Tributes have poured in from around the world for Sidney Poitier, the ground-breaking titan of cinema and first Black man to win an Oscar for best actor, who has died at the age of 94.
Poitier won the Academy award for 1964 hit ‘Lilies of the Field’ after he had already broken down stereotypes and racial barriers at a time when few Black men or women were thought of as leading performers in Western culture.
It would take another 37 years for a Black man to win best actor again, when Denzel Washington won for 2001 film ‘Training Day’, saying: “I’ll always be chasing you, Sidney. I’ll always be following in your footsteps. There’s nothing I would rather do, sir.”
As a Bahamaian-American he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1974 and awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009, two of the highest honours his dual citizenship would allow.
Actors, politicians, activists and fans shared their tributes and memories of Poitier on social media.
Bernice King, daughter of civil rights hero Martin Luther King Jr., shared a photo of Poitier at a protest in 1968 and called the actor “powerful beyond the stage and screen”.