Oprah Winfrey, Denzel Washington & More Honor Sidney Poitier's Iconic Legacy in Documentary Trailer
By Mekishana Pierre
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"If there were equality of opportunity in this business, there'd be 15 Sidney Poitiers and 10 or 12 [Harry] Belafontes. But there's not."
Those are the honest words of a man who wasn't afraid of telling it like it is. Apple TV+ is giving fans a first look at its highly anticipated documentary on Sir Sidney Poitier, and the almost three-minute trailer highlights how far the iconic actor, filmmaker and activist's influence reaches.
Produced by Oprah Winfrey and directed by Academy Award nominee Reginald Hudlin, the documentary explores Poitier's childhood as the youngest of seven children and growing up between Cat Island and Nassau, Bahamas, before eventually moving to New York City and starting his career. The film features interviews with Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, Robert Redford, Lenny Kravitz, Barbra Streisand, Spike Lee and many more, reflecting on how the actor became one of Hollywood’s leading men and landed at the center of Hollywood and the civil rights movement.
The film was also produced by Derik Murray, in close collaboration with the Poitier family. Sidney will premiere in select theaters and globally on Apple TV+ Friday, Sept. 23.
Watch the trailer below.
Clint Watson, press secretary for the Prime Minister of the Bahamas, confirmed the Oscar winner's death to ET on Jan. 7.
The film and TV icon made history in 1964 as the first Black actor, and the first Bahamian, to win an Oscar and Golden Globe in a leading role, which he earned for Lilies of the Field. He became one of Hollywood’s leading men starring in several classic films including To Sir, with Love, Porgy and Bess, A Raisin in the Sun, In the Heat of the Night and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.
An outpouring of social media posts, messages and heartfelt tributes were shared in the wake of Poitier's death, with everyone from Winfrey to Barack Obama and Poitier's daughter, Sydney, sharing their favorite memories of the acting icon.
In a statement to ET, the Poitier family said the veteran actor and humanitarian spent his last day surrounded by his family and friends. "There are no words to convey the deep sense of loss and sadness we are feeling right now," the statement began.
The family, for decades, took immense pride in Poitier's acting achievements, but their pride extended beyond those accomplishments.
"To us Sidney Poitier was not only a brilliant actor, activist, and a man of incredible grace and mortal fortitude," the statement continued, "he was also a devoted and loving husband, a supportive and adoring father, and a man who always put family first. He is our guiding light who lit up our lives with infinite love and wonder."
"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," the statement concluded. "We would like to extend our deepest appreciation to every single one of you for the outpouring of love from around the world. So many have been touched by our dad’s extraordinary life, his unwavering sense of decency and respect for his fellow man. His faith in humanity never faltered, so know that for all the love you’ve shown him, he loved you back."
For more on Sidney Poitier's legacy and those he impacted, see below: