SIDNEY POITIER GAVE MORE THAN HE WAS GIVEN

"Poitier, the pioneering Black actor and activist who died Thursday at age 94, had a complicated career. From his successful buddy pictures (The Defiant Ones, Duel at Diablo) to his spate of critical hits (To Sir, With Love; In the Heat of the Night; Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner), Poitier played characters who expanded the range and repertoire of Black masculinity. His talent, charisma, good looks, and unquestionable success made him a star unlike any Black actor before him, many of whom were caricatured or overlooked during Hollywood’s studio era. Yet even with his superstardom, Poitier was constrained by the industry’s conservative ambitions and disinterest in Black complexity. With his sexuality neutered and his dignity firmly in place, Poitier embodied a model minority in films, a noble ebony saint who represented palatable Blackness and interracial harmony during a fraught time of racial struggle. His nonthreatening characters, who challenged systems by working within them, were thoroughly embraced by white audiences."

Read the entire article by Professor Samantha N. Sheppard in The Atlantic.

 

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 Professor Samantha Noelle Sheppard
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