Today In Black History: Big Al Honors Sidney Poitier, Quincy Jones

Today in 1927, Sidney Poitier was born in Miami during a visit, Poitier hails officially from Cat Island, The Bahamas – and he almost lost his shot at getting into acting at all! Why? His accent. In fact, his audition at the American Negro Theatre was rejected so forcefully that Poitier dedicated the next six months to overcoming his accent and performance ineptness. Soon after, he began working as a janitor there in exchange for acting lessons. By 1949, the public began knowing exactly who he was through his stage work. In 1950, his rise on film began with his work in “No Way Out.” And even in a time when Black actors weren’t getting the most prominent roles, he was the exception – taking many leading roles. Then, in 1963, he won the Oscar for “Lilies of the Field,” becoming the first African American to win for a leading role – and the first African Americanmanto win an Academy Award (for the record,Hattie McDaniel was the first African American to win an Oscar in 1940, for her supporting role as Mammy in “Gone With the Wind.”) Poitier remains one of the most respected and beloved figures in American cinema of the twentieth century.

 

Also on this day in 1991, Quincy Jones was honored with the GRAMMY Living Legend Award. His GRAMMY career as an artist/arranger/producer spans nominated in 17 different fields. Nominated in more fields than any other musician, he’s gotten nominations in the spoken word, arranging, video, jazz, pop, rap, general field, R&B, children's, musical theatre, disco, composition, gospel, visual media and production, non-classical fields. Jones has won27GRAMMY Awards, tying him with Alison Krauss as the most awarded living person, and second-highest GRAMMY winner of all time.

 
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