On Thursday, the African American Film Critics Association announced that it will honor actor Sidney Poitier with its first ever Icon Award during its awards show this upcoming February, even as the iconic film Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
“It is beyond a privilege for AAFCA to receive this opportunity to honor a man who epitomizes timeless excellence,” Gil Robertson, AAFCA’s president, said in a statement. “Throughout his career, Mr. Poitier has embodied values that the AAFCA community admires and strives to duplicate. He set a standard of merit through his craft and commitment to humanity that has been a great blueprint for all artists.”
While the organization has existed for over a dozen years, it has never given an Icon Award. However, they felt that given Poitier’s historic role, he was the perfect choice for their first award.
“[He] single-handedly represented our community with a dignity and grace onscreen during a time when very few blacks even had an opportunity to work in the business in front or behind the camera,” Robertson said. “We feel that his impact is immeasurable.”
The AAFCA annual awards show will take place on February 8, 2017.