure Point,, which Turner Classics Movies is showing next month where he plays a prison psychologist)

And when you consider the kind of coonery that we see today in movies (like a certain filmmaker who likes to dress in women's clothings... and that's OFF the set!) BOY do we need a Sidney Poitier today more than ever.

P.S. Though I still would love to see some brother kick some white guy's ass in a movie

Danielle said...

Happy Birthday Sidney! I've loved him since I was a little girl and the love remains.

Class and talent all rolled into one. What a man!

Invisible Woman said...

@villager: see if you can find his book "This Life". It is even more intersting.

@sergio: I can see this...but look how Sidney 99% of the time had the last laugh. Realistically, if Jim Brown were in those situations of Sidney's just putting foot to ass, he would be dead or in jail.

But Jim's way was sooo much cooler for a guy :-)

@danielle: agreed--he is amazing to me too

KIKI said...

Damn...81! I love me some Sidney!

(and I've seen his daughter's "acting" ability...ummmm...I concur)

Shelia said...

What an incredibly magnificent man. The dignity and majestic nature of this man has not been seen again in Hollywood. And yes I'm including Denzel Washington in that statement. Denzel is definitely on the right track, but he has not arrived at the stature of Sidney Poitier just yet.

Watching this Black man not take a back seat to anyone, anywhere or at anytime over the years of my life has just been a joy to see.

If we could clone him, I'd have Sidney's er'where.

MsMarvalus said...

I'm in on the love of Sidney...after I read his book, I just cried...I felt like I had spent some time talking with an uncle, telling me stories of his youth and what he went through to become who he is today...

Such a beautiful man!

Invisible Woman said...

@kiki: yeah...I think that acting gene skipped a generation, that's for sure

@shelia: check out Undercover Black Man's post...can you believe people used to degrade him for bring a "house negro"? Laughable

@Ms.M: Everything about him is beautiful to me too. said...

One of our greats. Indeed. Aside from acting, he just has -- and has always seem to have had -- a unique dignity about himself. He is respectable -- onscreen and offscreen.

81!? Wow.

Invisible Woman said...

I can't think of any other Black actor that is as all times. Morgan Freeman comes close tho---think it has something to do with age?