Born in an impoverished region of the Bahamas, Poitiers’ story is one of steely tenacity.
He recalls the joy of noticing his first car on a childhood trip to Nassau, and the shock of focusing on the Ku Klux Klan after moving to Miami at a young age.
That expertise led him to a Harlem shrine, where he washed dishes at a restaurant, and found himself learning from a kosher waiter.
Poitier, who died in January after failing an audition for a black American theater due to his heavy Bahamian accent, discovered his famous voice by studying the loud intonations of white radio announcers.
The film doesn’t delve into his long-term relationship with actress Diahan Carroll, but it does give a good account of his long-term friendship with Harry Belafonte and his commitment to moving away from comedy reserved for black actors and stereotyped roles.
As his rise coincided with the rise of the civil rights movement, Poitiers became a predominantly black man in Hollywood by virtue of the ease with which he was convicted.
In the context of American history, the scene in The Warmth Of The Night where a wealthy racist white man is slapped in the face seems dangerously revolutionary.
As the Black Energy movement took place, Poitier was accused of promoting participation in a black character in a film that was aimed primarily at a white audience.
The documentary, with the help of Surprised followers and Spike Lee, Denzel Washington and filmmaker Oprah Winfrey, manages to tackle the problem.
Lulu also popped and boasted “many hits” and launched a cappella mode for her lead single on 1967’s To Sir, With Love. Elegant man, Poitiers. Lulu, not much.
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