Black Pioneers Of Film
Black actors who have broken down racial barriers in Hollywood
Only a couple more days until Hollywood invades your television screens. While you sit and await the Oscar-fate of Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong’o and Somali-born Barkhad, we must first take a moment and remember all of the black talent who helped pave the way for Black actors today, including Rupert Crosse, James Earl Jones, Paul Winfield, Cicely Tyson, Diahann Carroll, and Diana Ross; and here’s a look at a few more:
Hattie McDaniel “Gone With the Wind” (1939)
Although she was banded from attending the premiere, 75 years later, we’re still celebrating her Oscar win!
James Baskett “Song of the South” (1947)
The famous “Amos ‘n’ Andy” star won an honorary Oscar for his role as Uncle Remus in Walt Disney’s “Song of the South.” He’s also the reason for the Academy Award-winning song “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.” He too, wasn’t allowed to attend the premiere.
Ethel Waters “Pinky” (1949)
This legendary singer was responsible for the classic song, “Stormy Weather” and earned a supporting actress nomination for “Pinky.”
Dorothy Dandridge “Carmen Jones” (1954)
Dandridge was a singer, dancer, actress, and the first African American to score a lead actress Oscar nomination for her role in “Carmen Jones.”
Juanita Moore “Imitation of Life” (1959)
Based on the Fannie Hurst’s novel, “Imitation of Life” earned Moore a supporting actor nomination.
Beah Richards “Guess Who's Coming to Dinner” (1967)
The veteran actress received a supporting actress nomination for “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” also starring Sidney Poitier.
Sidney Poitier “The Defiant Ones” (1958); “Lilies of the Field” (1963)
He received a lead actor nomination for “The Defiant Ones” and won the lead actor Oscar for “Lilies of the Field.” Poitier is also amongst several Black presenters this year. See who else is presenting at the 86th Academy Awards on March 2.