The potential for interacial marriages changed significantly in the 1960’s thanks to the release of “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner” . Groundbreaking in its approach for casting this man.He is the first black actor to recieve an Academy Award [USA, HOLLYWOOD ]. Many people world-wide mistakenly believe him to be an American born actor but he is not. Sidney Poitier is a Bahamian born -American actor, diplomat, movie director , and author. Did you know he also earned a knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II in 1974.
He gave great pride to black Americans in knowing that there was a chance that their intellectual voices would be heard and seen around the world. Usually, black roles were regulated to the “servant” or “criminal ” or secondary role to a white lead actor or actress but in gelneral –a minor and insignificant role. Two other trailblazers in this time period of the 1960’s were Harry Belafonte and Bill Cosby who also played leading roles on television and film, not to mention also Sammy Davis jr.
ALL of these men had close relationships with another black American in the entertainment business and his name was Quincy Jones, a musician and producer who wrote and created numerous film and television music scores for popular “black” films.
Sidney met his wife– a Canadian-born actress Joanna Shimkus, and they have two beautiful children, Anika Poitier and Sydney Tamiia Poitier.
He has been happily married for more than 36 years and has a wonderful family that has been free of the common hollywood scandals and press. He has been an inspiration to millions of young black actors not just in America but also in other countries. Considerably, he has been an inspiration to many people around the world who are in very public interacial marriages and relationships. But let us consider and value the time period in which Sidney began his interacial relationship–it was in the middle of the “Civel Rights Movement” in America, race relations and issues of social equality were not in balance in any way particularily in the Southern states of America. He like his friend Sammy Davis Jr. were very very very brave for marrying white women–and not just any white woman but very beautiful and accomplished white women–which angered many white Americans. The paradox is that interacial relationships and marriages in other countries did not recieve such social stigma–however, Americans still could not overcome the scars of racial bias towards blacks. What counter-balanced this mood in America was the breakthrough film which was an instant international hit around the world. That universal look of absolute shock when white parents are informed that thier daughter is going to marry a black. –look at her mother’s eyes, it looks like her head is going to explode:))
My favorite line in this movie is when the daughter tells her mother, “ he thinks you are going to faint because he is a negro ” –at time 1 : 51 min in this movie clip. here is another moment in the film when both sets of parents come to terms with thier children getting married.
I will watch this film again tonight while I am here in Poland in my hostel, a bit of nostalgia–i wish all parents and people where this loving and accepting..the world would be a better place…really. you have to watch the clip especially at time 8: 30 min. But in genrally the script of this movie is timeless and perfect….love conquers the world. .love triumphs!!
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