Sidney Poitier’s powerful performance in Stanley Kramer’s 1967 film “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner” has become a part of the lore leading to the ascendancy of Barack Obama to the highest office in the United States of America. So I phoned Sidney today to see if he’d gone to D.C. No, he hasn’t. And he has no plans to attend the inauguration or any of its functions or Washington at all.
On the phone, Poitier was, as usual, warm and expressive. I asked if he knew Obama — and yes, he has met him and further, Poitier was happy to let me know, “I supported him totally and voted for him.” No, he has not been asked to be any part of the Obama team. He is no longer involved in politics and departed his post as an Ambassador from the Bahamas several years ago, he said.
“I have lots of living — not politics — to do,” said Sidney. “I am personally interested in seeing the world as a single community. We have to be involved in the family of man, and there are ways to better it to be interested in the health of its elements and not to plunder or damage it.”
He philosophized as only he can on the welfare of the world and as I suspected, he is at work on another book in which we will, no doubt, learn more about this (former) actor-philosopher’s hopes for a better world: through deeds, not words. But when I asked if he would be interested in seeing a new department — or secretary — of/for the arts, he declined political activities at all. But I’m sure he’d accept an invitation from the someone whose program he thoroughly endorsed to reach the Presidency.