Favorite classic Hollywood actor: Harry Belafonte or Sidney Poitier? | The Tylt
The Hollywood of old was full of stars. Not the “stars” we have today, but class acts that really knew how to dress and really, really knew how to act. When thinking of faces who’ve dominated the silver screen, two come to mind. The first is Harry Belafonte, who is beloved both for his acting and his singing. Then second is Sidney Poitier, whose trailblazing roles helped exposed racism through powerful films. Who’s your favorite?
Favorite classic Hollywood actor: Harry Belafonte or Sidney Poitier?
You’ve definitely heard of Belafonte before. If not, you’ve definitely heard something by him, then. “Jump in the Line”? Harry Belafonte. “Banana Boat Song”? Harry Belafonte. It’s colorful music perfect for a rainy day, a sunny day, or, basically, any type of day you want. It’ll get you happy any which way.
Apart from his hit discography, Belafonte was in some pretty successful films. “Carmen Jones” was one such film, in which he starred alongside the one and only Dorothy Dandridge. He even recently appeared as a civil rights’ activist in Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman,” an incredibly appropriate role considering Belafonte’s avid activism offscreen. Here’s to 90 more years, Harry!
Sidney Poitier was (and still is) as cool as they come. Originally from Miami, Poitier went on to lead a beyond-impressive life that includes achievements such as being the first Black actor to have an Academy Award for Best Actor nomination. He also served in the army during World War II (going so far to lie about his age just so he can serve), was awarded the Medal of Freedom and received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II. Like we said—he’s one cool cat.
His acting roles were no less influential then his real-life activism. Most notably is his performance as Detective Virgil Tibbs in “The Heat of the Night,” in which Poitier exposed the great (and of course injustice) disparities between whites and blacks in the American south. He even sparked a controversy for a scene in which he (deservingly) slaps a white man. Even today it’s a satisfying scene, making the film—as well as Poitier’s other works—very well worth the watch.