Changing Inside Out Now!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Black History Month - Sidney Poitier - 1st Black Actor to Win Academy Award for Best Actor

Sidney Poitier, Bahamian-American actor, film director, author and diplomat, started out from humble beginnings.

He was born premature in Miami, Florida and was not expected to survive. His parents stayed in Miami until he got better. Sidney Poitier grew up with his family in the Bahamas and later on moved to Miami at the age of 15 to live with his older brother.

A couple years later, Sidney Poitier move to New York City where he got menial jobs but was later on arrested for vagrancy due to being homeless because he could not pay his rent. He later joined the army and worked as a dishwasher. Sidney Poitier later got a job with the American Negro Theater.

In those days, black actors sang and danced but Sidney Poitier was tone deaf and therefore did not get the approval of the audience. Due to his commitment to his dream, determination and persistence, Sidney Poitier turned his adversities into opportunities, working hard to improve his skills and got rid of his Bahamian accent.

Sidney Poitier became the 1st Black actor to win the Academy Award for Best Actor for Lilies of the Field in 1963. His continued rise to fame became evident in later films; Guess Who is Coming to Dinner, In the Heat of the Night and my favourite, To Sir with Love.

He later on expanded his acting into directing films like Stir Crazy, Buck and the Preacher and Ghost Dad.

Sidney Poitier became ambassador of the Bahamas to Japan and also to UNESCO. He recently received the Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.

It does not matter how you start, it is how you finish that counts.

What is evident in his life is that despite the setbacks, despite the seeming odds stacked against him - the colour of his skin, his Bahamian accent, his humble beginnings - he did not let any of these stop him from realizing his dream. He knew what he wanted and once he had found a way to realize his dream, he stopped at nothing and did not allow anything to hinder him from reaching his goal.

I am sure during that time that he had faced many more obstacles than indicated here but his mindset and determination kept him pressing forward, shooting for the stars and going beyond. His achievements and successes have influenced the lives of many blacks, not only in America but all across the globe.

In spite of your current situation, if you make a determined decision about what you desire to achieve in life, and back that with persistent continuous action regardless of obstacles, you will reach your goal. And even more so, you will influence and inspire the lives of others around you.

Whose life could you influence if you lived your dream today?


  1. Hello Alicia....I have always loved Sidney Poitier's acting. Didn't know about his humble beginnings. That's very inspirational to read! I think, if I could achieve my goal of a 100 pound weight loss, I could influence the lives of all my family members, especially those who also have weight problems. Also, I'd love to open my own used bookstore/thriftie shop! If that could ever happen, I could influence the lives of people who wanted lovely "things" and books by getting both at good prices! Yeah. I'd LOVE to have those two dreams come true! Sincerely, Susan from

  2. That's great Susan. Thanks for posting. Once you begin to and continue to step in the direction of your dreams, doors open up on your behalf. And once you get there you can show others the path to follow.



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