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Sidney Poitier's daughter and Godson talk about iconic actor's legacy and Hollywood diversity

Posted at 10:01 PM, Mar 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-28 01:01:47-04

The late Sidney Poitier was the first Black actor to win an Oscar for a leading role for 1963's "Lilies of the Field" filmed right here in Arizona.

ABC15 spoke to Poitier's daughter and godson about his legacy and changes in Hollywood.

Hollywood's biggest night was always top of mind for Sidney Poitier.

"Daddy always kept up with what was going on in the industry and enjoyed seeing more people that looked like him,” said Beverly Poitier-Henderson, Sidney Poitier’s daughter.

The 94th Oscars ceremony was the first without its first Black awardee for Best Actor.

The family is appreciative of the love shown since his passing in January.

"It was heart-warming. It was cool to see his glory and all those different phases of him,” added Beverly Poitier-Henderson.

But, Poitier's eldest of six daughters and godson are disappointed there aren't more winners, or nominees for that matter, who look like him.

"It's now the time where the rubber needs to meet the road and continue. I would not think Hollywood should feel it has done what needs to be done,” said Mike Jordan, Sidney Poitier’s Godson.

Jordan considered his godfather to be larger than life.

"I think he and I developed a relationship based on the fact that it was just some 'dude' energy,” added Jordan.

Poitier was often surrounded by his wife and daughters. Poitier-Henderson recalls what it was like growing up as his daughter.

"He was my dad. So, that was about the size of it. He was my dad. A lot of people recognized him. I used to wonder, when I was younger, 'how did they recognize him just like that?'"

And speaking of recognizing her dad —

"It is very cool. We are very tickled ASU has a school named after him,” added Beverly Poitier-Henderson.

ABC15 took an exclusive tour of the Sidney Poitier New American Film School at ASU set to open this fall.

Poitier, according to his daughter, was serious when it came to a couple of things. One was education.

"He always said be true to yourself. ASU is dedicated to telling the stories of people who are under-represented at this time,” added Beverly Poitier-Henderson.

Equal representation for blacks is another of Poitier's passions.

"I am disappointed, in that respect, color is still such a big problem and big issue America,” added Beverly Poitier-Henderson.

Poitier's daughter says she and her family plan to be in the Valley for the grand opening of the film school bearing her father's name.