Ayuko Babu, co-founder and executive director of the Pan African Film Festival (PAFF), released the following statement about the death of the trailblazing actor, director, and activist Sir Sidney Poitier.
“Mr. Poitier was a loud voice letting the world know who we are when Jim Crow tried to muzzle us. He portrayed his people with dignity and integrity, setting a standard of consciousness in Hollywood that elevated the roles available to Black actors. His iconic films such as “Lilies of the Field,” “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” “To Sir, With Love,” and “In the Heat of the Night” opened the door for today’s Black actors to demand roles that portray the Black experience with pride, and for that, we will always love him and be grateful. His life and work will continue to be an inspiration throughout generations. Our condolences to his family and loved ones. We all share in this tremendous loss.”