Sidney Poitier (1EMC) Group ⑩

by Kurt's Students


Comic Panel 1
Lucca Benjamin
Mariana Veríssimo Teixeira
Rafael Ruthes
Tomaz Nagao
Yasmin Valarelli
Comic Panel 1
Comic Panel 2
"To bring about change, you must not be afraid to take the first step. We will fail when we fail to try"
Have you ever wondered about the existence of real life heroes? The trailblazing Bahamian American actor, director, producer and activist Sidney Poitier is clearly one of them. He was born in February 20th, 1927, in Miami, Florida, (U.S.), the country where he dedicated his life as an actor, director, and producer. Sidney became the first African American actor to win an Academy Award for best actor and the first black movie star, redefining roles for African Americans by rejecting movie parts that were based on racial stereotypes.
Poitier in 1968
Sidney L. Poitier KBE had an intense and hard-working childhood. He was born prematurely during his parents' vacations in Miami and, after a few weeks of postpartum treatment, was brought back to Cat Island, in Bahamas, where he spent the majority of his childhood. Reginald James Poitier and Evelyn were both farmers and had a simple life rooted in their farm business.
However, the cenarium changed rapidly and soon the whole family was moving to Nassau, in pursuit of better living conditions after the farm had failed. Instead, they faced a hard time in the black people suburbs, where Poitier was always getting into big troubles. The delinquency and poverty of the place accompanied him until he decided to chase his biggest dream - being an actor. And what better city to find new opportunities and accomplish desires than New York?
Exactly. Sidney Poitier moved to one of the biggest cities in America and enlisted himself in the U.S. Army during World War II, serving in a medical unit. Soon, after the conflicts had reached an end, he applied to the American Negro Theatre (ANT), a theater company active from 1940 to 1951 in a small district in New York. This was crucial for the beginning of his career. In 1946, Poitier would appear for the first time in a Broadway production: Lysistrata. 
His success in that role landed him another in the movie Anna Lucasta, and for the next few years he initiated a tour through the country with the all-black production. His next roles were carried out with Dr. Luther Brooks, a black doctor in the movie No Way Out (1950). It was extremely important at the time because it established a significant pattern, both for Poitier and for the black actors and actresses who followed his work. It marked the emergence of a new era that would push aside stereotypes and make inroads into the racist American conventional.
Poitier first married Juanita Hardy in 1950, raising his family in Hudson River, New York. However, after having an affair with Diahann Carroll, he married Johanna Shimkus, a Canadian actress, in 1976. She is still his wife.
Harlem Federal Theatre Project Production of MacBeth
Now, imagine Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Gringotts Bank. Those big piles of trophies and awards, gold and silver. Sidney Poitier had much more than that. Besides winning the 1964 Oscar for best actor in "Lilies of the field", he was awarded the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom, received a Grammy Award, Two Golden Globe Awards and a British Academy Film Award. 
Not only is Poitier venerated for his work as an actor and director of many movies such as "To Sir, with Love", "A Patch of Blue" and "In the Heat of the Night", but also admired for his integrity and for interpreting selfless and righteous characters who enchanted the public. No wonder why, in the ceremony award for the 1964 Oscar, he was honored “for his remarkable accomplishments as an artist and as a human being”.
When acting, Sidney Poitier refused many times to play roles related to racial stereotypes and this resulted in a structural change in Hollywood´s vision about black people, who started to be inserted in the world´s cinema.
Although now retired, this amazing actor and producer is seen as an inspiration by lots of young actors and actresses as well as famous black celebrities that want to follow his steps in the cinema´s revolution, such as the well-known Will Smith.
Besides his legendary career, his movies were brilliant - not just for its quality of production, nor for its actors, but for having a big role in the mitigation of the movie´s lack of diversity, which still exists nowadays.