Aaah! Wow! Erin wo! An elephant has fallen! So sad to see him go. He was a true legend. A laid back, compassionate, cool, strong, and civil man. Wonderfully iconic.
I honour the life and legacy of the great Sidney Poitier, and would like to share my personal experience of him to join his other possibly most unacknowledged contributions that changed the course of history!
At the time I appeared in Sidney Poitier’s feature film, A Warm December, I was then at the peak of my game, and in the throes of political consciousness. And this phenomenal man asked for ME?… To appear in his movie … to be produced and directed by him? It was a VERY Big Deal. It was surreal. WOW!
I was aware of his political purity, his activism, commitment to Black Liberation. I was in love! The producer who chose me for a role in his film, while I was making waves in the UK, demanded for a true African woman, in the African Embassy in his film, and he chose ME. It was indeed surreal.
He was the same man, who, with Harry Belafonte and Jackie Robinson, in 1959, used their personal financial resources and their status as celebrities to raise funds for the African Airlift Programme that initially brought eighty-one Kenyan students to America for a college education. One of those students was Barack Obama Senior, who came to America to study Economics at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. There he met and married fellow student Stanley Ann Dunham. On August 4, 1961, they gave birth to a son, Barack Obama Junior. And the rest is history.
Almost two decades later, he gave a chance to yet another African, me, by giving leverage to a nascent career. There’s no gainsaying that I’m very proud to have Sidney Poitier’s film, A Warm December, as a major part of the tapestry of my life’s career.
When we met on the film set, I was properly awed, indeed. By his measured tone… His Confident. Quiet. Calm mien.
He had about him a sensible and responsible aura. This handsome man was cerebral. He had that sort of fierce intelligence that had no room for the especially typical arrogant, male ego-driven American swagger. I was smitten.
What an extraordinary man! Gone, but never to be forgotten. May your soul rest in perfect peace. Sun re Oo!
Leave a Reply