Many people have made history in many different ways, engraving their names in the sands of time.
Sidney Poitier, born in the same month as I. February babies are geniuses. Began living his life on his own terms as early as 15. Born prematurely in Miami, Florida by Bahamas parents. Indeed, no one knew a trailblazer had begun the fine journey of shaping life, mindset, culture, ideologies, generations, and history.
The odds as usual would say NO, but like many before him, and many more after him, this fine gentleman also said NO!
No to every limitation, prejudice and stereotypes.
Became a dish washer, enlisted and dismissed in the army, returned to dish washing and sometime discovered the theatre.
The audience again said NO. Sidney can’t sing, Sidney doesn’t speak like us and yet again, Sidney said NO.
Without formal education, Sidney took 180 days to refine and master what talent he had, strengthening his confidence and faith!
And like lilies in the field, the universe God placed in motion made provision. Sidney Poitier won an Oscar.
First black Bahamas-America Actor with such trophy. History is made. Chains, jinxes are broken. A path is found, many are inspired as they see possibilities abound.
One time as doors began to open for young Denzel in the same industry as Sidney, one advice will break or mar his career.
He turned to Sidney. But this time, the legend said neither Yes nor No.
In 1986, Denzel is offered a $600,000 role to act as a nigga who sexually assaulted a white woman and was going to be executed. They tried electrocution, hanging him with a rope, but he wouldn’t die, thus becoming a hero. Denzel was excited (for the money) yet anxious and unsettled. The character didn’t sit well with his values.
“Your first three or four movies in this film business will determine how you are perceived for the rest of your career,” was Poitier’s golden advice to Washington.
Boom! Denzel too was on the path to “icon-ship”. He declined the offer. But got a yes 6months later in the blockbuster movie; “Cry Freedom” and the rest.
Like Legends do, Denzel passed the mantle through benevolence mentorship to Chadwick Boseman without whom we would never have had Black Panther.
Well, Chadwick said, there would be no Black Panther without Denzel and Denzel said, he will always be following Poitier.
Poitier, despite the thickness of racism and depth of restriction in his time saw himself as a man and not a colored man, embodying that mindset and reality in almost every character he played as an actor laced also with humility, integrity, mastery and hard work.
Who would have thought that three men of different generations and lineages would create a dynasty of legends bound not by blood but loyalty, pure love, honour and a great sense of service.
So yeah, even though on the planet, we have Sidney and Bossman no more; the mantle is passed already, gently but firmly through the grandchild of Sidney, this time, handed not just to a few men but the entire estate of the Africa descent. Wakanda forever!
Hey! Look into your heart and soul, lift up your hands and see. You have the mantle! What are you building? What will you pass down!
Some of Sidney Poitier’s master piece:
No way out and many more.
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