Saturday, May 19, 2018

A Royal Weddding, a Touch of Sidney Poitier

A lovely couple, a lovely ceremony and a most beautiful bride.  I was wide awake well before the crack of dawn to watch live network news coverage of the Royal Wedding.  I admit that I've been thrilled for him ever since they announced their engagement.  And Meghan Markle makes my heart take wing.  Harry is one lucky bloke.  The actress/humanitarian and fellow Los Angeleno brings some radiant light and fresh air to the Royal Family.  They are a modern picture of equality, inclusion and love in the monarchy.
I did not expect to be as touched by the events of the ceremony as I was.  But, when I saw Doria Ragland, Meghan Markle's mother, with her in the backseat of the burgundy Rolls-Royce on their way from the hotel to the chapel, I got tears in eyes.  Can you just imagine the extreme joy in that sweet woman's heart?  In California, did she ever in her wildest dreams think that her daughter's engagement would lead to Ms. Ragland having tea with the Queen of England and attending a wedding ceremony that would be an international live telecast? Wow. Now she is known as....the mother of the Duchess of Sussex.
About the touch of Sidney Poitier:  When Prince Harry and Meghan walked out of the church and onto the entrance as the newlywed Duke and Duchess of Sussex, they kissed and we got another song from that wonderful choir.  During the ceremony, the choir sang "Stand By Me."  Outside, before the Duke and Duchess took to the carriage ride, the choir sang "Amen."  I never thought I'd hear that spiritual sung at a Royal Wedding.
A lot of us in the baby boomer category remember it as the song sung by Sidney Poitier's character in LILIES OF THE FIELD, the feel-good comedy/drama that brought Sidney Poitier the Oscar for Best Actor of 1963.
"Amen" was written by actor, singer, songwriter Jester Hairston.  The dubbed singing voice you heard come out of Sidney Poitier is another Jester Hairston credit. He did that singing.
Jester Hairston and Sidney Poitier appeared together in the Oscar winner for Best Picture of 1967, IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT.  Jester Hairston played the butler, standing in between Rod Steiger and Sidney Poitier.
He's in the famous scene where Sidney as Detective Virgil Tibbs slaps the saliva out that racist white man's mouth.

The multi-talented Jester Hairston was also a regular in the long-running NBC sitcom, AMEN, starring Sherman Hemsley. It aired from 1986 to 1991.

There you have it. There was a touch of Sidney Poitier film classics in today's absolutely gorgeous and heartwarming Royal Wedding.  Cheers to the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

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