I know, but I’m also calling it the Sir Sidney Poitier salute in deference to the giant of the man.
It’s a universal icon we know well — a sign of deference, a prayer, a thought.
As the screen giant, humanitarian, civil rights leader, pioneer and many more superlatives I’ve missed exited life’s stage, I remembered this brilliant scene when Denzel Washington was paying tribute to his friend Sir Sidney Poitier at the AFI Life Achievement Award.
And there it was. Sir Sidney repaying back Denzel’s eulogy with a pray sign. That’s it! From now on, should the pray sign be also known as the Sir Sidney Poitier salute, os simply the Poitier?
Some of you agreed when I posted to twitter.
There are many films of this wonderful man. I’m drawn to these, as I posted in my tweet.
And this is gold. Sidney Poitier putting reporters in their place. Will they never learn?
A couple of days earlier Filmmaker extraordinaire Ava DuVernay posted about Boomerang:
“That time that Eddie Murphy felt personally compelled to write an Op-Ed in the @latimes addressing white critics of BOOMERANG who took issue with the all-Black business environment depicted in the film. This was 1992.
I scoured my archive. In the early 1990s I co-presented a programme on the BBC called Black London. It was a touch-point for celebs and people of colour, and flying into the UK.
Of all the many stars, the few we missed not getting on the programme included, Sidney Poitier and Maya Angelou.
I’m buoyed by many interviews, such as Mario Van Peebles and Melvin “Block” Van Peebles who passed recently. Walter Mosley, Alice Walker, Spike Lee , Ernest Dickinson, and this her majesty Earth Kitt who starred in Boomerang.
In this interview Ms Kitt talks about her character in the film and widens it to treatment of black folk in Hollywood.
Eartha Kitt also starred with Sidney Poitier in The Mark of the Hawk (1957). It’s a film that mirrors the politics of its time in African countries seeking to become independent of Britain. In fact, in 1957, Ghana, my heritage, and where I schooled, was the first to exercise independence courtesy of Kwame Nkrumah. This scene at 1.24.50 ( below) is Poitier in exposition mode.
A great man has said there is one thing mightier than all the forces of earth and that is an idea whose time has come and the time for Africa’s freedom has long since come. Must we endure another century of humiliation? Is there no voice that cries the shame before the throne of heaven. Is there no voice at all”.
The poignancy of this won’t have been lost on our times today.
If you’re interested in hearing and seeing more of the 90s and the stars back then, the subscribe to this post. Recently I unearthed hours and hours of archive of interviews with a range of stars and working with archive producer Jose am looking to find a way that we can share these pieces of history.