Harvest of Hope


fantasy totally. And on the other hand, he really has no right not to appear, not only because he must work, but for all those people who need to see him. By the use of his own person, he must smuggle in a reality that he knows is not in the script. Baldwin acknowledged the restrictions placed on Poitier and other Black actors at the time, but he also recognized Black agency in these performances. Poitier “smuggled in reality” in his gestures, intonation, and, perhaps most significantly, the slap that his character Tibbs gives the racist white plantation owner in 1967’s >>> CONTINUE READING BELOW

The Heat of the Night. It was the first major motion picture scene in which a Black man retaliates in this way, and according to Poitier, he insisted that the smack remain in all versions of the movie. Later in his career, Poitier leveraged his appeal to control authorial aspects of production, taking his directorial turn with the standout film Buck and the Preacher in 1972. Starring himself and his longtime friends Harry Belafonte and Ruby Dee, Poitier’s Black-cast Western thrilled Black audiences with an

adventurous tale that brought radical politics to the forefront and fought back against white-supremacist villainy. This version of Poitier, for some, seemed antithetical to the composed and conciliatory leading man many audiences loved. However, the film’s Black consciousness reflected his, Belafonte’s, and Dee’s activism during the civil-rights


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