A documentary on the late Sidney Poitier’s career and life has been in production for over a year by Harpo Productions and Network Entertainment. Oprah Winfrey is serving as executive producer, and the documentary will be directed by Reggie Hudlin (House Party, Boomerang, The Black Godfather). Poitier’s family is attached to the project as well.
Poitier, who died on January 6th, created quite the legacy in his 94 years of life. The pioneering star became the first Black actor to win an Academy Award for Best Actor back in 1964 for his lead role in Lilies of the Field. It took nearly 40 years for another Black person to receive the same honor, and Poitier continued to be one of the most magnificent influential forces both on and off screen throughout his lifetime.
Poitier changed the way that Black people were portrayed on screen; before him, Black actors being recognized for their own power and abilities was simply unheard of. Black actors were typically shown in stereotypical roles as caricatures: from bug-eyed servants to overly animated entertainers. “Almost all the job opportunities were reflective of the stereotypical perception of Blacks that had infected the whole consciousness of the country,” said Poitier. “I came with an inability to do those things. It just wasn’t in me. I had chosen to use my work as a reflection of my values.”
“To us Sidney Poitier was not only a brilliant actor, activist and a man of incredible grace and moral fortitude, he was also a devoted and loving husband, a supportive and adoring father and a man who always put family first,” said Poitier’s family in a statement. “Although he is no longer here with us in this realm, his beautiful soul will continue to guide and inspire us. He will live on in us, his grandchildren and great-grandchildren — in every belly laugh, every curious inquiry, every act of compassion and kindness. His legacy will live on in the world, continuing to inspire not only with his incredible body of work, but even more so with his humanity.”
No further details have been released about the documentary at this time.