Connect with us

News

Sidney Poitier, first Black actor to win best actor Academy Award, dies at 94

Published

 on

Sidney Poitier, who broke through racial barriers as the first Black winner of the best actor Oscar for his role in “Lilies of the Field,” and inspired a generation during the civil rights movement, has died at age 94, Bahamas Prime Minister Philip Davis said on Friday.

“It is with great sadness that I learned this morning of the passing of Sir Sidney Poitier,” Davis said in a speech broadcast on Facebook. “But even as we mourn, we celebrate the life of a great Bahamian: a cultural icon, an actor and film director, an entrepreneur, civil and human rights activist and, latterly, a diplomat.”

Poitier created a distinguished film legacy in a single year with three 1967 films at a time when segregation prevailed in much of the United States.

In “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” he played a Black man with a white fiancee and “In the Heat of the Night” he was Virgil Tibbs, a Black police officer confronting racism during a murder investigation. He also played a teacher in a tough London school that year in “To Sir, With Love.”

Poitier had won his history-making best actor Oscar for “Lilies of the Field” in 1963, playing a handyman who helps German nuns build a chapel in the desert. Five years before that Poitier had been the first Black man nominated for a lead actor Oscar for his role in “The Defiant Ones.”

His Tibbs character from “In the Heat of the Night” was immortalized in two sequels – “They Call Me Mister Tibbs!” in 1970 and “The Organization” in 1971 – and became the basis of the television series “In the Heat of the Night” starring Carroll O’Connor and Howard Rollins.

His other classic films of that era included “A Patch of Blue” in 1965 in which his character was befriended by a blind white girl, “The Blackboard Jungle” and “A Raisin in the Sun,” which Poitier also performed on Broadway.

“If you wanted the sky i would write across the sky in letters that would soar a thousand feet high.. To Sir… with Love Sir Sidney Poitier R.I.P. He showed us how to reach for the stars,” Whoopi Goldberg, Oscar winning actress and TV host, wrote on Twitter.

“The dignity, normalcy, strength, excellence and sheer electricity you brought to your roles showed us that we, as Black folks, mattered!!!,” Oscar winner Viola Davis tweeted.

Poitier was born in Miami on Feb. 20, 1927, and raised on a tomato farm in the Bahamas, and had just one year of formal schooling. He struggled against poverty, illiteracy and prejudice to become one of the first Black actors to be known and accepted in major roles by mainstream audiences.

Poitier picked his roles with care, burying the old Hollywood idea that Black actors could appear only in demeaning contexts as shoeshine boys, train conductors and maids.

“I love you, I respect you, I imitate you,” Denzel Washington, another Oscar winner, once told Poitier at a public ceremony.

As a director, Poitier worked with his friend Harry Belafonte and Bill Cosby in “Uptown Saturday Night” in 1974 and Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder in 1980’s “Stir Crazy.”

Poitier was knighted by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II in 1974 and served as the Bahamian ambassador to Japan and to UNESCO, the U.N. cultural agency. He also sat on Walt Disney Co’s board of directors from 1994 to 2003.

STARTED ON STAGE

Poitier grew up in the small Bahamian village of Cat Island and in Nassau before he moved to New York at 16, lying about his age to sign up for a short stint in the Army and then working at odd jobs, including dishwasher, while taking acting lessons.

The young actor got his first break when he met the casting director of the American Negro Theater. He was an understudy in “Days of Our Youth” and took over when the star, Belafonte, who also would become a pioneering Black actor, fell ill.

Poitier went on to success on Broadway in “Anna Lucasta” in 1948 and, two years later, got his first movie role in “No Way Out” with Richard Widmark.

In all, he acted in more than 50 films and directed nine, starting in 1972 with “Buck and the Preacher” in which he co-starred with Belafonte.

In 1992, Poitier was given the Life Achievement Award by the American Film Institute, the most prestigious honor after the Oscar, joining recipients such as Bette Davis, Alfred Hitchcock, Fred Astaire, James Cagney and Orson Welles.

“I must also pay thanks to an elderly Jewish waiter who took time to help a young Black dishwasher learn to read,” Poitier told the audience. “I cannot tell you his name. I never knew it. But I read pretty good now.”

In 2002, an honorary Oscar recognized “his remarkable accomplishments as an artist and as a human being.”

Poitier married actress Joanna Shimkus, his second wife, in the mid-1970s. He had six daughters with his two wives and wrote three books – “This Life” (1980), “The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography” (2000) and “Life Beyond Measure: Letters to My Great-Granddaughter” (2008).

“If you apply reason and logic to this career of mine, you’re not going to get very far,” he told the Washington Post. “The journey has been incredible from its beginning. So much of life, it seems to me, is determined by pure randomness.”

Poitier wrote three autobiographical books and in 2013 published “Montaro Caine,” a novel that was described as part mystery, part science fiction.

In 2009, Poitier was awarded the highest U.S. civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, by President Barack Obama.

The 2014 Academy Awards ceremony marked the 50th anniversary of Poitier’s historic Oscar and he was there to present the award for best director.

 

(Reporting by Katharine Jackson; Editing by Howard Goller and Diane Craft)

News

Global jobs recovery delayed by pandemic uncertainty, Omicron, ILO says

Published

 on

The global job market will take longer to recover than previously thought, with unemployment set to remain above pre-COVID-19 levels until at least 2023 due to uncertainty about the pandemic’s course and duration, the International Labour Organization said in a report on Monday.

The U.N. agency estimates the equivalent of around 52 million fewer jobs in 2022 versus pre-COVID levels, which amounts to about double its previous estimate from June 2021.

Disruptions are set to continue into 2023 when there will still be around 27 million fewer jobs, it said, warning of a “slow and uncertain” recovery in its World Employment and Social Outlook report for 2022.

“The global labour market outlook has deteriorated since the ILO’s last projections; a return to pre-pandemic performance is likely to remain elusive for much of the world over the coming years,” the report said.

Director-General Guy Ryder told journalists that there were numerous factors behind its revision, saying the “primary one is the continuing pandemic and its variants, notably Omicron.”

The speed of recovery varies across regions, with the European and North American regions showing the most encouraging signs and Southeast Asia and South America lagging behind, according to the report.

Still, the projected deficit in working hours this year represents an improvement over the past two years. In 2021, the ILO estimates there were some 125 million fewer jobs than pre-pandemic levels and in 2020, 258 million fewer.

Overall, around 207 million people are estimated to be unemployed in 2022. However, the report said that the impact would be significantly greater since many people have left the labour force and have yet to return.

Among those are a high number of women https://www.reuters.com/markets/funds/gender-equality-takes-one-step-forward-three-back-during-covid-2021-12-02, often because they have been drawn into unpaid work at home such as teaching children during school closures or caring for sick family members.

The report predicted that the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on women’s employment would narrow in the coming years but that a “sizeable gap” would remain.

“There are some anecdotal indications that they are not coming back in the same numbers and in the same portions as men are doing which would lead to concerns that a ‘Long COVID’ effect on gender at work would be a negative one,” said Ryder.

Others who have left the workforce have done so voluntarily as part of a phenomenon some economists call “the great resignation”. Ryder said this appeared to be more prominent in areas of the economy such as health and care giving.

“We do need to look again and to invest further in those areas of economic activity,” he said.

(Reporting by Emma Farge; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Chizu Nomiyama)

Continue Reading

News

Black and Racialized Artists, Musicians and Producers Join Forces For THE FREEDOM MARCHING PROJECT

Published

 on

January 2022/Toronto, ON — Rufus John, award-winning Black Caribbean-Canadian R&B/ Soul singer & songwriter is gearing up to release the single, Freedom Marching (Part I). The song will be available for pre-order on January 10th, 2022 and will be featured on the 3-song EP, The Freedom Marching Project, which is slated to be released on February 4th, 2022.  

In support of the release of the EP, the project will also consist of; two official music videos, one in-studio performance video, a Call-To-Action Commercial, a Behind the Scenes Docuseries and a website that will feature resources and information for those who are willing to watch, listen and learn to then #JoinTheMarch. 

 The Freedom Marching Project founded by John, was inspired by the thousands of people who had the courage to use their voice to take action by marching through streets all over the world shouting, “Black Lives Matter!” in what is hailed as the most significant civil rights movement of our generation.  The goals of the Project are to use the creative power of Art, Education and Activism to; honor the community leaders who are fighting daily on the frontlines for equity, access, diversity, participation, and rights for BlackIndigenous, racialized communities, to shed light on the lived experiences of Black, Indigenous & Racialized communities and to provide resources and information to those who want to Stay Informed, Get Connected and Take Action. 

 

John’s own music tells life stories of his past. A certified youth worker and mentor, John’s goal is to bring to the fore-front, deeply embedded issues experienced by the youth he helps and to inspire those who want to do more, to listen, to learn and join the movement.  John’s mandate has always been to not just connect but to engage.  John’s patience & commitment comes from his own experiences & mistakes and the people that helped him.   Walking alongside the youth he mentors is not only necessary for their journey but for his.  Being in for the long term is important.  Showing up is key.  

 

John used his connections within the music industry to bring together some Juno & Grammy award winners & nominees to lend their voices and talents to this special project. Collectively the talented group is called, United Artists 4 change and the ensemble features over 40 Black and Racialized Artists, Musicians and Producers from around Canada. The EP was produced by Da-Rell Clifton, vocally produced by Gary McAuley, Rufus John & Darren Hamilton, and mixed/mastered by Dan Brodbeck.  Some of the artists involved are:  JRDN, Carlos Morgan, D.O, Chad Price, Dan-e-o, Owen O Sound” Lee, Dwayne Morgan, Quisha Wint, Jason Simmons (Vocal Paint), The McAuley Boys, Nefe, Clair Davis, Aphrose, D/Shon and The Waterloo Region Mass Choir.   

 

The Freedom Marching Project has partnered with Community leader Selam Debs & the initiative Parents of Black Children. A Go Fund Me page has been set up where people can donate for the month of February and all the proceeds raised via Go Fund Me will be evenly distributed between The Freedom Marching Project and our partners who are combating racism, oppression and discrimination within the current systems and communities.

 

https://www.gofundme.com/f/the-freedom-marching-project?utm_campaign=p_lico+share-sheet&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_source=customer 

 

 

Release Dates: 

Jan 10thPre save/order Freedom Marching (Part I) 

Jan 17thDocuseries Ep.1  

Jan 21stDocuseries Ep. 2  

Jan 26th: Docuseries Ep. 3    

Jan 28th: Freedom Marching (Part I) Release 

Feb 1stIn Studio Music Video Release 

Feb 4thFull EP Release 

Feb 11th & 12thMusic Videos Release  

 

Connect with The Freedom Marching Project:

Website: www.freedommarching.com

YouTube:https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCp9Kyeuul-PvvBmn4baMrvw

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FreedomMarchingProject

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/freedomarchingproject/

Tik Tok: https://www.tiktok.com/@freedommarchingproject

 

 

** Talent available for interviews

Media Inquiries: 

Sasha Stoltz Publicity & Management:Sasha Stoltz | Sasha@sashastoltzpublicity.com | 416.579.4804 

Continue Reading

News

National Gaming on Capital Hill

Published

 on

This past January 13th, The US Supreme Court issued two rulings blocking an Occupational Safety and Health Administrations COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for employers who have 100 or more employees, while allowing a separate rule which applies to healthcare workers at facilities receiving federal funds.

The 6-3 decision blocked OSHA and other organizations from imposing any such rule. While the OSHA made every effort to enforce temporary emergency standards in its massive organization, it seems the influence and legal pressure applied by both Labor and Corporations to end this attempt to have 84 million workers get COVID-19 vaccinations was too much for the administration.

The Supreme court directed organizations and corporations with more than 100 employees to develop, implement and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, with exceptions for employees that instead are required to undergo regular COVID-19 testing and wear a face mask at work.

While many corporations and manufacturers did enforce OSHA rules and carry out the needed mass vaccinations, the problem arose that such an organization such as OSHA had never issued such a mandate, and Congress had declined to enact any measure similar to OSHA’s. What do we have here folks? A governmental organization trying to carry out what the Biden Administration has asked to be done in America. The vaccines are available, but a large portion of America remains unvaccinated.

Instead of issuing a Presidential Executive Order declaring an emergency, the Administration has directed a few organizations to do so that they can wait and see if such a mandate will be accepted and approved by the population, labor, and business sectors. Perhaps it is the way this is being done that is the problem for The Supreme court, or the Republican friendly conservative of the court simply outnumber the liberal members. Politics as usual. Ineffectual, unworkable politics where no matter the issue, the Republicans will block any Democratic Administration’s attempt to protect America.

A nation divided, even when the lives of many are at stake. American media makes the storming of the Capital on Jan 6th seem like an emergency, an insurrection of serious substance while the Republicans on the Capital, block in every way possible any attempt to save lives through public safety and health mandates. Remember how the Republican strategy to make Obama Administration seem ineffectual by blocking all legislative efforts? The same Republicans are repeating this strategy with the Biden Administration. A sports analogy whereby one blocks constantly until your opponent makes a mistake and fumbles. While the lives of millions are threatened by COVID-19 these Republicans play games with the nation. Americans are feeling stressed, hopeless, and fearful of their future and yet their elected officials cannot work together to accomplish anything, except perhaps giving themselves a wage increase. Have those on Capital Hill forgotten who they represent?

Steven Kaszab
Bradford, Ontario
skaszab@yahoo.ca

Continue Reading

Trending